Lazy Summer Days
It seems like an absolute age ago that I signed-off at the end of June hoping for good weather. Well, I don't think anyone can have any complaints on that front: it has been - and still is - absolutely stunning here. The woods are looking better than I've ever seen them, and the visitor's book is a testament to just how relaxing a few days escape enjoying some luxury glamping with us can be. It's been a pleasure to see guests kicking-back and spending lazy days in hammocks, keeping cool in the tree showers and fishing in the pond. I think 'magical' is the most popular word in our reviews, which can't be bad!
The hot weather suits our woodland very well as it's full of natural springs: everything is looking lush and green. The only casualties of the heat-wave were the grass-topped loos which looked a bit 'Boris Johnson' in the dry period - thick of thatch but yellow rather than green! I'm pleased to say they are recovering well now.
It's not just the 'Crafty Camping' that's been popular - our green woodwork courses have been really well attended too, particularly our new 'have a go' sessions which are proving very popular with glamping guests and people staying and living locally, who want to dip their toe in the water before signing up for a more in-depth course.
If you fancy 'making a chair from a tree' over five days, there are still a couple of places available on the next chair-making course starting on September 30th - you can book using the link below. And if you fancy something less challenging there are still plenty of shorter courses that you can join in or, if there are two of you, plenty of dates to start a new course of your choice.
Over recent months we've had lots of honeymooners staying with us, but one particular couple went that bit further and booked a private chair making course whilst staying in one of the yurts. That struck me as a brilliantly romantic idea and the fantastic chairs they made will hopefully be passed on down through their family for generations.
During the height of summer, at times all our Crafty Camping facilities and all our courses have been fully booked - a very pleasing first that the whole team here has worked hard to achieve. Especially gratifying is that so many guests are returning for a second, third or in some cases fourth visit.
With that in mind, we have now opened up our online booking calendar for 2014, so if you have a particular date you'd like to come on, please do book early because, as ever, 'once they're gone they're gone'.
Talking of future bookings, one change that has been forced upon us is that we now have to be strictly adults-only, even for group bookings.
This has come about following our annual insurance review with our normally very tolerant insurance company. (They've let us have axe-throwing competitions in the past!)
As many guests will know, while we've been predominantly adults-only for a long time, we were able to make an exception for families that take over the whole site. Unfortunately, now the insurance appraisers want us to put barriers and guards around all fires and water whenever children are on site.
In many respects this is just impractical, but even if it could be done, it would ruin how everything looks and works for the 99% of the time when just adults are here. Hence, we are now adults-only at all times.
We're sorry and we do appreciate that it will be disappointing for some past guests who might have been planning to come again. However, we really don't have any choice; it's a sign of the times I'm afraid.
In The Press
You don't have to take our word for how enjoyable Crafty Camping with us can be! We were delighted to be named as one of the Top Ten Luxury Country Breaks on the Luxury Travel Blog:
Also, a big thank you to Dorset Magazine for putting us top of the glamping destinations! There's a pdf of the article here:
And the Yorkshire Post also gets our heartfelt thanks for this great feature:
Thinking Ahead ...
While England enjoyed a heat-wave this summer, I managed to miss it - leaving Adam, Austin and Helen to do a magnificent job of running the show. I'm certainly not complaining, as I went backpacking instead - around Indonesia with Boo and the boys for three weeks! This is something we have been planning and looking forward to for years and it proved a magnificent trip in many ways: no wi-if, telephone signal, electricity or running water to name but a few.
We were staying in various basic stilted huts made from local materials (something I had not done since my travelling days, far too many years ago) and I couldn't help but feel an affinity with this sort of accommodation and how closely it is related to our own structures. I found plenty of inspiration there, and I'm sure we'll see their influence coming through in future work here in the woods, maybe with that long awaited tree house ...
... And Thinking Back
The local buildings aside, I was also struck by the craft that was prevalent in every aspect of day-to-day life for all ages, and particularly taken by the way that children, from a young age, are involved in making pretty much everything they need from bamboo, coconut or banana trees or leaves. It's just the way things are done - and it's totally sustainable. Not least, it reminded me of how much skill, knowledge and wisdom we have lost back home and how important it is that we continue to support and teach traditional crafts here in the West.
River Cottage Autumn Fair
Finally, if any readers are staying or are in the area next weekend, 7th-8th Sept, Adam and I will be demonstrating spoon carving and spatula making up the road at River Cottage HQ, as part of their Autumn Fair.
This is always a great event so do come along if you can. Details and tickets are here:
And that's about all for this newsletter. It's time to escape the office for some real work! I hope to see some of our returning guests and some new ones for the Indian summer ...
Guy and the team