In The Trees, In Luxury
Our newsletter readers are always the first to hear our news and this month is no exception: after three years of planning and design development we can finally announce that we are hoping that building the long-awaited treehouse here in the woods will start early in the New Year.
Our target opening date (subject to planning) is early summer. As soon as we have firm dates we shall let our newsletter readers know first - if you think a luxury treehouse break is for you then just keep an eye on these newsletter in the coming months!
For more images, please follow the link below:
We have been in consultation with the West Dorset Planning Department for some time and we've designed the structure to satisfy their requirements. Therefore, we very much hope that once approval is through (estimated to happen in January) we will be able to firm-up the build and hence the opening dates. And then we will be able to take bookings and deposits too.
The treehouse (suggestions for names on a postcard or email please!) will be just for grown-ups and will afford the same if not more luxury than our existing glamping spaces. The structure will be built amongst a majestic veteran oak tree right in the middle of the woods over the stream. Naturally, there are ferns and mosses everywhere and it's probably my favourite spot in the whole of the woods. That makes it our choice for this, our most ambitious project to date.
The treehouse will be built to domestic building residential standards (it has to be signed-off by building control authorities and our structural engineer). Once you have climbed the spiral staircase and walked over a rope bridge to the front door you will be in your own contemporary, private and comfortable world high up in the trees. It will have a kitchen, indoor toilet, bedroom with huge roof skylight to view the tree canopy above the bed and a double-ended bath by a massive sash window overlooking the main trunk of the tree. There is also a central ceramic wood burning stove that continues to heat the interior for 12 hours after the fire burns down.
Outside is a private main deck amongst the branches of the tree with your own wood-fired pizza oven and BBQ. If that sounds irresistible, the real magic awaits you when you climb the steps up to the private roof level 'spa' deck, up in the tree's canopy. There you'll find another outside 'tree bath' and private sauna, surrounded by moss-and-fern walls and hidden from view. While the bath in the main interior space will be popular in the winter months we have, of course, also included an outside tree shower as well. Well, these have proven so popular with guests staying in the existing glamping facilities it would have been a shame not to!
How To Build A Treehouse
We are building the treehouse from as many materials from the woods as we can, including the oak shingles, woven rotunda and the twig-and-stick 'nest' section that is made of brash - the small branches that are left over from cleaning-up (snedding) the main stem of felled trees. There are 16 Douglas fir trees that were planted about 31 years ago and intended for cropping now, and these will form the main frame. (They've also become dangerous in the boggy conditions because they are so large now, so this is a good case of killing two birds with one stone.) These will be converted into the sizes we need using a portable sawmill here in the woods - so nothing will go to waste. The external finishes for the house are all separated from the main (waterproof, damp proof and thermally insulated) structure and are designed to improve with age as mosses etc grow on them over time. It is all designed to evolve over the years to sit really well deep in the woodland.
After much deliberation and research into the alternative ways of creating living spaces in trees, we have rejected systems of either using stainless steel bolts or slings to support the weight of the treehouse. Instead, we have designed our tree house to be on stilts amongst the branches and around the trunks of the three trees involved. We believe that the trees have grown to the size and shape they have for good structural and environmental reasons and that it's unacceptable subject them to an unnatural and significant load or to bolt into them.
The design is all about being amongst and looking at the trees as they come through the treehouse decks. However, no part of our structure actually touches the tree, which allows it all to sway and flex freely in gales. This approach allows water to run down and wildlife to pass up and down uninterrupted. Similarly, our stilts are supported by micro screw piles that can be positioned between the roots and cause minimal disruption to the site; they could even be removed at a future date in needs be.
I hope that my watercolours and drawings give you a hint at how it is going to look and feel. We are currently working on CAD models and will soon be releasing some fully rendered perspectives too.
I'm sorry that we can't take any booking until we have the planning permission approval, but I can assure our readers that they will be the first to know when we can take firm bookings and about the prices for each season. Hopefully, this will be early in the New Year.
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Christmas Gift Vouchers
Now is the time to get those Christmas Gift Vouchers ordered and posted to you. If they are ordered in time we can send a hand-written printed card certificate with the names of recipient and purchaser as well as the amount of the certificate.
All of our gift certificates can be redeemed against either glamping or against our courses. (You'll also be able to redeem them towards a tree house stay once dates are released!) We offer various values - some correspond to specific courses, others are simply for a round figure. There are the following denominations - £48, £96, £100, £150, £200, £300, £400, £834 - and can be ordered from our website 24/7. For more details, please visit this page:Gift Vouchers
Winter Magic, New Year Celebrations And 2016 Bookings
Understandably, we are quieter in the winter but it really is magical time and very different from the summer months. We enjoyed the first cold snap of the year with a full house. Last weekend a group booking of 14 was here when the temperature dropped below minus-three for the first time! I'm delighted to report that a great time was had by all regardless, and the sauna saw plenty of use throughout the weekend.
We are opening for the New Year for the first time this year, so if you haven't decided yet, now would be a good time to book the yurt, tipi, shepherds hut or bell tent of your choice for the New Year three-night block.Booking
Looking further ahead, we are already getting some bookings for whole site bookings for the popular weekends in 2016. If you have a group gathering in mind do please reserve the weekend you are after now - not least because just one single booking would block it for a group at the same time!
Now that things are quieter, we are starting to work through our list of maintenance jobs. First-up is replacing the now moss covered parachute shelters in the workshop areas. These will allow much more light in for course days and should look smarter too! After that, we are making and fitting new flysheet covers for our new bell tents. This time we'll be using a better canvas that does not deteriorate quite so quickly - a lesson learnt the hard way! When the last of the Douglas firs have come down we will replant with oak which is much more in keeping with this woodland. As more sunlight will then be able to get through, birch, willow and alder will self-seed and spread as well.
Just a reminder: don't forget to upload your photos of your stay at Crafty Camping or the Woodland Workshop here -Competition
if you have not done so already. This year's competition runs until spring 2016 and you might win a £150 gift voucher which can be redeemed against any course or glamping with us (or against a tree house stay once it's opened).
In The Press
It's been a while since our last newsletter (not least because I have been holding off until we could talk about the tree house). However, in the months since our last one we have been fortunate enough to have some excellent press coverage. Below are just a few examples - and, as ever, a big thank you to all concerned for spreading the word.Red Bull
London On The Inside
As always, many thanks for reading.
Guy and the team