Luxury glamping on the edge of Devon
PUBLISHED: 10:29 20 October 2015 | UPDATED: 10:29 20 October 2015
Recharge your batteries with a peaceful stay in a woodland yurt at Crafty Camping, writes Owen Jones
Sitting next to a log fire outside a woodland yurt, as the sun sets over the hills of East Devon, the world of incessant emails, buzzing mobile phones and social media updates feels a million miles away.
We’re just a few miles from Axminster on a peaceful woodland campsite where the accommodation comprises two yurts, a shepherd’s hut, a tipi and three bell tents.
Not that you’d know that from where we’re sitting on the wooden terrace in front of Poppet, our yurt for the weekend. The hillside site is large enough for all the tents to feel private.
All we can see are trees, ferns and the boardwalk that runs through the woods. All we can hear is birdsong and the wind in the trees. Welcome to Crafty Camping.
It’s a wonderfully relaxed place to stay. There’s no check-in – just follow the e-mailed directions to the secluded site (along some typically narrow rural lanes), walk through a woodland path to the campsite and then follow signs to your yurt or tent. After that it’s up to you what you do.
You can choose whether to cook all your meals on your private barbecue-cum-firepit or use the facilities in the communal kitchen, which include a wood-fired oven for cooking perfect pizzas.
It doesn’t even matter if you’ve not brought any food with you. Just help yourself to a Tom’s Pies pie from the freezer and a bottle of cider or wine - there’s an honesty book system so you can settle up as you leave.
And don’t think that signing up for a night or two in the woods means you say goodbye to home comforts. The yurts and tents have king-sized beds, electricity sockets and even heated towel rails.
The open air shower is an experience to be enjoyed in all weathers and a log burner means the yurt can be made cosy even in midwinter. And there should be no problem getting it to light - there are bags of seasoned and well-dried logs for fuel.
Outside each of the tents there’s a fire pit and barbecue. And you can enjoy the challenge of gathering dry twigs and leaves to light the storm kettle, which will produce boiling water for a welcome cup of tea.
As well as camping the site is also home to the Guy Mallinson Woodland Workshop, where green woodworking courses are held on week days. These vary from a couple of hours to five days, with projects ranging from carving a bowl or a spoon to making a chair from a tree.
Guy Mallinson, a furniture designer and cabinet maker, created the campsite. He teaches the green woodworking courses, providing all the materials needed, personally and locally sourced as much as possible.
Learn more at mallinson.co.uk
Five ways to enjoy Crafty Camping
Enjoy a steaming hot outdoor shower under the branches of the huge old oak tree. Even better at night - when you can look up at the stars – or when it’s raining.
Barbecue your dinner on the brazier – then add some logs and sit beside the fire as night falls.
Try to count the number of hazel poles supporting the roof of the yurt. We made it 53.
Be still and observe the woodland wildlife, from tiny (but noisy) wrens to buzzards circling overhead.
Read Jean Giono’s allegorical tale The Man Who Planted Trees. There’s a copy of this inspirational short story in every yurt.