Red Kite Tree Tent
Newbridge-on-Wye, Builth Wells, Powys, Wales LD2 3SG
Remember when you were young, carefree and charging around like a wild thing in the woods? And then you got that little bit too carried away and found your frisbee was stuck in the trees or your football wedged high amongst the branches? Well take that football, enlarge it into a bright and bulging sphere of wendy-house type proportions and you get an idea of what this weird and wonderful tree tent looks like.
Well… sort of. It certainly hangs among the branches like something only an overzealous human could have flung there, its bright turquoise exterior contrasting colorfully against the trees, yet this is far from a children’s toy. Deep in the woods of mid Wales, overlooking a babbling, rocky brook, Red Kite Tree Tent is in fact a masterpiece of design and architecture, and a rightful show stopper in Channel 4’s recent series of George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.
A combination of hybrid aluminum and steam bent, green ash, Red Kite Tree Tent’s frame is suspended among native pines by unobtrusive metal wires. Initially it may sound a little daunting, as if you’re dangling far from anything, but the tree tent also backs on to a large decking area with chairs, a table and an outdoor cooking space. Inside a main support pole is a shiny centre piece, surrounded by a plush double bed and a cosy wood burning stove, while the magenta lining gives a mature and cosy feel that seems to fit with the forest setting. There are few places that are as enjoyable to camp in when the weather is both good and bad but here a dodgy forecast is almost a pleasure: You can shut yourself away, stoke the fire and feel unbelievably cocooned, the wind making an accentuated rushing sound amongst the trees and the tent rocking gently within the air!
Though its innovative design could fill a book – or indeed a television show – Red Kite Tree Tent owes as much to its setting as to the structure itself. Down a seemingly endless single lane track, the site has an immediate sense of peace and isolation. It’s a place to re-engage with the forested surroundings, dabbling around in the stream and simply enjoying the pleasures of having the vast 80-acre woodland entirely to yourselves. There's wildlife aplenty and, as the name suggests, red kites swooping overhead are not an unusual spectacle. To really get up close, though, it’s a 20-minute drive to the Gigrin Farm Feeding Station – not to be missed.