Crafty Camping

UK England South West England Dorset Lyme Regis

Innovative glamping in the West Dorset woods that has been perfected right down to the tiniest details

For anyone who has dreamed of finding that secluded, sylvan sanctuary, look no further than Crafty Camping. The brainchild of expert woodsman Guy Mallinson (of BBC's Mastercrafts fame), this entirely hand-crafted glamping Shangri-La sits snugly carved into several acres of West Dorset woodland.

Originally the base for Guy's woodcraft workshops, this herbacious hideaway was borne from his pupils' pleadings for camping in the forest. Thanks to the persistence of these novice whittlers, this tranquil, woodland paradise is now welcoming peace and quiet-loving adults for genuine fuss-free glamping, all year round.

Nestled seamlessly amidst this dreamy landscape are Guy's labour's of love: a tipi, two yurts, a bell tent and a shepherds hut. Adorned with reindeer skins, king-size beds with oak bedsteads (hand-carved, of course), hammocks and any other bits and bobs you're likely to need, these luxurious lodgings each have their own private decking area. All (except the bell tent) have a private proper flushing loo, as well as a private 'tree shower' beneath the forest canopy, while the bell tent has a woven willow shower and grass-topped 'his n' hers' loos.

The safari-style, 'Out of Africa' field kitchen surpasses those in most flats, with a proper gas range, counters and proper utensils, cutlery and crockery. The wood-fired pizza oven just shouts rustic charm – there's nothing like pulling out a gooey, lightly-charred margarita out on the peel to tear and share under the bivouac.  

After years in the making, the latest addition to Crafty Camping is The Woodsman's Treehouse. Grand pier-like boardwalk; double-ended copper bath; open-air tree shower; spiral staircase leading to a spa deck (complete with private hot tub and a sauna); even a rotating fireplace that can be pointed toward the bed, sofa or kitchen. This. Is. Glamping.

Space and seclusion are the common themes here. Wherever you stay, you'll be amazed at the serenity and stillness of the place. No man is an island though and for those of a social nature, Guy has conscientiously kitted out a communal yurt with comfy couches, a library and board games.

Guy likens it to "Avatar in summer and Narnia in winter" – a pretty apt description. We'll stump for a cross between Tolkein and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. With a woodland inhabited by buzzards, foxes, deer, and badgers, it's positively Edenesque. It will come as no surprise that there have been more than a few marriage proposals here. This is a real romantic retreat. Oh, and did we mention the sauna yurt?

The level of care, skill and attention to detail is astounding. The yurts (some of the finest we've ever seen) are made from the woodland's own coppiced chestnut, worked with nothing more than axes, drawknives and steam bending. "Everything is designed to return to nature without a trace if we were ever to leave the woods" – though something tells us Guy won't be leaving this woodland anytime soon.

Reader Reviews

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Amazing experience - not to be missed

We stayed in the treehouse. It was out of this world. A truly unique experience. Treat yourself on a special occasion.
Jun 5, 2018 by Sally

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