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Crafty Camping

UK England South West England Dorset Lyme Regis

  • Campfires allowed
  • Groups welcome
  • Adults only
  • Hot Tubs
  • Adults Only
  • Campfires Allowed
  • Hot tubs
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
  • Beaches
  • Walking
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.



Yurt, tipi and shepherds hut all with their own private, flushing loo and private 'tree' shower. The bell tent has a woven willow shower and grass topped his and hers proper flushing loo. The Woodsman's Treehouse is brimming with luxurious features including copper bath, open-air shower, spa deck with sauna and hot tub – it really does have to be seen to be believed. Communal yurt with craft library, traditional board games and small shop and information/maps. Field kitchen has a wood-fired pizza oven and full catering facilities. Each tent also has its own private deck with bbq, hammock, chairs and table and kelly kettle. There is also a sauna yurt and a lovely central pond. The new tree house is entirely self contained and has everything you could possibly need (and more). Quite literally a house in a tree, it has proper wooden floors, rooms and an immaculate modern kitchen. Bicycles and electric bicycles can also be delivered to the woods.

Suitable For

Just the glampers. Tents, pitches, caravans or dogs – no. Maximum group size 14 (7 couples or 7 individuals). Quiet, peace-loving, adults only.


West Dorset has no end of charming coastal towns and stunning beaches – Chesil and West Bay. It's also Thomas Hardy country and there's plenty of spots on the Hardy trail for literary pilgrims: the Hardy Monument (01297 489481) and Thomas Hardy's Cottage (01305 262366). The epic Jurassic Coast (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is just 12 miles away at Lyme Regis. For walks, the views from Golden Cap (Dorset's highest cliff) take some topping.

Food & Drink

Look no further than the communal field kitchen. It has all the kit and caboodle you'll need for knocking up some classy camping cuisine. You can also use the wood-fired pizza oven or opt for an intimate cookout in your private clearing with the deck barbecue. Complimentary Dorset Cereals and tea and coffee are available to all glamping guests. For the finest local produce, head to Millers Farm Shop (01297 35290) in Axeminster – they also stock cider from Lyme Bay Winery and Perry’s Cider Mill. Bridport Market is the place to go for a bargain, with a farmer's market on the second Saturday of each month. The nearby River Cottage Canteen (01297 631715) and Hix Oyster and Fish House (01297 446910) are just two of the jewels in Dorset's foodie crown. The Tytherleigh Arms (01460 220214) is a cracking little 16th century coaching inn, just a short stroll from the site. The have a great menu of reasonably-priced Dorset fayre, and local ales the award-winning Otter and Branscombe breweries.

Opening Times

All year.


Contact Crafty Camping, Mallinson Ltd Woodland Workshop, Yonder Hill, Holditch, West Dorset TA20 4NL

Show Map

Getting There

The scenic route from Bridport: From Bridport go north to Beaminster on the B3066. Go through Beaminster and turn left at the mini-roundabout to Broadwindsor on the B3163. In Broadwindsor turn left at the village shop onto the B3164 along the rim of the Marshwood Vale (you can see the sea to your left on a clear day). At the crossroads go straight over on the B3165 (signposted to Thorncombe). At the next crossroads, turn left signposted Holditch. Keep bearing right at both of the next two junctions, keep in this lane when passing the red sign to Hewood and then turn left into Holditch Lane. You will see Oscar the owl at the entrance to the car park on the right after 200 yards, just before Higher Holditch Farm.

Axeminster is the nearest station. From there, you'll need to book a cab, though it's a good 10 miles away.


Add Your Review

Rated ★★★★★ over 1 reviews


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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