To build a cabin, part 1

Trip Start Nov 27, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of France  , Centre,
Saturday, October 29, 2011

Part 1

I've no idea how many parts there will be to this event. It takes either as long as it takes or as long as we can tough it out in winter living in the woods in the centre of France.  This week has been beautiful weather for the end of October with just a splash of rain and temperatures balmy. 

We've leapt at the opportunity to build one of these (see





But maybe (definitely) not so artistic or gorgeous. If ours stands up we'll be pleased.  We're mostly following instructions in Tony Wrench's brilliant book, "Building a low impact round house". We'll be deviating a bit based on the type of wood we're using, the raw materials available to us and the scale.  See some of his photos of his build here:

We're aiming for a much smaller and simpler structure, starting with a patch in the woods:


Laura and I are living in the woods for a few days at a time with dormice. Lots of dormice. There is a dilapidated caravan for shelter. The dormice think it is their shelter and are unwilling to share the space quietly. They live in the cupboards and use the bunks under our bed as a main thoroughfare. Obviously there is a rule that they must wear clogs when stamping through. Eviction thoughts are in progress and they don't like bay trees so there are now sprigs of bay strewn across the surfaces.

Other wildlife, not in the van, is welcomed. Robins are fighting for the territory around our camp as we are churning up the soil and leaving a few titbits on a stump.  Black woodpeckers are absent from England but here they sound their girly cry and fly across a coppiced glade adjacent to the camp. At night every footstep in the dark has to be placed with care. Fire salamanders, despite their twin bright yellow blotchy stripes down the length of their bodies, are very difficult to spot in the leaf litter and they freeze when illuminated by a torch rather than scuttle out of the way.
For the inevitable wet weather we are erecting some outdoor shelter so we can have a stove for warmth. Thanks to Wings Events of Northampton ( for donating a couple of old marquee roofs to the cause. As the weather has not been bad, we've not finished the shelter... We may regret this when the camp turns into a clay mire!
So see the photos for how we're progressing and details of what we're doing are with each of them.
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Rachel on

I want one of these!

Liz Cormell on

I have to say that they look just like Hobbit!!! I want one in the back garden as a summer house!

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