Thursday, 27 July 2017

A glamping hideaway - Mimi's Tree Yurt, Herefordshire

Last week we returned from a wonderful glamping getaway in Herefordshire. We booked Mimi's Tree Yurt through The Cottage Company who have an excellent selection of quirky cottages based in Wales and the surrounding areas. However, Mimi's Tree Yurt, which is not far from the Wales border is not your average glamping experience - this beautifully handmade Eco yurt and Botswana-style kitchen have been lovingly handcrafted by a small team of talented craftsman, and the results are very impressive. Now this may not be to everyones taste, so if you're looking for a bug free existence and prefer pristine hotel-like conditions Mimi's Yurt is not for you. But if you are looking to escape into nature ... if you fancy some rustic slow living, roasting marshmellows under the stars, and soaking in a copper bath after a long day of walking, or perhaps taking a hot shower in the outdoors while the sun streams through the leaves overhead .... then you will love Mimi's Yurt. Here's a glimpse into what you can expect from this little corner of paradise.

Where is it: Herefordshire
How much: From £207 for 2 nights
Pets: Yep. They love them.
Sleeps: 2

The arrival 

You enter the camp via a long dirt road (not ideal for low slung cars mind) and there are valleys & meadows all around. After parking we hopped out the car only to be greeted by three gorgeous doggies. They were very friendly and would often greet us this way when we parked up. Ralphy can be very selective when it comes to his canine pals but he took to these pups instantly. There are a few other quirky accommodations on the site but none of them are nearby. All are hidden away in their own secluded spots and are a good distance from each other. In fact it's possible you won't see another human while your here unless you pass in the small car park. Tim and Bryony are lovely people and are a real pleasure to talk too. They are on hand to help should you need it, but unless you go looking for them, rest assured you will be left well alone from start to finish.

We loaded up our wheelbarrow and headed down to the yurt. I spent the next 10 minutes running around exploring-while-squealing, then while I unpacked, Hubby got the BBQ going! The yurt is surrounded by a wild-flower meadow, with one beautiful giant oat tree that acts as a canopy in the yurt garden - it's a lovely place to sit and relax, and on chilly nights there's plenty of wood available (and blankets!)

View & wildflower meadow next to the yurt

Concept & Creation - The Yurt 

Before I show you around I must tell you a bit about how these incredible buildings were made.
Inspired by their life in Botswana, Tim and Bryony (the owners) were keen to create indoor / outdoor living that exists in harmony with nature, and one that also has a 'feather-light' touch on the environment. Mimi's Tree Yurt is just one of their creations, and I'll be sharing another at a later date. Using locally sourced coppiced wood and solar generated electricity they created this Turkomen Yurt with the help of yurt maker Tobias Fairlove. As you can imagine an awful lot of work goes into the process - from sourcing the saplings, stripping the bark, shaping, steam bending, sanding and finally stringing and knotting each one - all of which is done by hand using traditional techniques. The whole family got involved in the process, and their daughter Pia Designed the central roof wheel. 

The Chestnut Cabin (Kitchen & bathroom)

The inspiration for the kitchen and bathroom building were the glorious camps Bryony and Tim experienced in the Makgadikgadi salt pans game reserve in Botswana - camps where creative inventiveness saw showers hanging from trees, and soap dishes made from branches. They loved the blurring of inside / outside living and with the help of craftsman Zane Dutton-Thomspon and Dane Horton they set about adapting some of these ideas to suit the UK climate. 

One of the things I throughly enjoyed about Mimi's yurt was the outdoor shower. On the chilly days I admit I chickened out (though hubby swears it was lovely) but when the sun came out I happily dived in and what a beautiful experience it was ... to be under a hot shower in the outdoors, with the sun shining through the leaves, surrounded by birdsong and the chatter of sheep. In fact I even made a mental note that if we're not overlooked too much I'd love to have an outdoor shower in our future house! 

Eco living & getting back to nature.

Another thing that made a big impression whilst staying here, was how much it made me aware of my own carbon footprint. There were plenty of lamps, fairy lights at the yurt which were all powered by one single solar panel. It never ran low but it still made you think about reserving energy - something I rarely do at home. Even the bed linen (which was so lovely and soft) was made from bamboo! I thought the compost loo might take some getting used too - I've used them at festivals before and that has never been a nice experience. However, these ones are absolutely fine. They are just like a regular loo to sit on, except once you have thrown your loo roll in, instead of flushing you simply throw in a couple of handfuls of sawdust to cover up your loo roll - there's no smell and it's a 'long drop' loo so it's not a ghastly sight either :-) you do get the occasional fly hanging around but it's a price I'd happily pay to be so close to nature.

My other favourite thing was being able to roll up the kitchen window, and look out into the garden and over the valley. I love bringing the outside in and Mimi's yurt does exactly that in abundance. The price you pay for that is of course being visited by the odd bug / spider / moth. In fact one tip is make sure you're windows are closed before you pop your lights on in the evening ... otherwise just as you settle down to read you'll get a moth hurtling himself towards your nightlight. 

But all those things are part and parcel of getting back to nature, and like I said before, If you don't like camping, or don't like experiencing the great outdoors up close and personal then this may not be the holiday for you - personally I loved it. We all left feeling relaxed and rejuvenated ... Ralphy Included.

Surrounding areas

We had a mix of rain and shine during our week which was quite nice ... on the warm days we'd head off and explore the region, then return with some local produce and cook it on the fire pit. There are so many beautiful walks and places to explore nearby, and since it's located right on the Herefordshire / Wales border you are just a stones-throw from the Black Mountains, Ross-on-Wye and Brecon Beacons. Should you fancy a bit of retail therapy there are some lovely quaint towns and villages nearby too.

Yurt entertainment

On rainy days we still love to go walking (no such thing as bad weather, just poor choice of clothing!) and then it's such a pleasure to get back to the yurt, run a hot bath and curl up in front of the fire with a book or a game of scrabble. There are plenty of great books at the yurt, as well as some cards / games. We took our own scrabble as we're slightly obsessed with it at the moment. Though I'm ashamed to say that I didn't win one game of scrabble while away. Not one! In fact, there did come a point where I declared I would never play scrabble again. Ever. But I did ... and I didn't win :-(

Mimi's Tree Yurt is only open for business in the spring / summer / autumn months so if you're looking for a last minute escape into the wilderness head over to Mimi's page on The Cottage Company for more information and booking. 

Thanks so much for having us Tim & Bryony. 

JM x

This blog was in collaboration with The Cottage Company & The Goytree.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  1. How lovely, Jodie and right up your street.xx

  2. Thanks for sharing! Definitely one for the list for a break next summer. x