England’s first Tree Tent is set to be hoisted at The Secret Campsite near Lewes.
Unlike other tree house structures which are bolted to the tree, or supported by poles planted in the earth, the ground-breaking Tree Tent is similar to a harvest mouse nest – suspended between several trees with which it can move in unison.
Available for overnight stays from the beginning of May, campers will enter it via a raised wooden walkway that leads up from the edge of the camping meadow to a secure platform.
They will unzip the door and step onto the sea grass covered wooden floor with two adult–sized, suspended single beds and windows with views across to The South Downs National Park and the species-rich camping meadow. There is also space for a small person to sleep on the floor.
The Tree Tent pitch has its own fire pit and a covered eating area. Guests have access to camp cooking equipment including a gas-fired hob, plates, pots, cutlery and mugs, and will find light refreshments awaiting them on arrival.
It’s not really giving the game away to reveal that The Secret Campsite is situated at Town Littleworth, Barcombe. Tucked away in wooded countryside, it opened in August last year.
Owner Tim Bullen said: “By the time campers leave they will have a secret to share. We hope they will have had the chance to experience something new and invigorating, be it a plant, an animal, or just somewhere surprising to spend the night.”
The creator of the Tree Tent, Jason Thawley of design studio Luminair, said: “It is akin to an airship, blending two very different engineering materials; aluminium and wood and using design cues from early Zeppelins and lightweight aircraft.
“They provide low impact integration into the woodland at any time of year for recreation, research, conservation or education.”
The site is managed to encourage wildlife into the camping areas with more than 1,000 trees having been planted in the last five years, partly funded by a grant from the Woodland Trust’s Jubilee Woods programme. Barn owls, stoats, deer, glowworms, grass snakes, kestrels and woodpeckers thrive and there is a huge range of farm and woodland birds, butterflies and other insects to enjoy.