There’s just something alluring about a treehouse.
A throwback to your childhood, the idyllic feeling of being immersed within nature, a chance to escape the pattern of mundane routine.
If the treehouses of your youth were anything like mine then you’ll have memories of mouldering timber, rusting nails and a particularly irate neighbour who is missing a strip or two from his already decaying backyard fence.
Without trying to paint the picture of Dennis the Menace wreaking havoc within his community, it goes without saying that a treehouse – whatever the quality – symbolises a sense of freedom, independence, curiosity, a little bit of mischief and the overwhelming sense of achievement.
I, like so many of you reading an article hinged on the fantasy of seeking solace away from the constraints of modern society, harbour the animalistic urge to quit my job and move into the countryside to build my own home and live off the land.
The truth of the matter, however, is that my building skills are somewhat inadequate. I like the comforts of a power shower, a double bed and, in the case of The Woodman’s Treehouse, a hot tub, sauna, electric blanket, dramatically oversized bronze bath to fit two people and a pizza stove.
What can I say? I’m a modern man.
There’s a simplicity to living cut adrift from city life. During my short time living within the small but enchanting Dorset forest I found myself enjoying the most elementary but indispensable of tasks: lighting the log-burning fire, fetching wood and sweeping the leaves away from the outdoor shower.
A recent study conducted by the University of Derby and The Wildlife Trusts unearthed the benefits of spending time among nature: ‘Intuitively we knew that nature was good for us as humans, but the results were beyond brilliant,’ said Lucy McRobert, Nature Matters Campaigns Manager for The Wildlife Trusts.
‘Nature isn’t a miracle cure for diseases,’ McRobert added. ‘But by interacting with it, spending time in it, experiencing it and appreciating it we can reap the benefits of feeling happier and healthier as a result.’
So getting back to nature with a stay in a treehouse will do you no end of good. That said, you will be staying in the utmost luxury.
I mean, the treehouse has a bloody HOT TUB on the roof. It’s not exactly ‘back to basics’.
Although my time in Dorset was hit with some of the worst rainfall seen in over a decade (such is life), the feeling of relaxation mixed with the desire to wander around the leaf-covered fields in the drizzling rain was a refreshing one and offers some understanding of the potential health benefits of spending time around nature.
Upon arrival, you’ll be tasked with finding your own way around the ‘complex’, if that is even the correct use of the word.
Guy Mallinson has created a small community of ‘glamping’ pods, kitchen buildings and crafting workshops all interlinked by wooded walkways and the occasional rope bridge.
Strolling through the setting, following handmade signs in pursuit of our new home for the weekend, I celebrate the decision to ease guests in at their own pace.
The treehouse may feel like a five-star hotel once inside, but don’t expect to be chauffeured around. You’re in the woods now, you need to earn your keep.
The communal kitchen with accompanying honesty box will supply local pies, wine and pizza dough for your outdoor pizza oven but you’ll still need to bring along your own food.
There is, if you’re feeling brave enough, a quaint local pub called The Tytherleigh Arms which is about a 45 minute walk away if you can pull yourself away from the outdoor shower (I am aware that I keep mentioning the outdoor shower, but you won’t forget the feeling of liberation when you get yourself in there).
Guy Mallinson fulfilled his childhood dream at treetop-height with the help of his three sons and you can tell how immensely proud he is of this £120,000 project.
You might not have the funds, capabilities or health to do the same but you can, for a moment at least, share some of Mr Mallinson’s sanctuary and remind yourself that there is a natural beauty to simplicity.
How to book
A night in The Woodman’s Treehouse starts at £390 for two people. You can book here, or call 0117 204 7830.
How to get there
If driving, you’ll need to download the map from the official website, as your sat nav won’t work very reliably for the last mile or so.
If you’re travelling by train, then aim for Axminster station and book a taxi to take you the rest of the way.