Here at Bivouac we love all things luxurious and rustic, sustainable and thoughtful. Our site is located three miles from Masham in the sweeping landscape of the 20,000 acre Swinton Estate in the Yorkshire Dales. The local landmark of Druid’s Temple, an intriguing 18th Century folly, is located in the woodland adjacent to Bivouac. Our off grid accommodation consists of six original, hand crafted, round-wood timber frame Tree Lodges tucked away in our beautiful woodland, and eight canvas Yurts burrowed into the hillside, resting on individual wooden platforms. Above our reception area is the cosy bunk barn that can sleep up to 12 people.
Bursting with charm, our Tree Lodges (formerly called woodland shacks) have been inspired by the traditional timber framing revival happening across the country and designed using the round wood timber framing technique pioneered in Sussex. The term round wood is a reference to the wood used for the frames being left ‘in the round’, which not only cuts out the wasteful industrial process of squaring the timbers but also means our frames can come from coppiced wood (a coppiced tree continually regrows and coppicing is an important part of woodland management) rather than mature larger trees which would have to be replanted and take time to grow back.
On an aesthetic note we feel using round wood timber framing provides our guests with an antidote to the harsh angular structures we’re surrounded by in every day life and reminds us all, that just because its man made, it can still eloquently compliment its surroundings, as if it had come up from the ground it stands on. The frames for the Tree Lodges are Sweet Chestnut, while the rest of the wood used has been locally sourced from the Swinton Estate itself. The Tree Lodges are spread out around the edge of our woodland with sweeping views across the valley and moorland. Surrounded by trees, guests can enjoy these views from the privacy of their verandah.
Inside, our lockable Tree Lodges have a lovingly selected combination of handmade and up-cycled items furnishing them to provide a snug and intimate setting for your Yorkshire holiday – everything from the crockery to the wood fired stoves and antique rocking chairs – all come together to make it feel like your own little house in the woods. The Windy Smithy wood burners fitted in every Tree Lodge have a range attached, meaning that our guests can self cater and are perfect for popping a warming stew in before you set off on a relaxing excursion, to any one of the numerous activities accessible from Swinton Bivouac. In combination with the sheep’s wool insulation, the wood burners not only keep the Tree Lodges toasty but with the added back boiler provides warm water for our residents during their stay here.
Each Tree Lodge has its own discrete variations providing our guests with a unique Bivouac experience. They do, however all share a similar layout with a maximum capacity of 7 adults. Sleeping space comprises of:
An upper mezzanine with one double bed, this is accessed via a ladder and is definitely one for the more romantic, adventurous and limber! You can also gaze at the stars through the skylight set into each shack ceiling.
Three, 3 x 2ft.6in single beds are nestled in the middle mezzanine, it is about 1.5 metres (5ft) of the ground and feels like the cosiest of places to settle down for the night. Perfect for kids, or big kids alike.
Under the middle mezzanine is a secret hideaway containing a double bed. Don’t expect a full height ceiling under here, think of it like a luxury ‘bottom bunk’. A curtain can be drawn for a little extra privacy.
The rest of the Tree Lodge is taken up with an open plan kitchen area, containing the wood burner, sink and shelving for crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils. Adjacent is a comfortable and homely lounge area where guests can curl up and enjoy the warmth from the fire, or relax together over a delicious meal prepared in the range. A separate room houses the bathroom which comprises of a flushing toilet, shower and sink. Hot water is generated through your wood burning stove, however we cannot guarantee hot showers. Alternatively, if you are unable to get hot water in your accommodation you are welcome to use the shower facilities near the reception, which has underfloor heating and hot water created through our wood chip boiler.