The aim of this project is to construct a 9.5m x 4.3m tree house perched 8 ft off the ground between two oak trees as our new off-grid HQ. The tree house itself will be split into two working areas, effectively doubling the workspace we have at the moment, whilst retaining the same footprint in the woods. Upstairs will be primarily used as a dining area with our big oak table for hosting banquets as well as house a wild cocktail bar and be somewhere to accommodate our lovely course attendees on HGC overnighters. We want our guests to be able look out through the leaves and across the forest floor, whilst supping on an Elderflower martini and tucking into a variety of foraged canapés that they have been working on throughout the day.
Downstairs will be a hive of culinary activity, before its hoisted upstairs for feasting! We are also building a fully functioning off-grid, wood fired kitchen which will have virtually every wood fired kitchen appliance you can think of, from open fire pits, underground ovens, clay ovens and hot & cold smokers, all of which have been central to our outdoor cookery over the years. Downstairs will also allow us to carry out our butchery courses under cover, from hanging deer from the rafters to jointing rabbits on our prep tables next to the kitchen unit.
There will be a huge amount of natural materials included in the build: oak & hazel banisters and railings, large chestnut support posts, even our tables will be hewn out of Oak from the wood. The aim is to try to make the tree house blend into its surrounding environment and become part of the wood itself using as many sustainable materials as possible.
When we say tree house, it won’t be in the traditional sense- there won’t be any walls, but we will be having a custom hunter green, pvc coated polyester canopy made especially for the tree house which will also have large clear panels to let in more light and look up at the trees housing our new HQ.
Hunter Gather Cook was established in March 2011 with the construction of the original HQ. Nick’s vision was to create a ‘Hunter-Gatherer’ school that blended a mixture of foraging, animal butchery, outdoor cookery techniques and elements of bushcraft with an emphasis in living comfortably in the great outdoors and creating high-end dishes using wild produce. Hunter Gather Cook runs a huge range of seasonal and specialist courses from deer in day and mushroom hunting to home brewing and wild cocktails- they received glowing reviews for their workshops at Wilderness Festival in 2013. Private courses, overnighters, stag & hen do’s and wild banquets are also a regular feature on the menu at Hunter Gather Cook, with the main aim of delivering truly unique adventures in Wild food. Nick and Hunter Gather Cook also work with Element, the biggest skatebrand in the world, and are actively involved with their advocate program teaching wilderness skills on skatecamps across Europe and consulting on all things wild.
Below is a short film showing a little bit about the ethos of Hunter Gather Cook, a few subtle notes on sustainable mushroom picking and the joys of food for free. Ladies & Gentlemen...this is what we do!
Nick began his outdoor education early, growing up as a somewhat feral child on Ashdown Forest in Sussex, with a background in Archaeology, cheffing, set design and bushcraft. In 2009, he decided to quit London after 5 years and build a tree house from recycled and natural materials deep in the Sussex countryside. The aim was to simplify his life and live off the land as a 21st Century hunter-gatherer. The book about his experience ‘The Tree house Diaries: How to live wild in the woods” was published in 2010 and his experience formed the foundation of what was to become Hunter Gather Cook, the finest foraging and cookery school in the UK.
We chose to use Kickstarter because we wanted real people to be directly involved in getting our Tree house HQ off the ground (!) and be part of the journey. For us, tree houses are a symbol of inspiration and adventure; they have the ability to transport us back to the days of our youth where anything seemed possible. Whether you had a hideaway in amongst the leaves as a child or not, we want to share this experience with you so you can see firsthand the tangible results of your support and passion to create a place to educate, inspire and celebrate our wonderful wild ingredients and the landscape that created them.
What will the money be used for?
Tier 1: £5000
Bespoke metal J-brackets constructed at our local forge- these will be the main attachments of the tree house to the oak trees. They are designed to be as low impact as possible causing minimal stress to the host trees. The main beams then slot into the j-brackets and because the structure is perched between the two oaks, the brackets will allow the trees to move and flex freely, again limiting the stress on the host trees.
Tree house frame, decking, railings and stairs:
Brand new timber will form the frame and decking as well as the stairs and railings. Natural materials including birch, hazel and oak will form the handrails and banisters that surround the upstairs of the tree house.
Chestnut support posts:
We will be outsourcing 14x15ft chestnut support posts which will stripped and raised to support the tree house frame the whole way around, they will also form the uprights of the railings. A nice, natural touch!
Tree house canopy:
The ‘roof’ of the tree house made from pvc coated polyester fabric, with 4 large clear ‘windows’ allowing for more light upstairs and a nice view of the host trees above. The fabric we have chosen is in hunter green to blend in better to the surrounding woodland and is much more durable than canvas. The canopy will be sheltering 1000’s of future Hunter-Gatherer’s for the next decade!
Having all the wood is one thing, we just need all the fixings to bolt, screw and secure everything together!
The L-shaped kitchen unit will be constructed using natural materials from the wood. Our previous kitchen unit was made using a base of Sussex sandstone which we dug out from a nearby quarry, all of it will be constructed using the same materials and techniques, the hardware will consist of an Argentinian style adjustable grill for the fire pit and a custom built smoker to sit beside the new clay oven made from a 55 gallon steel drum.
Tier 2: IN EXCESS OF £5000
More than £5000? We'll be splitting extra funding between pimping the Hunter Gather Cook Tree house and developing a project we're working on called ROOST, which is aiming to unite the treehouses of the world.
- A zipline.
- Small crane/hoist for winching up goods into the trees.
- Drop down canvas sides that fix to the canopy to enclose upstairs.
- solar powered festoon lighting.
Wouldn't it be great if we could bring together the world's treehouses? From father and son end-of-the-garden hideaways to epic five star canopy retreats to indigenous tribal communities and artistic architects tree-top wonders.
This is Roost's mission: To get more people into trees
How? 1. By mapping, sharing and profiling the world's treehouses. 250+ roosts mapped.
2. By curating education and tourism experiences and events in trees around the world
Why? To indulge our imaginations. To inspire more off-the-ground arboreal architects. To re-connect children and big children with nature.
Roost? To rest or sleep on or as if on a perch.
Risks and challenges
Although we plan to have the tree house completed and the kitchen fired up by the time 1st May, ready for our first courses, the main challenge is going to be the construction. Weather will play a key factor in when we can get into the woods and build, wet weather is not conducive to safe building up in the trees!
Workforce is also going to prove a challenge; the entire build is going to be by hand with the exception of power drills. A large part of this project will be in getting the aesthetics just right in order to blend into the surrounding woodland- that means sourcing the correct natural wood for certain features, shaving off bark and whittling wood to size- all the things that make working with natural materials so rewarding.
THANKS for visiting our Kickstarter page, please support our Tree house project and help us get it off the ground!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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