The Hudnalls Hideout – how it all began…
It’s been quite a journey to create our treehouse dream…
Back in 2004, Ade and I went travelling around the world for 6 months – a once in a lifetime trip, leaving our jobs and friends behind – a trip that sparked a complete change of direction for our future some 15 years down the line. We didn’t know it at the time but the trip made us realise that perhaps we weren’t as happy as we thought in our ‘safe’ Corporate jobs.
During our round the world adventure we travelled to Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, the USA and Canada. We were lucky to stay in some amazing and quirky backpacking spaces that fuelled what later became our love of glamping. Although we didn’t realise it at the time that was what it was called!
We returned to the UK in the summer of 2004 with somewhat itchy feet – we considered emigrating to New Zealand to set-up a backpackers (but soon realised we would see very little of the people we loved back home). So over the next 10 years, we searched for a place in the UK to move to, to start building our glamping dream – a luxury treehouse.
We stumbled on the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean in the autumn of 2014 with a holiday here, and after several more holidays here, we decided to make the move. So the house search started in earnest – a 2.5 year quest ensued with 10 trips and 3,000 miles, 23 house viewings and a couple of speeding tickets! 🙂 We were struggling to find a house and plot of land that fitted the bill.
In August 2016, after some encouragement from a friend (you know who you are!), I applied to the BBC’s Escape to the Country show and to my surprise (and Ade’s when I told him!) we were accepted. So with a little help from Jonnie and crew, we found house number 3 – our spot on the top of a hill in St Briavels Common, looking down the Wye Valley towards Monmouth. The jaw-dropping views to die for sealed the deal.
Perhaps the blackboard sign in the pub we stayed in during the TV filming was our sign to take a step in the right direction. Kismet.
We moved here in late April 2017.
Then we embarked on the design and planning of our north american ‘cabin in the woods’ inspired treehouse. Sitting down sketching ideas with glamping expert Kate Morel and Leigh Smallwood from specialist treehouse builders, Smallwood Treehouses, sparked our vision for the Hideout.
We already knew the exact spot that we felt was perfect in the woods.
Long story short….a lot of planning and grant paperwork later, we started to build our dream glamping space in late May 2019.
The build took just over 7 months through the wettest autumn and winter most people locally can recall and our build team at Smallwood Treehouses certainly deserved a medal for perseverance and true grit in taking over 100 tonnes of materials (mainly manually and knee deep in mud) down to the treehouse location.
We think the end result was worth all the effort and we hope you do to. We can’t wait to welcome you to the Hideout. Hope to see you soon.
Sarah & Ade x