We follow a rigorous procedure that ensures we develop sustainably and that our proposals work for the forest, our neighbours and guests. We carry out environmental, ecological and habitat studies, work with local councils and consult with local people. This process can take several years before we submit a planning application.
Our aspiration is to bring the Forest Holidays experience to more areas of the UK and in recent months we have secured planning approval at Beddgelert Snowdonia, to build 16 cabins whilst continuing to offer 85 existing camping pitches. Work is due to begin soon with our first Welsh location opening to guests in Summer 2018.
This inward investment into Snowdonia National Park will create jobs and contribute to the economy of North Wales. Our focus is to support surrounding businesses and attractions by encouraging our guests to explore the local area.
We have an experienced in-house team supported by local and national external experts, who plan, design and build cabin locations with minimal impact on the forest. The design of each location is dictated by the sensitivities and balance of the forest ecosystem and the cabins are built to the highest environmental standards. The aim is to gently blend the cabins and infrastructure into the forest, retaining and enhancing the woodland, its wildlife and their habitats.
We have a light touch approach to building our cabin locations
- Considerations that govern our decisions include woodland management, access, habitat, flora and fauna, topography, visual impact, hydrology and archaeological and heritage assets.
- Cabins arrive on location as architecturally designed and expertly engineered modular timber units and are carefully assembled between the trees.
- They are not built on traditional and invasive concrete bases or strip foundations; they are raised on steel piles placed vertically into the ground. This protects the forest floor, ensures that nearby trees are protected and minimises soil movement. It also means that rainwater drains into the forest floor naturally. (YouTube: Holder Mathias architects discuss cabin design).
- We continually monitor the work on-site, throughout the build process, to guide and assist our build team. We employ national and local contractors as part of our team.
Our cabins are designed to be eco-friendly
- All new Forest Holidays cabins have strong green credentials and the business is committed to a process of continuous improvement in this area.
- Our cabins use wood that comes from renewable sources. They meet Forest Stewardship Council or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.
- We use green heating systems which are either wood pellet boilers or air source heat pumps with associated internal under floor heating. This is supported by insulation and double glazing to specifications in excess of standard building regulations.
- We install low energy appliances, low energy lighting and passive infra-red sensors in cabins. Externally, we have almost no night time lighting at our locations. The few lights we have are low intensity down-lighters, in order to keep light pollution to a minimum (YouTube: Dark skies at Forest Holidays).
- The cabins are designed with large overhanging eaves which allow rainwater to fall to the forest floor maintaining the forest’s hydrology balance.
We blend into our forest setting
- Forest Holidays has developed a bespoke cabin concept which keeps our impact low. It is designed exclusively, and from the outset, for the Public Forest Estate by London and Cardiff based architects Holder Mathias.
- The tracks and paths between the cabins are carefully designed using local aggregate, they are not metalled or curbed and they drain naturally.
- Aesthetically, our cabin locations are part of the forest, situated to blend in with the trees. Landscaping, designed by Forestry Commission landscape architects, is light touch and subtle.
- All cabins have an outdoor decking area and many have a hot tub. These are positioned so as to give guests privacy and to be as unobtrusive as possible in the forest. They are rarely obvious to passers-by.
- Environmentally, locations are built and managed with minimal disturbance to trees, wildlife and habitats.
Related website links
The wildlife benefits of ride management (Forestry Commission, YouTube )