New generation of sustainable holiday homes launched in Sherwood Forest

16 Mar 2012

The latest development of a new generation of holiday cabins designed by Holder Mathias has been launched in the Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire.

Set in 3,300 acres of Sherwood Pines Forest Park, the 65 cabins form part of a £60 million UK-wide investment programme that will see the creation of 786 units in total. The Sherwood site is the fourth set of timber cabins Holder Mathias has designed for Forest Holidays since 2007 following the opening of units in the Forest of Dean, Argyll, Scotland and Cropton, North York Moors.

The cabins, which provide one, two, three and four bedroom accommodation, offer guests an inspiring woodland experience, allowing them to get close to nature without forgoing their home comforts. To minimise their impact, the cabins have been built on stilts over the woodland floor to reduce disruption to local flora and fauna, while low impact piling has been used to reduce the effect on tree roots.

In addition to the cabins, a new central building has been constructed to greet guests, which includes a shop selling local produce, bike hire, children’s play area, a coffee shop and an external seating area with views of the surrounding forest.

Forest Holidays is a joint venture between the Forestry Commission and The Camping and Caravanning Club, providing environmentally-friendly cabin breaks at forest-based locations across the UK.

Sustainability and minimal environmental impact has informed the design approach, construction methods and material choices at Sherwood Forest which includes the use of FSC-sourced timber, prefabricated construction methods to limit waste and disruption of the wood land, safe water-based timber stains and preservatives, insulation levels that surpass the current building regulations, low embodied energy clay roof tiles and thermostatically controlled under-floor heating to ensure energy efficiency. The cabins are designed to achieve Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 when used with biomass district heating.

Holder Mathias was commissioned by Forest Holidays to develop a new generation of holiday cabins to be rolled out across the UK by 2017. The practice is also engaged in supporting Forest Holidays in its masterplanning on other sites within the Forestry Commission estate.

Gary Fletcher, chief executive of Forest Holidays, says: “We have worked with Holder Mathias across a number of our development projects now and their input and accumulated experience continues to be invaluable.

“New, sustainable designs are important to us, but, in addition, Holder Mathias plans our sites so they are flexible enough to work for the next ten years and beyond. Holder Mathias is the perfect partner for us and their pedigree shines through in the work produced for us.”

Peter Gamble, managing director of Holder Mathias, says: “Having had total control over the design process, each cabin is sensitively placed within the woodland, lightly touching the forest floor and inviting you to claim your own piece of nature for a few days.

“The cabin’s open, soaring spaces and full height glazing embrace the forest creating a real woodland experience which is comfortable and warm through thoughtful, sustainable design. The design approach is all about creating a memorable guest experience in harmony with a unique woodland environment.”

Holder Mathias has carved out a niche in leisure and sports design. Other notable projects include designing the two central buildings at the heart of the new £250 million Center Parcs in Bedfordshire; the £18 million Bletchley Leisure Centre, awarded Best BREEAM Bespoke Building 2010 and the critically-acclaimed luxury spa at Lucknam Park Hotel in Wiltshire.

All Forest Holiday cabin sites are located entirely within Forestry Commission estates with sites based in Cornwall near the Cornish Riviera, the Forest of Dean, as well as two sites in North Yorkshire and two more in Scotland with cabins in Dunbartonshire and Perthshire.

Prices for a three-night weekend break in a two-bedroom Copper Beech Cabin start from £208, while a three-bedroom Golden Oak cabin costs from £490 for a week long stay.