Hazel Hill Trust is embarking upon a major project of investment to improve the capacity and quality of our residential accomodation. Our aim is to create a new building that is more accessible and more appealing to a wider range of people so that we can diversify and enlarge the groups that we are bringing to the woods for our educational programmes.
Thirty years ago, Hazel Hill Wood had no buildings. In the decades that followed groups of volunteers came together to build structures support their educational work at the wood. The first building was a primitive round house, the next included bedrooms, hot showers and a kitchen. The Oak House brought many more bedrooms, a large indoor meeting space and an even bigger kitchen. The Forest Ark, set apart in its own corner of the wood, was designed to show us how the latest off-grid technology could be integrated into a comfortable woodland cabin.
For many years we have been able to run wonderful educational events in this beautiful collection of eclectic buildings, but we have also found their limitations. And so in 2018, Hazel Hill Trust resolved to invest in a new accommodation block that would provide 8 twin/single rooms and washrooms, including one wheelchair accessible room. The building would be hidden away in a corner of the wood, hence the name: the Hideaway.
We set up the Hideaway Project Appeal, which gave the opportunity to regulars at the wood to donate towards this project. A significant boost was given to the project when we received EU funding from the New Forest LEADER fund.
The Hideaway is set out upon a sweeping arc, looking out onto an area of mature ash and oak. Each of the south-facing rooms gives out on to the veranda and towards these magnificent trees. The building is a short walk away from the other accommodation buildings, which together will now allow us to accommodate groups of up to 32 people.
The new building is heated via a biomass boiler and powered with photovoltaic cells.
Work is due to start at the end of 2019 and due to be completed in 2020.