We recently explained to my Husband’s parents that we were going to stay in a treehouse for the weekend and they were both quietly thoughtful. “What, all 4 of you?” was the response and we said well, yes! Unless you want to have the kids for the weekend “It’s going to be a bit cramped isn’t it?” was the reply (completely avoiding the request for babysitting services) and we then realised that they were envisaging us clambering up a tree to sleep amongst the birds in little more than a shed for the weekend.
Well, I can confirm that treehouses have certainly moved on from the days when your dad would hammer together a few old pallets to create a house amongst the trees. Last weekend we had the absolute pleasure of staying in The Den, a treehouse that sleeps 4 people at Pickwell Manor in North Devon.
We had previously stayed at Pickwell Manor in their Constance apartment which has a roof terrace, kitchen diner, 2 bedrooms and a large living area (see my blog post about the Constance here) but I was completely intrigued about the two treehouses that were nestled in the trees around the manor. They were building the 3rd treehouse, The Den, at the time which would provide their first family treehouse accommodation.
The owners of Pickwell wanted to make it possible for all their guests to feel connected to the woods and surrounded by nature, so they came up with the idea of creating bespoke, handmade treehouses in the woods designed for couples or the perfect family retreat. The Den was built by Round house designs of Bristol and fitted out by local craftsmen and the interior design really brings it to life. All the heat and light comes from Pickwell’s own solar panels and the water is supplied by their natural spring so it is also a fabulously eco-friendly place to stay.
The Den Treehouse
Arriving at Pickwell Manor, we parked up and took a short stroll through the woods until we reached the staircase leading up to the The Den. There are lights embedded in the staircase so you don’t lose your way in the dark and there is a huge wraparound balcony with amazing views over the woods and to the sea.
I would say we spent the majority of our time out on the balcony playing card games, reading and enjoying the view. There are binoculars provided and my Son thoroughly enjoyed using them, looking for birds and exploring the view out to sea.
Inspiring interior design
Being surrounded by the beauty of nature and views out to the sea, you would have thought that Pickwell wouldn’t have placed a huge importance on the décor inside the treehouse but once again they have excelled at the interior design. Walking inside through large patio doors, you are led into a huge room which houses a large and extremely comfortable double bed, two sofas nestled around a wood burner and an extremely ample kitchen area.
The dark blue panelled back wall dominates the room and envelopes you in cosiness. The wooden beams from the treehouse are left exposed in the ceiling helping you to feel more connected to the architecture of the building and the clustered sphere lighting really takes centre stage. There is also underfloor heating throughout and it was a real welcome in the morning when you got out of bed to use the bathroom to be met with warmth!
WC and Wet Room
There are three doors blended into the panelled wall and they lead to an exquisitely designed WC and shower room/wet room. The third door leads you into a large cupboard where you will find household appliances like an iron and hairdryer and space to hang up your clothes.
A very well supplied kitchen
The kitchen has an oven, electric hob, fridge freezer, toaster, kettle, coffee machine and all the tableware you will need for your stay. There is a large breakfast bar which overlooks the woods and where we sat to eat our evening meals.
Walking past the kitchen to the right, is a cosy and well laid out bunk room for the kids which they absolutely loved (and spent about an hour fighting over who was sleeping on the top). Each bed has a little window looking directly out into the woods, a bed side light and a genius idea of inserting drawers into the steps to put away clothes and kids’ toys.
Connecting nature with the inside
One of our favourite parts of the treehouse had to be how they incorporated inside and out seamlessly so it really felt like you were living in the trees. The windows along the breakfast bar are bifolding so you could completely open them out to give you the most fantastic views of the trees whilst eating your breakfast, with another breakfast bar on the other side so you could sit outside in the sunshine whilst enjoying your morning coffee.
Hot Tub Fine Machine
But, the piece de resistance of the treehouse for us had to be the hot tub! Once we had settled in and made ourselves at home, we headed straight to the hot tub which was off the balcony and down some stairs in its own little area. The hot tub is large, it could easily fit my family of four in it. It also has a private little seating area which is snuggled under the tree house and perfectly situated to keep you out of the wind and rain if the weather turns.
Night and Day
Clever use of lighting around the hot tub meant that we could use it during the day or night. Although, we found the best part of the day to jump in was first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee whilst the kids were still indoors slowly waking up!
There’s nothing like being in a hot tub when it’s cold outside and all you can see above you is trees. Truly magical.
The Grounds and activities
After using the hot tub, we had a little walk around the gardens. Pickwell Manor is set in 6 acres of grounds with views over the Devon countryside and coast. They have an Italian garden with mature shrubs, a tennis court, animal area and plenty of woodland walks. The kids loved the tire swings and exploring the woods and as the whole area is secluded and off the beaten track, we were quite happy for them to run off and explore it for themselves. There are also communal BBQ areas and a fantastically supplied games room but because the year is 2020, these were closed until further notice…
The Den really comes alive at night and after a busy day of hot tubbing and exploring, we were quite happy to have a quiet evening indoors, playing games and reading. We lit the wood burner and had hot chocolate before putting the kids to bed. After all the Devon fresh air, they fell to sleep pretty much straightaway! Which was the same for the adults! Zzzzzzzzz.
Things to do
There is plenty to do at Pickwell Manor, especially if you are staying in a Treehouse. We didn’t feel the need to stray too far from the grounds but on Sunday we visited Croyde Bay which is only a 10-minute drive from Pickwell and we had the most delicious Sunday lunch at the Rock Inn in nearby Georgeham. There is plenty to do and see in and around the area, including Woolacombe, Ilfracombe, Putsborough Sands and Watermouth Bay. You’d be hard pressed to find such an amazing choice of beaches in the UK in my opinion!
10/10 Would come again!
Once again, we had the most enchanting stay at Pickwell Manor and it is fast becoming one of our favourite places to stay and visit in the UK. The accommodation is comfortable, stylish and well thought out, the grounds make your stay peaceful, relaxing and help you to reconnect with nature and the location is stunning with so much to enjoy and see as a family of four. Thank you Pickwell!