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Longbows, Red Deer Stags, Woodland Yurts & a Cloudless Weekend!

That's me that is!


Well, I've been busy organising the Exmoor 6000 Trees project amongst a few other things! Above is me firing my new Longbow for the 1st time. Leo made it for me from an ash stave he bought from Chris Boyton. It's not quite finished yet & this weekend was about me having a go on it to see what adjustments need to be made.

I got a bulls eye!

Well, it fired beautifully! A longbow has to have arrows specific to it and I was using Leo's arrows so it was hard to tell what changes might have to be made. He's going to put a bend in the middle to make it more powerful and fit an arrow plate using some antler. After that it can be oiled & a handle fitted. Then I can ping ping away!!

Excitingly the antler he's using is probably from one of the stags in the video below. I found it a couple of yrs ago!

Yesterday morning I went tracking deer. It was freezing & misty but otherwise a cloudless, beautiful morning. I walked around the top of the woodland & saw nothing but tracks. Lots of them! Oh and a noisy Lesser spotted woodpecker! (NB: I could only see red on his head not his bum & he looked distinctively smaller than a Great Spotted Woodpecker).

Trying my best to stay quiet I rounded the edge of a clump of gorse and, even though I'd been looking for them, I shockingly came across the three awesome red deer stags above. They had spent the night in a cosy corner of the regeneration area at the top of the woodland. Initially I made them jump by being a rubbish tracker. I stood stock still & practiced some gentle breathing techniques to help my heart rate drop. I like to think it stopped them from bolting! You'll see in the film how they slowly mooch off, keeping an eye on me but without fear. One of them even stops to eat & have a scratch!

An incredibly powerful experience.

Another rather special thing happened at the weekend too... we picked up our Ger!!

Paul King & Zac of Woodland Yurts (I forced them to let me take a photie! Thanks guys!)

Paul & Zac of Woodland Yurts were enlisted about 4 months ago to build Leo and I a Ger. We've been finding it increasingly hard to work on the land while camping. Our backs can't take all the stooping and bending anymore so we needed something more comfortable. The times we go to the land to do the heavy, cold & exhausting work can continue without fear of ending up prematurely in the knackers yard! Yip yip!!

We put it up for the first time on Saturday, it's rare that you get to say this these days but we were astonished at the quality of the craftsmanship. When we couldn't get something to fit, instead of immediately blaming the maker, we knew it was something we were doing. That's just how much confidence we had in Paul and Zac's work! Everything fitted beautifully & with a precision that amazed us!

This is the roof of the Ger. The centre piece is the Tono and is made of English Oak, the poles are of English Ash. All hand made by Paul and Zac in their workshop just outside Bristol. I spent a long time lying underneath the Tono. To me, it looks like the Sun.

The Ger is 16 foot in diametre. We took our time putting it up as we were learning how to do it, took about 3 hours in all, it took us half the time to take it back down again!

The frame is just beautiful. The walls subtly curved for strength. Zac pointed out that each join in the walls was knotted by him & took him ages! Precision knotting! Well done matey!

We chose the green roof cover to help it blend in with the natural surroundings but felt it would be too dark to have the whole Ger green so the walls are white. Paul suggested we also have a roof light, so there is a plastic window over the Tono.

The picture above gives a good idea of just how light and warm it is in there. I fell asleep in the doorway soaking up the sunshine! The roof, because it is a dark material, soaks up the warmth of the sun and the ash roof poles felt warm to the touch too. Enhancing my fantasy of the roof representing the Sun!

Such a beautiful space, even without any furniture in it!

The little bender has a charm to it I love but the Ger has a warm energy to it, an openess that means it's now my favourite! Goodness knows how many hours Paul & Zac spent on making the Ger but I bet it was more than the 6 it took me to build the bender!!

Hope this post finds you all well!

Much love,



  1. How majestic the deer are! I love the way the one in middle kept looking over his shoulder at you, as if to say "are you still there, human?!"

    Your little on-the-land house looks beautiful! I really want to go and stay in a yurt in the countryside.

    Nice shooting with the bow! :)

  2. Thanks Molly! I reckon the stag in the middle is a fully grown 6 pointer. So it's probably his job to make sure everything's safe!

    It's a glorified tent really. Can't tell you how much easier our lives are going to be now we can go camping in that!


  3. Oh, Oh, Oh! Lookie there - it's a big deer thingy with spokes on his head. Blimey!

    How utterly beautiful. To live and share the experience of being so close to nature remarkable. I love the ger. Is there a hole in the roof for a stove pipe?

    Almost a shame to cover the ash frame. It's incredible against the blue sky - I'd have had to lie there for some time too!


  4. oh what magnificent deer and how wonderful too to see lesser spotted woodpeckers! I've had good views of roe deer and greater spotted woodpeckers recently...

  5. Hello Hen,
    I’m really going to have to stop following your blog; otherwise I might well stay this shade of green permanently, jealous moi? Not one, but three amazing red deer and that Ger? To die for, how wonderful it would be to so blessed. Another lovely post, think I’ll tag along for a mite longer….
    Best regards,

  6. Ooh, love the Ger..the rooflight of the Tono is fantastic.

    Stags...go Hen! Wonderful to be able to follow such majestic beasts and see them often!

    Longbow...Nice one! A bullseye..

    I love your blog, sweetHen, love it...always interesting and your enthusiasm and excitement for what you do really comes across.
    Hugs, Cxx

  7. nice project, I congratulate you on this project, I think that many people should do the exact thing, plant trees to restore forrests and ecosystem. Beautiful Ger!

  8. Just been listening to Radio 4 and heard all about your yurt so decided to look you up. Fabulous idea. Well done for having the courage to get 'back to nature'.


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