Friday, 1 July 2016


Location: the foot of Moel Famau and the Clwydian Range
Terrain: Spruce Woodland
Instructor: Richard Prideaux, Original Outdoors
Date: 28/06-30/06/16
Purpose: to explore outdoor-living possibilities
Skills: Shelter-building, Fire-making, Cordage ( readymade and processing)

(to sleep 2)

Materials - fallen spruce branches - assorted sizes; spruce roots (for tying); leafed branches for covering, leaf mulch (for waterproofing)
Time - 3-4 hours
Nights slept - 1

  1. to begin, make a 'tripod', using spruce roots to secure the upper join
  2. fill each side with assorted length branches from tall (at the opening/head end) to small (at the foot end)
  3. fill in the roof with assorted branches.
  4. cover the entire structure with leafed branches
  5. cover the entire structure with leaf mulch from the forest floor.

- The roots of spruce trees, when stripped, make a perfect natural cordage - when used as a tie for the initial tripod, the fibres of the roots 'grab' to the bark of the tree branches, and when knotted and tied form a perfect weather-resistant fixing.

- At the early stage of construction, make sure the 'tripod' branches are tall enough and long enough to provide enough space for intended occupants.

- For effective waterproofing, make sure when covering the structure that there are no areas left uncovered. If you can see light coming in to the structure, it means there's a gap for rain to find its way in.

- The leaf mulch on the forest floor makes for perfect waterproofing material. If you dig down only a couple of centimetres, it is likely you will find the undergrowth quite dry - the moisture in a (this) forest is maintained in the upper layer of leaf mulch. Using this material for waterproofing your structure, effectively mimics nature. We covered our structure to a depth of 3 cms, though it is advisable to double or treble this volume if planning to use your shelter for any length of time.

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