We had a truly inspiring afternoon in the woods on Corsewall Estate during half term when countryside ranger, Elizabeth Tindal, spent a few hours with the families staying in the cottages creating an elaborate den for bugs and dens for children too!

We kicked off activities with the mini beast hotel – we piled up layers of pallets, stuffing each level with different things we had gathered from around about the woods.  On the ground floor we created a cosy little bedroom for a hedgehog using hay – wouldn’t it be lovely if this little person who I saw earlier last month booked in!

Holiday cottages with wildlife

Potential Customer for our Mini Beast Hotel

We used tons of stuff from grass cuttings and hay to shells, brick and bamboo, which was growing nearby to pack the bug hotel and create an inviting environment for the mini beasts to come and live.

Collecting bamboo

Collecting bamboo for the Mini Beast Hotel

Cutting the Bamboo Down to Size

Cutting the Bamboo Down to Size

Filling up the Bug Hotel

Filling up the Bug Hotel

We’ve left room for future holiday house guests to come and visit our mini beast hotel and help to fill up some of the upper layers with more sticks, shells and leaves.  That could be a fun afternoon’s expedition down to the beach with buckets to collect the shells and come and post them into the pallets.  We also plan to provide some ‘I spy’ lists in the cottages so guests can tick off the inhabitants of the hotel as they spot them.

After our first mission was completed, we stopped for a cuppa and some shortbread mid-afternoon before getting back to the task of den building.  Elizabeth showed the children how to look for a good spot to build their den.  She suggested using a tree trunk to lean branches against.  She also showed us what sort of sticks would be most useful and the best way to arrange them.


The Stables Cottage team chose to arrange theirs in a circular fashion around a thick tree trunk.

The High Clachan Team Start Work on their Den

The High Clachan Team Start Work on their Den

The High Clachan girls chose an over-hanging branch to provide the main structure for their den and then carefully arranged bushy branches on top to form the roof.

Taking Shape

The Stables Cottage Den Taking Shape

The Girls' Den Takes Shape

The Girls’ Den Takes Shape

The Finished Product!

The Finished Product!

The Garden Cottage Team Taking a Break

The Garden Cottage Team Taking a  Well Earned Break

Garden Cottage's Den

Garden Cottage’s Den

The Garden Cottage team found a thick tree trunk to use as the main structure for their den.  Their den was semi-circular with lots of bushy branches piled round one side of the trunk.

Despite incredibly windy conditions of late, I’m pleased to report that all three dens are still standing!  We are planning more fun outdoor activities with countryside ranger, Elizabeth Tindal, during the February half term – so watch this space!