In partnership with the RSPB, we are thrilled to announce that Cameron’s Cottage is now open.  This residential retreat is a non-profit venture in memory of Cameron to make nature more accessible to young people. 

Cameron’s Cottage is nestled in the heart of RSPB Franchises Lodge nature reserve in the New Forest and sleeps 19. It has been renovated to create a sustainable place where groups of young people can experience and learn about the natural world. 

 

2 Minute Introduction to Cameron's Cottage:
solar powered and low-impact

 

Cameron’s Cottage offers an immersive outdoor experience for 15 – 25 year olds in a stunning woodland packed full of wildlife, including many rarities.

Whether it’s getting creative through outdoor cooking and wild art, tackling the grittier side of nature with survival skills and conducting research or learning conservation skills, those coming to stay at Cameron’s Cottage will have the experience of a lifetime.

Franchises Lodge is a haven for wildlife, from birds of prey to unusual fungi, orchids and loads more. In this idyllic setting, young people can come together to take part in activities ranging from shelter building to conservation skills, plus much, much more.

The newly refurhbished Cameron's Cottage will be a wonderful base fromm which to be immersed in nature

The fully-equipped kitchen

The living area where many stories will be shared

Bunk room with a view - nature is right on your doorsteps

Outdoor Classroom
Next to Cameron’s Cottage there is an open-sided wooden outdoor classroom which can be booked for day visits from schools.  These day trips will include nature activities provided and led by RSPB.  

The  outdoor classroom will bring the guests closer to nature

"Cameron’s Cottage is completely off-grid with heating and electricity provided by solar power, so it really is the ultimate nature experience"

Beth Markey, RSPB

Sustainability
We are proud of the fact that Cameron’s Cottage is off-grid, relies on solar power and is wildlife friendly. All the timber used to renovate the Cottage has come from the site.  The douglas fir trees needed to be thinned by a third to allow light to reach the ground and to increase biodiversity. Solar panels are located on the study centre and extension roof producing 10KW power per hour with battery storage.Groups can monitor their power use and adapt according to the amount being generated or stored. This is a fantastic learning resource for how we need to think carefully and consider the impacts of how we use resources. A firepit and equipment has been provided to encourage outdoor living.

 

The water is heated by solar heating in the warmer months but switches to solar power for the winter. Inside, all appliances have been planned to have a low energy use. There are wood burners inside the kitchen and study centre to provide additional heat but can also be used to cook indoors and has an additional hob. A heat source pump supports the low carbon heating arrangement by drawing heat from the outside air and transferring to the underfloor heating system to warm the building.

Outside, wildlife friendly features have been built into the design including swift bricks, house martin cups, greater horseshoe bat entrance and bat entrances included in the roof slates. There is an old well which supplies water to outside taps to wash boots, whilst inside the water does come from a mains supply. The property has its own sewage treatment plant to treat sewage safely and with no negative impact on the environment. This is fenced in the garden and will eventually be hidden by a native hedge that will provide a nectar source for butterflies, moths and bees to support the ecosystem.

To find out more about how sustainable and environmentally friendly this Cottage is, please have a listen to Joe Moorhouse, the Architect who worked on the whole renovation project. He explains the care and attention taken to make sure this off-grid Cottage is low-impact as well as being a home for lots of wildlife all around.

The video from Moorhouse Architecture shows the work that went into transforming the derelict cottage

Booking Cameron's Cottage

For more information about booking Cameron's Cottage please visit the the RSPB website.

Rates are £15 pppn with a minimum booking of 8 young people. The Cottage can accommodate up to 19 people, including leaders in 5 bedrooms. Additional discounts are available for groups who meet certain financial requirements.

Activities include:

  • nature: bioblitz, bat detecting moth trapping, wildlife walk
  • team building: slacklining, blind fold trail, team all maze, wild art
  • survival skills: outdoor cooking, kelly kettles, shelter building, pioneering, navigation

Outdoor Classroom

The outdoor classroom in use at the recent Wildlife Camp

Latest news:

 

Work continues into Spring

09 March 2021

The solar panels have been installed and the new staircase is in place. Ancient Anglo Saxon burial mounds have also been discovered in the Reserve. 

Click to enlarge
Approach to the cottage

Approach to the cottage

Approach to the cottage

Solar panels are in

Approach to the cottage

Lake on the reserve

Approach to the cottage

Cottage stairs

Approach to the cottage

Inside cottage March 2021

Approach to the cottage

Building continues into March

Approach to the cottage

Cottage March 2021

Approach to the cottage

Clearing the Anglo Saxon burial mounds on the reserve


Building work continues at speed

05 February 2021

Wow, what progress. I was blown away with how much work has been done and what a hive of activity was on site. In a time when so much can sadly not happen, it was so wonderful to see this incredible progress. The construction company AV Developments have done an awesome job inspite of everything.

The place has taken on a new dimension and you can get such a real sense of what it will be like when groups of young people come and stay. The RSPB have the most beautiful reserve in the New Forest and we are just thrilled to partner with them on this exciting project.

Click to enlarge
Front view of Cameron's Cottage

Front view of Cameron's Cottage

Front view of Cameron's Cottage

Solar panel supports

Front view of Cameron's Cottage

Cameron's Cottage with extension and Field Study Centre

Front view of Cameron's Cottage

Field study centre

Front view of Cameron's Cottage

Room with a view, from the field study centre

Front view of Cameron's Cottage

Interior of Cameron's Cottage

Front view of Cameron's Cottage

Interior of Cameron's Cottage


Steady Progress

01 December 2020

Construction work is progressing steadily. The foundations have now been laid for the extension as well as the new free-standing Field Study Centre.  

Click to enlarge
Construction work is progressing steadily

Construction work is progressing steadily

Construction work is progressing steadily

Foundations have been laid for extension and field study centre


 

Generous Support

Thank you to Garfield Weston and the National Lottery Heritage fund for their generous support.

Garfield Weston Foundation

   

Cameron's Cottage

Read all about how we came to be partnering with the RSPB to create this wonderful retreat and learning centre deep in the New Forest.

Read more »

Cameron's Cottage Video

Young Ambassador Amy Hall has produced a great video of Cameron’s Cottage before the work begins. Take a look at this magical place, immersed in nature and nestled in the woodlands of RSPB Franchises Lodge in the New Forest.    

View video »

Birds Eye View

Take an aerial tour around Cameron's Cottage and the surrounding forest: