For two winters the the Forest Tots families survived outside every single week without once seeking cover! However we did have some of the driest winters on record, and it wasn't too cold either most of the time. So when our hosts at the Dean Field Studies centre suggetsed to us that we might like to be involved in a joint project to build a roundhouse shelter in the Forest Garden we jumped at the chance!
Back in the early Summer of 2012 we wrote this....
The roundhouse we have planned will be 5m in diameter (on the inside) and will have one side open. It will be built predominantly from wood felled on site, combined with recycled materials from elsewhere in the Forest of Dean. It will have recycled wooden windows to allow more light to enter, and washing machine 'portholes' at toddler level to allow little children to peep out at the world. It will have a living roof, covered with the forest floor removed at the start of the build, so in spring time should be covered with wild garlic!
The building will provide all the families at Forest Tots a place of refuge and shelter. Whether that be a place to have a warming drink and snack on a bad weather day, or provide a place to change a child out of very wet clothes. The idea is that we stick to our ideals and remain an outdoor playgroup.....but with a place of relative shelter to use if needed.
The building is being built by a team of volunteers lead by Tony Wrench (http://thatroundhouse.info/courses.htm). Tony is running our build as a course - so participants can pay to come and learn how to build a wooden henge framed roundhouse, and at the end of the course Forest Tots gets a dry place to shelter!
Role on to Easter 2013......
And the roundhouse is completed! It is a thing of beauty, it seems to grow out of the Forest floor. We love it!