In Northamptonshire is 95 acres of WW2 US airfield, slowly returning to its natural state through a process of rewilding.
Findlay Broadbent and his wife, Joanna, jumped at the chance to buy the site in 2017. They were inspired by a passionate desire to preserve its diverse ecology and wildlife as the airfield holds a very special place in Findlay’s heart. His parents’ home is actually located on the site so he spent his childhood playing in the woods and meadows within it. Findlay and his young family live just a mile down the road and run a local fruit farm.
The Wilding Airfield is abundant with different habitats; wildflowers; butterflies; woodland and grassy open spaces. When they bought the site, the Broadbents knew that in order to preserve it as a haven for wildlife, they needed to fund its ongoing management. After a lot of careful consideration, they decided to construct two holiday lets on the airfield – a luxury glamping treehouse and a large holiday let cabin.
Cabin Design Brief
Fin wanted premium cabins that had a minimal impact on the natural environment. He says: “We were certain that we wanted the opposite of churned out, generic glamping pods. The holiday lets had to be low density and exceptional quality. Preservation and appreciation of the airfield was key”
The income from the holiday would fund the maintenance of the site but the couple also wanted to promote an appreciation of rewilding initiatives, British Wildlife and outdoor living. Guests will be wholeheartedly welcomed to the airfield, informed about the project and encouraged to roam freely and explore the site. Sharing the beauty of the space is part of the ethos of The Wilding Airfield and one of the reasons the couple only wanted a small number of cabins.
Why Life Space Cabins?
We first met Fin and Joanna at The Farm Business Innovation Show. They were searching for ideas and inspiration and felt an immediate connection when they met our founder, Jamie Wilson.
They loved his passion for playful small spaces and his innate understanding of their ethos and what they wanted to achieve.
The Broadbents loved our designs, our flexible, creative attitude and likeminded approach to sustainable building practices.
An exciting partnership was quickly established.
After initially getting planning permission approved for three cabins, Fin and Joanna eventually decided to focus on quality and go for two beautiful, high-spec holiday lets.
They were open minded about design, wanting something low-impact that would feel like part of the landscape and celebrate the natural environment. Above all, they wanted something one-of-a-kind for such a special place.
We brainstormed a lot of ideas together and settled on two very different cabin types, so that guests could choose between two unique and memorable experiences. Both would be exceptionally well-designed small spaces, offering an outdoor experience but with the capacity for year-round use thanks to high levels of insulation. The different seasons are magical to witness at the airfield, offering changing colours, variations in wildlife and amazing views.
A Luxury Glamping Treehouse
The first holiday let that we designed became known as “Two Pines” – a spectacular black-clad, luxury treehouse, nestled in the canopy amongst pine and mature hawthorn trees. Double height, with huge glass windows, it has far-reaching views over a beautiful wildflower meadow and beyond.
Designed as a romantic getaway for couples, the sleeping area is on the upper level of the treehouse and the floor to roof windows make the sky feel like part of the space – stargazing at night-time is magical.
Outside is a luxury copper bath on a wooden deck, and a firepit for outdoor cooking. Guests might hear nightingales and turtle doves singing as they roast your marshmallows.
Inside is a log burner, cosy seating area, internal bathroom with shower and full kitchen facilities. It may be a glamping treehouse but it’s a high-end guest experience with top spec fixtures and fittings.
A bespoke design we built Two Pines in our Devon workshop and delivered it to The Wilding Airfield in two pieces which were bolted together on site and installed on the steel framework among the trees.
A large holiday let cabin
The second cabin is “Birch View” – our classic A-frame Tamar design, providing a completely different experience for guests. With a larger, more sociable vibe, this spacious cabin with a vaulted roof can accommodate up to four people- suiting a group of four or a family.
Clad in larch timber that will naturally silver, Birch View is located in an open, grassy area overlooking birch trees, with a luxurious hot tub outside. It has a vaulted ceiling and corrugated roof.
There is a sleeping area on the mezzanine level and a second sectioned off sleeping area underneath,
as well as a sofa bed. It has an internal bathroom with shower and full kitchen facilities.
We delivered Birch View in one piece and quickly installed it on The Wilding Airfield with our enthusiastic Cabin Creator team. We used ground screws for the foundations for minimal disruption to the earth on the site.
“We want to provide timeless experiences that let people relax in nature and escape from the day to day humdrum.”Fin and Joanna Broadbent
Stay at The Wilding Airfield
“Two Pines” treehouse and “Birch View” cabin are 150m apart from each other, not overlooked and feel totally private.
During your stay, you’ll find plenty to discover in the rolling hills of East Northamptonshire. The area is a charming hidden gem, easily accessible from London and Birmingham. In easy reach of The Wilding Airfield are beautiful ancient market towns; country walks; paddle boarding on the River Nene; National Trust properties; Saturday morning markets and Burghley House stately home.
The Wilding Airfield cabins are currently running at 98% occupancy during the first two seasons.
Photos by @beasquire