Things to do

Den Building

Den building in the woodland – a guide for beginners

Our woodland campsites are the perfect places to let your kids (and imagination) run wild. We encourage exploration of our woodlands and allow den building, if it uses deadwood from the forest floor.

Den building was number four in the National Trust’s much-trumpeted 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 and 3/4 list a few years ago. Come camping at Beech Estate Campsite, near Battle, and you’re bound to agree that it is the perfect place to test your den-building skills. After all it’s within the trees of a 600-acre wood. Here are a few tips on how to get started…

Family camping in Sussex

Find the perfect spot

The ideal woodland den should be built on flat land and the best ones use a natural structure like a fallen tree or branch as the main support. There are plenty of spots like this in our camping sites. 

Build your walls

Gather fallen sticks and branches to lean against the main support to create walls for your den. 

den building

Make it warm and weatherproof

Depending on how ambitious you are feeling in your den building, you might like to try and close the gaps between the upright branches on your den by weaving vines or flexible, thinner branches horizontally. Alternatively, decide to get messy and layer the walls afterwards by filling the gaps with mud, moss, leaves and more branches. Remember don’t break branches off of living trees, stick to ones that have fallen naturally.

Add home comforts

You can layer the floor of your den to make it more comfortable. Or find stumps and logs for seating. Try adding decoration both inside and out. Use your imagination and enjoy your new hideaway!

Den building at the campsite

Photo credit: Mylinh Nguyen

Den-building is a popular activity with people who come camping at our campsites. It’s especially popular at Beech Estate Campsite near Battle and Wild Boar Wood Campsite, near Haywards Heath, as both are set within the trees making them the perfect spots for dens!

Check out our things to do page for more ideas

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