Bringing the Log Cabins to Life

Swinney Wood has been in the family for many years. It is a place of outstanding natural beauty where we felt totally immersed in nature. We often discussed what a dream it would be to wake up to birdsong at Swinney Wood, surrounded by wildlife and all that nature has to offer. With this in mind came the idea to build the log cabins, to enable us, and all that visit us the opportunity to experience our dream. Ten years on we can finally say we have brought Swinney Wood Log Cabins to life.

Given the location of the site within a protected woodland, surrounded by a vast array of wildlife and overlooking land with World Heritage status, obtaining planning permission for the development was somewhat of a challenge. So challenging in fact that it took nearly 3 years! We finally got the go ahead in April 2017, and then the real work began!

Due to the sloping nature of the site and to protect the surrounding tree roots, pile foundations were deemed most appropriate and the least intrusive. Each cabin sits on 12 pile foundations which were drilled to a depth of 4m into the bedrock and filled with concrete. As the cabins are located close to the trees, an important design feature with the pile foundations was that, if we came across any significant tree roots when installing the foundations, there was a tolerance of moving the pile 0.5m either side of its location.

Once all foundations were in place the steel frame was erected for the log cabins to sit on. This involved a crane, a telehandler and a lot of man power to install all 64 individual steel beams.

It was in March 2018 when the first 2 cabins arrived, SEREIN and PETRICHOR. These cabins had been hand scribed over the winter of 2017 at an airfield base in Wales, so the actual construction of the cabins on site was a swift process. They literally arrived as tree trunks on the back of a lorry.

In all it only took 4 days to erect both cabins on site, which involved using a crane to lift each log over the tree canopy and lower them into place. As they are scribed into each other there was no need to screw or bolt the cabins together. The sheer weight of the logs is more than sufficient! APRICITY and KOMOREBI followed soon after. By the end of August 2018 all 4 cabins were in place.

You might be wondering why it then took another 18 months before the site was ready. This was mainly due to one thing….shrinkage. As each log within the cabin structure is an individual tree and has obviously been living outside for many years, moisture still within the log has to escape. Each log shrinks between 10mm-12mm as the log dries out, equating to approximately 6 tonnes of water evaporating from each log cabin! Therefore, as the cabins are 8 logs high, we had to allow for a shrinkage depth of 96mm. This was particularly challenging as it meant nothing could be attached to the log walls. Windows, doors, stud walls, porches etc therefore required special installation, which meant jobs that normally take a few hours to install ended up taking a few days.

One of the reasons we love Swinney Wood is its natural beauty and vast array of wildlife. With this in mind we have planted over 700 native species of trees in the fields below Swinney Woodand over 1000 hedging plants. We have created a wildflower meadow adjacent to the log cabins to attract bees and butterflies. Bird boxes, feeders, bug houses and butterfly houses have been placed around Swinney Wood to encourage wildlife.

Bringing Swinney Wood Log Cabins to life has been a real labour of love with the outcome being well worth the wait. The log cabins are truly magnificent, reflecting perfectly on the natural surroundings they are nestled in. We can finally say we have achieved our dream and truly hope you love it here as much as we do!