Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Wood bog – all dressed up and no one to go

Nearly complete and as yet unused - Woodbog1 (sorry - poor picture)

Nearly complete and as yet unused – Woodbog1 (sorry – poor picture)

In the usual run of things, I wouldn’t usually have much to say on the subject of  ‘the toilet’. Poor hygiene or a complete absence can of course be irksome, but that’s about as far as I would usually go. However, for some months I’ve been searching the net for bog blogs and tales of alfresco pooing. Suddenly I’m fired up about sylvan sewage disposal. Bears don’t shit in our woods as far as we’re aware, but we hope to soon.

We plan to increase the number of people visiting the farm, to take part in training, educational visits and just to enjoy its beauty. As  a trial, and with the help of Martin Hazell (undoubtedly Gravenhurst’s most celebrated duff player), we have built Wassledine Bog1. Not hugely more than a hole hidden amongst hazel coppice, it’s now screened and sheltered with woven willow and camo pattern tarpaulin. I’ve put in place, what in a previous era would have been called a commode, from where the action happens…

..or would have if the weekend’s weather forecast hadn’t been so awful. Under deep cover of having a group of friends to stay in the wood; nobody suspected my motives. Far from inviting everyone simply to enjoy a lovely evening of food, beer, music and relaxation, followed, cunningly by a generous breakfast, I wanted them to be test dummies and provide feedback on the experience.

Unfortunately rain all week and through the weekend led to our house being crammed with lovely friends and the tree bog being left, lonely and unused. We had a  great time but I’m already thinking of a more overt bog launch party. It has to happen soon. I shall report progress here.

We have another area of the farm to which we are planning visits and will where we will need a similar facility, so if this one turns out to be a success, Bog2 (something that is already fermenting in my mind) can’t be too far away.

Note – we wanted to combine a compost toilet‘s hole with the proximity of tree roots found in a tree bog. Not currently foreseeing this facility being used frequently or heavily, we didn’t want to build the full monty 1m high platform as seen in the true treebog. We hit ground water at about 60cm depth and dug a little more to make the hole only around 75cm – rather shallower than I had originally hoped. We have had a huge amount of rain since then but even so, the water level has dropped. We propose to place wheat straw in the bottom to lift the contents above water level on the basis that water would create anaerobic conditions and an unappealing smell. We shall see…

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