Meet Mark – our treehouse host in Wales

There’s nothing like a bit of nature to cure those lockdown blues. As restrictions are starting to lift across the UK, we’ve been chatting to Mark, who owns and runs a truly breath-taking collection of treehouses, nestled into the forests of the Welsh Countryside. He’s told us all about what he’s been getting up to during lockdown, and what things are like now we’re all starting to step outside again.

So Mark, tell us a little bit about yourself

I live in a remote village in mid-Wales with my partner Camilla our son Oskar. I’m from England but have lived here for 20 years – and Camilla is from Sweden. We run a few small businesses including the Living-room treehouses and have been involved in eco-tourism for a long time! My business partner Peter, and I, design and build the treehouses ourselves, with the help of local craftspeople!


What brought you to rural Wales, then?

I grew up in Northamptonshire, and after university went travelling for 9 years. I’ve always been drawn to remote areas, and after living on one of the Orkney Islands eventually settled in the Dyfi Valley in mid-Wales. This area is home to the Centre for Alternative technology, which has helped create quite an alternative feel to the valley – it is a wonderful place, with a vibrant community;  this, along with the gorgeous landscapes, allows is really special outdoorsy and vibrant way of life.

The Dyfi Valley is nestled at the Southern edge of the Snowdonia National Park – and stretches from the mountains to the sea. It is a perfect area for walking, climbing and a range of outdoor sports (the valley is a mecca for mountain biking). The living-room site is 280 acres, much of which is pristine oak, larch and scot’s pine woodland – with streams, waterfalls and wonderful wildlife – there are even Ospreys nesting in the valley. Most guests don’t leave the treehouses for their entire stay – the walks are lovely!

“Stairway to Heaven” was written by Led Zeppelin just a couple of miles away. Machynlleth was the Capital of Wales at one time (only 2000 people live here). There are lots of legends surrounding King Arthur in this part of Wales. Cadair Idris mountain – Wales’ most magical mountain – is a few miles from the treehouses. There is so much to do in mid-Wales yet it’s one of the UK’s least visited areas.

treehouse among the trees

What makes your treehouses so special?

I spent a long time working in the “experience” market – and realised that over-night stays were never really presented as experiences … so we set out to create spaces which were experiences in their own right … starting with Tipis 18 years ago! I really enjoy the opportunities for creativity in the alternative travel industry – and the happiness and memories you can help create.

I really enjoy the reaction we get when guests see the treehouses for the first time. They are spectacular, and we have been overwhelmed with the affect they have on people. We have a lot of repeat customers, and many have become friends that we look forward to seeing every year. Living-room is like no other holiday – guests are immersed in nature, high in the canopy of the trees – and in a beautiful and luxurious off-grid structure.

man in hammock looking up at tree tops

What have you been up to during lockdown?

We are planning a new creation – the Cloudhouse … which should be ready to start building in a couple of months. It is an underground hotel, located about 2 miles from the treehouses. However, I don’t think people should worry about not being too productive during the lockdown. We have a word at the treehouses – “Crisa-tunity” … turning a crisis in to an opportunity! So, although the pandemic has been terrible for so many, it also provides an opportunity for a change of pace and time to rest, explore what makes you happy, and to reconnect with family.

Still, I’m missing the community of Machynlleth, the lovely pubs and restaurants in the Dyfi Valley – and the beaches at Aberdyfi and Ynyslas. We’re also missing the lovely treehouse guests … it’s always peaceful here – but perhaps too peaceful at the moment!

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