living off the grid
Hi, my name is Andy,
welcome to Redwood Retreat where luxury and camping combine.
If you come to visit us it will probably be me who meets and greets you but the retreat was created by me and my wife of some 35 years; Katherine. I’ve been variously known as “off the grid Andy”, the fool on the hill, the oracle and surely many unkinder things as well. We conceived the idea for the retreat after I had to semi retire from our other business due to health and memory loss problems.
The retreat is based on our smallholding here in the heart of Wales and our aim is to offer a secluded, luxury, off grid camping experience in peace and tranquillity with exclusive use of the isolated individual pitches. Glamping is offered in large geodesic domes which come fully fitted with complete indoor kitchens and bathrooms as well as outdoor seating, barbeques and fire pits. The site is exclusively for adult couples with no children or pets permitted and a limited number of tent pitches are available. We opened for business in July 2020 (what a memorable year) but had started making plans for the project in the previous couple of years. We selected the Geo dome for glamping as it offer a spacious warm tent as well as being a beautiful attractive structure which sits well in the landscape.
Our smallholding is about a mile from the nearest town but apart from a telephone landline has no direct connection to any utilities and is therefore completely “off grid”. We generate our own electricity using a mixture of PV panels, and a wind turbine, batteries are used to store power in times of surplus and a diesel powered Lister generator is on standby for periods when the sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow.
But don’t worry, if you come to visit you get unlimited home grown power for the lights, fridge and showers with lashings of hot water, so you get a truly “green “ holiday with no compromise on luxury. Wi Fi is also available if you can’t disconnect as were not complete Luddites here.
I built and maintain virtually everything here, including the power systems, all building trades including plumbing and roofing and joinery. I baulk at doing ground works as digging just hurts too much and plastering walls is the one thing I’ve never become expert at although I can usually get the stuff to stick on the walls!!
I left school with 2 O levels, tried catering college and by the age of 21 had had more jobs than birthdays. I worked in the oil industry for a while including the Shetland Isles and had an HGV licence so I could always work on the wagons if I needed to. I did learn to read and create engineering drawings at school and over the years picked up most practical skills that you need for survival by observing and trying. My parents and family are all intellectuals so I was taught to read at an early age and I do actually RTFM (usually). One grandparent was a pattern maker for a foundry and I guess that’s where the basic making skills come from.
But mother was a free thinker, she taught us to read, then opened the door and said, there is the world go and explore. So here I am still exploring and learning on a hill side in Wales.