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bivouac shacks

Attractive and sustainable timber buildings

Bivouac Shacks are sustainable timber cabins that are off-grid, thermally efficient and full of charm and character. Bivouac Shacks are one of the cornerstone components of The Bivouac at Druid's Temple; the rustic luxury holiday site in the Yorkshire dales. An overview of the project is detailed here.

In 2007 Mantes and partners formed a vision for 'The Bivouac' a holiday experience which sought to offer a high quality back-to-nature experience, capturing all of the romance of camping, without the unpleasant challenges that often go with it.

At the time, there were a small number of offerings emerging in a new sector in the UK which had attracted the nicknames 'posh camping', 'glamorous camping" and 'glamping'.  This sector led the way in what the media described as the rising popularity of the 'stay-cation'.

Via the joint venture business The Bivouac Ltd, Mantes and partners set out to design and build outstanding glamping accommodation.

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Designed and built by

Mantes and partners

on time and within budget


Entirely off grid and

seven times more

thermally efficient

than a modern house

Multiple awards

in design and



Bivouac Shacks

In this young and emerging marketplace, there were already very varied offerings, covering a wide spectrum of qualities. Part way through the design journey we reconnected with an old friend; Rudi Meseg. Rudi had recently completed a course in round wood timber framing and had built several timber framed buildings, adding to his ever-growing experience in working with woodland, timber and natural materials.


Mantes worked with Rudi to design and build the Bivouac Shacks, combining Rudi's experience and expertise in round wood craftsmanship with Mantes' ability to design products that are attractive, scalable and deliverable.  An exciting partnership was formed.


This short video offers a little insight into our shack building experience.


The Shacks were designed to offer maximum flexibility to effectively serve the varied groups that were likely to stay in a Bivouac Shack. In marketing terms they were positioned as 'Rustic Woodland Shacks'; in fact they are highly efficient eco-buildings with a thermal efficiency of over seven times that of a modern house built to UK building control standards.

We continue to explore opportunities in partnership with Rudi for further eco-build projects. If you would like to explore an idea for a project then please get in touch.

Take a look at Rudi's website too.

Here are a few headlines about the Bivouac Shack


  • Over 80% of the timber used in the shacks came from a radius of within 5 miles of the development site 

  • The timber was milled on a neighboring farm and delivered by a local farming family


  • The Shacks are fully insulated with sheep's wool


  • Water is provided by an onsite natural spring and is purified and pressurised in the farm buildings


  • Waste water is treated via a natural reed bed filtration system


  • Heating and hot water is provided via UK handmade wood burning stoves with back boilers


  • Other design details include lime plaster, hemp based sheet roofing and local natural stone for foundations and pad stones (no concrete)

In February 2021 The Swinton Bivouac was featured on BBC Two's 'Amazing Hotels - Life Beyond the Lobby'. Giles Coren experiences what it is like to spend a night in one of the Shacks. Watch the clip here.

Click here to view the project portfolio, if you would like a version to print, request one here.

Sam and Beth are amazing, inspiring creators. They were meant to meet, dream and build together. Part of the joy with this wonderful couple is that they invite others along on their journey.

If you have the opportunity to work as part of their team, grab it! Your life will be enriched, full of creativity and challenges offered that you never knew existed.  

As managers they offer guidance and a wealth of experience. Ideas are never overlooked and you will be encouraged to grow and nurtured along the way. You will gain a deeper understanding into how you work and the best way you can work with others as they are advocates of the 'In Your Element' personal development program. This alone is invaluable.  

Sam and Beth really invest their time and efforts in the people they work with, which makes each project they undertake so unique!


They create beautiful designs that are thoughtful and reflective of the surroundings.  Their attention to detail is exceptional and they have the ability to turn a blank space into a rich and warm environment. Aesthetics and functionality are combined in their endeavors, and they offer unique insight into business opportunities. Prepare to be inspired.


Emilie McDermott
Team leader at The Bivouac

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