New Den, Pettypool for Girlguiding Cheshire Forest

Walker Simpson Architects, Northwich, 2022



Photos by Daniel Hopkinson     Download Original

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The brief required new accommodation to replace a prefabricated cabin which has been re-purposed and relocated for Girlguiding Cheshire Forest.

A key theme of the project was the continuing commitment to create facilities for the enjoyment of young people, their wellbeing, and the opportunity to introduce many different ways in which to gain their first experience of a woodland environment. The building is a simple form consisting of two wings either side of a glazed entrance that offers views through to the tree lined valley beyond. The larger wing houses an activity space, fully accessible WC, shower room and a kitchen area. The smaller wing is designed for sleeping accommodation for up to 6 people or can be used as a meeting space or study room. The intention is to create flexible and welcoming spaces for people to gather, participate and engage in the passing of the seasons. In spring and summer, large glazed screens fold back to blur the distinction between interior and exterior spaces which leads onto a sleeping deck connected to the campsite below. In the autumn and winter months, the screens are closed to provide a protective environment, offering warmth and containment from the elements. Externally, the design approach combines standard building techniques with enhanced specification, including cement free low carbon concrete blocks with an improved fabric performance for the external envelope. Metal fins provide colour accents to each of the wings complemented by a simple galvanised metal railing along the deck. A gullwing arrangement of canopies to either side of the building offers shelter and frames the view to the forest below. The building is fully accessible with level access throughout, wide doorways and generous support spaces. This environment enables all visitors to enjoy an outdoor experience which may otherwise not be available.


  • Begun: Mar 2022
  • Completed: Sep 2022
  • Floor area: 49m2
  • Sector: Sports and leisure
  • Total cost: £286,720
  • Funding: Funding was received from the DCMS (£50,000) Brian Wilson Charitable Trust (£165,000.00) and the Bernard Sunley Foundation (£30,000.00) with the remainder being provided direct by the client.
  • Tender date: Dec 2021
  • Procurement: A traditional procurement route was used with the JCT Minor Works Form of Building Contract 2016
  • Address: Cheshire Forest Girlguiding, Pool Lane, Cuddington, Northwich, CW8 2DR, United Kingdom