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Leave London to camp in an abandoned Cornish quarry

Lucy Lovell
Written by
Lucy Lovell

Nothing says ‘unprepared’ like turning up to your coastal retreat with a massive wheelie suitcase. It’s bleak, wet and windy, and I’ve got two immediate problems. Firstly, it’s been raining all day here in Cornwall and the paths have turned into muddy streams. Secondly, there’s a nine-foot ladder to scramble up to my bed.

The formerly abandoned quarry – near the village of Tintagel – has been renovated with a very light touch by designer Louise Middleton. Home comforts are eschewed in favour of off-grid living. Think open-fire cooking, solar-powered showers and no wi-fi.

So why venture to this wild corner of Cornwall? To stay in a kudhva (which translates from the Cornish for a hideout). Designed by architect Ben Huggins, they’re futuristic cocoons raised high above the ground on three legs. We approach through the willow trees and I get my first glimpse – it’s like spotting a wild animal. The tripod is all steel and angles and plywood – like a Martian machine from ‘War of the Worlds’.

Initially, it’s not an easy structure to get along with. The cold steel ladder is a scary climb. The door is imposing: it towers over me at 45 degrees. The bed has all the cushioning of a pantyliner. It’s freezing cold inside, and when Louise brings me a hot-water bottle it tops every Christmas present I’ve ever had.

Glamping this ain’t, but it’s all part of the plan. Kudhva was designed to challenge, to make you appreciate the little things. I snuggle in and watch the seagulls getting buffeted by the wind on the coast. The insulated kudhva slowly warms with the homemade candles and my body heat. In turn, I slowly warm to it.

Once I’m settled inside, I don’t want to leave. And not just because I don’t know how I’m going to get my suitcase back down the stairs. If you’re up for a challenge, Kudhva is a refreshing taste of the wilderness. Just for God’s sake take a rucksack.

Kudhva. Tintagel, Cornwall. Sleeps 2. From £105 a night. Book here.

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