The wood-fired shower at Eco Camp UK
The sensational wood-fired shower is now operational at our Wild Boar Wood Campsite after a great deal of effort, planning, construction, plumbing and perseverance. Please note: The shower system has been updated since this post. Please see update note at the end of this blog.
One of only a handful of wood-fired shower systems we know to be in operation in the UK, the custom-made wood burner is able to provide continuous hot water for our open air shower. Just a small fire started in the wood burner about 15 minutes before your shower is sufficient to heat the water to a very comfortable 45 degrees. Add a little cold water, or adjust the temperature gauge and you have a fantastic hot shower that will keep pumping out lovely warm water for our campers.
Among the challenges we faced was getting the water pressure to a sufficient level, as Wild Boar Wood is off-grid and the campsite has no mains water. With the help of our mate Mike Stevenson, builder, forester and an all-round super practical man, we built a water tower with three 1,000-litre tanks. This allows the water head to range between one and two metres above the shower head.
With some good old ingenuity we plumbed in the water supply between the tanks, the wood-burner and the shower head and ‘you little beauty’ as we Australians say – it was all systems go. The system was given a quick check by Chris, our friendly pluming engineer, and even Dick Strawbridge, of TV fame, offered some advice during his visit to High Weald Dairy for his upcoming TV series. Then, with John the plumber’s help, we connected the thermostatic control, which safeguards the system from overheating and controls the outflow water temperature.
All our eco campers seem to love the shower. It is still open to the skies, and for those guests who love the bucket shower, we will keeping it in the second shower cubicle for the more adventurous campers among you.
Thanks also to Ben for the oak panelling for the shower walls, great design and build by Rob Demel, ably assisted by Ross Scarfield and the practical assistance of Mark Hardy of High Weald Dairy.
The wood-fired shower system is just another great reason to come and stay at Wild Boar Wood – the best campsite in Sussex (well most likely the whole of the UK!)
2016 update: This shower system is no longer in use at Wild Boar Wood. We still have the wood-fired water heater but it is not connected directly to a shower head as the temperature proved a little difficult to control. Now we have two bucket shower cubicles and in addition, since this blog was originally posted, Wild Boar Wood has a water supply from a local bore hole. The sinks in our bathrooms have hot and cold water taps. You can fill a bucket with hot water for your shower at our sink or from the wood-fired water heater, pictured above. Read more about how our bucket showers work in our post on the subject.