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Woodland Toilets or Tree Bogs ~ by WoodlandsTV

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When you don't want to go behind a tree, build a tree bog. Jade Newton Gardener and "Huf " tell us about constructing their tree bogs, and how they work.


Jade Newton Gardener: Basically, we decided to get tree bogs, because we had a few visitors come up, and a lot of them were asking where the toilets were.

So, basically, we thought we'd go and find someone who could come in and do a tree bog course, and we found a guy called J Treebog.

You use it like a normal toilet. You sit on the toilet seat, and then there's tissue that you would obviously use after you've gone to the toilet.

Everything goes down into the base of the toilet. We decided to put them in this area, because it's mainly seen as the main camping site.

It's very clear, and everyone could actually locate the toilets when they came in to Nature's Playground and had a wander, because they're quite visual, and you can see them from the pathway as well.

And this is Huf who is our woodlands manager and he was part of the team that actually built the tree bogs on the tree bog course.

Huf: OK, so if we could just run over the basic construction. It's four large hornbeam poles for the main structure, then we've built the platform on top. And the main workings, sort of, not that there's much in the way of workings, is the wire basket filled with straw. And that allows the moisture to be wicked away from the waste. You know, so it's quite open, so you get a lot of airflow, so there's no smell. One thing, we are missing and we need to put in is a ring of willows 'round the back, and again that will sort of wick away more moisture.

Huf: We've got two tree bogs, this is the one that we're using at the moment. When this one gets full, we can then move on to the second one. They last about two years, and then you'd need to build another tree bog, reuse all your timber cladding. And yeah, just let it kind of return into the soil.

Jade: This is the sawdust, and every hour or two, someone will come round once the toilets have been used, and we will place about two to three handfuls of sawdust down the toilet. And basically that helps with the breakdown of the deposits that's down inside the base of the toilet. One of the people that came and helped us to do the course, one of the things he left us with was this little saying, "A little scoop for every other poop."

So, basically, that's why we go around and put the sawdust in the actual toilets, because especially if there's children, they might get a bit excited about having lots of sawdust, and try and pour all the sawdust down in the toilet. Which means that it doesn't work as well, and it means at the base actually gets filled up rather quickly. So like I said, a little scoop for every other poop.

It also helps to stop the smell, and because there's air, a lot of air goes through the hay base, it stops the smell from coming through.

And because there's quite a lot of ventilation within the actual toilets you don't smell anything at all. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to stand here. [laughs]

Posted in: Survival ~ On: 15 May, 2009

7 comments so far

May 10, 2009

These toilets are very very cool. Be even better with a wooden roof.

May 12, 2009

The tree bogs were designed by Biologics design, who specialise in wetland habitats.

May 20, 2009

Splendid, thank you for showing us how they work, very green and so much nicer than portaloos!

Redhead Cobweb Crafts
May 20, 2009

Splendid, thank you for showing us how they work, very green and so much nicer than portaloos!

June 4, 2009

very cool, i am glad you showed this. It would have been even better if you showed some of the construction but i know this is rarly the case. Thansk again and have a good one.

July 25, 2011

With no trees (willows particularly) these aren’t really tree bogs, are they.

Also my understanding of the incorporation of willows is that they keep the tree bog from filling up. So maybe they’ll last longer than the 2 years you suspect? Willows are heavy nutrient users and so take down the poop quickly. Maybe these are extremely high use, though, you don’t really say.

Richard Spandit
May 13, 2016

Do you have an updated video showing how they've faired over the last yew years?

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