This week Steve, creator at the wonderful Hidden Woods, tells us all about what they do and what he loves about being a business in Bath!
Where are you based and what do you do?
We’re a woodland camp and forest school based in 80 acres of ancient woodland just outside Bath (off the A36, near Norton St Philip). We offer a range of groups and events for children, families and adults including weekly outdoor toddler groups, school holiday clubs, birthday parties, hen and stag parties and corporate events. We also work with local charities, organisations and private groups to create magical outdoor events from our wonderful woodland setting.
What inspired you to start your business?
I’ve always had a passion for outdoor adventure and the natural world. Much of my childhood was spent playing outside and I was always off to Dartmoor or Wales during the school holidays in search of adventure. These early experiences inspired me to develop a career in the outdoor activity industry, although I always had a strong calling to create and run my own unique offering. When the arrival of our first born coincided with the end of a long-term work project, it seemed like the perfect moment to do just that. The amount of fantastic childhood memories that have been made in the woods since then is truly unbelievable. I feel blessed that my own children have been able to be a part of this and to grow up in such close contact to nature too.
What do you love about running a business in Bath?
I’ve hugely valued returning to my roots and establishing Hidden Woods in my old stomping ground. I grew up in and around Bath but left the area after finishing my A Levels. I knew that it would be lovely to be back in familiar territory having been away for so many years, but what has been best is the amount of old connections that have been re-established. I often see old school friends and familiar faces bringing their children to parties and holiday clubs, and my old school have been really supportive of our venture too.
You’ve got five minutes to grab a sandwich, where do you go?
I do love The Grocer on Locksbrook Road. Not just for the food, but for the coffee too – I haven’t tried better in Bath!
Where’s your favourite place to book for a business lunch?
Around the campfire! We don’t get to do much wining and dining, it’s more charring and stirring! We have lots of campfire favourites, from stuffed burritos to the classic jacket potatoes. Everything tastes better off of a campfire!
Which bar do you head to after a tough day?
Luckily, the calming effect of being surrounded by trees, making magical moments amongst them means that work-related stress levels are low! But when a beer is in order then the garden of The George in Norton St Philip takes some beating – overlooking the cricket pitch and church it’s an idyllic scene, and the roaring fire inside is a pretty good winter alternative!
Tell us about another Bath business you love and why?
I really love what the team at Nourish (a vegetarian and vegan restaurant in Larkhall) are doing. The food is so surprising and innovative and the service first class. Veganism is the fastest growing food trend in the world and with an offering like they have at Nourish it’s easy to see why!
What advice would you give to someone starting a business in the city?
Plan to a point, but most important is to listen to your instinct! What we were planning to offer seemed like a new and unique concept and some did question whether there was a market for it at all. We did enough to satisfy ourselves that we weren’t being completely mad and then just jumped in with both feet (and haven’t looked back!).
If you haven’t sorted out Easter childcare yet then go and check them out! Steve and Laura have kindly offered anyone who quotes ‘kidsofbath’ 15% for all 2019 school holiday clubs booked before the end of May! www.hiddenwoods.co.uk