• Little Rea

The Treehouse | West Lexham

Little Rea at West Lexham's Tinker Treehouse

I was so excited to be living up a tree, especially in a little house called the Tinker. It suited me perfectly. All those smells of the wild that I could sniff on waking up.

West Lexham can be found in Norfolk, not far from Sandringham. They advertise themselves as dog-friendly but we all know that doesn't necessarily mean a place is, so I was determined to test out this claim. The first thing we asked was whether I could be allowed off lead. Imagine waking up to nature and not being able to snort it in every thirty seconds – I love a good sniff and a snort. They said that it was okay, as long as other guests didn't mind, and the obligatory poo-clean-up was undertaken by my Mummy (she comes in handy sometimes).

Little Rea contemplating her mode of transport at the West Lexham lake

Being off lead in such an excitingly sniffy place made me run around and lollop like the happy little Poo that I was. I got to explore every inch of the grounds.

I even made friends with Roxy, a dog finally smaller than me, who had the luxury of coming to work with her mummy as she cleaned up after the humans. We frolicked together and I was well behaved as she was only ten months old. Such a lucky dog to work in the beautiful location.

The thing I loved about West Lexham more than anything, is waking up in the morning and running down the treehouse stairs right into the sniffy scents of nature. My garden in London feels so boring now because I know what the squirrels smell like, and the fox no longer poops in the bushes because I have scared them all off with my barking and chasing. At the treehouse, I would follow Mummy down to the communal kitchen and loo blocks and my day would start with the pleasures of unfamiliar scents spread across the grass overnight. I'd also get to sit with Mummy outside as she drank her coffee in the open kitchen and chatted with other pyjama-clad tree dwellers.

Communal kitchen at West Lexham

West Lexham is so dog friendly that I was even allowed in the shower rooms with Mummy. This is always one of her concerns when we travel together. The shower rooms were beautiful, each one having a different theme.

Little Rea in the library shower

Little Rea in the graffiti shower

Little Rea avoiding the flood in one of the showers

Little Rea in the brick shower

I was really lucky too because all the other tree dwellers fell in love with me and seemed to love all dogs, so I was allowed off lead while they cooked, off lead while they ate, and in the evenings, would sit by the fire with them getting lots of tummy rubs and ear tickles.

I even got to meet the really cool couple who own Retro Campers Norfolk. They were living the dream that Mummy wants to live and she spent lots of hours chatting to them while I got an endless supply of attention. They love dogs, and the VWs (which are beautiful) are dog-friendly too.

Little Rea in front of Wild Thing

Hannah and Simon were just so lovely and even let me pose in their beautiful new Wild Thing.

Inside Wild Thing

Because we fell in love with each other, and Mummy fell in love with their stories of living the dream, they said that all my gorgeous hounds and human followers could get a 10% discount by using Little Rea as their discount code. Just give them a call and they will sort you out. Although we didn't drive Wild Thing, Mummy was so impressed with Hannah and Simon's passion for their subject, their knowledge, and most of all, with who they are as people. We watched shooting stars with them, drank pink fizz around the campfire with them and watched them attempt a real pizza in the on-site pizza oven. Simon even built a better fire than my Mummy, and she had previously been impressed with herself.

Inside the treehouse, I was allowed on the bed, especially as there was a £25.00 fee for me staying as they do a deep allergy clean after us hounds leave so people who sneeze a lot in our company, can sleep without getting itchy and blotchy.

I didn't find the stairs difficult because they were like the ones at home, except they were made of wood instead.

And, I loved standing at the top of them so I could spy on all the squirrels that didn't know I was plotting my next move from afar.

I wasn't impressed when I was told we were leaving. The treehouse is one of my favourite adventures so far. I loved being out in the open air all the time, running up and down the stairs, following Mummy to the kitchen or the loos, being around the campfire with humans that wanted to cuddle and belly rub me all the time. Going to the kitchen at home, or following Mummy to the loo doesn't involve being outside and sniffing in the smells of nature. It meant lots more walking and scent stimulation, and on top of all of that, we were always out all day, finding new beaches and forests to conquer – and territorially pee on, which is my most significant past time in the wild.

A note from Julie

West Lexham is definitely a dog-friendly holiday destination. The surrounding grounds are beautiful, and if you can trust your dog not to plunge and splash into the lake, there are no real doggy threats, except the quiet carpark. I mention the lake because it isn't fast moving water and at points, was covered in a film of green, which made me worry about blue-green algae. I worry about this wherever I go with Rea because although she isn't a swimmer, she is a lake and puddle licker.

If you are a well-seasoned camper, staying in a treehouse would be a luxury. It had a comfortable bed, and best of all, a wood-burning stove. This was an excellent addition to some of the colder evenings, and a romantic notion (if not a little too hot for the entire evening). The house also had electricity, so came with small table lamps but not an overhead light ... this made it quite dark in the evenings, and I was glad for the fairy lights as well as the torches I had taken with me.

And yes, there really were trees growing inside the treehouse, and oh, these made a right racket during the windy nights because they squeaked against the treehouse and their rubber draft-cladding in the roof. Fortunately, the wind dropped, and we then had some peaceful nights. I was asked by someone on Facebook if there were bugs in the trees and the answer is yes, there were, but that's one of the joys of camping and outside living (isn't it? I'm told it is, but I'm not sure about that, to be honest ... I kept wondering how many of them I had snorted up my nose like Little Rea snorts her scents).

Outside of the treehouse was a little patio with a BBQ. We often sat there for breakfast and just to listen to the birds in the trees. The BBQ wasn't something I wanted to use on my own (a bit too much effort for one Little Rea sausage and a burger of some sort), but I imagine, as a couple, it would have been a lovely thing to do for the evening. Every treehouse and yurt had its own seating area and BBQ.

The location of West Lexham was fantastic. Beaches and woodlands were around 20 to 40 minutes away in different directions, and we visited as many places as we could for long walks and adventures.

Would I take us back? Most definitely. There were things I found difficult, like cooking in the communal kitchen. As much as it was well equipped, I felt it needed a dishwasher just so I knew things were as clean as they were at home, but cooking with strangers was actually fun, and it was one of the main ways we made friends for our short stay, with whom we later enjoyed the communal campfire with. I probably wouldn't stay in the Tinker treehouse again. It faced away from the campsite, and I purposely chose the location for its communal experience. There was a lovely view of the trees, but because Rea and I are people watchers, it was quite isolated sitting on the porch area as there were only close proximity trees to engage with – neither of us are great tree whisperers...

I would love to go back and stay in a yurt that faced the beautiful pond. These were ground level, and I could have used a ground stake and long lead for Rea, had the yurt open, and enjoyed the nature from within the warmth of the tent. I would also take more lanterns with me to provide a bit more light in the evening. As there are no TVs it is the perfect time to read a book or write that elusive novel, but both were difficult without more light, so this took us more to the conversation down by the campfire – maybe a good thing, but it would have been nice to read in the evenings too.

The grounds were truly beautiful, peaceful, and so laid back. The staff were all dog lovers, and Rea was free to enjoy her holiday without hindrance or inhibition, which meant I was too.

Our Paw Rating 5/5



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