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the wood hermitage

The luxury of simplicity
“You can’t describe the wood hermitage in words. You have to see it and experience it.” That’s a recurrent comment from visitors who return to see us, bringing their friends, colleagues and family to our facilities.
UrNatur opened the doors in 2007 to the wood hermitage, a place for relaxation and reflection, and a gathering place for visionaries. The place in itself is a vision that has come to pass: a place for relaxation and reflection, but also a meeting place where friends can gather, revisiting memories and giving birth to new thoughts and ideas. Here, in the Holaved forest, you can enjoy the luxury of simplicity, living in unique hand-crafted cottages, or in a tree house, without electricity.
Sit down by the fireplace and savour the moment. The soft light of the kerosene lamp and the scent of boiled coffee readily guide you to intimate conversations, far from everyday pressures.

We bring the surroundings into our kitchen: lamb from our own flocks, and local or home grown vegetables that are combined with wild herbs, berries, mushrooms or birch sap gathered in the immediate vicinity of the hermitage.
Bring your company, board of directors, foreign visitors, your associations or group of friends to experience Sweden with all your senses. You book the entire hermitage and are guaranteed an undisturbed stay. We can receive 6-15 guests in the hermitage, occupying six cabins. Our conference hall, the tin castle, is also well suited for day-long conferences, workshops, seminaries, lectures and other activities.
Make the most of our experience while you are here. Turn your coffee break into an experience by learning how to make a fire using nothing but sticks. We also arrange other activities, like a forest spa and potluck meals where we together cook exciting, seasonal meals like fish from the ground oven , crayfish parties, or lamb on a spit.
To wrap up your stay, you can shop in our store, and bring with you memories in the shape of our finest sheep skins, interior textiles, carpets or other products of our own design. Or you may choose among the favourites from the hermitage: lanterns and kerosene lamps, or scrubbing gloves for the sauna.

The fire has a central place here. Here, tending a wood fire is necessary to stay warm. Even the sauna and the wooden bathtub are wood fired. The candles and kerosene lamps are the only source of light. As early as August, the nights are pitch dark again, and the kerosene lamp guides us back to the cabins in the dark. When or if we cook together, we cook by an open fire. In the kitchen of the main cabin, we have gone a bit more modern. Here you’ll find a 12 volt lamp powered by solar cells on top of the bath house roof.

Even if there’s a lot to see, do and discover in our beautiful surroundings, we hope you will find the time to just be. Don’t try to fill your time. Take the time instead to listen to the birds and the forest. Live in the present. Maybe you would like to join us in gathering herbs, watch the lambs bounce about, or the kittens rumble. You could borrow one of our boats and row out onto the lake, enjoy a morning or evening dip, listen to the bittern or the cranes, or pick some mushrooms that we may cook for dinner.


The main cabin
The main cabin isn’t all that large really. It’s a timber frame house based on a small 17th century cabin in Östergötland. All other houses are built after our own ideas in a wild combination of old and new techniques and traditions. Here in the main cabin you’ll find the small kitchen where we cook on a gas stove. This is where we serve breakfast and dinner.

The bath house
Feeling clean and fresh is important to our well-being. That’s why the bath house is the largest of all houses. It contains a wood-fired sauna, which in turn heats two generous wash rooms. The bath house is built from standing timber like the old wooden stave churches, but with a tin roof and solar cells that operate a water pump and solar shower. The wooden bathtub is just outside. Here is room to philosophize under the open sky till late at night if you fire it up really good. As in Japanese bath houses, you will find a chair, washcloth and buckets with warm water. Soon you can also try our new solar showers.

The charchoaler’s hut
The hut is inspired by ancient charcoaler’s hut with a timbered frame and moss roof. The hut vanishes into the surroundings of moss-clad forest. Originally it was built as protection against wild animals, weather and wind, with at least the means for cooking a cup of coffee. It’s just as these huts have always been—small, dark and hence very cosy. To emphasize its simplicity, its Spartan feel, we have designed and built iron beds with a gulag-feel for the hut. The hut offers a roof over your heads and warmth. An earthy shelter for those who really wish a break from the everyday.

The moss cabin and wolf cot
The cots have peat roofs and a timber frame, inspired by the Sames timbered cots. Whereas the other cabins might inspire a sense of seclusion and reflection, the cots serve our communal needs. Besides the wood stove, you will also find a central fire place for an open fire. Summer time the moss cabin’s roof is covered in wild strawberries that hang down from the awnings in late summer.


The hat cabin (2 persons)
The hat cabin is UrNatur’s wedding suite. It’s a six-cornered bole house with a copper roof. Slightly absurd, it readily becomes everyone’s favourite. All interior decoration is designed and built by Niclas Hallberg for Urnatur, inspired and cross-pollinated by Japanese style and Swedish craftsmanship. If you missed coming here for your honeymoon, you can always return for your 10th or 20th anniversary.

The tree house (1 person)
The tree house is what it is in all its simplicity. Despite its un-insulated plank walls and tar paper roof, a lot of people are charmed by its character. Anchored in two sturdy aspens it offers a magnificent view of a small dale where you can spot both tawny owl and moose. The hut is the brightest and smallest house of them all. Are you perhaps suffering from writer’s block? You’ll rekindle your inspiration here. Be prepared that the house may sway and croak when the wind grabs hold of the tree crowns.

The pilgrim’s cabin (2 persons)
This bole house is a mixture of various cultures. With a sober Swedish-Amish inspired decoration, painted with egg tempera, the pilgrim’s cabin probably boasts the most traditional cabin-feel of them all. The roof is a Russian-inspired design with tarred boards. In summertime when the sun is hot you can sense a faint scent of tar in the air.

Lindas loo
Every house in Sjögetorp has its own history, not least this loo. The half-timbered loo is built by two German wandering apprentices, Linda the timber framer and Maxi the potter. First they dug up the clay from the pond, mixed it with straw and made their own bricks that dried in the sun. Then Linda built a half-timber house and signed it with a lime-leaf rather than the traditional heart.

The tin castle
Whereas the other cabins lie gathered 500 meters from the farm center up in the woods, the tin castle lies near the gravel road, with a view over Lake Visjön. The tin castle is our meeting place. Here we have access to electricity, allowing for the use of projectors, etc. The tin castle consists of a single room with a large, organic oven at its center, the only source of heat in the house. Here we can serve food and host 30 persons on a day-conference. This house is also built using standing timber and a tin roof resembling a polished crystal.
How the wood hermitage came to be

Urnatur is a family business. When we, forester Håkan Strotz and biologist and designer Ulrika Krynitz, bought the small farm Sjögetorp in 1993 we had no plans for a wood hermitage. It was the scenic beauty that brought us here. Håkan worked as a teacher at Omberg’s nature school, while Ulrika founded the textile design company Qualle in 1999. During many summers we have organized a handcraft festival called Ragnarök. With strong shared interests in nature, crafts, ethnobiology, survival, design, self-sustainability and cooking, the project slowly but surely took form. First in our thoughts, then in practice.

After many years practical experience with courses, seminars, lectures, kick-offs, exhibits, Ragnarök and other events we missed having more beds for overnights. Young kids can sleep in sleeping bags in debris huts during a survival course. But we wanted to be able to offer a fantastic nature experience to our parent’s generation, with their demands for a good night’s sleep, and to city kids who long to spend time in nature under safe conditions. Naturally, there would be good food inspired by wild herbs and lamb from the farm.
In 2003 we felled the first tree of what was to become the main cabin. The storms Gudrun (2005) and Per (2006) affected us too. All other houses are built from the storm-felled trees that was lumbered on the farm using a mobile mill. All houses are designed and built from scratch by Håkan. He is known to say that already as a child he enjoyed building huts and he never stopped. It’s just that the huts got bigger and more advanced with time.

Ulrika has contributed a lot of ideas, details and above all the coloration and interior decoration. It was collaboration between Yin and Yang. And naturally you can find both carpets, curtains and other detail of our design, and later buy them in the boutique.

Getting here
The wood hermitage lies 7 km outside of Ödeshög. Three hours by car from Stockholm and Malmö. Two hours from Göteborg. The closest train station is Mjölby and Tranås (roughly 3 miles). Swebus stops at Östgötaporten in Ödeshög.

Welcome to a fairy-tale landscape, rich in nature and culture. Here you’ll find the bird-lake Tåkern, Vättern, Omberg and a string of small, fine nature reserves. Urnatur is a member of the Swedish Ecotourism Society and certified by “naturens bästa”.

Bookings and opening hours
The wood hermitage opens on 1 April and closes on 15 October. All lodging must be pre-booked. We have six cabins for overnight stays, each with 1-4 comfortable beds. All cabins have a wood stove and no electricity. As a private person you can book yourself for one of our theme weekends. See the website for more current information. As a group (friends, companies, associations, organizations) you can book the entire hermitage. You ought then to be a minimum of six persons, a maximum of 15. We also arrange various exciting adventures for you during your stay.

For booking requests and other information:

Sjögetorp 3
SE 599 91 Ödeshög
tel: ++46 (0)144-10234