Mongolian Yurts (or Gers)
A yurt is a portable structure used by nomadic tribes on the steppes of central Asia. Theses Turkic tribes have used the same construction techniques for hundreds of years, and have mastered the art of erecting these tents in minutes, not quite achieved by their western counterparts, who take hours. Our team of "yurters" as I like to call them can usually do it an hour and a half! The Mongolian yurt is correctly called a Ger (rhymes with mare) and consists of a heavy round wheel (or crown), curved lattice walls that concertina for easy transportation, and the spokes, long poles that spread out from the crown, fitting into the crown at one end and resting on the v of the lattice at the other. A loop of horse hair string loops over the lattice secures the two together. Two vertical poles support the crown in the centre.
The Turkic yurt differs from the Mongolian ger by the fact the wood is lighter, and there are no supporting poles for the yurt crown. The top of the wall is prevented from spreading by means of a tension band, traditionally made of horse hair, which opposes the force of the roof ribs and holds the structure together. The yurt is then covered by layers of fabric and sheep's wool felt for insulation and weatherproofing. No nails or screws are used in the construction. The tolerances of building the yurt are very narrow, the circumference must be exactly right in order for the covers to fit. As we have found out through experience!
The yurts of Forest Yurts
Our yurts are authentic and hand made in Mongolia. The design is unique in that it is only used in Mongolia. The lattice type walls are steamed to incorporate a curve at the top. The roof poles are straight but are round for three quarters of their length and then square, tapering to a point which slots into the crown wheel. Only authentic Mongolian yurts use crown supports, they are essential if the yurt is to stand firm in the extreme Mongolian weather and support the yurt in heavy snow. The woodwork of our yurts are hand painted in bright colours and decorated with traditional Mongolian designs. The yurt frame is covered with four layers of material including a felt layer of insulation, making them able to withstand the extreme cold of the Mongolian steppe (down to -40), and easily handle the British climate. Our yurts are certified to -10 degrees Celsius. Sopley Lake Yurt Camp is open from April 1st to October 31st. Not because the yurt can't handle it, but because of the remoteness of our yurt camp access becomes difficult in our wet weather. You can buy a yurt through Forest Yurts sister company, Forest Yurts Trading Company. We supply only the finest authentic hand made Mongolian Yurts, adapted to cope with the wetter climate of Northern Europe.
Who makes our yurts?
All our yurts are hand made in Mongolia by a number of families specialising in either the coverings, the walls, the crown or even the horse hair ropes. Our yurt making families have been making yurts for generations and we are delighted to work with them in continuing this wonderful skill. For every yurt that is built, we plant 25 trees in order to make this a sustainable business.
If you wish to camp at our exclusive yurt camp please check our Yurt camp availability