North Derbyshire grandad completes the ultimate lockdown project - a castle at the bottom of the garden

From baking banana bread to learning languages, people have used time in lockdown in a variety of ways.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 2:32 pm
Updated Friday, 9th April 2021, 1:08 pm

But one retired Wingerworth grandad went even further – building a two-storey castle in his garden for his granddaughter, despite having no building experience.

And now Mark Campbell is hoping to emulate another Derbyshire man after entering the annual shed of the year contest, which was won by Buxton’s Chris Hield, for his Hobbit hole-inspired Bux End, in 2019.

Mr Campbell, who worked in banking, said: “Winterwood is a fairy-tale, two-storey fantasy castle built during the 2020 lockdown.

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“I have absolutely no experience in building, especially with wood, not even when I was at school. Google and YouTube became my new best friends, where I could follow correct techniques."

The 59-year-old, dad to James, aged 29, and 27-year-old Jonathan and grandad to 18-month-old Sienna, said he was inspired to build it by his eldest son, after being told to shield in March last year, due to increased vulnerability.

He said: “He reminded me my father always wanted to build a treehouse for me, but could never find the time, while I’d wanted to do the same for my sons but, again, never found the time, because of work etc.

“Then I remembered my granddaughter’s love of books and, in particular, her favourite, which had a picture of a small castle, so instead of building a treehouse, I could build something for her.”

Mark Campbell with his amazing shed/treehouse/fantasy castle.

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‘I am absolutely thrilled with it’

Winterwood – inspired by the name of Mr Campbell’s home, Summerwood – took about three-and-a-half months to build and stands at the bottom of a small wood, surrounded by trees and wildflowers, “the perfect location to stimulate the grandchildren’s imagination”.

And he said his grandchild – he is hoping for more – “loves it”.

The castle roof under construction in Mark Campbell's garage.

He said: “She’s only very young, but absolutely loves it, although, if truth be told, the grandchildren were an excuse to build it.

“I am absolutely thrilled with it. I really enjoyed it and am looking for something else to build now, although I’m sure my wife, Cheryl, will have something to say.

“The whole build has been a step into the unknown, but has been great fun and I’ve enjoyed every minute.

“It just shows what you can achieve with a bit of love and a lot of enthusiasm.”

The basic frame begins to take shape.

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The castle shape can clearly be seen as construction continues.
The castle nears completion, with just some roof work still to be carried out.
The completed castle. Standing about 12-feet tall, Winterwood is situated at the bottom of a small wood and surrounded by trees and wildflowers.
The shed's name, Winterwood, is a nod to the name of Mark's home, Summerwood.
Mark Campbell built the 'shed' himself, despite having no joinery experience.
Mark is entering his fairytale 'shed' into the annual shed of the year contest.
Mark Campbell built it all himself.
It comes complete with a mock fireplace.
Inside the fairytale shed.
Up the stairs to the first floor.