Beds, Herts & Bucks

Hermit evicted from woodland mud hut goes to live with his mum

Hut
Image caption Daniel Pike's hut was built from clay he found at the wood, but has now been "flattened"

A hermit who lived in a woodland mud hut for four years says his eviction has forced him to go home to live with his mother.

Daniel Pike, 28, spent two years building the hut near Watford, but was removed from it earlier this month.

He said his hut at Merry Hill Wood has now been flattened by the Woodland Trust, which owns the land.

The trust said it is required to safeguard the area and had offered Mr Pike advice about moving on.

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Image caption Mr Pike spent a night in police cells and was fined by magistrates

Mr Pike built the hut from clay he found at the site, kitted it out with solar panels, and constructed an outdoor shelter with a seating area and cooking facilities.

He previously said being there had given him freedom and meant he could live "without being coerced".

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However, bailiffs arrived on 7 September, accompanied by police, and he was arrested at the scene for obstructing a court official in the execution of his duty.

He said: "It was all done very ruthlessly with no care or consideration for what I was saying."

Image caption He also built a shelter with cooking facilities

Mr Pike, who spent a night in a police cell and received a fine, said the hut had since been destroyed.

"I'm now staying at my mum's," he said. "I had to ask her because I had nowhere else to go."

Now he says he has been "forced back into society" and hopes to return to his previous job at a supermarket.

Steve Marsh from the Woodland Trust said the organisation had sympathy for Mr Pike's situation and the eviction was "not personal".

He said: "We have over 1,000 sites across the UK and we have a blanket rule: No occupation, because we have to protect all our woods...so that we can protect and safeguard our woods for wildlife and nature but also other people that visit them."

Image caption The hut was close to a stream which runs through the wood

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