Traditional Kyrgyz Yurt covered with felt
Red Kite Yurts was founded by Paul Millard in 2002. Paul has had a life long interest in the culture and way of life of the nomadic peoples of Central Asia. He built his first Yurt twenty years ago with his ten year old son Nathan. It was a crude structure that didn’t last long though provided great enjoyment for the duration of its short life.
A full ten years later Paul revisited his early Yurt drawings and embarked on his second Yurt build, this time armed with a much more detailed knowledge of what is involved and the ambition to craft a structure tha could be used as accommodation. Once the Yurt had been completed it immediately attracted the interest of friends, aquaintances and passersby, who simply had to inquire as to what it was and where it came from. Paul slept in his Yurt for the duration of a summer, living the life of the nomads that he had read so much about.
Paul attends a traditional Kyrgyz wedding
Yurt roof poles in a former after steam bending
Paul has visited Kyrgyzstan twice in 2007 and again in 2010. He worked with local Yurt Masters and has built long-lasting friendships with craftsmen that he met on his travels. While in bishkek he gave a lecture at a University on the growing cultural links between the UK and Kyrgyzstan as a result of the increasing popularity of Yurts in this country.
Peeling the willow Yurt roof poles
Yurts are still crafted according to ancient tradition in Kyrgyzstan. Willow is coppiced from ancient woodland. It is peeled by hand before being steamed to achieve the straight poles required. These can measure up to five meters long.
A finished Yurt ready for shipping
Over the next few years Paul built a small number of Yurts for friends and aquaintances and began hiring them out for birthdays and small gatherings. Paul’s story quickly spread through craft circles and he became increasingly invoved with various organisations that promote green living, the preservation of our natural environment and sustainable living. His craft was featured in several publications and he was called upon to provide workshops and a Yurt for a major project spearheaded by the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. In 2011 Paul was again featured in a landmark book about the re-birth of Britain’s forests. Dr Ian Edwards authored ‘Woodlanders – New life in Britain’s Forests’ which explains how crafts people across the country are living with and from forsts in the UK.
Red Kite Yurts has been Paul’s livelihood for several years now. We now have an ever growing stock of Yurts for hire as well as selling several Yurts each year for various purposes from workshop spaces to luxury camping accommodation to massage and therapy spaces.
Nathan returned from several years of travel in Asia to join his father at Red Kite Yurts in early 2010 and the father and son team is going from strength to strength.