Real-life Rambo builds mountain log cabin as a retreat to help veterans struggling with PTSD
- Mike Allen, 38, created a woodland hideaway in Sirhowy Valley, South Wakes
- It was torn down in 2018 because he didn’t have planning permission for cabin
- Veteran now hopes to use rebuilt cabin as a space for former soldiers to unwind
A real-life Rambo has built a mountaintop cabin as a retreat to help veterans who are struggling with PTSD.
Former lance corporal Mike Allen, 38, carried huge logs and 10-stone stone slabs up a steep hill to build the woodland hideaway in the Sirhowy Valley, South Wales.
He said he built the rural retreat as a way of dealing with his PTSD, but his first version of the cabin was torn down by environment bosses in 2018 because he didn’t have planning permission.
The cabin has now been rebuilt with the help of environment agency Natural Resources Wales as a space for struggling veterans to enjoy a peaceful break.
Ex-lance corporal Mike Allen (pictured at the cabin) carried huge logs and 10-stone stone slabs up a steep hill to build an impressive woodland hideaway in the Sirhowy Valley, South Wales
It has been kitted out with exercise stations, cooking facilities and a dry-stone walling centre for former military personnel to come and unwind.
Afghanistan veteran Mr Allen said: ‘It is nearly finished and will have a number of different uses.
‘I’ve been able to come up here every day building and finish my work despite the lockdown and it is pretty isolated anyway.
‘You have to hike 25 minutes up a steep mountain to reach the cabin so it is tucked away.’
After the original rendition of the cabin was knocked down, Mr Allen worked with the environment agency Natural Resources Wales for permission to rebuild it as a facility for military veterans.
The former soldier – who toured Afghanistan in 2011 – has big plans for the site and hopes he can help those in similar situations to his own.
Pictured: Former lance corporal Mr Allen, who toured Afghanistan in 2011, is seen as a soldier
The cabin has been kitted out with exercise stations (pictured), cooking facilities and a dry-stone walling centre for former military personnel to come and unwind
‘It will be used as a safe place of work for people suffering from PTSD,’ he said.
‘Sometimes we struggle to be around normal people and it can be hard to cope – but when we’re with other veterans and other people in the same position it is easier.
‘It will have a fitness centre and fitted with an outdoor gym with a TRX machine, pull up bars and press up stations.
‘We will have barbecues up here where people can come and have a sit down and watch the views.
‘We will also do tree planting and have a course in dry stone walling so people can learn new skills.’
His first version of the cabin (pictured) was torn down by environment bosses in 2018 because he didn’t have planning permission
Pictured: Mr Allen at the site of the old woodland cabin in South Wales, which was torn down in 2018
The cabin has now been rebuilt (pictured: the new cabin) with the help of environment agency Natural Resources Wales as a space for struggling veterans to enjoy a peaceful break
A spokesperson from NRW said they had ‘very positive meeting’ with Mr Allen about opportunities for how the land can be used to help rehabilitate military veterans
Mr Allen added there will be be mental health specialists available should veterans need help.
He said: ‘After leaving the army, I had some serious mental health issues and other problems. I struggled for a very, very long time and things weren’t working.
‘Things continued to go downhill so I ended up going up the mountain and started building.
‘The cabin started as a shelter but turned into something really special. It was healing me. It gave me cover from the elements, focus, and a sense of accomplishment whilst appreciating the landscape.
A spokesperson from NRW said they had ‘very positive meeting’ with Mr Allen about opportunities for how the land can be used to help rehabilitate military veterans.
The spokesperson said: ‘People who are active and enjoy the outdoors are more likely to live longer, healthier and happier.
‘We help people get out and enjoy our fantastic natural environment, and support communities and partners to improve access and facilities.’