A YOUNG teacher who poured his life savings into building a woodland retreat has been left devastated after arsonists destroyed it.

Tim Sands, 24, who lives on-site at Sedbergh School, spent £7,000 and weeks of his time building the hut last year in the forest close to Hazelrigg Lane, Newby Bridge.

It was featured in an episode of Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces in December, 2012.

But on Wednesday night last week it was torched to the ground, taking with it both expensive tools and sentimental items that had belonged to his grandad when he first moved to the Lake District.

The wooden building, built with the help of friends, was uninsured, and the blaze is thought to have caused around £25,000 worth of damage.

Since completing the pro-ject, Tim has spent time there with friends, saying the hut was ‘built with laughter’.

“I’m still paying off debts to the woodyards so it will be a while before I can rebuild it and I’m worried it will just happen again. Plus a lot of things just cannot be replaced. I’m not an emotional person but I shed a tear and I was shaking when I found out.

He worked and saved from part-time jobs before landing the design and technology teaching job in September 2011.

Because his role at Sedbergh involved living on site, he wanted to invest in land or property ‘with a difference’, so that he would have something unique to pass on to his children.

Cumbria Police and Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service are jointly investigating the fire, which they described as ‘suspicious’.

A spokesman for the police said that the fire began some time before 9pm on January 30 and a passing motorist raised the alarm.

Police are now investigating and are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious in the area to come forward and contact PC Jonathan Murray on 101.