Hazelnut’s Kingdom is a 5-region estate held by Noubeil (noubeil Alpha) and landscaped by Dandy Warhlol (terry Fotherington) I was invited to tour some time ago – so my apologies to Noubeil for only now getting to write about it.
Drawing its name from Noubeillane – “Hazelnut” in Occitan – the estate presents a highly immersive interpretation of the Ariège Pyrenees, together with the coast of southern France, that is utterly breath-taking.
Offered as a public / private estate, the estate can be enjoyed by anyone with a love of nature and natural settings, but those wish to avail themselves of all of its facilities: rezzing rights; the ability to set home within the the estate’s public spaces; the use of group-owned items in the estate (including horses and boats), should consider a visit to the group membership area and pay L$500 to join the estate group.
Some 12 locations are available for rent across the estate, featuring houses that are in keeping with the overall theme. Most are located either on the small islands to the east of the estate, or in the western uplands. They vary in rental price, and at the time of my last visit, all but four were occupied.
The preferred landing point lies to the south-east, in a corner of the estate’s coastline alongside a small harbour. A greeter will supply various links to places such as the estate’s website and rentals page, etc., while a teleport board offers a quick way of reaching the two major public venues as well as some of the rentals (please be careful with the latter as the properties are likely occupied).
A pair of gates provide access to north running path that passes behind the local stables to come by way of river, wharves, and trail to the local town, fronted by a golden sanded beach and watched over by a medieval church with a commanding view across the estate’s northern lowlands from its perch up on a headland.
Here there is much to see, with multiple trails offering routes around the headland and its church or that climb the slopes on which the town has been built and then roll into the lands beyond, with their mix of rocky foothills, sloping fields tumbling stream and waterfront and hillside villages. Backed by high mountains to the west that represent the Pyrenees, this northern aspect of the estate is quintessentially southern France with just a touch of northern Italy – something again totally in keeping with its Occitania roots.
More public spaces are to be found here, including a stage for open-air music performances – music is very much a part of Hazelnut’s Kingdom – and off to the western foothill, the high stone walls and stern towers of a high castle – one of the best integrations of the Fanatik design I’ve seen in a while; so good in fact, that I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned up in one of the many scenic aerial shots that grace television coverage of the Tour de France each year!
The western highlands also offer a lot to explore, as the trails running to and from the castle and through the woodland below it are only too eager to reveal. Some of the large rental properties are to be found in these uplands, together with high lakes, tumbling streams, a cable ride up to to a high plateau, and even a walk up to snowy uplands – so take a coat and suitable walking gear!
The two most notable public spaces in the estate lie to the south, occupying another flat table of rock, one that rises from the landing point mentioned earlier, and connected to it by a winding path that connects to the great chateau that crowns the rock. This is home to grand rooms and a stables on the lower level and, on the upper, The Queen’s Bar.
Sitting quite literally below the chateau, and reached via a path that hugs the foot of the plateau and which starts a little set back from the landing point, is The Owl Club, a venue hewn from the living rock, a little Tuscan-style setting located just outside to add some further atmosphere. Also, keep an eye out for the other caverns nearby!
Immersive and photogenic, Hazelnut’s Kingdom is an engaging visit, although time is required to do the estate proper justice. Also, even the depth of detail involved, some adjustment to the viewer will likely be required for those on mid-ot-lower-spec systems.