A romantic shepherd's hut with a wood-fired hot tub; soak under Somerset's star-filled skies
It’s not often you find luxury in a field. But that’s exactly what this gorgeous shepherd hut in Somerset’s Blackdown Hills offers. With colourful furnishings by British designers, Cowshed toiletries and a hairdryer, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a boutique hotel. There are magazines to browse, specialist oils and vinegars to cook with, even – the icing on the homemade cake – an alfresco bathtub where you can bubble under away starry skies.
Just 2.5 hours from London, this is a place to take stock and seriously relax. Views stretch forever, and countryside paths lead right from your hut’s door… but you’ll be forgiven if you only stroll as far as the Candelight Inn for a local ale. Return home and stoke up the BBQ – you can ask the owners for burgers from their farm: Dexter beef or lamb with fresh mint. Best eaten as the sun sets on the hills and owls begin to hoot.
Getting here: drive or train to Taunton/Crewkerne and take a taxi (25 mins)
Everything in the hut is UK artisan made or vintage; dishcloths are knitted locally and cleaning products are eco friendly. The owners encourage people to eat in season and produce their own eggs, bacon and sausages. Wood for the burners comes from their own trees, and they replant to replace them. Full recycling is in place, and all food waste is composted.
- You’re in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with foot and cycle trails leading straight out from the farm (maps provided). Ask Emma to pack you lunch in a vintage hamper and picnic in an ancient woodland or wildflower meadow.
- The owners maintain wildlife corridors throughout their 15 acres of land, which means you’ll see lots of butterflies and hear endless bird calls and songs, even from the hut.
- Try clay shooting at Wellington shooting school (20 mins’ drive), run by Olympic medallist Edward Ling’s family.
- Wander down country lanes to the Candelight Inn, which has a range of gins and West Country beers, and an excellent gastro menu. Save room for the sublime sticky toffee pudding with salted popcorn and hazelnut ice cream.
- Barrington Court is close; an impressive Tudor Manor, where Wolf Hall was filmed. Emma recommends the ‘have a go’ pottery days here; throw a bowl then reward yourself with a traditional cream tea.
- Spend a day on the Jurassic Coast. Hunt for fossils on Charmouth Beach, zip to Axminster for lunch at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage, then spend a lazy afternoon in Lyme Regis, with its curve of pretty Georgian houses and famous Cobb harbour.