Kooky, romantic eco-cabin: escape the world with someone special
Entirely off grid, this revamped 1880s train carriage sits on the edge of Ashdown Forest, without a neighbour in sight. It’s a place to turn off your phone and really delight in the pleasures of simple living. Walk around the lake admiring autumnal colours, play music, drink coffee, slow down. Despite arriving in a rainstorm on a dark, windy November evening, we were instantly enchanted: magically lit by lanterns and toasty warm, cosy doesn’t come close to describing it. And if it’s this good amidst thunder, imagine how special it’d be on a sunny day.
In keeping with the quirky, the bathroom is outdoors, which daunted us before we arrived but we actually loved the adventure of chopping wood and making a fire to warm the water (easy and quick). There’s something utterly exhilarating about a hot alfresco bath when it’s cold outside and in the summer months you can simply dive off the jetty for your daily wash. We stayed for two nights and didn’t leave once, not wanting to break the spell of feeling like we were the only people in the world. Unforgettable.
Getting here: drive or train to East Grinstead/Haywards Heath and the owner can collect you.
The cabin itself is an upcycled old train carriage, and many of its furnishings (inside and out) were built by the owner, using wood from his woodland. It’s entirely off grid; water heated via fire, gas hob and oven, vintage fridge/freezer with iceblocks.
- The 6,000 acre Ashdown Forest is right on your doorstep, offering wonderful walking and cycling.
- And the infamous Pooh Bridge for Poohsticks and busloads of tourists.
- Drift across the lake in the tiny rowing boat, and feed bits of bread to the enormous carp
- Listen out for woodpeckers and use the binoculars to spy buzzards wheeling overhead in the thermals.
- Walk to The Griffin Inn in Fletching (30 mins) for delicious modern European seasonal food: rack of lamb with aubergine puree, crab linguine, that sort of thing.
- Day trip to South Downs National Park (rolling green hills, wild orchids and a chalky coastline that includes the famous ‘Seven Sisters’).
- Medieval Lewes is lovely, home to the Charleston art gallery (former hangout of the Bloomsbury set), a long high street of independents, and a superb cinema, The Depot.