It is only a matter of time before there are more shepherd’s huts in the UK than actual shepherds. The glamping staycation trend is showing no signs of slowing; the urge to get back to nature has never been stronger. Glamping stays are often a more eco-friendly option than a classic hotel or rental stay, and they don’t mean compromising on comfort, either. The ultimate example of the latter can be found at Peter De Savary’s Dittisham Hideaway Treehouses and Shepherd’s Huts retreat in Devon. Rebecca Cox checks it out for Country & Town House…
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Dittisham Hideaway Treehouses and Shepherd’s Huts Review, Devon
New for 2022 at Dittisham Hideaway in Devon are five double-sized luxury shepherd’s huts, which join four family-friendly treehouse huts nestled amongst the, well, trees, and one American Airstream caravan set on its own for a fun and peaceful break. The treehouses sleep two adults and up to three children, the airstream is perfect for two, like the huts, which all sleep two, apart from one that has an extra private mini shepherd’s hut with four bunk beds for children, allowing a family of six to enjoy a get away together.
We stayed in a hut, which are custom built and designed; they’re wider and longer than the average so a lengthier stay is just as appealing as a quick overnighter or weekend break. Just as well, since the minimum stay is three nights. The double bed faces one end of the hut with space and cupboards either side, unlike most huts where the bed occupies the entire width of the abode. A breakfast bar backs on to the bed, with a mini lounge area sitting between the ‘bedroom’ and kitchen area, so even if the weather lets you down, there’s indoor space to relax in. Interiors are bright and cheerful to match the individually coloured exteriors, with kitsch yellow floral blinds against chic chalk-blue painted wood, leather directors’ chairs and pale pink sheepskin rugs. The bathroom is surprisingly spacious, there is elbow room in the shower and plenty of shelves for filling with lotions and potions.
Inside the huts
Each hut has its own private terrace, with the tiered layout ensuring the hut in front doesn’t spoil your view, or overlook your terrace. The terrace plays host to a wood-fired hot tub (more of a wooden spa bath), BBQ, firepit, dining table and deck chairs. (The latter three should keep you busy during the four hours your spa pool takes to heat.)
If you’ve come to Devon to get away from it all, the peace and quiet of your hut might be all you’re looking for. You’d be forgiven for taking this pursuit seriously and going no further than the edge of the property’s woodland walk, particularly if the hair-raising single-lane track down to the retreat has put you off exploring the area by car.
If you do decide to brave the roads, Dartmouth is a historic and popular town at the mouth of the River Dart, and is just a 10 minute drive away. If it’s the beach you crave, Blackpool Sands is a stunning private shingle beach 15 minutes away, the parking will set you back £9 for the day but there’s plenty of space, crystal clear waters and everything you need for fun in the sun.
And if you do prefer to explore by foot, prepare for hills, and to throw yourself into the occasional hedge away from a combine harvester. Dittisham is a mile away and one of the prettiest riverside spots the county has to offer. The sleepy village has just one hub of activity besides the bustling quay (where you can get a ferry to Dartmouth); the Red Lion pub, which is also the post office, and the grocery store (with prices that will make even Londoners’ eyes water).
At the aforementioned bustling Dittisham quay you’ll find the Ferry Boat Inn, surely the prettiest pub in the country with its pink façade and plentiful hanging baskets. The pub’s pizzas are popular, and they also offer takeaway, so you can enjoy one out by the riverside. The Anchorstore café across the road is also a beautiful spot to enjoy some local seafood, pick up gear for crabbing or an ice cream to go. It’s extremely popular so if you’re visiting in the summer, book early.
THE FINAL WORD
The treehouses start at £250 per night in low season, the air stream and shepherd’s huts at £195 per night in low season with 3-night minimum stays | dittishamhideaway.co.uk
Eco initiatives include recycling via the waste centre, eco-friendly toiletries, electric vehicle charging points, recycled coffee pods and on-site garden with seasonal herbs and vegetables for guests to enjoy. More on ecotourism.
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