South Downs shepherds hut, nr Hambledon, England
Two night minimum stay. Available 20 Mar–31 Oct Per night: Low season: Sun-Thur: £90 Fri/Sat: £120 Mid season: Sun-Thur: £99 Fri/Sat: £132 High season: Sun-Thur: £120 Fri/Sat: £132
Description of South Downs shepherds hut, nr Hambledon, England
These absolutely charming shepherds’ huts combine the comfort and cosiness of a cottage with the freedom and exhilaration of the great outdoors. With a back to basics approach, you will find yourself sitting back and relaxing in this quiet corner of Hampshire, just a mile from the village of Hambledon. Whether you choose to laze in your hut, cook on the campfire or explore the surrounding countryside, your time away will be memorable.
The huts are fantastic not only when the British summer isn’t going quite to plan, but also in the spring and autumn, when the wood-stoves will keep you snug and warm. This pocket of the South Downs National Park has so much to offer, starting with three highly recommended trails; The South Downs Way, The Monarch’s Way and The Wayfarer’s Walk. Hambledon village, known as the ‘cradle of cricket’, is just a 20 minute walk and The Sustainability Centre at East Meon is just 2½ miles away. Butser Ancient Farm and Queen Elizabeth Country Park are also close by. A little further afield lie the cathedral cities of Winchester and Chichester, the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth and the sandy beaches of West Wittering.
Rooms, food and facilities
Butser shepherds hut sleeps two in a cosy, built-in double bed. There is a fully equipped kitchen with a wood burning stove and oven, a pull-out table, chairs, cool box and plenty of hanging and storage space. Campfire cooking equipment is also provided, along with a supply of logs.
The hut takes you back to basics, but in a nice way! You'll be snug and relaxed in luxurious cotton bedding, but you will not have electricity! Lanterns and candles provide the lighting. There are two hot showers in a separate shepherd's hut, along with two cleverly designed composting toilets.
Children are more than welcome, as are up to two well behaved dogs. Pets are to be kept on leads.
The following food basics are included: tea, coffee, biscuits, sugar, 1 pint of milk, cooking oil, pasta, porridge oats, local honey, salt and pepper. Bed linen, towels and tea towels, soap, shampoo, a wash jug and bowl, loo roll, washing-up liquid, bowl and brush are all provided. All you need to bring are your clothes and a toothbrush!
Bikes are available to hire onsite: one day hire at £15, two or more days is £15 for the first day then £6 each day after that.
Breakfast baskets are available for £25 and will easily feed 2 people. The basket will contain locally sourced ingredients including bacon, sausages, eggs, milk, butter, homemade bread and apple juice. A first night supper is also available from 10.00 per person. Breakfasts and suppers need to be booked in advance.
The shepherd's huts are available from 18th March to 31st October. Sorry, but due to planning conditions, the site has to close during the winter.
How to find us
The nearest train station is Petersfield (9miles) where direct trains run to London Waterloo, Woking, Guildford and Portsmouth.
Alex offers a pick up service from the train station or from the nearest point on the South Downs Way.
The nearest bus stop is in Hambledon, 1 mile away by footpath and there is a regular bus service to Portsmouth.
From the A3 southbound
After passing Petersfield and Queen Elizabeth Country Park, take the turning signposted Clanfield, Chalton, Hambledon and Butser Hill. Follow the slip road round to the left and back over the A3. At the mini-roundabout, turn left towards Clanfield and Hambledon. Follow the road for 1.5 miles to Clanfield.
At Clanfield, follow the road into the village and round a sharp left-hand bend by The Rising Sun pub. Continue past a parade of shops on the left (note the line of take-aways which may come in handy during your stay). About 100 yards after the shops and opposite the vintage Jaguar showroom, take the turning on the right, signposted Hambledon and heading up-hill. Continue on this road for about 2.5 miles, passing the Bat and Ball pub along the way.
About 1.5 miles after the pub and before reaching Hambledon, look out for a farm and a long low flint wall on your right. Immediately after the wall ends, take the turning on the right, signposted Droxford and Corhampton. This is Brook Lane.
After a short way, go past the cricket club entrance on your right, after which the road dips down hill and round to the left, passing a turning to Chidden before going up hill again. At the top of the hill and just as the roadside hedge on the right ends, look out for the Wriggly Tin signboard and a farm track on the right. Go down the track and turn left towards the row of farm cottages. A speed limit of 5 mph applies from here on.
Follow the track past the back of the cottages and, just as you enter the woods, turn left again. Take care, as the track then turns sharply right and can be slippery when wet. Continue for 200 yards through the woods until you reach a clearing. Journey’s end and time for a brew, or maybe something stronger.
PlanetThe shepherd’s huts are built to an authentic 19th Century design by Plankbridge in Dorset. Plankbridge hand build and restore huts with a small team of local craftspeople, who use traditional craftsmanship skills. Although the huts were built by Plankbridge, Alex has designed and crafted both interiors. Keeping the authentic theme going, most of the kitchen accessories and furnishings were sourced or found locally. Alex has also restored a 100-year-old hut that used to work on a Quaker farm near Winchester. Keeping the authenticity of the shepherd’s huts is important, especially as they originated in the South Downs.
At the site there is no electricity, so the wood burners serve as a means of cooking and keeping warm. There are composting loos onsite. Breakfast ingredients are almost all sourced locally. The sausages, bacon and eggs come from Hyden Farm just a few miles down the road and apple juice is from Hill Farm just 5 miles away. The tranquil and secluded location means you are more than likely to see deer, rabbits, plenty of bird species and possibly badgers in the woodland.
PeopleHambledon village is just a mile away and takes 20 minutes to walk to via a footpath. Hambledon is a thriving community and is best known as the ‘cradle of cricket’ because it’s where the original rules of the game were drawn up. Hambledon cricket club is thought to be one of the oldest clubs known, being formed in 1750.
Guests are always encouraged to stay local for both supplies and dining out. There is plenty of selection in Hambledon, with The Vine pub in the village and The Bat and Ball just 2 miles away. This pub has a wealth of cricketing memorabilia and also serves a delicious meal. The Peoples Market is the shop in Hambledon where you can get newspapers, groceries and a few other essential supplies. Another great place within walking distance is The Sustainability Centre in East Meon. You can learn about sustainable forestry and also rest your weary feet with a cup of tea.
Having spent the past few years getting the huts up and running Alex has had little time to focus on other things. However, he has plans to start running courses onsite; various local people have expressed interest that they would like to run 2 day courses on various traditional skills, from cross stitching to woodland coppicing. Alex has also received a grant towards a larger shepherd’s hut that can accommodate a family of up to five, or four adults.
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