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Shepherds huts in the Cotswolds

Posted: Mon, 8th Nov 2021
Tudor Oak, Bolthole Retreats

Today, newly built and refurbished shepherd huts provide the perfect romantic, countryside sanctuary for couples wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. These tiny homes are both adorable and practical, and a thoughtfully designed shepherds hut will ensure your stress melts away as soon as you cross the threshold. A shepherds hut will have a comfy double bed, fully equipped kitchenette, ensuite shower room (no traipsing out in the night!), plenty of storage, sometimes a log burner, and increasingly more often – a dedicated hot tub.

Three shepherd huts have just joined our growing portfolio of properties. Tudor Oak and Under the Walnut Tree, both with a hot tub and overlooking the Painswick Valley near Stroud, and Outbak Shepherds Hut with a hot tub in Hailes, close to Winchcombe and Hailes Abbey.

Tudor Oak

Tudor Oak is a contemporary, Douglas fir-clad shepherds hut with a distinctly Scandi feel. It has its own wood-fired, spring-fed hot tub set on a lovely patio in a breathtakingly beautiful spot with uninterrupted views down the Painswick Valley – one of the ever-popular Stroud Valleys.

Tudor Oak is slightly bigger than most shepherd huts, providing room for a king-size bed on a raised platform, which can be accessed from both sides via concealed steps. Above the bed is a handy shelf lined with LED candles and a double power point – both practical and romantic. Under the bed, there’s plenty of storage and a dining table that slides out. The very well-appointed kitchenette features a dual-ring induction hob, combi-microwave, butler sink, a fridge with a freezer compartment and a worktop space to prepare meals. A latched door opens to a luxurious shower room with a full-size cubicle shower, toilet, washbasin with vanity unit, and mirror and a heated towel rail.

Perhaps though, the pièce de résistance is the fabulous view across the garden from the double French windows to the valley beyond and that amazing hot tub bubbling Cotswold spring water.

Under the Walnut Tree

Under the Walnut Tree is a retro, refurbished shepherds hut in a fabulously romantic setting with far-reaching views down the Painswick Valley. During warmer months, Under the Walnut Tree has the use of a fantastic spring-fed heated outdoor swimming pool, while during colder weather guests can snuggle up inside, enjoying the warmth from the little log burner.

To one end there’s a double bed on a raised platform with two windows – bringing an altogether other meaning to a room with a view. A cleverly designed table slides out from below the bed and has cushioned bench seating to either side, while the kitchenette has a double gas hob, a sink (under a wooden worktop), and an electric cooler box. Head through a latched door next to the kitchen area into a compact shower room with a cubicle shower and toilet.

Outside, there’s a gorgeous south-facing garden with a BBQ, fire pit, picnic table, two armchairs and a romantic double swing where you can rock to the sounds of wildlife in the daytime and gaze up at the starry skies wrapped in a blanket at night – one thing you won’t find here is light pollution.

Outbak Shepherds Hut

Outbak Shepherds Hut is a beautiful, newly constructed retreat with a fabulous view of the hills beyond, which guests can enjoy while sitting on the deck or in its private wood-fired hot tub.

Inside, to one end of this charming shepherds hut, there is a king-size bed with plenty of storage space, and a living area with two easy chairs, and a dining area with a table and two chairs. The streamlined kitchenette comes next and is equipped with a hob, microwave, fridge freezer, Belfast sink, toaster, kettle and much more. At the far end is a sleek and spacious shower room with a rainfall shower, toilet, and oval hand basin with storage beneath. Outbak has central heating too, so even in the coldest of weather you’ll stay warm and toasty inside.

The Cotswold Way footpath is less than half a mile away, and guests can often see the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway puffing gently by, as they relax in the hot tub.

Common shepherd hut questions

Q. Where did shepherd huts originate from?

A: Shepherd huts are thought to have been around since the late 1500s, probably far longer than most people would think. They were originally designed for shepherds to take shelter from the changeable weather and to rest overnight during the lambing season. Inside there would have been a bed, a sitting area, a basic stove and storage cupboards to keep essentials and medicines for the flock. The bed was usually raised, providing a warm space underneath for sick or orphaned lambs. A shepherds hut was always, and still is, on wheels so that the shepherd could move the hut around according to his flock’s grazing pattern. Gradually over the 20th and 21st centuries, as farms increased in size and landowners built large barns for their sheep, shepherds didn’t need to sleep out with their flocks and their lovely huts fell into disuse. Some were pushed into corners and used for storage, others were left to crumble, but a lucky few were tucked away for future use and inspiration.

Q. Why have shepherd huts become so popular?

A: Over the last couple of years, there has been a surge in interest and demand for tiny homes, with shepherd huts being the perfect example of one such miniature abode. What’s fuelled this surge? On one hand, it’s probably due to the desire to have a lower carbon footprint and reduce home running costs for those that aspire to live permanently in a small space, but it’s also because many people have discovered they make great workspaces, playrooms and extra bedrooms. Featuring on just about every home renovation programme, including George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, will undoubtedly have helped propel them into our souls.

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