Farming life, though charming, invigorating and rustic, is well-known to be hard work.
But what if we revealed that you could enjoy plenty of farm-fresh air and views of stirring green pastures… not only without lifting so much as a finger, but also whilst relaxing in stylish and romantic accommodation?
With Host Unusual’s truly beautiful selection of Shepherds’ Huts and Living Vans, you can enjoy the very best of both worlds – acres of rural tranquillity, blended with the kind of luxury you’d expect from a plush hotel suite.
Let’s begin with a quick history lesson… just what exactly are shepherds’ huts and living vans, anyway?
Sleepy shepherds – the historical heritage of farmland living
Shepherds’ huts were being built as far back as the sixteenth century, providing their hard-working dwellers with practical and durable comfort in the great outdoors.
Originally built on the farms themselves, the huts were crafted from materials that were easily to hand, by whomever had the ability to create them. Farms that housed a resident carpenter, for example, would have built wooden huts, whilst those with a blacksmith may have chosen metal instead.
Cleverly designed, the huts incorporated a kitchen, dining room, bedroom and lounge all blended cosily together, with plenty of space for a warming stove! It was essential for the shepherd to keep an eye and an ear on his flock, so windows would be included on both sides of the hut, whilst the door would always be positioned away from the battering wind.
Meanwhile, cast-iron wheels were always used, so the hut could properly withstand movement from field to field.
Living vans were developed from shepherds’ wagons, and were portable caravans used to follow flocks as they moved between pastures. Originally horse-drawn, the mainly wooden vans evolved to be pulled by farming machinery, including traction engines and steam rollers. They were typically inhabited by seasonal labourers… and even a few chickens, in some cases!
As the advent of electrical power and technology reached even the remotest of farms, authentic use of shepherds’ huts and living vans began to dwindle. Happily, they’ve since been enjoying a whole new lease of life as luxury and stylish accommodation… perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life!
So now you know all about the history of these fascinating living spaces, how about a quick tour of some of Host Unusual’s very best?
Sumptuous Shepherds’ Huts
We begin at the end of a country lane, on a tranquil Derbyshire farm in the heart of the Peak District – the idyllic setting for Haddy’s Hut, an exquisitely-crafted and irresistibly romantic retreat for two.
Surround yourselves with old-time tradition and contemporary luxury, with views of gently grazing sheep while you warm your toes with the hut’s underfloor heating! You’ll even find a flushing toilet and a fully fitted bathroom, for a dose of pastoral indulgence that simply can’t be matched.
Drifting away on a cloud is effortlessly easy with a stay at Counting Sheep Shepherd’s Hut, a Somerset hideaway for two that represents the perfect rustic escape from everyday life.
Full to the brim with natural luxury, the hut is insulated with sheep’s wool to keep you wonderfully toasty, with light, clean-lined décor throughout and plenty of thoughtful touches… including a barbecue for al fresco feasts under the stars.
For larger groups, eco-friendly Into The Woods, a sanctuary found on the refreshing Isle of Wight, is home to the Shepherd’s Hideaway, comprising four rooms individually housed in oak-clad shepherds’ huts. The Shepherd’s Hideaway is set in its own private paddock, and sleeps up to six people.
You’ll not only find everything you need for a stylish and natureful break in the great outdoors, but you can also relax in the knowledge that your carbon footprint will be minimal. Eco-friendly products are provided in the kitchen and bathroom areas, and there are composting areas throughout the site.
How about spending some time Down on the Farm? A friendly, family-run clifftop farm in Aberdeenshire to be exact, where you’ll discover the Harvest Hut, an off-grid home-from-home that sleeps up to three people.
Once inhabited by farm workers, the Harvest Hut carries plenty of characterful hints of its former life throughout – with an abundance of modern touches and vibrant furnishings that make it an irresistibly cosy and comfortable getaway.
Luxurious Living Vans
The Nut Plat Retreat is our peaceful destination – two boutique living vans (lovingly named Ransoms and Bomford), each inhabiting their own private space, nestled within an ancient orchard in the beautiful Kent countryside.
The living vans are a special part of local industrial heritage, originally pulled behind steam rollers as roads were repaired, and were occupied by both men and chickens on occasion! Reassuringly static (and feather-free) these days, and surrounded by lambs and farmyard animals for neighbours, you’ll discover a whole new world of countryside comfort.
High Cross Coach and Living Van, tucked away in the Dorset countryside, is perfect for a rural break that’s refreshingly out of the ordinary!
An authentic Edwardian living van, painted in riotous red and green, is the perfect partner to the Camping Coach, a cosy Victorian railway carriage that sleep two apiece. Both are set side-by side in a private garden, and are crammed with creature comforts.
The Living Van dates back to 1906, and once provided steam roller-pulled accommodation for road menders. In these modern times its westward position is perfect for capturing blazing orange sunsets, while a wood-burning stove keeps you blissfully cosy.
If you’ve enjoyed this rurally revitalising taste of farm life, why not head along to our dedicated Shepherds’ Huts and Living Vans category – where you’ll soon be converted to a life lived on luxurious wheels!