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Get your creative juices flowing and take life a little easier, in a handcrafted earthhouse sustainably situated in rural Herefordshire.

If you're a fan of the Channel 4 TV show Grand Designs, then there may be something very familiar about On the Hill. Indeed, the breathtaking home was part of the longest-running Grand Designs ever...with presenter Kevin McCloud admitting that he didn't think owners Ed and Rowena would "pull this off"!

In fact, not only is the stunning family home featured on the show complete, but Ed has continued to design beautifully original houses for the secluded Herefordshire smallholding, set on rural Orcop Hill. The DugOut, a creative turf-roofed, handcrafted earthhouse set by the woodland, is ideal for couples in need of a romantic break amongst nature.

Nestled within the hill and featuring magnificent views both inside and out, the DugOut not only overlooks its own private garden, but you'll be greeted each day by vast, far-reaching scenery that takes in three green counties.

Step inside The DugOut, and you'll find plenty to remind you of what made the Grand Designs feature so captivating - including the cut stone floor, shaved hedgerow timbers and woven wood lattice, all creative ideas that were later used in Ed and Rowena's TV-featured family home.  

The DugOut represents a genuine labour of love, and you'll find a whole wealth of unique additions inside that include a book-encased double roll-top bath, copper and zinc piping, and a beautiful roundwood chestnut king-sized bed...hand-made by Ed to complement the curves of the round bedroom.  

You'll find everything you need here for a refreshing stay, in which every detail has been carefully thought about. Crisp linen, handmade soaps and fluffy towels are all provided, along with kitchen essentials and even a few treats to greet you on arrival!  

While WiFi is available if needed, The DugOut has been created for you to unplug from stressful daily life, with firm emphasis on sustainability. If you're worried about switching off your phone, you'll find a landline inside the DugOut - so you can relax in tech-free comfort, contactable only when it's really necessary. What better excuse to curl up beside the crackling log burner by evening, and reconnect with your loved one over a glass or two of wine?

Meanwhile, Ed and Rowena are dedicated to tending the land around them, taking care of the flourishing fruit and vegetable gardens and the many friendly animals you'll meet during your stay...perhaps on your way to the onsite Tump Shop for fresh breakfast supplies!

If you're feeling inspired, why not take part in an onsite craft workshop or customisable smallholding session, to really get under the skin of Ed and Rowena's inventive and refreshing way of life? You're also very welcome to join them for a cup of tea in the family home...that is, when you're not sunning yourselves in your private garden, complete with barbecue and firepit!  

Meanwhile, for those who prefer to get out and about, there are plenty of walking and cycling routes in the area, along with pretty market towns and local pubs to visit. There are also regular culture-steeped festivals held in the area, from the famed Hay Book Festival and the Abergavenny Food Festival, to the Green Man Music Festival, held close to nearby Brecon.

Return home reconnected and refreshed, with a free mind and a roaming imagination - all it takes is a romantic break spent On the Hill!  

Things to note

Not suitable for children or pets. There is space for one infant at no extra charge - please bring your own travel cot. Minimum booking period is 2 nights midweek and 3 nights at weekends. Check in is 3pm, check out is 11am.

Tried and tested

"Fabulous place, really peaceful, better than ‘home from home.' So loved all the design features. Thank you so much for a wonderful wedding anniversary experience. We''ll be back and will promote it. Good luck with the venture."
Sarah and Ed

"The Dug Out combines fairy-tale magic and delight with comfort and cosiness. Rowena thoughtfully leaves treats including home-made cake, jam, and delicious organic bread, and the Tump shop is close by for other provisions. You can enjoy all of this while taking in the panoramic view in your private garden and admiring the wonderful structure of this unique house. Rowena and Ed couldn't be more welcoming and  charming hosts, and are happy to show you the animals and share their experiences of building the Dug Out. Heath Robinson would have felt very much at home here and so did we as we discovered all the beautifully crafted fittings that Ed has fashioned. This is a very special place and we left full of admiration and wonder for what they have achieved."
Mary and Chris Moreton

"We LOVE the Dugout. We must have spent the first hour just looking at all the quirky and imaginative elements around the house, from the light switches to the magnificent bed (made even more impressive after Ed's workshop - really seeing the work involved in creating these pieces). We found the Dugout so cosy - and not much is better after a long drive than relaxing in front of a fire and eating homemade brownies... although a candlelit bath with a view and the luxurious pillow laden bed came close.
It was nice to be able to pick a couple of ready meals for supper from the Tump Shop and have the wherewithal for breakfast (lovely homemade bread) without having to bring our own. It all adds to the relaxing time. The craft workshop was super - having a go with the froe and in-shave was really interesting."
Sue & Archie

Save 20% on last minute bookings (around two weeks notice) - use the 'enquire to book' form and mention Host Unusual.Premier host
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The basics

Region: Orcop Hill, Herefordshire
Cost (from): £195 per night (offpeak)
Sleeps: 2
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Minimum stay: 2 nights (midweek)
Property ref: 874

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Sleeps 2, king-size bed, bedding & towels provided, private bathroom, shower, separate roll-top bathtub & library room, fully equipped kitchen, kitchen equipment, electric range cooker, microwave, kettle, toaster, fridge, freezer, wood burner, large log basket, electric heater & lighting, lounge area, flat screen TV, DVD, Sonos sound system, games, books, WiFi, private garden, garden furniture, fire pit, BBQ.

Local activities

Arts & crafts, painting, pottery, woodwork & smallholding workshops, walking, cycling, market towns, festivals.

At a glance

  • A sustainable smallholding on Orcop Hill, Herefordshire, once featured on TV's Grand Designs. Ideal for rural romantic breaks, the self-contained The DugOut is a unique, turf-roofed circular earthhouse for two.
  • Secure parking is available at the property. Please note that there are many free-roaming animals on the smallholding and as such, children and dogs are not permitted.
  • There are many unique features in The DugOut, including a book-clad double roll-top bath, and a hand-made curved king-sized bed. Access to a furnished private garden is included.
  • Take part in on-site craft workshops and smallholding sessions, or take one of the many walking or cycling routes the area has to offer. There is a small shop onsite for fresh local produce and essential holiday items.
  • Flowers, chocolates, cakes, ice buckets and candles can all be arranged to celebrate a special occasion...just ask!

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The DugOut
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Host Unusual Limited
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