It’s always worth reading the small print — and the small print for stays at Rushford Shepherd's Hut states that a cockerel lives in the chicken coop next door. That means, of course, that you may be woken early by a cock-a-doodle-doo. It’s intended as a warning for those who love a lie-in but for others it’s headline good news and the perfect way to wake up here, in the rural heartland of Dartmoor National Park.
This place will suit couples who love the outdoors — with or without dogs and babies in tow. It’s a lone shepherd's hut in its own little garden, surrounded by apple trees, wildflowers and clucking chickens in the corner of a field that’s occasionally grazed by sheep. The River Teign babbles away close by and the within-walking-distance attractions include a river-fed swimming pool, a deer park and a market town with butchers, bakers and a 13th-century inn.
Rushford Shepherd's Hut is the work of Tim and Rachel who live a few steps away on the edge of the town of Chagford. It’s a fully self-contained tiny home with a charm you won’t find elsewhere. Part of that is down to the setting ,l but it’s also due to the fact that it’s been handbuilt by Tim. A skylight in the roof is one of its unique highlights, as is its clever folding double bed. There’s a log burner, an equipped kitchenette and an en suite shower room with a compost loo. Outside in the garden, there’s a fire pit, a gas barbecue and a hammock.
It’s a lovely place to sit back and relax but you’ll want to explore the area, too. You can walk into Chagford in 10 minutes on the road or take the scenic route along the river. From there, head for the hills and magnificent views, or treat yourself to a homemade ice cream in town. In the other direction, you can stroll for a dip in Chagford’s outdoor swimming pool, or walk further to a nearby deer park, to the ancient woodland surrounding Fingle Bridge, or to Castle Drogo with its magnificent garden and valley views. Evenings mean campfires and barbecues before sleepy-eyed stargazing through that skylight in the roof of your hut. Some might want to draw the blind to shut out the light (and they can) while others — those who’ll enjoy this place most — will think it’s the perfect way to drift off to sleep here in the rural heartland of Dartmoor National Park.