My husband (Stefan) and I recently spent a night at Elmley nature reserve. Elmley is a family farm and set in a 3,200 acre national nature reserve. It holds a special place in our hearts as it has a lot of family history. My family used to farm the land and years later Stefan’s Auntie lived there. With our ties to the area, we got married at Elmley in the barn just over six years ago.
We had special permission to get married there due to the family connection. Since then, husband and wife; Gareth and Georgina have ran the business and now take bookings for many weddings a year. They have also restored and transformed the surrounding area and now have unique accommodation to stay in.
There are five different huts to choose from as well as a cottage for larger parties. We booked to stay for one night in Vanellus £110 per night. The hut was decorated beautifully with quirky touches including and ash branch bed frame and reclaimed wood floors. The attention to detail was excellent and it was cosy and comfortable.
We were given a warm welcome and shown to our hut. Ours was the closest to the barn but still felt so peaceful and secluded. Upon arrival there was a storm. Something my Nan used to do when we were younger is make us sit on her door step and watch when there was a storm, so I always enjoy it now (I only found out recently it was because she was afraid and she didn’t want us to be too). I found it surprising how warm it was inside considering the weather, and I spent the time relaxing and reading a book until the weather improved.
Once the rain had stopped, we went for a walk around the countryside. It was lovely to explore and be surrounded by nature, from the cheeky cows that make the drive down seem like a safari, to Hares, owls, birds of prey and wading birds. There are lots of trails to follow and four hides to walk to.
In the evening we had opted to have a meal £18 per person delivered to our hut. We had spinach, butternut squash and feta filo pie, which was delicious. After dinner we sat outside out hut and toasted marshmallows on the fire pit.
After the best nights sleep I have had in a long time (the bed was very comfy), breakfast was delivered. A choice of bacon or egg sandwiches £7.50 per person can be ordered to your hut with tea or coffee. We then spent the rest of our time sitting outside the hut and enjoying the sunshine.
We left feeling extremely relaxed and loved out stay in Vanellus. I would definitely like to go back at some point and stay in one of the other huts.
Have you ever stayed in a shepherd’s hut?