By Paul Johnson on August 26, 2022 in Accommodation, Europe, Featured, Leisure Travel, Regions, Resorts, Specialty Travel, UK, Vacation Rentals, Western Europe
Dittisham Hut is the latest venture of hotelier and entrepreneur Peter de Savary and his wife Lana. Offering dog-friendly accommodation with plenty of outdoor space and wood-fired hot tubs, this unique venture is tucked away in a private, sunny wooded valley and wildflower meadow, just 1 mile from the beautiful river. Dart in South Devon.
We received a call from Alice prior to our stay asking what our likely arrival time would be and if we would like the hot tub heated prior to our arrival. Instructions were easy to follow and we were emailed a code for a security box making access seamless. Electric wheelbarrows – which can be set to ‘tortoise’ or ‘hare’ mode – are assigned to each shepherd’s hut and can be used to transfer luggage from the car park (where there are also charging stations for electric cars ).
We stayed in Willow, a luxury two-person shepherd’s cabin, finished to a high standard and, as the ‘final cabin’ of five, enjoying the best view over the wooded valley. Unlike some shepherds huts which can be quite small to live in, this one was spacious (234 square feet), full of character and charm, while also being a practical living space.
The huts have been lovingly handcrafted to Dittisham Hideaway’s high specifications by West Country artisans. At one end is a king size double bed overlooking the meadow with a very comfortable bed with Egyptian cotton sheets and 100% natural, 100% responsible and 100% sustainable duvet, locally sourced from Devon Duvets and made in from 100 genuine, fully traceable British wool sourced from carefully selected farms in Devon and the South West.
A corner of the central living room is occupied by a fully equipped kitchen, with a Belfast baby sink, fridge, microwave and two hobs, Dualit kettle and toaster and a Nespresso coffee machine. Pots, plates, utensils and a knife block are also present.
There is also a traditional wood-burning stove which ensures the cabin’s appeal all year round, a relaxation area with coffee table and a bar with folding stools, optimizing the space.
Every amenity has been thought through, from designer fabrics and bespoke furniture to a small collection of books (on British birds, butterflies and bees) and a compendium of games (backgammon, chess, dominoes and cards). There is also free WiFi, an information pack with emergency details, practical hut information, a forest walk and map, local information and things to do.
At the opposite end of the cabin to the sleeping area is a generous bathroom with a walk-in shower, sink and toilet. Soft, fluffy towels are provided, along with Basic Earth toiletries, a Fragrance Society diffuser, and a Hyacinth and White Birch room spray.
Outside is the cabana’s own private deck with a wood-fired hot tub, BBQ, Adirondack lounge chairs with removable ottomans, teak dining table and umbrella that seats up to four people.
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You can also enjoy a walk in the woods in the park, and there is an outdoor foosball table and an outdoor chess board.
While the location seems quite secluded and remote, Dittisham Hideaway is just a mile from the pretty waterside village of Dittisham and a 10 minute drive from historic Dartmouth Harbour, 20 minutes from the market town of Totnes and 30 and 40 minutes from the seaside towns of Paignton and Torquay respectively.
There is a Sainsbury’s just 3 miles away and a number of pubs nearby which serve food. Try the Red Lion in Dittisham. Advance reservations are recommended for The Angel in Dartmouth, which is listed in the Michelin Guide, holds 2 AA Rosettes and is run by Chef Elly Wentworth. For young families visiting, the Woodlands family theme park, with a theme park, play center and falconry, is just a 5 minute drive away.
Other little touches
Inside our cabin we found complimentary sloe gin, a bottle of wine, a jar of marshmallows and a welcome basket with all sorts of goodies including farmhouse bread, cereal and a variety of snacks . Tea, coffee and hot chocolate were provided and inside the fridge a first supply of milk, butter and orange juice could also be found.
Shepherds huts start from £195 per night, based on a minimum stay of 2 nights.
The best piece
What I really liked about our shepherd’s hut was the tranquility and the ability to open the doors and windows to the fresh air and the chirping of the birds. The accommodation is well spaced out and there is plenty of outdoor space allotted to each hut, perfect for soaking up the peace and seclusion of the Devon countryside and being one with nature.
The final verdict
Dittisham Hideaway offers something very different from the traditional self-catering break, providing all the ingredients for a uniquely UK stay, in understated luxury away from some of the more touristy parts of the West Country.
Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by Dittisham Hut.