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The Shepherds Hide

UK England East Anglia Essex

The Granary, Mill Farm, Brightlingsea Road, Thorrington, Colchester, Essex CO7 8JJ

Luxury shepherds huts near the Essex coast, with beautiful, watery surroundings and a wonderfully private setting

Few places showcase the full spectrum of coast and countryside scenery quite like Mill Farm in Essex. Tidal creeks stretch their fingers in land every time the waters rise, reed-fringed ponds rustle in the breeze and wading birds natter on the flat, marshy palms that make up the Colne Estuary. In the fields, meanwhile, pick-your-own strawberries puff out in time for summer, while a newly planted vineyard is showing the first stripy signs of life. And all of this within 55 acres.

It’s in this rather fairytale farm setting that The Shepherds Hide is found – or rather the ‘hides’, plural, since there are now two different abodes to choose from. The first, tucked in its own private, partially wooded enclave overlooking a pond, has all the same comforts of the second, which is in a separate area of the farm and blessed with views of the young vineyard. Both have been crafted with every comfort in mind.

Inside, expect a king-sized bed, wood burning stove and compact kitchen space, along with an en suite shower room at one end. What really sets the place apart, however, is the fine attention to detail. There are toiletries in the bathroom (all biodegradable and wonderfully fragrant), locally sourced goodies in your wicker ‘welcome hamper’ and small tins with tea, coffee and sugar, each decorated with illustrations of native wildlife that can be spotted from your window.

Beyond the door of each hut, a trail leads away into the farm. Guests are welcome to explore, with footpaths weaving towards Arlesford Creek, a perfect place for bird watching. A short stroll and you’ll also find the old wooden mill that gives the farm its name – a fully restored tidal mill built in 1831. It’s only open on certain days if you want to peep inside but it makes for a magnificent photo or two in the meantime, set against the colours of the creek beyond, where the waters ebb away having circled the water-wheel that turns inside.

During summer the strawberry field is opened up to the public and glampers can gorge themselves on ripe fruit – a serious pleasure since they grow a whole host of sweet varieties you can’t buy in the supermarkets. Or take your basket and skip your way down to the beaches of the Essex coast – Clacton on Sea, Walton on the Naze and more – all just ten minutes or so in the car, where you could add a little ice cream to those berries. Take your pick. Literally.

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The Owner Says

Located on a family farm, the Shepherds Hide huts "Wigeon" and "Teal" are luxurious unique and secluded self catering shepherds huts, tucked away on the heart of the Essex coast, just outside Colchester. They are perfect for short breaks, romantic getaways or for longer self-catering holidays in the countryside with excellent bird watching and walking on site and a range of tourist attractions nearby. Mill Farm, is about 55 acres of a mixture of arable, grassland, salt marsh, tidal creeks and inland waters and is the home of the only fully restored tide mill in Essex. Reconnect with nature and yourselves at The Shepherds Hide, away from the hustle and bustle of your busy lives.

In February 2018 we were voted as one of Essex's top 10 most romantic spots by Essex Life Magazine and we are very proud to have been featured as Number 3 in Adventure Travel Magazine's round-up of the 10 most incredible winter glamping sites in the UK in October 2017. We are also proud to have been featured as Number 25 in The Daily Telegraph's Summer 2016 Top 40 Glamping Campsites in the UK and Europe.


Add Your Review

Relaxing getaway

Being just outside of Colchester the shepherds hide is easy to get to, if a little tricky to find the first time! Although being tricky to find is no bad thing, being tucked out of the way in very peaceful surroundings the very well equipped Teal shepherds hut is a real treat. It is very modern with underfloor heating and double glazed windows. We had everything we needed to cook basic meals inside but being a break we mainly ate out. The Black bouy in nearby Wivenhoe being a good choice. There’s plenty to do in the area even if the weather doesn’t play ball. Thinking of downsides the only thing I can come up with is that one of the geese seemed to take a particular disliking to me much to my girlfriends amusement.
Sep 25, 2018 by Dan C


Fantastic little hide away. Great setting. So peaceful. So close to nature. Hut is finish to great standard. And the bed was so comfortable. Need that bed at home :-)
Sep 16, 2018 by Matt

Perfect setting

We have visited before and will visit again. Perfect place to unwind and relax. Everything you need is provided, couldn't ask for anything better.
Sep 3, 2018 by Sally & Mark

Little gem!!!

We booked this just to get away from it all and it certainly delivered..The Hut was amazing, it was furnished in such a beautiful way and the finish was of a really high standard and the view was great, was lovely just to sit and watch the sunset. I would recommend this place to all of my friends and feel completely recharged and ready to face the world again!! Would love to visit again one day...
Sep 1, 2018 by Nicky

Absolutely amazing!!

Going to this place was the best break ever. The cabin itself was so nice and cosy and just everything you could want. The setting around it was the best! I have never been anywhere so relaxing. It was even the perfect place for me to propse to my girlfriend. Thank you for the lovely experience. We will defo return!
Aug 28, 2018 by Declan Fry

Response from The Shepherds Hide

Firstly, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! We are thrilled to have had a second proposal here at The Shepherds Hide. Thank you also for your very kind feedback. We are so pleased you enjoyed your stay with us and we very much look forward to seeing you again. 

Can I live here forever!

Oh my God, this was place was absolutely amazing! Perfect place to recharge the batteries and chill in a memorable, peaceful, beautiful setting with a glass of bubbles overlooking the lake & wildlife...We massively enjoyed ourselves and would really recommend this place to everyone!!! The patio is perfect for a BBQ followed by a cheeseboard on the picnic bench haha! Just raging we missed the new Labrador puppy!
Aug 27, 2018 by Kathryn

Response from The Shepherds Hide

Thank you so much for your very kind feedback. We are so pleased you enjoyed your stay with us and were able to fully enjoy all our farm has to offer. Please do come again (and meet the puppy!!) .

Completely idyllic

This was a wonderful retreat, away from everyone and everything except the natural and tranquil surroundings. The hut had everything you needed and was very comfortable. Will definitely be returning. Thank you
Apr 23, 2018 by Louise Brown

Response from The Shepherds Hide

Thank you for your very kind feedback. We look forward to welcoming you here again. 

Perfect weekend away

My boyfriend and I stayed here for his 21st birthday last June and it was beyond perfect. The cabin was furnished beautifully and the owners had put thought into every tiny detail. There is also a fully functioning bathroom and an enormously comfortable king size bed, which made our stay here even more pleasant! The location was also a massive bonus for us, as we could relax in the country side at the cabin if we chose to but could also drive to nearby pubs and restaurants if we fancied it. Would recommend the Shepherds Hide to anyone who is looking for a quiet, relaxing retreat, it's 10/10!
Jan 10, 2017 by Alisha

A perfect bubble of relaxation

Having read reviews elsewhere about the Shepherds Hide, my wife and I had high expectations. Well, what can I say? It exceeded them in every way.
Our visit coincided with 'Storm Imogen' and we must admit we did wonder how the first night would be. The underfloor heating, log burner, and VERY comfortable bed meant we were nice and cosy, and actually had the best night's sleep we've had in a really long time!
One of the things that really makes it special, is that the owners have added some truly lovely touches to the Hide. Waiting for us in the kitchen was a basket of local produce which included some homemade jam, bread, juice and eggs. They'd also thoughtfully provided tea, coffee, sugar, milk and butter. The kitchen is very well stocked with pans, crockery cutlery and cooking utensils, so if you feel so inclined, you can cook a proper meal on the stove and oven. The Hide is spotlessly clean, organised and most importantly (at least to us) is set in peaceful and quiet surroundings. It was just what we needed, the perfect retreat.

Feb 14, 2016 by crawshs

Win a £100 Blacks Voucher!

If you've stayed at The Shepherds Hide campsite, please take a minute to tell us about your experience. Every month, one lucky reviewer will be picked at random to win a £100 voucher, courtesy of our recommended retailer Blacks. Each review counts as one entry, so get writing!

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