Fernwood, Ringwood, New Forest, Hampshire BH24 3JN
The approach to Fernwood is like a steady fizzle out of the urban world. As you leave the historic market town of Ringwood, the houses gradually seem to retreat from the edge of the road, before a church and a thatched-roof cottage mark the start of the New Forest proper. From here, the road weaves into the smudged shade of the trees and the holiday begins. You feel miles away from anywhere.
It’s through a wooden gate and down at the end of a large garden that the shepherd’s hut at Fernwood is eventually found, it’s wood-lined interior rustic and warm. Inside, it sleeps up to four (though it works well as a romantic break for couples) with a double bed that folds away into a dining space and two pull out singles for children. At one end an all-important wood-burning stove provides heating throughout the year with a free supply of logs included. It’s also cleverly backed by a strip of shiny, corrugated metal, reflecting the heat and filling the place with warmth in seconds.
There’s something very apt, in this environment, about staying in a shepherd’s hut. The lightly painted structure has an agricultural feel that fits among the surroundings, where foxes and deer can be spotted. An old treehouse works nicely as a deer and bird-spotting hide and there’s a small pond that also attracts the critters – frogs and newts can be found bathing along its edges. Indeed, Fernwood itself also plays host to chickens, rabbits, cats, dogs and a pet tortoise. So though this may be a quiet hideaway from the rest of the world, you’re not entirely alone!
Also available is Fernwood's beautifully painted gypsy caravan. Snuggled into a woodland area in the garden, this cosy caravan was built on an original 1930's dray base overlooking fields where deer and rabbits are frequently seen. The cool caravan arrived here in 2016 and is ideally booked alongside the shepherd's hut for a family with older children or two couples going away together.
Finally, the the wooden summerhouse in the garden is a handy accomplice to the shepherd’s hut and gypsy caravan. The structure has electricity for charging phones, powering a small fridge and running the kettle, with free tea and coffee for you to use. And it’s a great spot for powering up in the morning before you set off on foot or by bike to explore. Head east to submerge yourself further in the trees and heathland of the New Forest or return to busy Ringwood for the Wednesday market and a visit to the local restaurants. The choice is yours.
The Owner Says
It is through a wooden gate and down at the end of a large garden that the shepherd’s hut at Fernwood is found. Facing south and over looking the fields grazed by deer, it is hard to imagine you are only a mile away from the friendly market town of Ringwood. Inside, it sleeps up to four (though it works well as a romantic break for couples), with a comfortable double bed that can be converted into a dining space and two pull out singles for children (aged 4 -10). At one end a cosy wood-burning stove provides heating throughout the year, with a free supply of logs included. Alternatively, on a summer evening, guests may use the fire pit outside. Fairy lights and lamps are provided as there is no electricity. Guests have a choice of using our compost toilet or a more traditional one outside the garage. A shower will also be available for guests to use at the house.
Fabulous weekend in the shepherds hut
Just returned home from a fantastic weekend in the shepherds hut with my 10yr old son. Thank you to Rachel and Jonathan for creating this idyllic place and sharing it with others. And for the delicious breakfasts, with home made muffins and all. We stayed for 2 nights and woke up to snow on the second morning. The wood burner in the hut still warmed us up nicely and an unexpected bonus to be lent two sledges ! Thanks again, we’d love to come back
A great stay
My 4 year old son and I had a great time here. Rachel had provided everything we might need, and was a very thoughtful and attentive host. We loved toasting marshmallows by the camp fire and the trampoline and treehouse kept my son occupied for hours. The breakfast hamper was fantastic, with more than enough for us. Facilities such as the compost toilet and shower were immaculate. Would definitely return and would highly recommend, especially for those with children.
A Special Place
I spent two nights in the shepherd's hut at Fernwood, with my three children. It's a really quirky place to stay but also very comfortable; Rachel has thought of everything you might need, so straight away you feel pampered and like you are on holiday. This is far more luxurious than camping and the hut very cosy and warm. The garden is beautiful; the children spent so much time on the big trampoline and playing in the deer hide. They couldn't believe the breakfast hampers; a huge breakfast, presented with loads of thought. Although you are essentially sharing a really big garden with the family, they all were very welcoming and the hut felt very private. We'd love to go back but next time hire the gypsy caravan too!
perfect retreat at fernwood
We wanted to add our amazed thanks for the magic Rachel and Jonathan pull off at Fernwood - off grid but with all mod cons, authentic, but cosy and completely comfortable, right in the heart of the forest but everything spotlessly clean. It is a stunning find! Even when it rained it was magnificent: we lit the wood burner, made a pot of tea, and read books. The attention to detail in the Shepherd's hut was so appreciated. Thank you both!! We also both love Kiera the collie cross, hiding under large plants in the garden from rain-fear. Would whole heartedly recommend. x
lovely holiday at Fernwood
Just a short review as we want to say a massive thank you for a lovely holiday to Fernwood, Rachel and Jonathan were brilliant they were very welcoming and helpful. We had the beautiful gypsy caravan for 3 nights, it was so peaceful and quiet. We had some lovely bike rides through the new forest with the help of Jonathan’s navigation and some brilliant days out at peppa pig world (25 mins drive) and moors valley (30 mins bike ride). Also the breakfast hamper were scrumptious Ollie, Fern & Indiana
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Magical stay in a Gypsy Caravan
What a great find! Rachel and Johnathon are incredible hosts for this idyllic glamping experience. We are a family of four- 2 girls under the age of 5 and we stayed in their Gypsy caravan for 2 nights. Rachel and Johnathon thought of all the small details to make our first glamping experience a great one! Such as marshmallows to toast on a fire come the evening, snuggly rugs,a gorgeous tea set for a morning cup of tea and fairylights to light up the inside of the caravan after dark. We even saw deer from the forest grazing in the field behind. As novice campers we were a little nervous of the compost toilet but they kept it really well- no smell and a nice clean environment. They were ideally located right in the New Forest so we went for a wonderful walk and saw the wild horses and cattle roaming. We also went off to the beach for the day which was a short car journey away. We would truly recommend for a wonderful stay.
We had a perfect time in the very cozy hut! Rachel & Jonathan are great hosts and they provides us with all the info we needed. Our two boys loved the spacious garden, the lovely dog, jonathan's beautiful lizards (!) and the trampoline was a big and sensational surprise! Highly recommended!
Rachel, Jonathan and their three children live in a fairy tale location, and we were lucky enough to stay with them in the end of June. We are a family of four adults and we traveled from California to the UK for a three week holiday. The magic began when we made our first stop after the airport at Stonehenge. The ancient stones were a convenient diversion on our way to the New Forest. Our first night would be spent at the lovely village of Ringwood. Our beds were split between a Rustic Shepherd’s Hut and a Gypsy Caravan in the back garden of this gorgeous property located in the village of Ringwood. We couldn’t believe our luck! We soon discovered was that this was not going to be camping in some smelly old shelters, no, this was Glamping at its BEST!! We would bed down in a charmingly decorated shepherd’s hut and gypsy caravan. Our daughters decided that we should have the hut, they took the caravan. The caravan was about 20 yards from the hut, also beautifully appointed, and our lucky daughters were the inaugural guests! Rachel and Jonathan had just purchased the caravan and worked overtime to get it in shape; it was gorgeous! We were exhilarated but tired after the ten and half hour journey. The long flight from California and eight time zones that we passed through meant that we weren’t going to be awake too late and be able to take advantage of the fire pit. But before we took to our beds, we asked for food recommendations. Rachel provided us with a few local options. We chose the Alice Lisle because it was close and sounded appealing. We found it to be delightful, and we enjoyed a tasty, fresh meal, good local beer, and a gorgeous view as the pub sits at the edge of a lake. Feeling full and happy, it was time to head back to the hut and caravan and get ready for sleep. Let me tell you a bit more about the accommodation. Now this is marketed as rustic, but that should only apply to the fact that there is no electricity nor running water. Everything else that we needed was there including tea and coffee making facility; clean, fluffy robes tied with raffia; and an assortment of crocs for walking around the property so as not to get your shoes wet, or for the middle of the night run to the toilet. The hut and caravan are amply lit with fairy lights and the beds were invitingly adorned with cozy comforters and pillows. We even had teddy bears sitting on our pillows waiting for their bedtime story ;-) And as an extra courtesy there are light wands and torches available to use for reading or going to the loo. There is a clean odor-free composting toilet with a cleverly rigged sink in a structure located quite close to the hut and caravan. (There is also a shower available next to the onsite apartment, or in the house, as well.) We used the facilities and were cleaned up and ready for bed! It was the end of June and still a bit chilly in the New Forest especially for our thin California blood. But not to worry, we had a pot belly stove and wood for heating in the hut. In reality we didn’t need this once we got under the warm bedding! Oh, that bedding! We were all extremely comfortable! In fact, the bed in the hut was the most comfortable one that I had ever slept on, better than ours at home, too! The next morning we had opted to purchase breakfast from Rachel. This she served to us in a lovely basket brought to the summer house which overlooked the pond. Breakfast included pastries, cereals and yogurt with fruit from Rachel’s garden, and tea, coffee and juice. It was scrumptious! Sadly, we were only spending one night here. But before we left, we explored the garden where the breakfast fruit had clearly come from, and then I snuck a peek from the deer hide, which sits poised to observe the wildlife in the field behind and looks just like a treehouse. On our way out Rachel gave us directions to where we might be able to see some of the wild ponies. Truly a magical spot! And very welcoming hosts. We highly recommend a stay here!! PS - We found some wild ponies, and they were sweet, especially the foals!
Lovely unique family break
We stayed in the hut (with our 2 and 4 yr old) at Fernwood as a compromise to camping in a tent given the recent weather conditions. It was a very last minute arrangement, but Rachel was very accommodating and welcomed us despite not giving her much time to prepare for our arrival. On arrival we were shown to the Shepherd's hut which is beautifully designed with a rustic earthy feel. The wood burning stove, fairy lights and little candles make for a magical feel and the little extras (tea, coffee, fruit, marshmallows etc) make it instantly homely and welcoming. You can really tell that so much thought has gone into the place, they really have thought of everything! From robes to crocs, blankets to teddy bears and high quality bedding to top it off. There wasn't a great deal of space for a family of four but it was very very comfortable.....especially the bed. The kids were also warm and cosy in their thick sleeping bags.
The compost toilet was a few steps down the garden...two toilet seats with one 'resting' and the other in operation. The children were fascinated that they didn't need flushing but instead you throw a scoop of sawdust down. All very clean and quirky, lit with fairy lights and quotes from the Dalai Lama on the wall to get you thinking about how to get the best out of life!
We lit the fire pit and sat round it for the evening which was lovely knowing that a pack of marshmallows were sitting waiting for us in the hut.
Our wonderful breakfast had been left in the summerhouse across the garden. Full of delicious goodies all beutifully presented in a wicker hamper....we sat and had our breakfast looking out to the pond and then after played a few of the games that were on the shelf in there.
The children loved running around the big garden, jumping on the trampoline and swinging on the little rope swing. When we left they asked when we could go back! Altogether a lovely place and I would recommend to anyone considering staying here.