Jacob's Hut, Thrushelball, Lewdown, Okehampton, Devon EX20 4QY
“The heart of the countryside” may sound like your average travel writers’ cliché but stick a pin in the middle of a map of South West England and you’re likely to lance upon Jacob’s Hut. In Devon, but near the Cornwall border, and almost equidistant from the north and south coasts, this rural glamping retreat for two really is a splendidly central spot. Throw in its 10-minute proximity from Dartmoor National Park and a handful of speedily accessible National Trust properties and it’s easy to see the appeal.
Yet for all the on-the-doorstep attractions that this shepherd’s hut offers, it’s actually the feel of backwater seclusion that makes it stand out. In the bottom of a valley, down a private track and tucked among a handful of mature trees, Jacob’s Hut is a place for couples to get away and enjoy the quieter side of the South West.
Inside, the hut sleeps two on a built-in double bed, with the whole place warmed by a wood-burning stove and lit with tea lights and candles (think rustic, ye olde ambience). Outside, meanwhile, the shepherd’s hut door swings open to reveal a view across the reed-dotted pond and up to the steeple of Thrushelton Church on the opposite hill. For extra space, guests also have access to a small wooden summerhouse, with furniture and a firepit outside, plus a Dutch oven for al fresco cooking. There’s also a modern bathroom and boot room with electricity and WiFi just a few more metres away.
If you’re here to revel in the setting then you’ll find everything you need. There’s a pair of binoculars for peeping at the ducks and moorhens as they to and fro from the pond, while board games and dominoes are provided for cosy evenings in when it’s too cloudy to see the stars. When you do hop back in the car, though, you can pick between a seaside break around the beaches of Croyde Bay and the north coast or ambling in the rugged Dartmoor countryside, where a walk into Lydford Gorge – the deepest gorge in the South West with a spectacular 30-metre waterfall – is a must. Which ever you choose, a hearty meal in a local pub is always a nice way to cap it off, while a full English brekkie at Jacob’s Hut each morning is always an extra option too. Bliss.