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A thoughtfully crafted shepherd's hut in West Devon with enough details to deserve its own novel

Animal prints on the blinds, a shepherd’s hut painted on the tea tray, bird books, binoculars, maps, magazines and guidebooks. It’s all about the details for Manya Johnson, the mastermind behind Farmer Oak’s Hut in West Devon. From the homemade preserves and freshly baked scones she puts together in her kitchen, to the history book of shepherd’s huts that sits on the mantelpiece, everything here is considered. A Penguin Classics copy of Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd even awaits would-be readers; it’s thanks to the novel’s central character, the shepherd Gabriel Oak, that this glampsite got its name.

Set in the quietest corner of the field behind Manya’s home, through a young apple orchard and up a stepping-stone pathway to the top of the garden, Farmer Oak’s Hut is country life encapsulated. Sheep graze the neighbouring meadow, fledglings tweet an early chorus as they flitter between Manya’s bird boxes and a small, slate sign points the way into the nearby woods – “over the bridge and up the wooden steps, turn left at the gate”. For a timeless slice of Devon it seems the perfect spot. There’s even a vintage apple cart to wheel your luggage from the car.

Inside, the hut itself is a far cry from Gabriel Oak’s own “hard couch, formed of a few corn sacks” – though it retains the all-important wood-fired stove, glowing warmth across the space. Instead, expect more 21st-century features: a compact kitchen with a sink, fridge and hobs, a built in double bed and a plush, en-suite shower room. There’s no WiFi or television though; this is about getting back to nature after all.

While Farmer Oak’s Hut sleeps two, Manya still considers this a family space. Those with children are welcome to pitch a small tent alongside and there’s a host of good family attractions nearby, from the beaches around Boscastle and Bude, 40 minutes north, to National Trust estates like Cothele and Lanhydrock, 35 minutes away. Not that you need travel that far. Nearby Launceston has a magnificent 13th-century castle to explore (and is also home to the nearest tourist office where you can really get your barings), while the walkers delights of Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor and the Tamar Valley are also within easy reach. Manya has provided waterproof OS maps for you to borrow, so you can make a plan beside the campfire. Marshmallows are provided too. Naturally.

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The Owner Says

We would be delighted to welcome you to rural Devon at it's best; and so to Farmer Oak's Hut. It is tucked away in the corner of our field, a lovely romantic space. You will replace your car with an vintage apple cart to help with your luggage, passing our young apple orchard and winding your way up the wildlife garden into Farmer Oak's special, enclosed garden.

Who is Farmer Oak? The name is inspired by the novel by Thomas Hardy. Our cottage guests remark upon the peace and tranquility of the surroundings and so we thought the farmer- Gabriel Oak in 'Far from The Madding Crowd' was appropriate, not only for the setting but as sheep used to graze in our top field and it was a shepherd hut that Gabriel used to live in, so the name just seemed so right.

The hut contains all the things you would need for a comfortable stay including a wood burner for those chillier visits, a toaster, a fridge, microwave and a two ring electric hob. There are outdoor kitchen facilities with enamel cups and plates and tins with Serbian cooking pots to use on the fire pit. The hut has an en suite shower room and your own fluffy towels and a comfy double bed with fairy lights and lanterns for you to create a romantic atmosphere.

There is a little store in the field where you can purchase homemade jams, chutneys and marmalade, fresh farm eggs etc I also bake bread to order and scones for a must have Devon cream tea. There is a basket of logs in the hut for you to use in the wood burner or Kotlich outside and more logs and kindling can then be purchased from the store. There is always a supply of fruit and vegetables, depending upon the season to help yourself to from the kitchen garden in the store too.

In the hut's garden there is a large wooden table and benches to sit around and traditional deckchairs for relaxing in.There is a canopied area which gives shade from the sun to eat, read, write or draw or even continue to be outside when it is raining. The benches can be moved to place around the fire pit should you wish to enjoy an evening toasting marshmallows as the sun goes down ( marshmallows and skewers always provided of course!) To add to the sound of the hooting owls, there are fairy lights in the trees and blankets and lanterns to complete the magic.

We have deliberately not installed a TV or WiFi as this is the place where we want yo to switch off-the moment you grab that apple cart is the moment you start to relax and enjoy nature and all it's beauty.

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