Nothing beats the cosy atmosphere of kipping in a shepherd’s hut and, with it’s chalky, sheep-dotted hills, there are few places more appropriate for a shepherd’s hut stay than rural Dorset. Thanks to award-winning beaches, famous geological landforms and miles upon miles of walking routes, Dorset is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK – and rightly so. As for how to find that perfect hut? From an adults-only glamping site deep in the woods, to a riverside hut where you’ll have your fortune told, we’ve put together our quick pick of the cosiest shepherd’s huts in the land. Sheep not always guaranteed...
Dorset Forest Garden
On a permaculture farm with a multi-layered ecosystem of fruiting trees, shrubs and herbs, these two cosy shepherd’s huts each have their own private garden space with a wood-fired hot tub alongside. Each hut has a king-sized bed, small wood burner, restored furniture, an en suite and a map showing all the best nearby walking routes. The site’s far-reaching views take in National Trust-owned Eggardon Hill, an Iron Age fort that makes a particularly good starting point for walks. By car, meanwhile, West Bay and Chesil Beach are just a 10-minute drive away and perfect for tiring you out before you retreat to the hot tub for some late night stargazing.
The Keepers Hut at Downshay Farm
An ancient steam locomotive services the nearest train station to the campsite where this luxury hut sits, huffing and puffing the six miles between Swanage and Norden. Located on Downshay Farm, the views from the hut stretch out across the Dorset countryside. There is a double bed, a compact kitchen area with a sink, electric supply and heating. There’s also a designated BBQ, picnic and campfire bowl just outside the hut, with log and kindling provided. Take a steam train ride to the ruin of Corfe Castle or head to Swanage, Studland or Shell Bay beaches for a spot of fossil hunting.
On the edge of a small, adult-only campsite, 10 minutes from the Jurassic Coast, Otter’s Rest is a classic timber shepherd’s hut with room for two people. The dog-friendly abode is kept warm and toasty with a wood burner, and features a comfy king-sized bed and a kitchen area with a sink, hob and fridge. Wake up to the sound of birdsong and step outside to a lake, perfect for a spot of fishing or for paddling in the little white row boat provided. Head north three miles to hike up Lewesdon Hill (Dorset’s highest point), or south for the beaches of the Jurassic Coast.
Laverstock Farm Glamping
There are two shepherds huts at Laverstock Farm in rural west Dorset: green-hued Herdwick, hidden within the trees, and blue-tinged Everdene, sitting lakeside. Both are off-grid and perfect for couples, dog owners and walkers looking for privacy. Each hut has a double bed, a wood burner, a kitchen unit and a well-written guestbook full of insider tips. There’s also an awning and outside kitchen area with a hob and BBQ. A games room with table tennis, table football and darts keeps glampers busy whatever the weather but, set between Dorset’s highest hills, a hike to the top of the tallest, Lewesdon, is a must at some point during your stay and there are endless footpaths to roam.
Rufus at Dewflock Farm
With a prime location on the doorstep of historic Dorchester, Rufus has a built-in double bed and bunk bed, suitable for three people or a family with two small children. The hut is part of a wider farm campsite, so facilities are a short walk away in the main meadow. For families, the farm’s old pig barn now offers a space to relax and watch a film, listen to the Jukebox and use the free WiFi. The real benefit of this site is its position between town and seaside. Dorchester is within walking distance to the north, the vast Maiden Castle, an Iron Age hill fort, is just east of camp, and a short drive south leads you to Weymouth or Chesil Beach.
The Cozy Camper at Woodyhyde
The only shepherd’s hut on a 160-pitch campsite and within walking distance of Corfe Castle, this rustic hut provides a real bed, a kitchenette and an en-suite toilet, as well as mod cons including Wi-Fi, electricity and heating. From the window you can watch the steam train on the Swanage Heritage Railway puff by and hop on board a few hundred metres away at Harman’s Cross Station. Ride into Swanage for a day out on the beach or drive the 10 minutes to the long, sandy, blue-flag beach at Studland Bay. Famous Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are also within easy reach.
The Shepherd’s Hut at Farrs Meadow
Perched on a hill above the Stour Valley, this rustic-looking hut can comfortably accommodate two adults in a small double bed, with additional space for up to two children. The cosy accommodation includes a log burning stove, bunk beds and an outdoor seating area with a fire pit, as well as an optional fortune telling session! Eco loos and hot showers are located in upcycled horse boxes nearby. The River Stour is a short walk from camp and is perfect for swimming and fishing, while the pretty Vine Inn is just a stroll across the fields.
This adults-only glamping site in the West Dorset woods is best known for its magnificent and luxurious treehouse, but hidden amongst the trees ‘Bodger’ the shepherd’s hut is also available to glampers and comes finished to the same exceptionally detailed standards. Looking down over a serene pond, the hut includes a king-sized bed, a wood burner, an electric blanket and an en suite. Everything is designed with the environment in mind, helping you return to nature without a trace and with no compromise on comfort. The Jurassic Coast is just 12 miles away, with Charmouth Beach and Lyme Regis amongst the closest spots.
By Lauren Green