Apologies that this blog post is a little later than originally planned, but better late than never! I was recently invited to stay in a Plankbridge Shepherd’s Hut within Elmley Nature Reserve on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. We went just after my birthday as a little treat and we had the most wonderful couple of days exploring the area and the weather was just perfect with plenty of sunshine and blue skies!
I was curious to find out more about our accommodation as I was a little bit worried that it would be a bit like camping with no toilet facilities or power, but these huts are fully kitted out to enable you to have a relaxing retreat without giving up any of your home comforts! This hut has a fully fitted bathroom, electricity, running water, and even great 4G phone signal!
The huts are based on traditional Victorian shepherd’s huts but with plenty of modern touches. Our gorgeous hut was called Vanellus and it features a floor to ceiling window so that you can watch the sunrise from the luxurious king size bed.
I literally had the best nights sleep ever here; the bed was so comfortable and I just loved waking up to the stunning view straight from the bed. Our hut overlooked miles of fields scattered with ponds and all sorts of different birds flying around and even the odd hare bouncing about.
The bed frame is made from ash branches and the view looks out across miles of unspoilt landscapes and breath-taking skies. Sometimes when you’re so caught up with work and spend your days staring for hours into a screen, you forget how beautiful the natural world can be and this is a great place to relax and unwind from everything.
It’s light and airy inside the hut with a modern rustic character including reclaimed wood floors and a dresser created from an old railway wagon with a zinc top.
The wooden dresser made a little ‘kitchen area’ with running water and some kitchen essentials like glasses, mugs etc. Everything was so perfectly styled to suit the rustic decor in the hut and I absolutely loved the whole cosy feel of the place.
You can relax outdoors too just outside your hut on the wooden chairs and if it’s a little chilly you can keep warm with the thick woollen Romney Marsh wool throws and hot water bottles that are provided. There’s also a cast iron fire pit which you’re welcome to light, and inside the hut there’s also an electric radiator to keep you cosy too!
We used the firepit to toast marshmallows in the evening whilst looking out over the landscape, although as it was one of the hottest days in August luckily we didn’t require the radiator!
The part I was most curious about was the toilet facilities, but the fully fitted bathroom features a wonderful shower, a proper toilet, fluffy towels, bathrobes and luxury bath products by Bramley. There’s no portable camping loos here! The hut has been so perfectly and cleverly designed that everything fits into the small space, but there’s still plenty of room to move around.
Everything you could need is provided within the hut, there’s even little extras like books, binoculars for wildlife spotting, and board games too. There are kitchen extras in the dresser cupboard such as a kettle and gas stove, tea, coffee, sugar, extra glasses etc. They even provide a little jar of marshmallows too!
We spent the evening playing Scrabble in the hut in our pyjamas with a few snacks and treats after toasting marshallows on the fire! There’s also a beautiful Victorian barn on the nature reserve which houses the honesty bar, which is stocked with a selection of spirits, wines and beers. If you fancy going out for dinner, you can head into nearby towns Whistable or Faversham for cute restaurants and old fashioned pubs.
In the morning after our slumber we enjoyed a breakfast brought to our hut for us, as the nature reserve can provide hot breakfast sandwiches with bacon, halloumi, avocado, egg or tomato, served with a pot of tea or coffee. This was a lovely little extra and it was so nice to be able to enjoy breakfast in such a stunning and quiet location!
It was so relaxing to have a night away with no TV or laptop and enjoying a little digital detox. The huts make the perfect romantic retreat, and if you’re a wildlife lover or a bird watcher then Elmley Nature Reserve would be perfect!