Beacon Hill Holiday Cottages News
The Scotsman - March 2017
A luxury Shepherd's Hut in a glorious setting
A shepherds hut in Northumberland is a cosy and romantic bolt-hole, writes Gaby Soutar Its probably a lazy metaphor to describe our shepherds hut, Bluegrass, at Beacon Hill Farm in Morpeth, Northumberland, as like the Tardis, but its hard to resist. Sitting in the middle of a field, surrounded by gorse, this cobalt box a shade darker than the sky looks as if its sprung out of the ether (probably making that pulsing sound).
And, like Doctor Whos home, it may look small (ish) from the outside, but appearances can be deceptive. Inside our weekend bolt-hole, and this is proper glamping, with heating, constant hot water and an interior decor thats more Elle Decoration than Caravanning Monthly.
The neat kitchen with a Belfast sink joins on to the living space, which features a table pour deux, bookcase, armchairs and hard-working wood burning stove (theres a bunker at the back on the outside of the cabin, filled with logs for guests use).
It was hard not to sit in here all day, using it like a twitchers hide, with pheasants busying about just outside and, one morning, at dawn, three young deer picking past a few metres away. (The cockerel up at the farm kept his beak shut though, thankfully).
Beyond this living space, theres a shower room, with a porthole window that looks out to the trees. Finally, the boudoir is at the back, with a king-sized raised bed (about three foot off the ground, so youre safe from Daleks) and lots of shelves and storage baskets underneath. Theres also a small hanging space, a giant telly at the foot of the bed, and, at the head, a shelf with Anglepoise lights and powerpoints to charge phones.
Ergonomic, and that makes it easier to quickly adapt to the smaller space, like fish growing to the size of their tank.
Beyond our cosy Tardis, there are plenty of walks nearby, all detailed in the handy visitors book that farm owner Alun Moore has compiled. His son, Christopher, built this hut, and is in the process of building another nearby, to be named Ryegrass.
The family have 360 acres of land, including Megs Lake and the nearby Beacon Hill Wood, where theyve planted more than 900 hardwood trees and over 90 bird species have been spotted and jotted by the local ornithological society. Guests of the farm are free to roam through this space, though maybe dont bother leaving a trail of breadcrumbs (all those birds).
Or you could do something more indoorsy, like spend the day at their very own spa - having these facilities is a major perk.
As well as a gym, theres a laconium, with tiled loungers to recline on like basking lizards, plus a small steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and a good-sized swimming pool. The farm also boasts a tennis court, and, for kids, a games room with table tennis, a pool table and retro air hockey.
They also offer treatments in their bijoux Beauty Salon. I tried the 90 minute Relaxing Back Massage, Express Facial and Mini Reflexology Package (£60) which was 5,400 seconds of joy, and seemed, compared to Edinburgh spa prices, like a bit of a bargain.
A visit here is best taken at the end of the day, so one can repair to the warm blue nest and watch telly in bed for the rest of the evening. If you do feel like exploring the area, refer to Aluns book. We liked his entry for the nearby Cheviot Hills, where youll find Linhope Spout Waterfall. This is a brilliant place for swimming if its really hot, he says. Dive, like at Acapulco, off the cliffs into the deep pool. Please ensure you have paid the rent before doing this.
We might have been tempted but instead, we took up another couple of his recommendations and visited the nearby fishing village of Craster for kippers, and took a blowy walk along to the 15th century Dunstanburgh Castle. Its a bit further about 45 minutes drive to visit Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, so maybe thats best tackled on the way back across the border. The tide times are chalked up at The Barn at Beale cafe, where there was a mass exodus to drive over to the island at 11:30am. We finished our scone first, crossed over, then explored the peaceful priory, castle and Lookout Tower on the Heugh.
Then it was back home, travelling not by Tardis, sadly, but in our little blue car.