You do a lot of strange things when you’re sleep deprived and it was only on the drive to Mr A’s surprise birthday getaway that I questioned the wisdom of booking an off-grid glamping experience. Staying somewhere with no electricity or running water may seem whimsical and romantic when it’s just the two of you, but adding a five month old baby into the mix somewhat increases the risk factor.
However as soon as we arrived at the Wriggly Tin Shepherd’s Hut site in the South Downs National Park I knew I’d made the right decision. Our little adventurer is such an outdoors baby and instantly loved lying on the grass outside our shepherd’s hut staring up at the trees. Mr A was in his element too, as he is a big fan of camping and being able to cook our own food on the outdoor campfire and use hurricane lamps to light our hut each night was totally up his street.
I’ll start this review of Wriggly Tin Shepherd’s Huts with its lovely location. Nestled in Brooks Copse, an area of ancient woodland one mile north of Hambledon in Hampshire, the Wriggly Tin Huts site is made up of seven themed huts and we stayed in ‘Boundary’. As the largest hut on the site, it includes a cute double bed on one side, with some of the comfiest bedding I’ve had for a long time, and bunks on the other.
In the middle section was a table and seat, shelves and a storage cupboard and a stove to keep the hut cosy and warm at night. As it was Mr A’s birthday treat I’d booked us onto a special ‘Slow Adventure’ package, so we had some lovely welcome gifts waiting for us too.
For those of you wondering where you do your *ahem* business, there is a bathroom hut which comprises of a surprisingly stink-free compost toilet and a shower with hot running water. We were staying mid-week so had the site to ourselves, although I imagine it could get pretty busy at weekends.
The Wriggly Tin site is really easy to get to (just an hour’s drive from London) and before checking-in we took a stroll around the nearby village of Hambledon. We had a lovely lunch in the Bat and Ball pub, which has the claim to fame of being the first headquarters of English cricket, and squeezed in a cup of tea at the village teashop. There’s also a little store to collect supplies if you’re planning on doing your own cooking.
If you don’t fancy breaking out the pots and pans, Wriggly Tin also offers a ‘First Night Supper’ service, where it supplies home-cooked food such as shepherd’s pie and bangers and mash which can just be reheated. There’s also an option to get a breakfast basket, which was included with our package. The food is all locally produced and it provided the perfect start to our day.
There’s something very relaxing about waking up in the morning and sitting next to the camp fire with a cup of tea and a book, looking out over the rest of the site. While most of the huts are within eyesight of one another, they are far enough away to ensure you have enough privacy.
This review of Wriggly Tin Shepherd’s Huts wouldn’t be complete without mentioning owner Alex, who provides a great deal of detailed information about the local area in his Welcome Booklet. The next day we followed his suggested eight-mile walk through the beautiful surrounding countryside.
We were so lucky with the weather, as the forecast thunderstorms did not materialise. I’m sure that as a couple there would be something nice and romantic about being warm and cosy in the hut while it pours down with rain outside, but I’m not sure it would have been quite as relaxing with an inquisitive baby!
In the evening we put our tired-out little adventurer to bed and cooked our dinner over the campfire. The great thing about the outside space is that it feels like an additional room and we sat around the fire until late chatting. With no light pollution around, we could see a huge blanket of stars above us and even saw an owl fly overhead.
Another plus point about the Wriggly Tin experience is all of the little added extras included in the huts. As well as tea and coffee, porridge oats, pasta and, of course, the all important marshmallows for the campfire are all provided. Unlike other camping sites we’ve been to, the wood for the fire and stove is also included.
We had such a lovely relaxing couple of days and ironically, going off-grid was actually less stressful than being at home, as everything became simplified. We did take a moment to wonder what the original shepherds who used the huts would have thought about people paying to experience the tranquility which was part of their everyday lives. (Although I’m not sure the beds would have been quite as comfortable back then.)
As we looked through the visitors book in our hut we could see that there had been a lot of return visits and it’s easy to see why. I’m sure we’ll be back in years to come with our own little adventurer.
Have you ever been glamping? We’re always looking for new places to stay, so please let us know if you have any recommendations.
If you enjoyed this review of Wriggly Tin Shepherd’s Huts, why not check out another unusual stay I had at a farmhouse in Wales or find out more about that time we stayed in a wigwam in on Route 66 in America.