Have you been seriously dreaming of getting away from it all? Closing your laptop, turning off your phone, opening a book and being properly off the grid? This rural Oxfordshire farm could be the perfect place for you. Fat Pheasant Shepherd Huts in Shotteswell, near Banbury, is the sort of place where you can feel completely at one with nature – without giving up that little bit of luxury.
I stayed in Maggie: a compact, corrugated-tin cabin perched at the top of a series of rolling hills. There wasn’t another person in sight (and no wifi connection at all). On a gloriously sunny day, I could hear the distant call of songbirds and the odd bellow of Highland cattle, and nothing else. Utter, utter bliss.
The hut itself was stunning. Inside, there’s a beautifully finished kitchen, complete with individually-crafted ceramic mugs (and fresh coffee to fill them with). There’s a wood-burning stove to keep the cabin cosy, and opposite, a plush, linen-covered bed, with views over the fields through a picture window. The bathroom is stylishly decorated with black tiles, and kitted out with organic toiletries. It’s clear that the owners have an eye for detail.
The real thrill, though, is outside. Guests need to go a bit ‘hunter gatherer’ to cook, lighting a fire under a large metal frying pan. I opted for the Fat Pheasant’s signature food hamper – available as an extra – and found myself with a veritable feast: halloumi and aubergine charring on the fire pit, ample salad and side dishes, plus sloe gin, carrot cake and leftovers for the morning.
And, of course, there's the hot tub. Pop some logs onto the fire next to the tub, wait a few minutes, and you’ve got a glorious, toasty pool of your own. By sliding the lid over the top, I managed to keep it warm until the next day. That meant a sunrise, pre-breakfast dip. It doesn’t get much more glorious than that.
Staying in Maggie by myself was great, but I couldn’t help but imagine huge birthday parties spent at the site, gathering friends up for a long weekend in the countryside. It’s clear the owners have the same idea – the long outdoor dining table is perfect for large groups, and guests can book an extra bell tent for straggling teens or a bunch of pals.
You don’t have to spend your time in solitude, either. The farm animals – chickens, pigs, donkeys – are bound to be a hit with children. There’s also a pub a short walk away, and 500 acres of farmland to explore.
Sound like somewhere you’d like to stay? Prices start from £150 a night – find out everything you need to know on the Fat Pheasant website.
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