Review: Fat Pheasant Shepherd Huts, Oxfordshire
Curl up, get cosy and escape to the slower pace of country life at the charming Fat Pheasant Huts, a clutch of shepherds huts tucked away among the rolling fields of Oxfordshire.
A shepherd’s hut might just be the perfect balance of all the good things about glamping – these little homes on wheels are roomy enough to fit a big bed and a proper bathroom, snug enough to keep you warm in chilly weather, and come complete with wheels, so you can up sticks and park up at a new rural spot whenever you fancy. I’ve stayed in plenty of picture-perfect huts – but I think the nicest ones might just be found off-grid, on a green Oxfordshire farm.
At the Fat Pheasant, just three huts – Dolly, Maggie and Huxley – are spaced out in splendid isolation, each in their own meadow and with uninterrupted views of the surrounding countryside. These luxurious huts are similar in layout, but have their own crowning glories – a wood-fired hot tub or a claw-footed outdoor bath to toast the view from.
The Fat Pheasant huts each sleep two, but if you’re bringing a bigger gang, the huts also each have simple bell tents pitched next to them that sleep a further four people, so you can bring along friends, dogs and little ones for the weekend if you wish. I followed winding country lanes with two friends to stay a few nights in Huxley, the newest addition to Fat Pheasant, back in May.
Inside Huxley is, in one word, a delight. This hut may be as dinky as a doll’s house in size, but it’s not fussy or chintzy, and it has a wonderful sense of space thanks to the huge windows above the bed that look out on the surrounding countryside. The pastel-hued double bed is the perfect place to wake up slow, sip a coffee and watch the sun climb up into the sky. The rest of the hut is neatly laid out – there’s a smart and well-stocked little kitchen, storage for clothing and a pretty tiled bathroom with a proper loo. It’s a cosy bolthole that might just make you a convert to the tiny house movement.
That said, if the weather is fine, you’re likely to want to spend all your time out-of-doors – the best bit about Huxley is its lovely mix of indoor-outdoor living. The hut sits on spacious wooden decking with brightly striped deck chairs to lounge in, looking over a long table laid with lanterns and jars of wildflowers, all just asking for you to whip up an instagrammable alfresco feast. Summertime, and the cooking is easy – there’s a fire-pit, a plentiful supply of wood and a barbeque on hand, and produce doesn’t get more local than the foodie hampers the owners can supply, which come stuffed with fresh-laid eggs as well as burgers and steaks made right here on the farm.
After supper, there’s only one place to be – tucked under Huxley’s windows is its beautiful outdoor bath, painted millennial pink. If there’s a better spot to soak with a glass of wine and a view of dusk falling over fields, I’ve yet to find it on my travels.
It’s tempting to just stay at the hut, but walks also start straight from the door – we wandered through fields of bright yellow rapeseed to reach the Dun Cow in the village of Hornton for a pub lunch in the sunshine. Or for a gentler perambulation, you could just wander around the farm – guests are welcome to say hello to the cuddly resident donkeys and to my favourites – two of the snortiest, friendliest pigs I’ve ever met (they like a good back scratch).
The little extras are all thought of at Fat Pheasant. If the weather is less than perfect, light the wood stove inside Huxley – he’s well-stocked with books, board games and OS maps of the local landscape, plus lovely extra touches such as a Bluetooth speaker and posh toiletries. Dogs are welcome, and you can borrow bikes from the farm to trundle around the peaceful local lanes.
Huxley is here for a good time, not a long time, and is available from April through to the end of September. Come here to escape, just for a day or two, to a simpler way of life (and a glass of wine or two in that very fancy bath).
Stay at the Fat Pheasant Shepherd Huts from £150 per night, minimum three-night stay. Huxley is available from 1 April to 1 October.