Follow the path around the millpond to find the characterful and rustic John's Hut. Sitting in a paddock nestled by the millpond it is the larger of the two huts (17x6ft), and comfortable for longer stays. A small double bed, tucked away at the end, has a supportive mattress and dressed in a pretty cotton ticking, with an all season hypoallergenic duvet made from 100% grade A long-fibre Mulberry silk. The blue Hungarian dresser is thoughtfully stocked with tea and coffee should you wish to stay cosy in the hut with a hot drink. A basket of wood is provided for the small Salamander stove that keeps cooler evenings toasty warm ... in the mornings throw open the stable door and watch the millpond's ducks. Later, sit at the pine table overlooking the chestnut tree with a pot of tea, cake picked up from a rural farm shop and a board game taken from the wooden box.
What else? A relaxing 'egg' chair with room for two overlooks the millpond and in the summer an old French day bed dressed with rugs and cushions creates a perfect retreat. Under the trees is a table and chairs. For evening warmth sit around the fire pit and chase stars under exceptionally dark nocturnal skies. Why not enjoy sizzling sausages with a glass of wine? Under the hut is a 'belly box' with two folding chairs. Not far is the quirky field kitchen - equipped with essentials, fridge and gas stove - and in less than a minute, situated in the mill yard, is a bright and clean washroom with flushing loo and hot shower solely for private use. Bath towels are provided.
Whilst the hut has a small stove, during our variable summers if it's feeling cooler when temperatures drop overnight there is a small heater available to use. There is a quilt and blankets in the hut.
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Breakfast on delicious organic freshly baked bread, organic preservatives, muesli with Greek yoghurt to accompany, ground Lavazza Oro coffee, milk and juice, all left in the field kitchen to enjoy.
A characterful period piece, John's Hut was painstakingly and correctly made by Eddie Butterfield at Heritage Shepherd's Huts. With a background in restoration and blacksmithing, Eddie custom made the hut based on a traditional living van and is 'worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with some of the original makers'. Nestled close to the millpond, looking towards the island where ducks gather, come and discover the joys of glamping in pretty north Dorset.
Similar to shepherd's huts that could be moved around, living vans were specially designed for use with steam rollers, steam engines and ploughing engines. Living vans were wooden trailers towed behind for the crew to live in whilst working away from base. Engineers Bomford & Evershed, Ltd. noted that the vans not only saved crew trouble and expense of finding lodgings, which was better as they were apt to neglect themselves when fresh lodgings were hard to secure, but enabled small repairs to be carried out if the weather was too bad for the roller to be worked in. The vans usually had a bunk for two to five men, along with a cast iron stove and a small surface for work, food storage locker and detachable steps. A large number have been restored by engine owners to add to their engine especially if they transport them to shows such as the Great Dorset Steam Fair held locally near Blandford.