Dear readers, I've been itching to share our recent cottage getaway with you, as it's a quirky one for sure. I found The Dipping Shed on the Canopy and Stars website, which has wonderful collection of unusual accommodation; including tree houses, yurts, cabins, and other outdoor glamping sites in the UK and Europe. The Dipping Shed is situated in the grounds of the beautiful Walcot Hall, in Shropshire. As you know, we prefer rustic, secluded accommodation so I was a little worried we might be overlooked, as Walcot Hall not only hosts events, such as operas and weddings, it also has a varied collection of other glamping accommodation on site. However I needn't have worried. The grounds are extensive (30+ acres) and The Dipping Shed is not only secluded, it also has the most beautiful views over the lake, with many lovely walks from the doorstep. Though do bear in mind, the lodge is set in an elevated position, and is only accessed by foot and involves a climb up some steps, so it may be unsuitable for the elderly and those with mobility problems.
Where is it: Shropshire
Price from: £525 a week
What's it like inside?
The dipping shed is a beautifully decorated hunting lodge, with a rustic exterior and an interior unlike anything I've ever seen. Originally it was a dipping shed; a place where sheep were 'dipped.' Dipped into what I'm not sure, but I like to think it was a bubble bath. Inside it is decked out with tall beams, beautiful antique furniture, log burner (or course) and is decorated with various farming tools and hunting paraphernalia. I have to admit when it comes to hunting, my sympathies lie with the animal, so while some elements of the decor were not to my taste (like the antler chandelier) it wasn't so extreme that it spoilt my enjoyment of the lodge. It is well equipped, has a lovely selection of books, and is filled to the brim with lovely little touches. It even has an outdoor shower - which would come in very handy for wet doggies and hot afternoons.
The Kitchen & living area
The kitchen was fabulous. Complete with aga, all the essentials and a lovely view from the kitchen window, so washing up is an absolute pleasure. Electric comes from a generator which is situated elsewhere. You can hear a slight hum when it's on, but when we wanted silence we simply switched it off. The lounge is super cosy and has comfy sofa, blankets and log burner ... there's also plenty of leaflets in the drawer with local events and walks. It also one of those fab long dining tables you see in the films - so if you have an argument with hubby about which hill to climb, you can sit at either end in perfect silence!
There are two double bedrooms - one master bedroom downstairs and one double bedroom upstairs in the mezzanine. We tried both, and both were comfy. Though the stairs to the mezzanine are quite steep so watch your step after a few glasses of bolly! The master bedroom is beautiful, with a huge antique headboard dated from the 1800's (is pictured middle-right in the piccies below) with a lovely view onto the valley above. As we were there in May there were newly born little lambs everywhere - I was desperate to cuddle one but Ralphy wasn't having any of it.
Oh I loved this bathroom, with it's beautiful stained glass door, antique furniture and more views onto the garden - and as it's so private you needn't worry about being overlooked (except by lambs of course). It was the perfect place for a pamper and long soak after a long day of walking! and as it's the Shropshire hills you may need one (clue's in the name - as hubby quite rightly pointed out during one particularly hilly walk!) The hills are worth it though, you won't see views like this in Norfork that's for sure.
Walcot Hall grounds
There are plenty of walks from the door but there is also so much to explore on site. The grounds and gardens of Walcot Hall cover over 30 acres and they are truly stunning. It has one of the finest Arboretums (botanical garden) in Britain with an extensive collection of trees, flowers, and shrubs. Wandering through we came across various little gems, like a small lake with a rowing boat that guests are welcome to use, and quirky little comfy sheds where you can 'rest your feet.' We took a lovely evening stroll around the huge lake, and counted over 40+ swans ... the view of Walcot Hall from the lake was breathtaking - there was a slight mist over the lake, the swans were gliding over the water and the sun was setting in a pink sky - sods law we didn't have the camera so you'll just have to imagine it!
The 'hidden gems' of Walcott Hall
Aside from the dipping shed, Walcot also has holiday apartments, and other glamping accommodation which it calls it's 'hidden gems' and they really are hidden. We walked through various winding paths and came across a gypsy caravan, a fire truck, yurts, and showman's caravan and a chapel! I'd love to return for a group / family holiday ... in fact if I had discovered Walcot before hubby and I married, I think it may have been a serious contender for our wedding venue.
Shropshire is simply stunning, and if you love rural, wild, countryside you will fall in love with it, as I have. There are so many lovely places to visit ... such as Much Wenlock, Ironbridge and Ludlow. If fact I'll share more about these places in another post as there's so much to tell. As we went in May, everything was bursting into life. The woodlands were filled with bluebells, ferns were unfurling and the wild garlic was just coming into bloom everywhere! Entire woodlands were covered with their white flowers and the scent was heavenly ... the flowers even tasted delicious. Though perhaps you shouldn't try one on a first date?
Ralphy and friends
And finally, Ralphy insists that I share some of the friends he made in Shropshire. He absolutely loved it here, and had a whale of a time barking at the sheep. We had a run in with a group of curious cows, and in order to avoid them we had to peg it round the edge of the field ... after which I attempted to squeeze through a hole in the bottom of a fence and got stuck halfway through like Pooh bear! - I couldn't move for laughing, and of course hubby thought it was hilarious - especially since my face was inches from a cow pat! but it's moments like these that make a great British holiday - you wouldn't experience that on a beach in Portugal now would you eh?? : )
If you'd like to book, or read more about The Dipping Shed or Walcot Hall pop along to the Canopy and Stars Website below.