Shepherds, I think we can all agree, are among the least heralded and yet most hardworking members of the great rural community. They’re out there in all weathers, whistling, waving a stick and generally making sure sheep don’t wander into trouble. They gifted their name to one of the most satisfying foodstuffs yet devised by humanity. How many vocations are so wholesome they get a pie named after them? Truly, shepherds, you’ve done us proud, and not least in the explosion of cute shepherd’s huts acting as rustic boltholes popping up across the country of late.
Kate and Richard Hodgson aren’t shepherds but dairy farmers, and opened their brand new shepherd’s hut at the start of July. This two-person hideaway has got absolutely everything going for it: it’s on their 330-acre farm near Ingleton in County Durham, about 20 minutes outside Darlington, and is therefore in easy reach of the North Pennines, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. There are loads of walking and cycling routes in this part of the world, and there’s the two-Michelin Star Raby Hunt restaurant a five-minute drive away in Summerhouse too.
It’s got great views across the valley, and lots of little touches which make this far more luxurious than your average hillside bothy: inside the traditional, wood-panelled exterior there’s a cast-iron wood-burner, a proper king-size bed and an HD television as well as an en suite bathroom with a power shower. Given that Kate and Richard’s other holiday properties include the five-star gold-standard Mill Granary and Mill Byre on the farm as well as the cute Church Cottage in nearby Gainford and Cheeseborough House, a Grade II-listed former weaver’s cottage in Barnard Castle, it’s not so surprising that the latest addition to their portfolio condenses all of the trademark rustic cosiness and modern conveniences of their other properties.
Enter our prize draw this month and you can win a week’s stay in the shepherd’s hut, and on top of that, you’ll get a bottle of champagne on arrival. To be in with a chance of winning, send your name and contact details on a postcard to Living North, Studio 2, St Nicholas Chare, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RJ, enter online at www.livingnorth.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please mark your entry SHEPHERDS HUT. All entries to be received by Friday 29 September. Not the winner? For more information on the shepherd’s hut and other properties visitwww.millgranary.co.uk.
Mill Granary Cottages
Middleton House, Ingleton DL2 3HG