Category Archives: Country accommodation in the UK

Coastguard cottages in the Isle of Wight

Up on the windswept Needles Headland on the Isle of Wight above the iconic Needles rock formation are a group of coastguard cottages let by the National Trust.  Plain and functional, they are situated in an atmospheric location with spectacular views.  The three cottages are named after ships wrecked on the Needles – Irex and Pomone, and Varvassi, which was the last big ship to founder on this treacherous coast, back in 1947.  Much of its cargo of Mediterranean wine was washed up on local beaches.   The cottages are part of a 370-acre site of open downland owned by the National Trust.

Purple herons are nesting in the UK

Purple herons are sporadic visitors to the UK, but they’ve gone one step further this year.  Exciting news from the RSPB reserve in Dungeness, Kent, is that a pair have built a nest and are apparently sitting on eggs.  A 24-hour guard has been established to promote chances of a successful breeding, which would be a historic first for Britain. This southern European heron is expanding its range northward, probably due to climate change, and is expected to become a regular breeder in Britain in the near future, following in the footsteps of its relative, the Little egret.

Hopefully, the presence of this spectacular bird will help the RSPB fight against plans to build an international airport at nearby Lydd.

The world’s oldest osprey

The female osprey has lived to three times the average lifespan of her breed and produced 46 chicks

The world’s oldest known osprey has just returned for the 20th time to Scotland after completing the 3,000-mile flight from Africa to her summer breeding territory at Loch of the Lowes in Perthshire. Britainnature wishes her a very 25th happy birthday. The bird has already lived three time longer than the average osprey. Her secret? Lots of fresh fish and foreign travel. More in The Independent (Photo by Kevin Hacker)

Isolated cottage in Scottish Highlands

Affordable Achleek Cottage (week’s stay £495, sleeps five) is found on the south banks of Loch Sunart.  Views, mountains and remoteness guaranteed.  The nearest village is Strontian, 3 miles away, with the facilities of Fort William 23 miles by the Corran Ferry.  In contrast with the wild landscape all around, the cottage is warm and snug, with central heating and an open fireplace.  It’s also pet-friendly. Information

Secluded cottage in bluebell woods

Hidden in a corner of Soulton Wood, with views on open countryside, Keeper’s Cottage provides a peaceful retreat for up to 6 people.  The woods turn particularly  magical between April and May, when the bluebells spread among the trees like blue mist.  Soulton Wood is located about 10 miles north of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and 2 miles from Wem railway station. More info

Britain’s best hotels for walkers

The Guardian has put together this interesting article on some of the best hotels for walkers and hikers in Britain. Lots of cosy old converted farmhouses to warm you after a long day on the fells… More here

Self catering log cabins in the Peak District

Working dairy farm and our accommodation offers two secluded 4 star self-catering log cabins. Near Dovedale, Chatsworth and Carsington Water, this is an idyllic base for outdoor pursuits and sightseeing. The owners “try to be eco friendly and our cabins are run as sustainably as possible”

More here

Houseboat holidays in Devon

These houseboat holidays in Devon look like a gorgeous way of spending a week or two.
“This area boasts 35 acres of unspoilt countryside, offering the opportunity to stay on board a unique houseboat. Each widebeam barge is permanently moored on her own private jetty and sleeps 4 to 6 in ensuite cabins.  Watch the busy wildlife right outside the galley window. Land organic rainbow trout for dinner. Be awed by the silent swoop of the barn owl. And in the evening as you watch the sun setting from the aft deck know that it has given its solar energy to power your lighting for the night ahead.”

Norfolk beach cottages

Situated by grazing marsh and long stretches of sand dunes on the north Norfolk coast, the National Trust’s Horsey Barns are an ideal place to escape the madding crowds.  Wide-open horizons and bracing sea air clear the head, with somewhere cosy to come back to at night and a village pub not far.  The famous Horsey Windpump is within walking distance.  An added winter attraction is the chance to see Grey Seal pups, born in December and January, on the beach between Horsey and Winterton on Sea.  More information

Clifftop cottage in Cornwall

High on the cliffs in the Lizard Peninsula, overlooking Housel Bay and less then a mile to Britain’s most southern point, stands Wireless Cottage. Originally built by Marconi for his radio experiments and now owned by the National Trust, the building is part of radio history and there’s a small wireless museum next door. Wireless Cottage offers comfortable accommodation for two with splendid sea-views from its windows and the coastal path at its door. More information

Rustic B&B in Isle of Wight

The Old House is one of the B&Bs singled out by the Guardian in a top-ten compilation of places that offer a touch of luxury yet are under £100 for two. A carefully restored 14th century building tucked away near St Catherine’s Down in the south of the island, it offers simple rustic decoration, Persian rugs, huge antique baths and an open fire place for relaxing by if the evenings are chill.  Guests are particularly enthusiastic about the delicious breakfasts made from local organic produce. More information

Riverside cottage deep in Devon

Otter’s Holt is a riverside cottage on farmland in Devon’s Exe valley. The owners of the smallholding have been awarded for their conservation work and there are plenty of farm animals to enjoy as well as the beautiful countryside.  Very close to Exmoor national park, the cottage is located on the Exe Valley Way, a 45-mile walk across Devon between the Exe Estuary and the heights of Exmoor.  Information here

Peaceful cottage in the Gower

The famous beauty of the Gower attracts a lot of visitors, but the secluded Burrows Cottage is a peaceful retreat even in high season. This white, single-storey forester’s cottage is hidden away in pine woods near the hamlet of Cwm Ivy and the village of Llanmadoc in one of the quieter parts of the Gower. It comes highly recommended for birdwatchers, the beach nearby being part of the Whiteford Burrows nature reserve. The following species can be seen from the bird-hide at Berges island:

Brent Geese, Curlew, Dunlin, Godwits, Grebe, Kestrel, Lapwing, Meadow Pipits, Merlin, Oystercatchers, Plover, Redshank, Sanderling, Snipe, Teal, and Wigeon.

The cottage is also suitable for those in search of tranquillity, beautiful landscapes and good walking.   Information at the National Trust

Cottages on Pembrokeshire coast

The Strumble Head peninsula is part of the dramatic north Pembrokeshire coast. Two miles inland across fields are the Stones Cottages, converted barns on a small organic farm. They offer restful, luminous accommodation, and the chance to watch memorable sunsets (and milk goats). This part of the coast is particularly good for observing porpoises and grey seals, and a wartime look-out post has been converted to provide shelter for wildlife watchers.  More information