Aller Dorset: The perfect retreat

The hut by starlight.

The starlit hut

This is a sweet place to retreat 

Picture this – rolling fields of lush green grass and a beautiful lake with a swan floating elegantly on its surface. You will find a tranquil rural escape that is peaceful and serene when you add a beautifully appointed shepherds house with golden light streaming through the glass walls; a spa bath filled with sparkling fairy lights and glowing candles, and you’ll have a beautiful country retreat. This is Aller Dorset. It’s exactly where my heart was a few weeks ago, when it needed me to get away.

What’s so special about Aller Dorset?

Situated in the tiny hamlet of Lower Ansty and nestled in scenic, arable farmland it’s the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Cat and Ant Earp who set out to create something very different to generic Shepherds Hut experiences. Built and supplied by local company Plankbridge; the interiors were designed by the couple, and lavished with all the little luxuries that you’d expect from a boutique hotel. The hotel has both a WOW factor and all of the practicalities and comfort you would expect. The log burner, the rainforest shower in a bijou bathroom and the king-sized Egyptian cotton bed are just a few of the many amenities that make this heavenly haven.

Anyone for deliciously decadent nature bathing?

Are you looking for scrumptious nature bathing experiences?

It was what you liked most.

There was so much to love – from the moment I arrived and walked, welly clad, across the fields to my home for two nights, I felt refreshed; and as I took in that incredible lake view, and lit the wood burner to chase off the Autumn chills I felt my heart warm as fast as my body. The first night, I settled down with a bottle Langhams local wine, an audiobook and the sounds of rain falling on the roof. It’s that wonderful marriage of being slap bang in the elements but blissfully comfortable and toasty warm. It’s the ideal romantic getaway, even though I was alone.

Take home what can you learn?

The experience is not only amazing, but you also have the option to shop inside the huts. Cat, a former colleague in fashion design and textiles, has collaborated with Maddie Dunning on exquisite home furniture that is now available for purchase via her website. There are sculpted headboards as well cushions made from leftovers of the hut. A core collection will also be available.

What is there to do when I’m there?

Aside from the lake swimming and fabulous walks on offer via the farm, you can take a wine tour at local producer Langham’s or visit the famous Studland, Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove coastlines. There’s also a plethora of great local pubs, I’d recommend The New Inn in Cerne Abbas (home of the infamous Cerne Abbas chalk giant etched into the hillside.)

Nearby Bruton is a great go to for both art and cuisine, visit the Hauser & Wirth art gallery then pop to The Newt.

Do you self-cater?

There’s a welcome pack on arrival that includes sourdough bread made by Gillian from The Wobbly Cottage; Cat’s home-made granola (it’s delicious) and locally sourced tea and coffee.

Cat can prepare a meal for you on a firepit. They are extremely popular, and you will enjoy a delicious meal overlooking the lake that is cooked on your firepit.

What’s on offer when you stay?

If you fancy really winding down you can book an hour’s session with local reflexologist, Annabelle Turner (£65 – I would highly recommend this) or head to the lake for a yoga session with Aimee from Glow Yoga. (£65)

It costs how much?

There are two huts to choose from – I stayed in Links, both cost from £185 per night


Possibly the chicest kitchen…

Possibly the chicest kitchen…