The Shepherds Hide

UK England East Anglia Essex Brightlingsea

  • Adults only
  • Adults Only
  • Short walk to pub
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
  • Walking
Luxury shepherds huts near the Essex coast, with beautiful, watery surroundings and a wonderfully private setting

Few places showcase the full spectrum of coast and countryside scenery quite like Mill Farm in Essex. Tidal creeks stretch their fingers in land every time the waters rise, reed-fringed ponds rustle in the breeze and wading birds natter on the flat, marshy palms that make up the Colne Estuary. In the fields, meanwhile, pick-your-own strawberries puff out in time for summer, while a newly planted vineyard is showing the first stripy signs of life. And all of this within 55 acres.

It’s in this rather fairytale farm setting that The Shepherds Hide is found – or rather the ‘hides’, plural, since there are now two different abodes to choose from. The first, tucked in its own private, partially wooded enclave overlooking a pond, has all the same comforts of the second, which is in a separate area of the farm and blessed with views of the young vineyard. Both have been crafted with every comfort in mind.

Inside, expect a king-sized bed, wood burning stove and compact kitchen space, along with an en suite shower room at one end. What really sets the place apart, however, is the fine attention to detail. There are toiletries in the bathroom (all biodegradable and wonderfully fragrant), locally sourced goodies in your wicker ‘welcome hamper’ and small tins with tea, coffee and sugar, each decorated with illustrations of native wildlife that can be spotted from your window.

Beyond the door of each hut, a trail leads away into the farm. Guests are welcome to explore, with footpaths weaving towards Arlesford Creek, a perfect place for bird watching. A short stroll and you’ll also find the old wooden mill that gives the farm its name – a fully restored tidal mill built in 1831. It’s only open on certain days if you want to peep inside but it makes for a magnificent photo or two in the meantime, set against the colours of the creek beyond, where the waters ebb away having circled the water-wheel that turns inside.

During summer the strawberry field is opened up to the public and glampers can gorge themselves on ripe fruit – a serious pleasure since they grow a whole host of sweet varieties you can’t buy in the supermarkets. Or take your basket and skip your way down to the beaches of the Essex coast – Clacton on Sea, Walton on the Naze and more – all just ten minutes or so in the car, where you could add a little ice cream to those berries. Take your pick. Literally.



Inside, the shepherd's huts feature a king-sized bed (bedding and towels an optional extra at time of booking), a dining area and a kitchen with plenty of storage, cooking facilities, a kettle, toaster, sink and mains running water. There is an en-suite bathroom with a shower, basin and flushing loo, plus eco toiletries such as body wash and body lotion. A log burner keeps the whole place warm (with the addition of underfloor heating in Teal). Outside, you'll find a picnic bench and patio. Parking is separate but there's a wheelbarrow to easily move your things.

Suitable For

The shepherd's huts sleep 2 each. Adults only. Pets are not permitted.


The farm is home to the only fully restored water mill in Essex, Thorrington Tide Mill (03330 138156). It's now owned by Essex County Council and opened as a museum between April and September on the last Sunday of every month, some bank holidays and special mill open days. It's just a short stroll from the shepherd's hut. If you fancy venturing further afield by foot, there's glorious bird watching along the Colne Estuary, with footpaths leading directly down to the water from the site. Enjoy the sandy beaches around Brightlingsea – lined with beach huts and backed by a long promenade – or head inland to Colchester, Britain's oldest recorded town (20-minutes in the car). The village of Dedham is also a particular joy, in the heart of Constable country (25 minutes by car). It was here that Britain's greatest landscape artist went to school and today the main street is lined with attractive Georgian houses, old inns and a large art/crafts centre.

Food & Drink

On arrival you'll be welcomed with a "local goods basket". After that, there are supermarkets in nearby Brightlingsea, while Thorrington itself, offers a local store for basic supplies and a great local pub, The Red Lion (01206 252001). During the Summer – late May and mid July (season length is subject to the weather) – the farm also opens for pick your own strawberries. The Shepherds Hide is located away from this busy hub but it means you can conveniently stroll around the corner to pick and taste their amazing, fresh strawberries!


All year.

Why book with I Love This Campsite?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

The Owner Says

Located on a family farm, the Shepherds Hide huts "Wigeon" and "Teal" are luxurious unique and secluded self catering shepherds huts, tucked away on the heart of the Essex coast, just outside Colchester. They are perfect for short breaks, romantic getaways or for longer self-catering holidays in the countryside with excellent bird watching and walking on site and a range of tourist attractions nearby. Mill Farm, is about 55 acres of a mixture of arable, grassland, salt marsh, tidal creeks and inland waters and is the home of the only fully restored tide mill in Essex. Reconnect with nature and yourselves at The Shepherds Hide, away from the hustle and bustle of your busy lives.

In February 2018 we were voted as one of Essex's top 10 most romantic spots by Essex Life Magazine and we are very proud to have been featured as Number 3 in Adventure Travel Magazine's round-up of the 10 most incredible winter glamping sites in the UK in October 2017. We are also proud to have been featured as Number 25 in The Daily Telegraph's Summer 2016 Top 40 Glamping Campsites in the UK and Europe.

Social Distancing Measures


2 luxury shepherds huts in private areas of a 55-acre farm.


Shepherd’s hut Sleeps 2
A spacious and luxury shepherds hut which has a king size bed, fully fitted kitchen and en-suite bathroom, kitted out to the highest of standards with mains power and water. There is no television or internet access ensuring peace, relaxation and tranquility of this beautiful setting ride by the side of the mill pond.

Check Availability




Contact The Shepherds Hide, The Granary, Mill Farm, Brightlingsea Road, Thorrington, Colchester, Essex CO7 8JJ

Show Map

Getting There

The postcode when put into the sat nav, CO7 8JJ will bring you to the centre of Brightlingsea Road. Keep travelling along the road and on the right hand side you will notice the houses stop and there is a hedge line. You will then see signs for Mill Farm, Thorrington Tide Mill and Hill Farm Landscapes on your right hand side. Turn right into the driveway and follow it all the way down to the bottom. Drive round past the Mill through the metal gate (not over the bridge and through the wooden gates), keeping the mill pond to your left hand side and The Granary (converted farm buildings) to your right. Drive on into the farm yard and park on the left, next to the green container. You will see a small green trailer for you to transport your belongings. The huts are located down a short track that starts just to the right of the chicken run. Mark and Polly can be found in The Granary converted Barns.
The nearest railway station is Alresford, exactly 2½ miles away. From here you'll have to grab a taxi. Try NwC Taxis (01206 302491) or V P Cars (01206 825001).


Add Your Review

Be the first to leave a review!

Why book with I Love This Campsite?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

Related Guides

See Glamping in Brightlingsea