Greenhill Glamping

UK England South East England Kent Dover

Impeccably restored huts from the late 19th-century, kitted out for couples with king-sized beds, wood-burning stoves and views over the Kent Downs

Wendy and Neil Burrows have a passion for Greenhill Glamping that is contagious and once you arrive here it is easy to see why. In the south eastern stretches of the Kent Downs, two miles from the south coast, the countryside is full of history and on every countryside stroll you seem to stumble across some relic of the past. It’s a five-mile walk to Dover Castle, three miles to the Battle of Britain Museum and a mile to the local, 12th-century church. It seems no surprise, then, that Neil and Wendy’s glamping enterprise is about far more than just offering comfortable outdoor accommodation. Staying here is also about living amongst history. This is a restoration project and, in short, a truly one-of-a-kind glamping experience.

It started with a shepherd’s hut, discovered half sunken in Romney Marshes where it had been abandoned for over 75 years and originally built by steam engine manufacturers Marshalls of Gainsborough. Wendy and Neil bought it in 2016 and set about painstakingly restoring the shell and woodwork. At the same time, however, they breathed new life into the interior, with modern day functionality such as electricity, running water and en-suite bathroom facilities. The finish is both modern – Edison-style lightbulbs cast a warm glow above a fitted king-sized bed – yet thoughtful. The names of World War II anti-aircraft gunners who sheltered in the hut during cold nights are still etched into the walls.

Within a year of opening to glampers, the shepherd’s hut was earning rave reviews. And, thanks in part to Wendy and Neil’s impeccable hospitality, was featured in The Telegraph as one of the best new (or is that old?) places to stay in Kent. So, when another dilapidated living wagon came up for sale – previously used by group ploughman who would tow their wares from farm to farm – the couple once again set about their craft of restoration. The origins of the Ploughman’s Retreat are more mysterious – it was likely built by steam engineers Clayton & Shuttleworth – but, just as before, Neil and Wendy have strived to keep as much of the original structure in place. A wood-burning stove, en-suite shower room and modern kitchen provide the mod-cons glampers would wish for, but the sense of warmth and comfort within comes as much from the wooden finish and sense of history as it does from the king-sized bed. And don’t expect WiFi; this is still a countryside retreat.

While the two historic structures each enjoy a private location on the farm, both enjoy views of the Alkham Valley and a similar situation within walking distance of the village. There’s a decent pub, the old church and a riding stables, the latter just a few yards up the road, while numerous footpaths take you straight out into the surrounding downs. It’s a 10-minute drive to Dover Castle and the white cliffs just beyond, and 25 minutes to Canterbury. And, if all that history is just too much, it’s 10 minutes to the beach.

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The campsite owner says

A beautifully restored 19th century shepherd's wagon located on the Kent Downs in the beautiful Alkham Valley, near to Dover. The perfect retreat for 2 looking for a special luxury stay. Kingsize bed overlooking stunning views and ensuite with large shower. Woodstove for those cosy evenings tucked up inside! Outside fire pit and barbeque to enjoy sunsets across the valley. Our shepherd's wagon is situated within its own private paddock with private parking.

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