May Hill, Gloucestershire
Glorious woodland retreat with yurts, fire circle, communal kitchen, swimming lake and a boat for soul-reviving rest in Gloucestershire.
Please note that the minimum stay for this property is 2 nights
This calming, luxurious woodland retreat opened its doors in 2021 and is the creation of Mark and Bronwen, the co-owners. The pair have gone to great lengths to create an off-grid oasis in nature, where those seeking time out from the chaos of modern life can come and sleep in one of their beautiful yurts and wake to the chorus of birdsong with nothing but nature all around.
Barefoot and Bower is a lovely dream brought to life and would be perfect for individuals, families or groups that are keen to experience a simpler sort of life, if only for a few days. The whole site is also available for celebrations and sleeps up to 20 in various yurts dotted round the woods.
This is a family business with deep local ties. Working with artisans and craftspeople, buying second-hand, using antiques and collectibles and employing and promoting local goods are all part of the ethos. Barefoot and Bower care about sustainability, ecology and in treading lightly, with the ambition of leaving as small a footprint as possible.
On arrival at the hub, the entrance to the site, you'll find a collection of festival wheelbarrows to help you transport your belongings to your very own yurt. All of the yurts are furnished with a WindySmithy wood burner and outside a tripod BBQ and fit pit. The owners will provide you with wood for your stay. If you need more there's an honesty box in the Hub and a net of logs costs £5. All of the yurts are beautifully decorated with a comfy bed and soft furnishings and you'll feel like a nomad in your very own little pocket of wilderness.
Drop off your belongings and explore the site. You'll find communal woodland kitchens with gas cookers, sinks, all the crockery and utensils you'll need stored in sheds or boxes. Being off grid means power is used sparingly, as is water. The lighting is carefully chosen to be low and warm, so it doesn’t interfere with bats or moths. You'll be able to charge your phone but you'll have to leave hair straighteners and the like behind, so just let your hair be as wild as your surroundings!
There is a communal venue called 'Temple Tent' set amongst the grand Douglas fir trees where you can join in acoustic music nights, drumming circles and wild kitchen suppers. It's a great spot to meet other guests if you want to and they welcome any ideas for additional events as well as exclusive hire for celebrations. In addition to the accommodation for up to twenty they can also cater for up to thirty people.
The lake is a particularly glorious part of the experience. Start the day with a coffee and head down to the wooden jetty where you can sit and dangle your feet or climb down the ladder and swim (a lovely way to greet the day) There's a rowing boat you can borrow and they also have a couple of paddle boards which you can reserve at the hub.
Cook lunch at one of the kitchens or fire up your BBQ and spend the afternoon lazing in an adirondack chair with a good book or a guitar.
If you're a wildlife lover you're in for a treat. The morning bird chorus is famous, be prepared! There are also king fishers on the lakes, they are very shy but can occasionally be spotted. Deer call out often, don’t be too alarmed. Door-mice, reptiles, bats, frogs, carp, eels, snakes, boar, foxes and badgers are all living in the woods.
If you fancy a meal out do visit The Glass House Inn – great local pub that has a wide variety of ales, ciders and lager, good wholesome food and a large pub garden, 10 min’s walk from site. There are a few lovely bakeries and Helens Manor do fabulous afternoon teas.
Sunday - Thursday is £180 p/night and Friday and Saturday are £200 p/night. Fridays and Saturdays are to be booked together unless the owner agrees otherwise.
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