Michael Edwards, with four-legged friends and family, goes walkies on the South Downs, from a luxurious barn-style cottage.
Barrow Hill Farm has undergone a remarkable makeover from farm mucky to uber country chic.
There was a time when up to 32 family and friends were unlikely to head for a farmyard – a collection of barns and tractors – to celebrate such big events as anniversaries or milestone birthday’s ending in a zero.
Barrow Hill, a Bronze Age burial site, overlooking these acres for millennia, has seen nothing like it. An arable and beef farm, tended by the Luff family for 110 years, has given over 10 acres to house the coolest collection of eight brick, flint and red tiled barn-style cottages.
You can hire all eight properties for that big get together. From smaller cottages sleeping a couple through to larger three-bedroom properties: in total Barrow Hill Barns can host 32. Then there is The Cowshed, a large event space, ideal for whatever celebration you are planning. Amongst the rural timbers no one says that you have to celebrate with a barn dance …
The eight cottages, each named after one of the farm’s meadows, are available for hire through Premier Cottages. This is not an agency but a UK collection of luxury properties, all 4* or 5* ranked by national tourist agencies, where the owners have combined. Dealing directly with the owner there is no agency charge and properties are booked for an all-inclusive price. Moreover, the owner lives on-site to answer any queries.
Our chosen property is Pump Meadow. From the open plan lounge/kitchen/dining room you can watch the sun rising over the South Downs meadows. This is high-end, luxurious living, like a photoshoot for a contemporary country-style magazine. Watercolours of birdlife, South Downs landscapes and market-day scenes from yesteryear Petersfield, all add to the sense of country living. Radiators would spoil the clean-lined aesthetic, so on the ground floor, there is under-floor heating.
At Pump Meadow, there are three bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. Even the super-king-size Hypnos beds – which can be set up as two singles on request – do not dominate the large rooms. Up a farmhouse style sturdy timber staircase, the one room on the first floor possibly just edges it as the master bedroom. The bathroom hosts a roll-top bath and a large shower.
The kitchen is one for aspiring MasterChefs. Light sage cupboards are full of all the chopping board, pots, pans and utensils you would need for a sophisticated dinner party for six. There are ample glasses for beer, champagne, red wine and white wine. Come summer, entertaining spills over onto a patio equipped with a BBQ and outdoor furniture.
Set at the heart of the South Downs National Park, visitors can step straight out into a landscape of hills, meadows, streams and valleys. In every cottage a folder gives details of Ramsden Rambles, opening with a gentle 1.5-mile leg stretcher through to a 13-mile round trek to Hawkley Inn.
For another break from self-catering, the Seven Stars is the nearest pub, just a 1.5-mile walk. Around a 5 mile drive away, there’s the historic Bat and Ball pub. Although early forms of cricket had been played on the sheep-nibbled South Down meadows for centuries, it was only in the 18th century that the game was formalised at Hambledon. The pub is a veritable museum of early cricket history, recording the days when Hambledon frequently beat the Rest of England.
Above all, this is walking country and a dream destination for dog-owners. Pump Meadow is dog-friendly, hosting up to three well-behaved pets. At the end of a muddy walk through the spectacular South Downs, there is a warm water dog wash located by reception.
Tell Me More About Premier Cottages’ Barrow Hill Barns on the South Downs
Barrow Hill Barns, Ramsdean Petersfield, GU32 1RW
T: 07847 436562
A week’s stay at Pump Meadow for six starts from £1045 and a three-night break from £737.
Premier Cottages’ collection features almost 1,000 four and five-star self-catering cottages across the UK. Properties range from small, romantic boltholes to large family-friendly country estates. The collection includes pet-friendly and glamping accommodation. It also offers the widest range of accessible properties in the UK and many properties have onsite facilities like swimming pools, gyms, spas, indoor games rooms and children’s play areas.