You almost expect to see Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud wandering around the wooden decking wrapping around one of the four timbered treehouses at the Dittisham Hideaway. No doubt checking off the exterior inventory as he goes: “Hammock, hot tub, giant chess set, table football, sun loungers, al fresco dining chairs and table. What more could you want?”
“Utterly amazing. Who would think of weaving a luxury house through trees clinging to the side of a Devon valley?” McCloud would ask intently.
The answer to the question is the daringly inventive late Peter de Savary, aided by his wife Lana. Hoteliers of immense experience, recently they have brought their eye-for-design flair to a wider range of properties.
Deep within Devon fields, hills and streams laced by narrow lanes, Dittisham Hideaway is a far-from-the-madding-crowd rural escape. As well as the blissfully quiet treehouses on this 12-acre site, there are also five artisan-crafted shepherd’s lodges.
Most eye-catching is a sleek polished icon of mid-century Americana, a 1956 gleaming aluminium Airstream caravan. This streamlined retro piece has more headroom and far more character than many contemporary caravans.
Whether you are staying in one of the four tree houses, a shepherd’s lodge or the Airstream caravan, you are immersed in nature. Take a walk around the woodland acres where you will hear birdsong and pheasants, rather than cars and vans. Look out for Mark Bell’s collection of sculptures: Dancing to the Sounds of Nature. Amongst the quirky pieces emerging from the woodland are a saxophone-playing squirrel and a spider on drums.
“Hansel and Gretel never lived in such splendid luxury in their forest home,” Kevin McCloud might continue, “These are warm, inviting houses that bring all the well-being benefits of being drenched in nature.”
Cedar floorboards, wood framed mirrors, a slab of a tree trunk coffee-table and wood finish furniture pulls the forest into the timbered tree house. Cream, green and hints of woodland browns create a restful palette. And there’s a rich diversity of textures too: brass and pewter hare statuettes, soft-wool warming throws, hewn logs waiting for the black-metal wood burner. Though feet-warming underfloor heating means that you are unlikely to have to strike a match.
The kitchen is exceptionally well-equipped with cutlery, crockery, pots and pans. A welcome pack of biscuits, bread, butter, crisps and milk gets you off to a good start as does the complimentary bottle of wine and decanter of sloe gin. Also, washing-up liquid and dishwasher tablets are in place too. When you find aluminium foil and cling-film, you know that this is a kitchen for serious cooks.
But dinner or lunch, down in Dittisham, on the bank of the River Dart, at the Ferryboat Inn is tempting. It’s only a 5-minute drive. This pub is so close to the river that its website features tide-times rather than a menu. The FBI, looking out across yachts moored on the Dart’s smooth waters, claims to have one of the best views from a pub window in the UK.
For travellers taking the ferry across to Greenway, Agatha Christie’s former home, now run by the National Trust, The Ferryboat Inn is a favoured watering hole. Somehow, it seems appropriate to have an Agatha Christie or Miss Marple pizza before ringing the bell to request that ferry.
Dartmouth with its galleries, crab sandwiches and harbour views is 12 minutes away by car or 30 minutes from the Dittisham jetty by ferry. For the full seaside experience, drive west along the coast from Dartmouth to the private beach at Blackpool Sands with its cafe and showers.
Soon visitors are drawn back to the away-from-it-all serenity of Dittisham Hideaway. For couples, the treehouses are a romantic escape for two, with their his and hers bathrooms, and glass domed ceiling for stargazing. Though if you want to go full Swiss Family Robinson and take the grandchildren away, there is a bedroom with triple bunks for kids and that large bathroom too.
Dittisham Hideaway fact file
Learn more at Dittishamhideaway.co.uk
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If you enjoyed Dittisham Hideaway – a luxurious timbered treehouse, you’ll find more luxury UK breaks on our Travel channel.Tags: Devon, Dittisham Hideaway, Michael Edwards, UK breaks Last modified: December 5, 2022