Three idyllic countryside retreats

We could all do with a chance to stretch our legs. Chris Carter suggests a spell at a farm

“We’ve been cooped up for so long that the chance to go free range in Britain once lockdown eases will make this spring really special,” says Jane Knight in The Mail on Sunday. And it doesn’t get much more bucolic than at Scrogg House Farm, a smallholding in the Yorkshire Dales’ idyllic Rawthey Valley. 

There are two converted cottages for guests. One is a one-bedroom former threshing barn and the other a two-bedroom former smithy, both of which come with fishing rights to the River Rawthey, which meanders by outside, with a deep pool for swimming where it meets the River Clough. 

If you follow the river, you will come to one of England’s highest waterfalls, Cautley Spout in the Howgill Fells. “Back at base there’s a dog shower and plenty of human comforts, mixing modern technology, such as underfloor heating and a hot tub, with traditional features including exposed beams and stonework.” From £206 for two nights, scrogghouse.farm.

Embracing wabi-sabi

“It’s not often you find wabi-sabi principles laid out deep in the heart of the Allgäu in Bavaria, amid the meadows, hills and cow-filled pastures,” says Condé Nast Traveller. But that ancient Japanese tradition of embracing transience and imperfection has informed the renovation of Rosso farm and its barns and stables. The floorboards are sloping, the beams wonky and the steps creaky. “But the honesty of the style fits neatly, symbiotically with the rustic setting. Owners Christian Müller and Lisa Rühwald have elevated it with their eclectic, elegant design.” 

The three apartments, with their galleried platforms for the beds, bunk beds in alcoves for the children and free-standing copper bathtubs in bathrooms finished with warm tadelakt plaster, sport vintage furniture and flea-market curiosities. Cheerily big kitchens allow guests to cook up the regional ingredients they find in the farm shop, while guests can warm themselves up in the sauna after a long hike. In spring, “the gardens come alive, with chickens pecking around in the courtyard, the barbecue area on the terrace ready for sunny lunches and the fruit trees in flower”. From about £180, dasrosso.com.

A taste of working farm life

Whether it’s learning the art of beekeeping or spinning wool at a working sheep farm, guests are encouraged to get their hands dirty at farm stays dotted around Greece, ranging from the Peloponnese to the Central Macedonian region, says Helen Iatrou for National Geographic. One of the best is Eumelia, situated in Laconia, in the southern Peloponnese region. An agritourism and wellness retreat, it offers guests the chance to experience life on its working farm through harvesting olives and grapes and putting the farm-to-table philosophy into practice at one of its chef-led cooking classes. Doubles from €160, eumelia.com.

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