A sunny afternoon in June took me to The Wood Life – a family run, luxury glamping experience in the heart of Devon. Located near the beautiful village of Kenn, a few miles outside of Exeter, you arrive at the site through some very narrow lanes and are awarded with some amazing countryside views.
Welcome to The Wood Life
After navigating my way down the narrow lanes and passing through a working farm I arrived at The Wood Life Glamping and was warmly greeted by hosts Amanda and Matt. Amanda led me to my home the night and lovingly showed me around. The Orchard Wagon site is secluded and private and offers the most wonderful views of the Devon countryside. Amanda was able to tell me about the old orchard site, other The Wood Life ventures and ensured I had all I needed for my solo one-night stay. I immediately fell in love with the area and was excited to explore the Shepard’s Hut and Bathing Wagon.
After Amanda left me too it and I unpacked the car, I spent ages looking around the wagons and taking photos – the place was just so photogenic and Instagram worthy!
A Delightful Shepard’s Hut
The Shepard’s Hut is the sleeping area and is just simply stunning. Opening the hut’s stable doors you are greeted with the welcoming sight of a beautiful handmade wooden bed, made up with crisp white sheets and comfy looking cushions. The bed is really well spaced and is positioned differently to many other huts I have seen. The bed is vertically placed, allowing for space either side for individuals to climb in – no clambering over your partner in the middle of the night or being squashed up against the wall! I was amazed at how much space there was in the beautifully decorated wagon; as well as the full-size double bed there was room for a foldable table and chairs, soft chair, table with a kettle, and a fridge.
Mains lighting is provided as well as plug sockets and cute lantern bedside lights. I loved how organic the place felt and enjoyed looking at the huge local map situated on one of the walls – it’s always nice to learn a little about where you are visiting and the nature that’s surrounding you.
A Bath with a View
Next to explore was the separate bathing wagon. Wow, what a magical bathroom this was! I couldn’t believe how beautiful the wooden decorated the wagon was and how stunning the built-in bath, sink and toilet were. Clean towels and toiletries were provided and everything was super clean, even the compost toilet!
The bath was beautiful and had the most incredible views of the countryside – I’ve never had a more relaxing bath with such beautiful views. You can open up the windows, so you can admire the view better, breathe in the smell of countryside and bathe listening to birdsong. I did have to work for the warm bubble bath though as you are required to heat the water for the bathroom using the wood burning stove – this was quite an experience and took me a little while to get it going (Nathan normally sorts out the fires, but he wasn’t with me this time!). The bath is well worth the wait and the perseverance though, and I think I enjoyed the luxurious bath more knowing I had worked for it!
Cooking and Chilling
My private, little glamping site also had a lovely place to sit outside and chill. Rustic table and chairs were provided, and I enjoyed sitting with a cup of tea and book enjoying the views in the late evening sunshine. A fire pit is available to cook on – I used the chopping wood and axe provided to chop wood for a fire and cooked some beef burgers. There’s something so magical about getting back to nature, making your own fire and cooking over an open flame (I might have used some of the provided firelighters to help get it going but still!) All pots, pans, crockery and cutlery are provided, and I enjoyed my burgers with some coleslaw and salad – yum yum! I sat eating them outside in the peace and quiet – it really is very tranquil, with only the sounds of the birds and cows to be heard.
If you don’t fancy the fire pit or the weather isn’t too good, then there is the option of cooking undercover at the kitchen and washing up area. There’s all you need to do some cooking, including a two-burner stove and cupboards to keep your dry food in. There are plenty of fresh herbs too which you are invited to pick. There’s a washing up area with sink, drying rack and all you need to clean the pots and pans. A Dutch oven is also available for use if on those colder nights guests fancy cooking up a stew, casserole or chilli over the fire pit. I think if I had been staying more than one night then this is certainly something I would have tried.
Location and Price
The Wood Life is situated in a great location to allow visitors to make the most of exploring Devon. The exact location is sent to you after booking but as the website states, it is close to Exeter city centre, surrounded by Haldon Forest and is only 3 miles from the South West Coast Path. Both the cute seaside town of Dawlish is within easy reach, as is the wild and rugged Dartmoor.
As well as offering the Orchard Wagon site, The Wood Life has a Woodland Camp which offers a cool and cosy looking safari tent situated in private woodland and sleeps up to 6 people. With its comfy interior, cooking facilities and kiddie favourites of a tree house, sea-saw and swing, it sounds ideal for family holidays. You can find out more information on The Wood Life website by clicking here.
Amanda and Matt are really interested in sustainable woodland management and a lot of the wood you see used at the site was sourced locally by Matt who offers woodland skill course and makes beautiful unique wood and glass tables. Knowing the stunning bed had been crafted the owners using local wood gave it such an organic and homemade feel which I loved.
Whilst I was lucky enough to stay for free, a night in the Orchard Wagon typically costs £100 which I think is very reasonable given its uniqueness and luxury feel. More information can be found on The Wood Life Facebook page.
Having experienced such a wonderful, relaxing, comfortable stay and having a bath with the best view ever, it is easy to see why The Wood Life was featured in the Guardian’s 10 best luxury campsites! It really is such a peaceful and natural place – I felt so relaxed and rested during my stay that I was so reluctant to leave! The visitors’ book is full of high praise for Amanda and Matt and details wonderful reviews of the glamping site – I’m glad I am not the only one that just totally fell in love with the place! Whilst I visited for the purposes of my review and was alone, I can see how the site would be so romantic if there with a loved one. It was shame Nathan was working and couldn’t join me, however, I really valued the quality me-time and the chance to really unwind and chill out!
I came away from my stay at the Wood Life having enjoyed a relaxing, peaceful woodland glamping experience. Both the sleeping accommodation and bathing wagon were beautifully decorated and furnished to such a high standard. The bath provided me with the most awesome countryside views and the homemade wooden bed allowed me to have such a comfy sleep. Chopping wood, cooking on the open fire pit and eating al fresco really took me back to basics and immersed me in nature. Situated against the backdrop of the gorgeous countryside and woodland forest views allowed me to enjoy an evening of pure relaxation and soak up the naturally tranquil atmosphere. Working to light the fire and heat the bathroom water provided me with a bit of challenge and made the bath all the more enjoyable knowing I had needed to work for it – I gained an odd sense of satisfaction from it!
In all seriousness, I had such a wonderful stay here and would return in a heartbeat! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Wood Life for a luxurious, romantic glamping stay and hope guests continue to enjoy all the site has to offer.
•••Whilst my stay was provided by The Wood Life on a complimentary basis, all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own***