As the pandemic has receded enough to reveal a new kind of normal, life (for us at least) has returned to the hecticness of what it was before. Add to that the reinstatement of international business travel for Mr Bavarian Sojourn and it’s not surprising that I found myself wishing for a bit of peace and quiet for just the two of us – away from work, children, and the dog (and their demands which mostly involve food at the moment, I think all of them are growing right now!), which is just as well as this is a child and animal-free zone… This is how we booked a midweek break away recently, albeit only five minutes up the road in case there were any emergencies that Granny couldn’t/didn’t want to deal with…
The Pigsty at Pitt was built and designed just over three years ago by Boon who specialise in bespoke modular structures. It’s obviously where the name comes from as it really does look like a giant Pigsty from the outside. That’s truly where the comparison ends though, as the inside is a very different story with a gorgeous stand-alone roll-top bath, kingsize bed with great quality bedding, comfortable armchairs and a great outside area to relax in, complete with a fire pit and barbecue. I found myself wishing we had a couple of weeks booked! It actually won most wished for AirBNB in the World last year, something which having now stayed there, I completely understand.
Min (the owner), has thought of everything you need for a truly relaxing stay, from the little things like fresh orange juice, eggs (The Pigsty belongs to Vale Farm who sell the most magnificent free-range eggs, do check out the Egg Shed as you arrive/leave to stock up on double yolkers!), milk, local coffee and croissants for breakfast, books and magazines to relax with, decent wifi, many channels on the TV, wellies to borrow, kindling and wood for the fire pit, and a badger who comes to visit. OK, she might not have arranged that last bit, but we had a sweet noisy visitor who was just incredible to watch for the few minutes that he didn’t notice us (hence the terrible quality photograph, I didn’t dare breathe in case we scared him away!) – something I will never forget! Along with hares, pheasants, deer, and birds, that’s it as far as visitors go – this is private land so you won’t see anyone for miles around apart from yourself in the mirror maybe.
Set back from a small track with the best views of rolling Hampshire countryside in front of you, The Pigsty stands in a little area of woodland that at this time of year is carpeted in bluebells. The field at the back was yellow with oilseed rape which proved quite hard to capture for some reason but looked stunning through the window at the back. It’s beautiful now, but I think it would be equally beautiful whatever the time of year.
We spent our time there adjusting to that rare level of quiet where you realise how bad your tinnitus is – surprising given the close proximity to Winchester. We also prepared a barbecue and cooked a seasonal dinner from the local farm shop. We even took part in our weekly wine tasting session albeit online, and then sat out by the firepit for the rest of the evening, watching the sunset and the stars come out in turn (and hoping for Mr Badger to make a reappearance for a better picture)…
Despite the rural location, it would only take 5-10 minutes to drive into Winchester. There’s a great farm shop up the road to stock up on provisions (plus the usual supermarkets in town), and countless pubs dotted about to either walk, cycle or drive to. The Pigsty is right on the edge of The Clarendon Way famous for the beautiful walk from Winchester to Salisbury if you wanted to attempt a section of that, or you have ancient Crab Wood on your doorstep which consists of 200 acres of ancient woodland. More than enough to keep you busy if you need it, but I have to say for a couple of days at least I would be very happy not to go anywhere, to relax in the sanctuary of the Pigsty and recharge slightly worn out batteries.
We will be booking again later in the year for a slightly longer break hopefully, and I am already looking forward to it.
Vale Farm, Enmill Lane, Pitt, Winchester, SO22 5QW