Holiday cottage, Ashurst, West Sussex
"We were warmly welcomed and everything was just right. There were brownies, milk from the farm and all the basics necessary to set up our temporary home in perfect comfort. My husband is not very mobile, but he was able to come and go with ease. There were just two of us, so a bathroom each, really comfortable bed and even small torches to see our way around in the night. The weather was very cold, but we were cosily warm by the fire, with the dogs. We will book again when we come to Sussex next year. thank you Janice and Alan for your thoughtful care and letting us stay in your fascinating Straw House."
A delightful break
"We had a fantastic break. Lovely walks for the dogs. We are booking again for the summer. Enough said !! "
Can't wait to go back!
"Wonderful experience and such an interesting building. Great location for what we were doing and I wish we'd spent more time at and around the house. Lovely and very helpful hosts."
Located on a working dairy farm, this is a unique roundwood, strawbale and cedar shingle holiday cottage within minutes of the South Downs National Park. It offers beautiful and sustainable accommodation that is superbly equipped and well presented.
The Straw House is inspired and built by Ben Law who featured on the Channel 4 programme Grand Designs. It is constructed from timber sourced from the Cowdray Estate in West Sussex while the cladding is from the owners’ own trees grown within 50 metres of the house. We call this the Straw House because of its locally bailed straw and sheep’s wool acting as insulation. Yes the walls here are thick in fine medieval style giving it a real period feel.
The house will sleep six. It is designed around the central living space with fabulous vaulted ceilings which combine with the roundwood posts to make an impressive feature that immediately catches the eye.
Downstairs there are two bedrooms. The main bedroom with king sized double bed is next to a full family bathroom with bath and separate shower cubicle. The second bedroom at the opposite end of the house is fitted with twin beds and has its own ensuite shower room. Upstairs there is a superb mezzanine bedroom with twin beds that has wonderful views over the surrounding countryside and a relaxing seating area that looks down to the main living space below.
There is an outside terrace with good space for summer dining together with a large and private garden space to enjoy. Being situated on a working dairy farm guests are always made most welcome whenever they want to view the farm.
The emphasis at the Straw House is on offering green accommodation. There are solar panels providing hot water, and full recycling facilities that include composting.
On arrival a welcome pack is provided which includes cakes and beer from the nearby village and eggs from the farm.
The Straw House is set amongst beautiful farmland on the edge of the small village of Ashurst. With footpaths passing close by there are some great local walks across the fields and over to the River Adur which passes nearby. The South Downs National Park is just over four miles away along with the picturesque market town of Steyning.
Steyning is a vibrant small town that is well preserved. It is full of narrow streets with many timber framed Tudor style buildings as well as some fine Georgian townhouses. It only has the one main shopping street, the High Street which retains many small, interesting and attractive independent shops which is quite rare in today’s modern society, so it makes Steyning an interesting town to browse.
The Norman church which you reach first as you walk into town contains some of the best Romanesque architecture in England; have a look in Steyning Museum as well, next to the library, it tells the story of the area from prehistory to the present day.
Steyning’s immediate neighbour is the small village of Bramber. It has remained largely unchanged over the centuries and is overlooked by the remains of the castle built after the Norman Conquest and now looked after by English Heritage. Also in Bramber, St Mary’s House is a magnificent late medieval house and has interesting connections — King Charles II hid there on his escape to France and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle chose the house as a setting for one of the Sherlock Holmes stories. It is well worth visiting and we have information on St Mary’s on our link ‘Places to visit’.
Just west of Steyning is the famous landmark of Chanctonbury Ring atop the South Downs. It is a three mile walk along the South Downs Way from the Roundhill above the town. Chanctonbury Ring was originally an Iron Age hill fort. It is most famous though for the ring of beech trees planted in 1760 by Charles Goring. The great storm of 1987 ripped through the Ring and, following a second storm in 1990 the Goring family replanted the trees and today Chanctonbury Ring is regaining its former glory. At 238 metres there are fine Downland views in each direction.
To the east there is fine walking along the South Downs Way towards Truleigh Hill and beyond to Devil's Dyke. There are spectacular views en route both inland over the Weald and out to sea over Shoreham by Sea and Brighton.
Places to Visit
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