Robin Hood's Hut

Halswell, Goathurst, Somerset

Overview

Approaching Robin Hood's Hut through the dark wood, you come upon an apparently rustic cottage, with thatched roof and bark-clad door. Once inside, the elegant interior provides a fitting antechamber to the umbrello, from where the view stretches across the Mendip Hills towards the Bristol Channel and the mountains of South Wales beyond. 

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • Outside Dining FurnitureOutside Dining Furniture
  • RemoteRemote

Beds 1 Double

Sleeps
2
4 nights from
£290 equivalent to £36.25 per person, per night

Two very different elevations

Much like The Ruin at Hackfall, Robin Hood’s Hut has two distinct faces and commands a breathtaking panorama. Approaching through a dark wood, you come upon an apparently rustic cottage, with thatched roof and bark-clad door. Once inside, the elegant interior provides a fitting antechamber to the umbrello, from where the view encompasses the Somerset Levels and Mendip Hills and on across the Bristol Channel to the mountains of South Wales. Like earlier visitors, you too may choose to dine al fresco beneath this elegant canopy, whose graceful ogee detailing has more than a hint of the early days of the Raj.

Careful restoration of a decaying building

By the time the Somerset Building Preservation Trust came upon Robin Hood’s Hut in 1997, it had no roof or windows and had lost much of its plasterwork. Its umbrello was almost gone. After an exemplary restoration of the exterior, the Trust asked Landmark if we would provide a secure future use for the building. We were delighted to help. In order not to compromise the views and elegance of a building not designed to hold modern services, we decided to build an equally carefully designed hut of our own to house the bathroom, thus indulging both epochs’ notions of civilised existence.

Would Robin Hood have approved? We feel sure our present day hermits will, perched above one of the finest views in southern England. It is sometimes surprising to find how far Robin Hood strayed from Sherwood Forest. In fact, the name of this beautiful little pavilion has less to do with our eponymous hero than with Whiggish ideas of liberty and medieval romance in the 18th century. 

‘We’ve made the most of the umbrello, eating nearly all of our meals out there, and looking out over the views.’

From the logbook

 

Floor Plan

Map & local info

Robin Hood’s Hut stands on the edge of a wood. From under its canopy you can enjoy the wonderful view over farmland towards the Bristol Channel.

Burrow Mump is great for walks and enjoying views in this unique area of the Somerset countryside. 

Within driving distance from Robin Hood's Hut are The Walled Gardens of Cannington in the grounds of a medieval Priory. Look out for special events for children and outdoor theatre performances throughout the summer months. 

Glastonbury Abbey is perhaps the most famous and well loved site in Somerset. Today you can simply enjoy the peace and tranquility of this ancient abbey, or get involved with workshops and exhibitions, as well as children's activities. 

For even more ideas and information on things to see and do during your stay at Gurney Manor, take a look at our Pinterest Map.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Robin Hood's Hut
Halswell, Goathurst, Somerset
Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a track from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Bridgwater – 5.5 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    There is parking for two cars about 10m from the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is underfloor heating, night storage radiators and a multi-fuel stove.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Fuel may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a shower over the bath (10m from the main building).
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    There are no internal stairs.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There are open grounds.
  • Are any rooms outside the main accommodation?

    Yes, the bathroom is a few feet from the main building.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • What time can I arrive and what time do I have to depart from the Landmark?

    Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

Built to adorn the estate

Robin Hood’s Hut was built by Sir Charles Kemeys Tynte in the late 1760s to adorn the re-landscaping of his estate at Halswell Park, Goathurst. There had been Halswells on the estate since before 1280. John Tynte, from an ancient Somerset family, married the last Haswell, Jane Kemeys, in the mid 17th century. In 1689, their son and Sir Charles’s father, Sir Halswell Tynte added a fine new range in the style of Wren to the existing Tudor manor, part of which remained as the service areas.

It was probably Sir Halswell who created a formal garden below Halswell House, but by the time Sir Charles inherited the estate in 1740, gardening fashions had changed. Sir Charles shared a passion for creating picturesque landscapes with two good friends, Henry Hoare II of Stourhead and Copplestone Warre Bampfylde of Hestercombe. Together they created three of the finest picturesque gardens of their day. Stourhead and Hestercombe are happily largely restored and open to the public, but Halswell Park became fragmented and degraded, especially once the estate left the family in 1948.

Sir Charles was a typical ‘country gentleman’ of the 18th century. He served as MP for Somerset for almost 30 years. He did all the typical works of his day, combining benevolence with self interest: he straightened local roads to facilitate the passage of his carriage and built almshouses for the poor of the parish next door to St Edward’s Church in Goathurst. Sir Charles also spent long periods in London. In his absence, his estate was run by his steward, Richard Escott, whose task it was to ensure that his master’s ‘scheming’ on his gardens remained in line with income from the estate.

As in all great gardens, Sir Charles manipulated and highlighted the natural features of his estate to stimulate and enhance visitors’ emotions. In a belt of woodland known as Mill Wood, he created a series of linked ponds, with a Bath Stone Bridge and a Druid’s Temple. Nearer Halswell House were several more structures – a stepped pyramid, a small rotunda, a rockwork screen and a memorial to a favourite horse. At the foot of the hill, Sir Charles built the Temple of Harmony, based on designs in Palladio’s Quattro Libri and holding a statue of Terpsichore, Muse of Dance, carved by John Walsh. Robert Adam is known to have had a hand in the interior work.

Robin Hood’s Hut was built around the same time, both to be looked at, and to be visited and looked out from. Its name has less to do with Robin of Locksley than the fashionable 18th-century allusion to ancient English liberties that Robin defended. There is a preliminary design for the building by Henry Keene in the V & A. The hut was positioned to take advantage of the stunning panorama from the ridge. Just as today, the unsuspecting visitor would approach through a belt of woodland, stumbling upon a rustic thatched cottage suggestive of hermits and witches to an 18th-century sensibility. Entering a dark and gloomy space, the rear doors would then be flung open by the host to reveal the glory of the view north across to the Bristol Channel and to Wales beyond. The view was admired from an elegant Gothic umbrello or canopy, with a plaster frieze of trailing vines and a plasterwork dome moulded in imitation of swagged drapery thought to be by Thomas Stocking. There is some evidence that this umbrello was added or revised later, reminiscent of Batty Langley’s popular patterns for such estate buildings.

After admiring the view, visitors could then retire to the elegant ‘china room’ to the right of the front door. Refreshments would have been provided by servants from the little kitchen on the other side, which could then only be entered from the outside. The remains of the range are still there. The servants were not to be distracted by the view and so the north window is, and has always been, blind.

The Tyntes (later Kemeys-Tyntes) owned Halswell Park until 1948. The gardens decayed steadily through the 20th century. Parcels of land were sold, statues carted away, buildings crumbled. The umbrello at Robin Hood’s Hut collapsed. Finally, in 1995 a proposal to demolish the Temple of Harmony so incensed local opinion that the Halswell Park Trust was formed to protect and reconsolidate what remained of the gardens. The Somerset Building Preservation Trust (SBPT) acquired the freehold of the Temple and repaired it. Then in 1995 Mr John Tuckey generously acquired and gave Robin Hood’s Hut to the SBPT. With grants from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund, they rebuilt the umbrello, rethatched the roof, replaced windows and floors and rendered and limewashed the exterior. The interior was left bare, the shutters, other joinery and chimneypiece being based on fragments of the originals. The hut was returned to its original role as shining eyecatcher. However, it soon became clear that it would quickly deteriorate again if left mostly cold and empty on this exposed spot. In 2000, the SBPT approached the Landmark Trust to help with a new use for the building. We were delighted to do so.

Restoration

A new rustic hut

In autumn 2003, work began to fit out the interior for use as a Landmark. Electricity was introduced and a borehole sunk to provide water. One problem was how to provide a bathroom. We were keen to protect the original spaces in the buildings and therefore wanted to avoid partitioning any of the chambers. We decided to house the bathroom in a small, detached hut, fully insulated but with reference to the tradition for such rustic huts in Sir Charles’s day (the Witch’s Hut at Hestercombe is another such).

Another decision was to form a doorway between the current kitchen and bedroom. The former servants’ room had two recesses. One of these contained a cooking hearth and has been kept and a new door has been inserted in the other and allows the building to be lived in satisfactorily. Sir Charles had a clear idea of the hierarchy of the three rooms, which we have tried to respect. In a letter in 1767, he wrote ‘And, as for the Building on the Hill in the Park, the first room, which I call the hermits room, must have an earthen floor, the Kitchen on the left, a and the little room, for china, must be boarded.'

China Room

The current joinery (shutters, sill boards, architraves and skirtings) is as done by the SBPT. The elm floorboards were also laid by the SBPT, loosely to combat serious dampness in the past. The absence of curtains is deliberate, accepting that shutters were the usual form of window dressing in such estate buildings.

The Hermit’s Room or Kitchen

Architecturally, this room is essentially a lobby. It also continues to serve the purpose of antechamber to the drama of the panorama, and both these aspects have directed the arrangement of the kitchen. We also decided to replicate the earthen floor instructed by Sir Charles, using a Battuto technique. Battuto means ‘beaten’, as brick and tile fragments are crushed and then compacted in a breathing lime concrete.

The Servants’ Room or Bedroom

This has been kept much as it was. The tiled floor is thought to be original and has been disturbed as little as possible. The vestiges of the cooking hearth remain, while the recess which must once have held shelving for utensils and pots has been breached to form the new door.


Supporters of Robin Hood’s Hut

We are hugely grateful to those who have supported Robin Hood’s Hut, including:

Patrons and other generous supporters:
Mr R Eaton, Mr and Mrs J Holtom, Mrs N Laurie, Mr G Reed, Mr C Shakerley,  Dr J Williston and Dr E Found

We would also like to thank everybody who supported the appeal.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.