I was recently lucky enough to take a little break in the Berkshire countryside. That in itself would be lovely enough, wouldn’t it? But this break was a little bit different in that I went, ‘unplugged’.
Staying in an off-grid cabin nestled in nature, I took part in a digital detox. The practice of setting aside a block of time and intentionally avoiding use of digital devices. No smartphone, no TV, no social media.
I’ll tell you at the end how I found being tech free, but first the cabin. It really is the backbone of the whole experience and quite the delight to call home for a few days.
Come on, get unplugged with me…
Digital Detox Cabins: Unplugged
I stayed in a cabin called Bunty- yep, all the cabins have names- provided by digital detox experts, Unplugged. The company was founded by two blokes who found inspiration in experience. Having worked, partied and travelled hard, they began to feel a bit burnt out.
After a two-week silent retreat in the Himalayas, inspiration struck. Realizing most of us could benefit from switching off, but many of us would be either unable or unwilling to meditate with monks in the mountains, Unplugged was born.
Off grid cabins surrounded by nature, designed to support you in switching off and resting your mind. Both beautiful and functional but backed by science. The idea that less time online and more time with nature is good for us is evidence backed.
Bunty- A Cabin Tour
First up, finding the cabin. We did, after a false start and a detour into a farm. Unplugged sent directions, but as Bunty is sited on private land with no address as such, arrival is an adventure. The approach took us through the countryside, onto byways and down a woodland lined track.
By a gate; a clue. Parking for Bunty. On foot from here, a pull along wagon thoughtfully provided for your luggage. Cross a field, through another gate and there she is: Bunty. Our off-grid haven for 72 hours.
Stepping into the cabin is like stepping into a cuddle. I love to feel cosy and Bunty hit the mark. The interior is made entirely of wood giving it a rustic Scandi feel. That doesn’t mean basic though; everything is of quality. Think elevated simplicity. Colour comes in touches of pinks and blues; colours known to signify tranquility, kindness and serenity.
Our cabin was dog friendly, so we brought The Wolf along. Actually, the cabins are named after dogs. Will there ever be a ‘Little Wolf’ cabin? I think there should be, but I’m utterly biased. Whatever your four-legged friend is called, they are welcome here. They are even left a few essentials.
The bed… oh, it’s a beauty. High and wide, dressed in luxury bedding from Piglet. Built in by the panoramic window. The perfect spot to rest, read, to enjoy a slow morning coffee whilst watching the fields outside come to life. I spotted pheasants, squirrels and a couple of deer. Bliss.
Elsewhere in the cabin, all the things to create a nurturing stay. Thick towels, gorgeously scented toiletries, loose leaf tea and coffee beans. A two-ring gas hob and a whistling kettle to use on it. All you’d need to rustle up a simple meal. Directions to the nearest pub in case you don’t feel like it.
The real joy is in the purposeful design for slow living. To make coffee, you grind the beans and slow brew. Tea is loose leaf, made in the pot. Washing up done by hand. When there’s two of you, one to wash and one to dry. Time to chat while you do it. That doesn’t happen when taking turns to load the dishwasher. Slow simplicity.
A unique touch comes in the form of the Unplugged Lock box. A lockable wooden box designed to keep the tech out of easy reach, it gives before it takes away. It holds tools that will do the job in those moments that have us reaching for our smartphones. A map and a compass. A polaroid camera. A torch. And if you really need to be in touch with someone? An old-but-gold Nokia phone. Charged and complete with snake.
Once you’ve freed up your time, hands and mind what do you do?
If you want to, do nothing at all. There’s seating inside and out; listen to the birdsong, watch the countryside and just be. Bunty came with a radio-cassette player and some great 80’s pop cassettes. We had vintage Madonna and Run DMC. This unplugging thing, it’s not dull. Doesn’t even have to be quiet. Singing along, encouraged.
We had board games, including a rather beautiful Art Deco Edition Scrabble. I lost twice but enjoyed playing. Books, inspirational and outdoorsy. Fiction and non. A copy of one of my old favorites, The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. The luxury of time without distraction to read.
The cabins are rural, but not remote. Each one is within walking distance of a pub, a village. Marked on the map if you want to venture out. Bunty is situated on the Eling estate with miles of woodland walks, and we took full advantage of that. A nice change after the usual rugged beauty of Salisbury Plain. Not a soldier in sight, except the one I brought with me.
At the end of the day, time to get settled. A shower, hot and powerful. A bit chilly at this time of year, so we lit the fire nightly. Everything is provided but you need to lay the kindling, light it. Nurture it a bit, then the satisfaction when you have a blaze. joyful, slow living.
Honestly, I didn’t find it all easy. I’m not used being offline, parted from my phone or having no obligations. I felt a little lost at times. It got easier. I settled into it. The fact I needed to settle probably shows I was over-due this break. I returned energized, refreshed, optimistic. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. You can read more about the benefits of unplugging here.
How about you- can you see yourself going unplugged?
If you liked this post, try this one next- Life Outdoors:Forest Bathing
I did not personally pay for my stay with Unplugged. All opinions are my own. If I didn’t love it, you wouldn’t be reading about it.