We’re on a narrow road, the trees become denser, the sun spills through the gaps and dances across the woodland floor. It’s all very beautiful and remote, causing shouts of “I think we went passed it” to come from the back of the car, so we put it in reverse and finally pull up to an Unyoked sign and the dedicated car park for our cabin in the woods out in South Downs. 

It’s mighty cold and we feel the bite of the wind as we zip our coats all the way up. This is most definitely the wilderness; it’s a little muddy and cold, but the sky is clear, nature surrounds us, and the sun has turned soft. Waiting at the car park space is a wheelbarrow, where we throw in our gear (four bags for two nights, what were we thinking?) and we make our way across the broken dirt road, snaking through the woodland guided by the occasional yellow arrow. Then we spot it, our Unoyked cabin. Home.

Unyoked is more a way of life than an accommodation service. The award-winning and groundbreaking Australian nature company started life back in 2017 and launched in the UK in 2022, offering a disconnect from the hustle and bustle, quite literally because there’s a distinct lack of wi-fi. An Unyoked stay is a chance to regain perspective, reset expectations and give yourself space to think and as the biz says, “reconnecting with nature is scientifically proven to lower your cortisol levels, so you can stress less”.

‘Maynard’ is our cabin for two nights and it’s a two-room hideout with a king-sized bed, cotton sheets, four pillows, and a hot water bottle. There’s also a modest kitchen complete with a fridge, stove and all the equipment needed to rustle up a feast as well as very useful amenities like coffee, a French press, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. It’s very well done, simple yet chic, warm, and cosy with a Scandinavian feel.

The other room houses the toilet, sink and shower, and we know what you’re thinking, is the toilet situation is an ordeal? Nope, it looks just like the one you have at home except instead of a flush, it’s sawdust. Don’t worry, there’s a fan under it to stop anything from wafting your way. The shower is super impressive, both in terms of pressure and temperature, and it feels amazing after a long walk.

The wood burner is your best friend here, because there’s real charm in fetching the wood (pre-chopped and bagged, so no need to wield an axe) from outside and building a fire, and because it heats up the space in no time. Entertainment-wise there’s a cassette player with a selection of tapes, one of ours was David Bowie, along with a couple of Penguin Classics, Connect Four, a deck of cards, Uno, and a yoga mat. Hours of fun right there. Outside the cabin there’s a table and chairs as well as a fire pit with all the tools you need to get it working, including prongs to make s’mores.

The whole experience is so rewarding; simple living might have you fooled into thinking there isn’t much to do, but it’s far from it. We found without reaching for our phone every two minutes, there’s time to spend doing the things we’ve forgotten, like being still and being present in the moment. It’s all too easy to be consumed by endless scrolling, so give yourself a break from it.

With an abundance of walks and tracks from your base, there are ample opportunities to explore. There’s a village nearby too, within walking distance, if you need a supermarket for supplies. Even though the kitchen is small, we’ve seen smaller ones in some London restaurants, so there’s more than enough room to rustle up some top-notch grub, like these brekkie tacos from Manns Got Munch.

An Unyoked experience is definitely something we’d recommend, with friends, your partner or even on your own. Staying in the woods in the depth of winter was amazing, everything about the cabin was useful and purposeful, and it felt very considered and put together – we loved it.

Prices start from £154 for weeknights and £179 for weekends for a minimum two-night stay.