Shepherd's huts have become incredibly popular, whether you're after a space to have fun, write a novel or just sit back and gaze at the stars. Amelia Thorpe explains more.
‘There’s something magical about spending time in a shepherd’s hut,’ says Richard Lee of hut-making firm Plankbridge.
‘It makes a private idyll, its use only limited by your imagination.’
Once used by shepherd’s forced to spend night after night in the fields during lambing season, shepherd’s huts now have a very different appeal. Getting away from it all is suddenly within easy reach, just at the end of the garden.
They offer the kind of solitude and opportunity for quiet contemplation found in a distant mountain bothy or woodland shelter, complete with smoke curling up from the chimney, should you wish.
Typically built on strong axles with cast-iron wheels to withstand movement from field to field, the hut would also usually feature a small window on each side to allow the shepherd to keep an eye on the flock.
Now, the huts are used as romantic hideways, studios for painting, novel-writing, stargazing or yoga practice, guest bedrooms, children’s Wendy houses and country boltholes of all kinds.
As with glamping, the emphasis in this kind of hut-housing is on comfort, luxury and year-round enjoyment – in place of bunk beds with straw mattresses and pens for orphaned lambs are bespoke fitted furniture, clean-burn stoves and cosy wool insulation.
Prices are typically upwards of £10,000 for a well-made hut – a small price to pay for a space which will help you enjoy the simple pleasures of life in the slow lane, from the opportunity to hear owls hooting at night or to enjoy the beauty of summer twilight. And that price tag seems all the more reasonable when compared to a garden room, particularly when you consider that this is a room that can you can take with you to a new home.
‘It appeals to our sense of romance in a way that so many aspects of modern living do not,’ says Paulus Smith of Artisan Shepherd’s Huts.
‘Pen your first novel, paint your great work of art or simply while away an afternoon doing very little – most of us enjoy a chance to dream.’
Artisan Shepherd’s Huts
Interior designer Katharine Pooley was inspired after a weekend stay in a shepherd’s hut at Molly Dishwasher in East Sussex. The experience prompted Mrs Pooley and her husband to install one in the grounds of their Oxfordshire home.
Their custom design was made by Artisan Shepherd’s Huts with a corrugated-steel roof, reclaimed wheels from an old army truck and wooden panelling painted in Mouse’s Back by Farrow & Ball.
Inside, a tented ceiling and fabric-lined walls create a cosy feel, an effect accentuated by a wood-burning stove and sisal carpet.
‘I wanted the space to be comfortable and indulgent,’ the designer says of her choice of traditionally printed fabric from Fermoie, carefully chosen antiques and bespoke bed.
‘It’s a place where the children love to play or my husband and I can go to escape,’ she says.
Next on her list? ‘We are planning to convert an old Rice horsebox into a mobile library to go next to the shepherd’s hut, as we love reading to our children.’
From £13512.50 – www.artisan-shepherdshuts.co.uk
The Yorkshire Hut Company
From £19,000 – www.theyorkshirehutcompany.com
Blackdown Shepherd Huts
From £21,500 – www.blackdownshepherdhuts.co.uk
Contemporary Shepherds Huts
From £45,000 – www.contemporaryshepherdshuts.co.uk
From £22,200 – www.plankbridge.com
Red Sky Shepherd’s Huts
From £18,600 – www.redskyshepherdshuts.co.uk
Nightingale Shepherd Huts
From £13,900 – www.nightingaleshepherdhuts.com
The English Shepherds Hut Co.
Huts similar to the one pictured start from £22,000 – www.englishshepherdshut.co.uk
Black Mountain Shepherds Huts
From £14,000 – www.blackmountainhuts.co.uk
Creating a beautiful outdoor space is no less involved than making a beautiful room inside your house. Amelia Thorpe spoke
Carefully chosen furniture, paint, joinery and architectural details will all help to add character to a new house, says Clive
Collin House lies a few miles away from Chipping Campden on the edge of the idyllic village of Broadway.