Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Choosing a shed – Shepherds' huts

Once upon a time shepherds had to spend so much time out in the fields that they needed somewhere to have their lunch and have a snooze. What did they have? Shepherds’ huts. You can follow their example today (adding a wi-fi connection to the sandwich and siesta) thanks to several specialist shedworkers including Dorset-based Butterfield Ironwork. They recreate these huts using the same old-fashioned methods, building them from Cedar or Douglas Fir (sourced sustainably). An example is pictured left. They often use original salvaged cast iron wheels or cast new ones from traditional patterns. Other iron fittings (forged axles, bolts, roofbars and the like) are created in-house.

The Shepherd’s Hut Company offer a similar range of handmade beauties and quite rightly point out that they “blend into gardens, fields and woodland alike, making a wonderfully romantic alternative to conventional garden structures.” For more comfort their huts also include safety glass and wood laminated floor, and come with attractive add-ons including wood burner stoves. One of their ‘office’ huts is pictured. Of course the corrugated galvanised steel roof comes as standard.

Not only lovely, these huts also have many literary connections. In Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd Gabriel Oak had one on Norcombe Hill and in John Clare’s famous poem November he describes how a shepherd hears a storm coming and wisely hurries home to the safety of his hut. Perhaps we should do the same.

This article first appeared in The Shed magazine. For a free copy email me here.


  1. Anonymous2:24 PM

    While these are far ore common in the UK than in the US, there is some precedent for their use in the states, as well (although in my suburban neighborhood it would look a tad out of place). For a more rural setting, however, it's a great solution.

    This example I photographed is located above timberline, in southern Colorado, and is still used by the shepherd who ranges sheep up there in the summer. It looks like a great location to work away from the office, as well!

  2. That's a spectacular pic. You're right though, you do need a decent area of land to get away with this, but it does seem to be a growing trend here in the UK.