Born and raised on a sheep and arable farm on the Wiltshire/Hampshire border, I have grown up around sheep all my life.
Including using a Shepherd’s Hut during lambing.
When we sold the family farm in 1998, I had to find another business. Coincidentally, at the time, I was restoring an original Shepherd’s Hut, inherited from my Grandfather, for my children to play in.
Once restored, a number of people asked if I could source and restore huts for them. After looking into the second hand market I came to the conclusion that it would be more economical to build from scratch.
In the autumn of 1999, in a neighbour’s farmyard and with the help of a friend, Pete, the Shepherd’s Hut Company was born. The first of a ‘new wave’ of people building Shepherd’s Huts from scratch.
Having used Shepherd’s Huts at lambing time I always felt they were high off the ground and felt slightly unstable. The slim steps felt awkward and narrow, especially when carrying lambs and medicine.
As a result we decided to lower the hut to aid access. To increase stability we kept the wheels away from the under carriage and had solid axels running the width of the hut, rather than stud axels. With these changes, access was improved to produce what we believe is a stronger, more stable, rugged looking hut.
The huts were constructed using traditional carpentry methods wherever possible, with mortise and tenon joints where necessary and manufacturing doors and windows ourselves.
Initially we built one style, the “Traditional Hut”, with a stable door in one end and a single window at the side.
To increase our product range we designed a hut with double doors on the side, allowing for a more ‘summerhouse’ feel. Believing it would be ideal for fishermen on the riverbank, we named it the ‘Fisherman’s Hut’.
With the first two prototypes finished in the spring of 2000, we showed our huts at a local County Show and along with editorials in Country Living, Country Homes & Interiors and the Farmer’s Weekly, who were all fascinated by this “New Twist on an Old Classic”, we received our first orders.
Later that year I moved my young family and my even younger business, to the West Country settling in the beautiful Tamar Valley.
The Shepherd’s Hut Company has always been client led, so when we were asked for a slightly larger hut, to allow for a bed to be fitted width-ways, we increased the size and christened the new range the “Drover’s” Hut.
When access to the site was an issue, we designed a flat-packed system, either to be built on site by us, or by the client.
During our thirteen years of trading we have met some fantastic people and delivered over 150 huts. We have delivered as far afield as the South of France, Scotland, Southern Ireland, Guernsey, and all parts in-between, and watched in amazement as over the years Shepherd’s Huts have increased in popularity.
Recently clients have been enquiring after a complete, self contained hut that would accommodate a kitchen, shower/bathroom, living area and space to sleep a family. A hut which combines the home from home feel, with the high quality built clients have come to expect from the Shepherd’s Hut Company.
While the Drover’s Hut is capable of accommodating some of these, it would be with a considerable squeeze, therefore we decided to think big.
After mulling this idea over for some time, I remembered the old two storey milking bail we used to have on the farm, which I played in as a child and we looked into designing a much larger hut based on these old moveable milking bails.
Initial designs were on two levels but it quickly became apparent that trying to build and transport such a large hut would be a logistical nightmare.
Having altered our designs, we settled on a single storey hut that could be split in two for ease of delivery. Contemplating the name, the original ‘Milking Bail’ didn’t capture the feel of the new hut and after much deliberation we decided upon the ‘Wayfarer’s Hut’.