Peter and Stuart have lived in Somerset for 12 years, married for nearly all that time too. As a result of the Pandemic, Peter, a semi-retired Operations Director and Stuart, who works in Marketing, now both work from home.  Stuart gives us a little background into their Blackdown Shepherd Huts story with us and using their Blackdown Retreat hut has transformed Stuart’s ability to train.


A retreat hut used as a personal gym from Blackdown Shepherd Huts

Why did you decide on a Shepherd’s Hut?

Like many, staying fit and healthy plays a vital role in my mental health – but during the pandemic, I encountered a deterioration of it as a result of the gyms closing. Even when things opened up, I avoided the gym so as not to get infected as Peter was vulnerable. We, therefore, explored having a gym at home. Our renovated cottage, however, is small, functional, and modern – but it has no scope for an extension. So we explored the prospect of a garden room to be able to create a gym space and settled on a Shepherd’s Hut. As opposed to a garden room, we thought the hut would look great in our garden in terms of its character and give us an extra bedroom at the same time as our cottage only has two bedrooms.

What did you want from your Hut?

We use it for personal reasons – gym/exercise space primarily and then an extra bedroom if needed. It’s also a nice place to chill out and work in during the Spring/Summer with the bed down and doors open. 

Using your Blackdown Shepherd Hut as a gym


Why did you specifically pick Blackdown Shepherd Huts?  

We didn’t shop around, to be honest and came across Blackdown quite quickly on Google and just fell in love with the quality and how well presented they looked online. It also helped they were fairly local so we could go visit and take a look at their show garden and operation.


Did you come to our Show Garden in Somerset, how was the Coffee?  

Yes, we loved the reception we got when we visited. With Blackdown paying close attention to the customer experience from the get-go we knew we were in safe hands with our project.

Using your Shepherds Hut as a gym


Which of our Huts did you choose and Why?  

I can’t remember which one it was, to be honest – but we knew it would suit our style of garden and give us a combined bedroom and small gym space (with some customisations).


What was our Delivery Service of your Retreat Hut like?  

The delivery service was surprisingly painless. We had to give them access to the backfield and take down some gate posts in preparation – but we had visions of our garden being ripped up and taking time to recover, which wasn’t the case in the end. They made the delivery and positioning look so easy! It was done within 30 minutes of them arriving.

How do you feel now the Retreat Hut is in place, have you used it yet?  

After a year and a half – we have no regrets. It’s still highly utilised – I use it almost every day to exercise. It doesn’t have everything I’d like that a gym normally has due to the small space, but I work around it with different types of exercise with the equipment I have. What matters most is the convenience of having that space in the backyard to be able to take a break during my working day. The difference it’s made to my physical and mental health has been considerable. It’s far more enjoyable in the warmer months when I can open the doors out wide and look out towards green fields, Alfred’s Tower and the horses in the backfield. Those moments are precious, priceless and good for the soul.

On the steps of Stuarts Blackdown Shepherd Hut Retreat hut.

What advice would you give to others considering a Shepherd Hut?  

Try to think about how you might use it for multiple purposes so you can get the most out of it. In our case, Blackdown were very amenable to making modifications to make a Shepherd’s Hut have a dual purpose for us i.e. sleeping and gym space.

Thank you so much to Stuart and Peter for their time and enthusiasm!


Posted on

April 5, 2024