We love seeing your pics of your self build huts all built, dressed and ready to be loved and enjoyed for years to come. So you can imagine our delight when Bruce Herriot sent us some images of his hut in situ. Because we like a good story, we asked Bruce all about his Shepherd Hut… and we wanted to share what he told us with you too!

When did you decide you wanted a Shepherd’s Hut?

We bought a 17 acre small holding in Herefordshire at auction in 1998: no drive, no mains water and no planning permission! In a pile of muck we found some old cast iron wheels and I thought then that I would use them to build a Shepherd’s Hut. We did eventually get planning to convert barns and moved into the new house in 2001.

What did you want from your hut? 

I retired in 2014 and got a local man to put the old wheels on a chassis. This was to be the base for my Hut, but the chassis sat in the tractor shed until last autumn. I was too inexperienced at DIY to be brave enough to start the project until I found the self build kits on Blackdown’s website! They were the answer to my prayers. We met Will and talked through the logistics. He was encouraging and helpful. By chance the large 18’ kit fitted my chassis.

Tell us about the build

I set the chassis in the corner of a field, ensuring that it was completely level. The family then descended for a weekend and we constructed the hut and had the roof on in a couple of days. Friends then helped with the door and windows (supplied by Blackdown and of fantastic quality). Finally we cut the tin for the walls so it was weather proof. The project then went on hold for a couple of months as I had to have emergency surgery for a retinal detachment. During my recuperation I planned the interior. My initial thought was a ‘man shed’ with a compost loo outside. I would use the hut during the lambing season with a mattress on the floor. My wife was keen not to be disturbed! The quality of the finish was so good, however, that I went for a Glamping style: fitted double bed, wood burner, kitchen and an en-suite shower room. A local builder helped but in the process I learned so much. We used mdf t&g boards for the walls, sheep’s wool insulation (from Blackdown) and pine t&g boards for the ceiling. Callerton Kitchens supplied a fabulous kitchen (my brother is Chairman). We designed the bathroom sink using left over products from our Barn conversion project. The floor and bathroom door are made from ash from the farm. A tree came down 5 years ago so I had it 2” planked and air dried it. I then took it to a friend’s workshop to machine into thinner t&g boards. The floor has been treated with osmo polyx oil. The kitchen and bathroom shelves are apple wood, again from the farm.

The hut was completed on 24th May 2019, one day before our son’s wedding so he and his bride had their wedding night in luxury, waking up to glorious views of the Malvern Hills!

As I added much more inside than I was intending to, the final cost ended up being much more than I thought so we plan to let the hut. As this will be part of the farm business we need planning permission for change of use for a tiny corner of the field. This has been applied for retrospectively.

Why did you pick Blackdown Shepherd Huts?

Blackdown have been so supportive. Alan didn’t show any irritation at my endless stupid questions. The dvd and written instructions were helpful but I would recommend going to the workshop to see a hut under construction.

If anyone would like to visit my hut or discuss their self build project please email me on bruce.herriot@btinternet.com

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