Cosy Hideaway or Vibrant Workspace…
These attractive shepherd’s huts are individually crafted in the Ribble Valley by a family-run company that has revived age-old traditions to create unique spaces that can be used as a home office, quiet retreat or a holiday hideaway. Photography: Kirsten Platt
A vibrant workspace or a romantic retreat, a cosy place to relax or a unique investment – Wells Shepherd Huts can be anything you want them to be. Hand-crafted in the Ribble Valley to traditional specifications, these 21st century huts are totally bespoke from the colour of the exterior to the layout of the interior and, because of the build and durable materials, they can last hundreds of years.
Fascinated by the history, beauty and longevity of shepherd’s huts, Ian and Joanne Wells saw their modern-day potential back in 2010: “We researched their history and saw how versatile they can be. In the late 1800s and early 1900s they were used as places of rest for shepherds whilst tending to their sheep, but due to changes in farming methods they became disused. Today our huts are adaptable to all and ever-changing needs,” explains Ian.
Ian and Joanne revived the age-old tradition after acquiring a vintage hut dating back to 1830: “We took it apart as we were interested in how the old boys made them and that’s when we discovered the date. So, we are talking at least 180 years old and it’s still going. We then built it back up continuing the traditional craftmanship skills, this one is now our office. Shepherd’s huts are steeped in history and we are continuing that – whilst giving scope for new stories to be told.”
A totally British product, the huts feature a fabricated steel chassis, authentic cast iron wheels and can be clad in wriggly tin with internal walls that are insulated with Cumbrian sheep’s wool that keeps the hut snug and warm in winter and airy and cool in the summer. The aged oak windows and stable door are double glazed and varnished to ensure durability while the interior can feature a wood burning stove or, for instant heat, electric radiators.
The huts come in varying styles and sizes so you can have a romantic hideaway for two or a family hut that houses four. The options are endless!
“Nothing is set in stone,” adds Ian. “We have a passionate team of craftsmen with a lot of experience, who are always happy to chat with customers that want to discuss their ideas.
“We have recently had an enquiry from a hotel chain who want to put them in their grounds for extra accommodation for guests and, closer to home, we have even had an enquiry for a hut that is to be used as a hair salon. They can be used as a spare bedroom for guests or just as a quiet retreat in the garden.
“With many people continuing to work from home we have been inundated with enquiries about using the huts as a home office, somewhere they can lock up in the evening and go to a lovely workplace in their garden the next morning – and with Brexit, many farmers are wanting to diversify and use their land to rent out the huts.”
With each hut being unique, the great appeal is their good looks – they are an attractive centrepiece in any garden or open space. But one of the great advantages is that the huts are mobile, so if a hut owner wants to move the position to adapt to the changing seasons that’s also possible: “We can move the hut for clients, this idea is lovely as we put such a lot of love and care into making each individual one.”
As the huts are mobile, that means no planning permission is required to site them in a garden. However, if a client intends to rent the shepherd huts out on farmland or a paddock, change of use planning permission would most likely be needed for the land.
At the Wells’ farm on Stydd Lane, potential buyers can visit and see a shepherd hut in situ, see how they are made in the workshop and chat to Ian and Joanne about all the different options available, which can also be seen on the website.
“We have found that unlike pods and garden rooms, the shepherd huts are something that people really want as each one is unique – there is something very special and quite magical about spending time in a shepherd’s hut!”
Wells Shepherd Huts
Stydd Lodge Farm, Stydd Lane
Ribchester PR3 3YQ