Here on A Luxury Travel Blog, we’ve had the luxury and privilege of staying in a couple of shepherd huts in the UK – one in North Wales, at Brook Cottage Shepherd Huts on the Llyn Peninsula, and one in South-West England, at Dittisham Hideaway in Devon (both lovely, by the way!). And now they are starting to spring up at luxury hotels, too, with Gisborough Hall Hotel in North-East England being the latest to have submitted an application to add four huts with hot tubs to land behind the hotel.
It seems to be an increasingly popular trend, with the rise in demand for bespoke, handcrafted shepherd huts leading to the expansion of South West company Greendown Shepherd Huts. The team of 15 – led by founders Richard Hodges, Harry Long and his brother-in-law, director Jordan Franklin – has seen such a rise in demand for their luxurious products that they have had to move their operation to larger premises. Now they are based at Zeal Green Business Park near Keynsham, giving them the space to expand and grow their brand.
Greendown Shepherd Huts are in their seventh year and production is projected to increase to two huts per week from their new site. The location also provides a viewing space that showcases the full range of huts, including The Herdsman, Herdwick, The Double Hut and The Bespoke Hut.
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Harry Long, founder, said: “The interest in our huts has grown rapidly over the last two years and we’ve outgrown two different sites very quickly. Here we have the space and capacity to ensure our clients orders and delivery schedules are on track while not compromising in any way on quality.”
The company makes shepherd huts mainly for the business-to-business market such as boutique hotels, holiday lets, glamping sites, farmers looking to diversify or other tourism enterprises. As each hut is handmade, prices start from £39,945 per hut. On average, shepherd hut accommodation can rent out from £200 per night.
Jordan Franklin said: “Our huts are an investment for any business offering high quality accommodation to tourists, hospitality businesses, wedding venues and events. Unlike any other providers, we can also offer lease terms, subject to terms and conditions, for businesses which want to ‘purchase and let’ as part of a bigger business model.
Harry, who leads the team, started working as a joiner after completing an apprenticeship and working as a carpenter in the building trade for ten years. Alongside that he often renovated homes. When he saw a shepherd hut by chance, he thought he would try his hand at building one. The rest is history.
“When I saw my first shepherds’ hut, I was both enthralled and knew I could do it better. I researched such a build and then I did it and it sold immediately. Since then, I’ve been refining and flexing my designs as clients arrive with different needs and different sites.”
Greendown Shepherd Huts has already supplied huts to many commercial operators throughout the UK including the Chatsworth Estate and Forbes of Kingennie.
Is this a trend that we’re likely to see continuing, or even expanding beyond the UK, do you think?