Not that many years ago, the words luxury and camping didn’t really crop up in the same sentence, but the arrival of glamping (glamorous camping) on the scene has transformed the options available if you’re booking a short break holiday in the UK.
Bell tents, safari tents and yurts were some of the first entrants to the scene – bringing that traditional under-canvas snooze space as well as all the facilities they have to offer. Nowadays you can choose from a real vintage Eco-experience through to all the bells and whistles with LED TV’s – the field really is going upmarket!
Then more elaborate affairs started to appear; tree houses with full en-suite facilities, horse-boxes converted into luxury accommodation and shepherd’s huts. The glamping revolution really was in full swing, so we went out and stayed in various places to see what might work for us.
We have a small farm in the Blackdown Hills and we wanted something we could use throughout the year, both for ourselves and for friends and paying guests. Having done our research, we decided on a Shepherd’s Hut as we felt it would settle into our landscape nicely and a well-structured one would probably outlast us, so it represented a good investment.
In times gone by, shepherds spent many a long evening on the hills during lambing times and built themselves small shelters from whatever was available on the farm. Over time, these developed to become small huts on wheels, so they could be dragged around the land – and became known as Shepherd’s Huts. Usually simple affairs, they contained a log burner and a bed platform with space for weak lambs underneath – and maybe a table and chair. You can see many examples of these in the excellent book by David Morris about Shepherd’s Huts.
Taking their inspiration from the traditional shepherd hut, a number of companies now build a version which can be used as; a spare room in the garden, a playroom, an office or for holiday accommodation. We visited several manufacturers and eventually decided to buy from Blackdown Shepherd Huts as they were able to provide all the options we were looking for, with a high-quality build and, as a bonus, they’re just down the road from us. They’re also a great bunch of people and we’ve really enjoyed working with them on this project and hope to work more with them in the future.
The hut is 18 foot long and over 7 foot wide, so it’s much bigger than a traditional hut would have been, which gives us the space to provide a kitchen and bathroom facilities in the hut – and a lovely comfy double bed to snuggle down in. I have to admit that I like to have a bed that’s already made up for me, so wanted a bed that folded away into the wall. Unfortunately for the Blackdown guys, George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces programme convinced me it was possible ;-) – but they were great and came up with a fab solution for us.
So, I’ll share more about it all over the next few posts, but suffice it to say that we’re fairly confident that you’ll be happy to put the words glamping, shepherd hut and luxury in the same sentence in future!