The diy dream – the self-build shepherd hut

I ordered my hut (affectionately known as Jabba – yes, yes, I know it’s not a pretty name, but it just sort of stuck…) back in June, after my sisters persuaded me that I needed to have a room of my own to escape to. It was an indulgence that I felt a little guilty about but, as soon as I stepped over the Blackdown threshold, I was smitten. All my requests were listened to and worked into what has become the most delightful sanctuary that anyone could wish for.

My delivery date was 6th August and I was so excited except that I was nursing a terminally ill relative in Cornwall at that time. Sadly, I was unable to be there for Jabba’s arrival but she was there waiting for me when I returned after two close family deaths within a week. Since then, she has been my sanctuary, my project and my joy and delight.


Eventually, I am hoping to be able to sit and write my best-seller in there with the dogs lounging in front of the stove but, for now, I just go and sit and reflect on the world and find a quiet that is absent in my everyday life. Even when the wind and rain are unleashing another battering on us, I wander down in my wellies, light the stove, shut the door and forget the world.

When we moved into our new home, a 4 bedroom barn conversion in South Devon, I was expecting to have to use the guest bedroom as my home office (very inconvenient when you live in a holiday location with a lot of friends who want to visit). We considered our options which were to either extend into the loft (too expensive) or put a suitable pod/wooden shed in the garden (when I say suitable I mean it would need to blend into the surroundings). During my internet searches for ‘Garden Offices’ I found a few references to Shepherds Huts – something I had not even considered. The more I looked into the idea of a Shepherds Hut the more the idea appealed, especially when I found the Blackdown Shepherds Hut web site with your options to customise the build to exactly meet my requirements.

After visiting you and seeing an example for myself I was hooked and following a few very helpful conversations with yourselves we agreed on the design and delivery date. You were kind enough to send me some photos during the build phase and welcomed me to come and see for myself – great for giving me confidence of the high quality of materials and workmanship!

Well I have now well and truly settled into my new Shepherds Hut and can confidently say it was the right decision (probably half the price of extending into the loft and delivered in half the time). We have the Shepherds Hut located to the side of our house where it already looks as if it was always meant to be there and has become a well known and admired landmark in the local village!

We were thinking of buying a Shepherd’s Hut and pursued our investigations with Blackdown Shepherd’s Huts, we went through their very detailed Website to make our enquiries. We decided to take a look at these Huts down at their lovely premises near Ilminster, Somerset. We were met by George who was extremely helpful and with his help and advice we decided to take the plunge and Dolly Blue as we have named her evolved! What a beauty, everyone who wants to come and visit to see her absolutely loves her. They all say the same thing, that the class of build and the attention to detail both inside and outside the Hut is first class. We were told that it would take 10 weeks from start to finish to build her and my goodness we had a date and they were spot on! In the meantime we were in regular contact with Blackdown, as our specification was important to them to get right, nothing was too much trouble, even when we asked for a chimney just to make her look even more authentic.

We weren’t disappointed on the day of arrival, she looked magnificent, it was so exciting. Where Dolly the Shepherd’s Hut was finally going to rest (for longer than we shall be around), the guys were so careful about how she was sited in her own little garden, ours by the way is not a simple garden to negotiate, but they took such care. She looks wonderful!

We have now set up a very successful Bed and Breakfast, Dolly has a superb king size double bed, beautifully designed and made by professional joiners, she has lovely soft country bed linen. Her inside is just beautiful, a really super en-suite shower room, built in toilet and wash hand basin and a lovely sitting area and the floors are of a beautiful oak. We are just thrilled with her, she is a dream come true and we just hope that all our B & B visitors have a really relaxed and comfortable time and enjoy her just as we do. We even sit down in her and enjoy the beautiful interior with a cup of tea and realise how lucky we are!!

We desperately needed a guest bedroom but an extension was unaffordable and couldn’t be planned and completed in the few weeks I was aiming to take off work between two jobs. I was also looking for something worthwhile that I could do within this time and a Shepherd Hut seemed the perfect solution. Of course there were plenty of jobs that could or should have been done in or around the house but most of these were either too big or too boring to consider.

A visit to the workshop confirmed what I had read. The hut being finished at the time was stunning and the quality of materials and workmanship was excellent. We settled on a 16 ft hut with oak chassis . I was also extremely pleased when Will agreed to let me work for them for free for a few days , I even promised not to chop my fingers off.

Even having spent some time working with the extremely helpful and professional team at the workshop, I still ended up calling and texting with various technical questions some daft and some not so daft. The support throughout has been fantastic with my calls always quickly and helpfully answered . The quality of the materials is superb. The oak flooring, for example with its mix of board widths has produced a stunning result , the boards could have all been the same width but it would not look as good and this shows the degree of thought that has gone in to producing these huts. The quantities were right with just enough over to allow me to correct the odd mistake here and there.