Traditional huts made with style and charm

2 February 2001

Traditional huts made with style and charm

The shepherds

hut has proved

its worth as a

useful working

base since the

19th century but

has largely lost

its place on the

farm. However,

with a stylish

twist to its

traditional form

it could be due

for a renaissance

as a cosy retreat

in town or country.

Tessa Gates


DAVID Cherrington has fond memories of playing in the old shepherds hut on his grandfathers farm – golden days that his children, too, will be able to enjoy thanks to Davids new venture which recreates these traditional huts with a few optional additions.

When his grandfather died, David inherited the old hut and it now stands in a paddock at Chute Forest, Hants. "My grandfather bought it in 1938 but whether it was new or secondhand I dont know. When it came to me I started using it as a store and then thought I would repair it for my children to play in, just as I had done," explains David. He has a daughter Jasmin (2.5 years) and son Louie (9 months).

However, the quotes for repairing the hut were prohibitive. "I found it would be cheaper to start from scratch and build a new one and so I got to thinking that if I wanted a shepherds hut then perhaps other people might want one too."

The idea came at a time when he was looking for an enterprise outside of farming. The 270ha (600-acre) family farm near Andover where David was born was sold four years ago and with it went the woodland he was working on. "I was three years into a five-year project of coppicing and regeneration," he explains. The challenge of starting something new came just at the right time.

He set about getting quotes for carpentry and labour and for the cast-iron wheels which give the huts their character. "I thought that having new wheels cast would be better than trying to find old ones but the initial quotes almost made me give up there and then one firm wanted £1000 to make up the pattern and then £1000 for every set of four wheels. Another made a wheel for £65 but that was useless and then at last I found a Somerset firm that would make up a pattern for £500 and the wheels for £480 for each set of four."

Work on two prototype huts was costly too but the effort and expense has prove worthwhile. The huts are full of charm and beautifully hand- made – built on a solid wood frame with mortice and tenon joints, clad in a double skin of ply and topped with a corrugated steel roof. "It is the roof and the wheels that give them the really authentic look," confirms David.

Old shepherds huts all varied slightly in style according to the local maker so David decided to base his designs on the old hut he had inherited. His "traditional" hut is pretty faithful to that with its curved roof, stable door and side window. His "fishermans hut" still has the pleasing curve to the roof but has double doors opening on one side. "As it is on wheels it can be pulled onto the river bank during the season and stored elsewhere in the winter," explains David, adding that it would look pretty good in other settings, too.

The huts are made to order in 8-10 weeks and can be tailored exactly to the customers requirements. Optional extras include electrics, wood-burning stove and internal wood panelling and insulation. They offer a cosy retreat and have the advantage of not needing planning permission under most circumstances.

"I hope they will appeal to anyone who wants a hideaway – gardeners, painters, writers, parents; people who need an office or just need some extra room," says David who hopes to take the huts to a couple of agricultural shows this summer.

Meanwhile, little Jasmin is keen for dad to build another "traditional" hut to show customers so that she can have her playroom back. After all, providing a special place for her and her brother to play was what started the project in the first place.

For details contact The Shepherds Hut Company: or telephone 01264 730671.

Old style – new use: David Cherrington (top) produces new shepherds huts based on the old

one he owns. The "traditional" model (above) is used as a playroom by his children, pictured here with their mother, Emma, but can be fitted and decorated to

suit customers requirements.

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