Has the Shepherd Hut Changed Much?

We know Shepherd huts as a glamping staple. The beautifully crafted little home away from home with a stable-style door, kitchen with running water, a toilet and even electricity. Although there are increasingly more modern styles of shepherd hut being introduced with features that would never have been imagined at the start of the shepherd huts humble beginnings, we still retain the spirit and essence of the original huts today.

Back in the 16th century, shepherds tending to their flock of sheep would use the shepherd hut as their shelter. There are many similarities to the design of these huts that are still the backbone of the designs today. Huts would often be crafted out of wood with a stable-style door and have a curved corrugated roof fashioned from metal.

Before modern farming methods came along, a large flock of sheep would help to fertilise the land. Rather than letting the sheep roam freely, shepherds would use a method called ‘fencing’. By building a wooden fence around an area, the sheep would graze on the land before helping to replenish it (that’s a nice way of saying their manure would help the land grow again).

Although the Shepherd Hut was ideal for a working farm it is now a home away from home to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

The shepherd could reposition his mobile house whenever the flock of sheep needed to be moved to a new patch of land. Along with a place to rest, it was also used as a place to store medicine for the sheep and even an area to keep young lambs warm if needed.

After the First World War, it became cheaper to use modern methods rather than to tend to a large flock of sheep.

The shepherd hut disappeared in the majority of farming communities but managed to remain in parts of the country.

While today’s huts share many similarities to the original ones, we now use them for recreational purposes rather than part of a working farm.

For the people who love the outdoors, but aren’t keen on camping, a shepherd hut is an ideal middle ground. Being part of nature is good for our mental health and can help relax us from the day to day grind, but let’s be honest, we are also very attached to our modern comforts. We love our phones and tablets and having lighting in a hut means we can enjoy it even in the evening. The new additions to a shepherd hut such as a toilet or even a shower is a huge improvement for any holidaymaker compared to the original layout from the 16th century.

While it is likely that the original shepherds had a bottle of whiskey to hand (apparently for the medicinal purposes for the lambs) you can now stock your shepherd hut with your favour tipples and snacks ready for a great day in the garden with your family and friends. While a shepherd hut was once a feature in remote landscapes, it can now be a beautiful focal point for your garden at home.

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