Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Blackdown Shepherd Huts, Modern Craftsmanship with Classic Design

The Triton team is always interested in talking to both woodworking enthusiasts and professionals alike, and the one thing they have in common with us is a passion for engineered precision.

We recently visited Blackdown Shepherd Huts, a rapidly-growing artisan business based in South Somerset, England.  The original shepherd huts have been around for hundreds of years, and were built as temporary shelters for shepherds to use whilst away tending the flock. Made from a variety of materials, local skills were utilised to build basic shelters and sleeping accommodation.
 Blackdown Shepherd Huts has taken this Victorian utility building idea and transformed it entirely - applying a blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern design to produce a range of unique, bespoke living spaces.
These basic farmers’ shelters are now being reproduced to the highest quality standards with modern luxury and comfort.  Fitted out with a compact modern bathroom and kitchen, the huts can be used as a home office, or even a luxury sauna or holiday let - the options are seemingly endless.
Quality construction starts from the bottom up, with locally-forged iron wheels and a robust oak frame chassis - hand-finished with Danish oil to an exceptional standard.  All of the materials are locally sourced, which together with the appropriate sheep’s wool insulation, help keep the environmental impact of each cabin to a minimum - both during production and for the years ahead. 
The exterior of each hut is clad either in feather-edged oak or metal sheeting, depending on the client’s request. However it’s the flexibility of the interior design and choice of quality materials that really shows off the team’s dedication to quality without compromise. 

“We would rather take time to explain to a customer the performance benefits of the quality materials and finishes than compromise simply to save costs,” commented George Bannister, one of the driving forces behind the business.  Looking at a sample of the huts and seeing frame and chassis work in progress in their well-appointed and expanding workshop, it’s clear they are winning the support of their customers in this regard.

From a start-up business just two years ago, Blackdown Shepherd Huts now employs five craftspeople directly, as well as providing regular support for the local forge that produces the metalwork.  Their reputation is spreading across the globe, with a new manufacturer based in Australia who works with local timbers, building huts to the original and exacting Blackdown specification and precision standards.  George explained that a rapidly-growing part of their business is the supply of kits to ‘self builders’, giving them the opportunity to construct their very own Shepherds Hut using the quality components supplied.
If you want to know more about Blackdown Shepherd Huts and the unique living spaces they create, visit their website at www.blackdownshepherdhuts.co.uk

We will be returning to them later in the year to see the ultimate workshop upgrade!