Eion Gibbs shepherd's hut

Shepherding a hut

We’re always delighted when a graduating student decides to set up in business from incubation space at the school.

But it usually takes a little while before commissions start to roll in.

However, Eion Gibbs from the Scottish Highlands won his first piece of business before graduating.

Through his business, Belladrum Woodworking, he’s currently building a monumental shepherd’s hut for a client in Southampton.

Eion was the first student to enrol on our one-month intermediate course last year, while recuperating from pneumonia.

He’d been filming with the charitable Kilimanjaro Project and Trees 4 Kilimanjaro, to highlight the enormous environmental damage that is being done in the region.

His Douglas fir hut will have a tongue-and-groove pine interior walls and a Douglas fir floor.  The roof is corrugated tin.

He’ll shortly be fixing in six windows and double doors.

The hut will then be completed with the addition of a bed and woodburning stove.

Common sight

The humble shepherd’s hut was once a common sight across much of the British countryside.

They allowed farmers to watch over their flocks by night and, having wheels, were designed to be mobile.

The first recorded shepherd’s hut dates back to the 16th century.  They were a common rural fixture in the 18th and 19th centuries.  You can see their history here.

During World War II they were sometimes used as Home Guard outposts or as accommodation for prisoners-of-war working on farms.

However, they’re making something of a comeback because they don’t usually need planning permission.

Indeed. in 2010, a 19th century Norfolk shepherd’s hut was chosen as one of the Top 10 artefacts to be submitted to the BBC’s A History of the World project.

Nowadays, they’re being used for everything from home offices and spare bedrooms (with indoor toilet and shower facilities).  Or from outdoor gyms and storage sheds to workshops.

Eion’s shed is for someone who wants to surprise his wife on her 50th birthday.

But he’s up against a tight deadline with the shed having to be delivered (by flat-bed truck) by the end of this month.


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