Shepherd’s huts have acquired quite a following over the last few years. The people of Britain have caught on to their versatility and charm, using them for a variety of different commercial and domestic uses. Some have labelled shepherd’s huts as a fad, but we beg to differ…
Although we’re immensely proud of our shepherd’s huts, we can’t take all the credit for their charm. After all, we’re certainly not the first to have built such a structure. Originally, shepherd’s huts protected shepherds from Britain’s famously unpredictable weather whilst they tended to their flock, particularly during lambing season. Historians have found references to shepherd’s huts as far back as the 16th century; although they reached their peak during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Their use dwindled throughout the 20th century as machinery and electricity became more prevalent in farming but, by that time, shepherd’s huts were already fully ingrained in British heritage. Rather than becoming completely extinct, their uses simply altered and became more varied. Today, they’re used for summer houses, guest rooms, offices and much more.
One of the main factors behind their steady rise in popularity has been the recent glamping trend. Glamping — which, for those who don’t know, is essentially luxury camping — has caught the eye of holiday makers and entrepreneurs alike. Since the most recent recession, there has been an increased demand for cheaper holidays closer to home and glamping is a perfect solution. It combines the adventure, escapism and low costs of camping with the comfort, convenience and luxury of a hotel stay.
It’s also a surprisingly easy way to earn an extra income, whether you’re an innovative farmer with a large amount of land or simply have a little extra space at the end of the garden. Setting up your own glamping business can be as simple as investing in a structure such as a shepherd’s hut and listing it on a holiday rental site such as Airbnb.
The word “glamping” may not have been used until 2005 but, like the shepherd’s hut, luxury camping isn’t a completely new concept. There are accounts of 16th century British aristocracy staying in “tents” that had many of the same provisions they enjoyed in their own homes. African safaris became popular among wealthy Brits and Americans in the 1920s and, whilst adventure was appealing, travellers weren’t so willing to sacrifice their home comforts. Their “tents” included baths and electric generators!
In recent times, many have discovered that shepherd’s huts are the perfect option for glamping. They’re solid and well insulated while having the added benefit of being mobile, providing a degree of flexibility. Huts come in varied designs with different levels of luxury. Our own huts are available in both off-grid and on-grid versions, with the option to add facilities such as kitchens and en suite bathrooms. There’s really no need for guests to sacrifice any home comforts!
Plain Huts have really committed to helping the shepherd’s hut evolve further into the 21st century. Our unique take on the hut blends the nostalgic charm of traditional designs with more contemporary ideas, prioritising comfort and adaptability. The space we offer is clutter free and highly comparable with modern life.
So, whilst the recent spike in shepherd’s hut popularity may seem like a temporary trend, it’s safe to say that shepherd’s huts will remain part of the British landscape for years to come.