When we were thinking about upgrading our glamping accommodation at Graig Wen, a shepherd’s hut seemed the best choice: it fitted with the history of the land as a small Snowdonia sheep farm, and could be moved between our summer and winter camping locations. It needed to be cosy and robust to deal with whatever the Welsh weather threw at it year round. We wanted it to be comfortable for a family as well as a couple. And of course we wanted it to be beautiful, sustainable and work both on and off grid.
We looked at some very posh Shepherd’s huts at trade mecca The Glamping Show, did a lot of research and spent time staying in a hut. We knew the quality of shepherd’s hut we dreamed of wasn’t going to be cheap and there was a lot of choice on the market. Then we thought to ourselves, we know some talented local people who could help us. Let’s invest locally: we get a truly special Shepherd’s Hut and we provide winter work for local families in an area where jobs are scarce and which has one of the lowest average wages of any region in the U.K.
So that’s what we did. We are proud to have supported skilled local crafts people and small businesses to build “Jones the Shepherd’s Hut” which is truly one of a kind.
How we did it
On 5 January 2019 a kit arrived from the good folk at Tithe Barn Shepherd’s Huts, consisting of a steel chassis, authentic cast iron wheels, hand made roof timbers, some tin sheets and a complex set of instructions…
Our super-handy friend Phil from the local village of Fairbourne was tasked with turning this into a beautiful Shepherd’s Hut. John and our friend Robin (the hardest working man in his mid 70s we know!) helped with labour and calmed Phil down when the instructions didn’t make any sense….John also spent many, many hours painting.
Once the exterior of the hut was built, we got Mei from the next village to show off his skills with a Telehandler and lift the roof into place. That was a nervous afternoon…. Then our friend Dan from Adventures in Wood came along to make the beautifully crafted interior from a mixture of timber reclaimed from a local chapel and some interesting Welsh elm, ash and oak. Sarah did a bit of painting and a lot of picking out of pretty soft furnishings. Sarah’s Mum made curtains and cushions.
In April 2019 we welcomed our first guests to the Shepherd’s Hut – we hope you like it! You can see more pictures of the building process and finished hut below.
What’s a Shepherd’s Hut?
Shepherds used these simple structures to move with their flocks and stay close at lambing time. The tin huts could be towed from field to field by a horse as the sheep moved pastures. The shepherd would have slept and eaten here on the hillside, bringing weak lambs in to warm up by the stove. Mainly used in Wales and England in the nineteenth century, their agricultural use is now redundant – you occasionally see one fading away in the corner of a field – and the humble hut has transformed into a more luxurious beast for getting back to nature in comfort and style!
Why Jones the Hut?
Various branches of the Jones family have been shepherding here for many, many years. Dai Jones and his family used to farm the land in the 1950s. Vernon and Doris Jones took over the sheep grazing and now their son Rupert’s sheep graze our fields over the winter months.
From March until November, the Shepherd’s Hut is located off grid in the Glade. For November and December, The Shepherd’s Hut goes on the move to be closer to the facilities and electric hook ups on the touring van area of our camp site, where there are spectacular estuary views.
We hope you will come and try Jones the Shepherd’s Hut for yourselves.
Special offer: Book a stay in Jones the Shepherd’s Hut during May and June 2019 and benefit from 10% off the full price of accommodation. You must book by Monday 13th May 2019 and quote “WelcometoJones” at the time of booking by phone or online and we will apply the discount. Offer is subject to availability and excludes Friday 24 – Monday 27th May.
Check availability for our pet friendly glamping or call 01341 250482