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A Shepherd’s Hut is a wonderful thing.

“The image as a whole was that of a small Noah’s Ark…the hut stood on little wheels about a foot from the ground.” Thomas Hardy, ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’.

Once a place of work, a mobile refuge, somewhere to bunk down and store your tools. Nowadays it’s more likely to be a picturesque hideaway for a weekend glamping retreat.

Jane and Gary Gibson of Dorset Hens have a passion for collecting all sorts of wonderful old stuff, so when the invitation came to have a look round an original hut dating back to around 1900, restored to its original condition, this was a chance not to be missed.

This Tasker & Sons hut dates back to around 1900, made of robust corrugated iron.

As their advertising of the time states:

“These most convenient Houses, which are made in two qualities, are admirably adapted for shepherds use in the lambing time, and for field use throughout the year. They are also very suitable for keepers requirements near coverts, and any purpose where a portable house is required. As portable granaries for storage of small quantities of oil cakes, &c., they are also most useful.

The covering of strong corrugated galvanised iron in the class B Houses is carried on a substantial iron frame work or angle iron and wood, mounted on very strong under carriage with substantial iron wheels. 2 feet 4 inches and 3 feet 6 inches in diameter by 4 inches wide on face, with extremely hard wear-resisting boxes in centres. To exclude draughts the floor is tongued with hoop iron, and the sides and ends lined with matched boarding.”

No sign of Farrow and Ball here – the exterior is painted with Black Jack – liquid bitumen.

The interior is stained wood, complete with simple straw filled sacking mattress bed with lamb pen underneath.

And the right model of stove has been sourced to provide heat and somewhere to boil the kettle.

It’s simple and glorious, with just the right amount of clutter…

…including this lovely. simple smock.

But if this is all gets a bit too ‘real’ and spartan they’ve got another hut alongside with an altogether more homely finish.

And if you fancy a closer look inside here too – is featured in this post from a few years back.