How to Heat a Shepherd’s Hut?

shepherds hut interior with log burner red sky

We all know here in the UK that it can get a little bit on the chilly side once October strikes. If it’s not freezing cold, then it’s likely to be fairly cold and wet. Not a great combination.

And let’s face it, no one likes to be cold inside their own home and certainly not on a holiday break!

A shepherd’s hut is a fantastic and ever more popular choice for a UK winter holiday thanks to their cosiness, compact nature and rural locations. For guests staying or for you yourself working in a hut, it’s vital to get the heating options sorted out from the very start.

One of the factors that make a shepherd’s hut so cosy and welcoming is the fact they can be heated up very quickly. It doesn’t take an awful lot of energy to heat a space that measures say 18ft x 7ft. Especially a space that’s been extremely well-made, is well insulated and completely draught proof.

So, what are your heating options for a shepherd’s hut?


Best ways to heat a shepherd’s hut

1. Log Burner

log burner heating the shepherds hut
Source: Canopy and Stars

One of the (many) heroes of a shepherd’s hut is the almost essential wood burner you see in most designs.

Most commonly, wood burning stoves are made from cast iron or steel and burn wood, logs and other fuel sources, such as pellets, peat bricks or biomass, to generate heat. And can they generate a tonne of heat let me tell you!

After a little bit of effort to get the fire going, the hut will soon warm up when the log burner is in full flow. The good thing is that with most log burner models, you can control the oxygen flow, which in turn controls the burn and flame intensity.

They’re also an efficient way to generate heat, with some wood burners operating above 80% efficiency, meaning 80% of the heat produced from the fire is going to heat up the shepherd’s hut. Some can even double up as a place to boil a kettle or fry an egg!

Eco-friendly wood burners

For the environmentally conscious (which I hope you all are!), newer wood burners have been designed to limit the impact they have on the environment by way of the fumes they emit. Look out for ‘Defra-approved’ or ‘Ecodesign compliant’ marks when searching around to see which designs have passed the test and standard for their eco-friendly credentials in the UK. To give you a heads up, all wood burning stoves made in the UK after 2022 will have to be Ecodesign Compliant.

Also depending on where you get your logs and wood from, running a log burner is often cited as a carbon neutral source of energy.

There’s also something really nice and rustic about starting your own fire and keeping it going as a source of heat, so a log burner is certainly my favourite way to heat a shepherd’s hut.

Directstoves.co.uk have an excellent range of Defra-approved wood burners available.

You can find my favourite small wood burning stove options perfect for the size of a shepherd’s hut here.

2. Underfloor Heating

Underfloor heating being fitted by the fine folk at Roundhill Shepherd’s Huts. Source: Roundhill Shepherd’s Huts

Heading a little bit up market, underfloor heating is a great option for a more modern and luxury hut. Without giving any secrets away, this form of heating is fitted under the floor and can be put on to heat the space at the flip of a switch.

There are two types of underfloor heating systems – electric or water, sometimes known as dry or wet. Water-based underfloor heating requires pipework and a water source, whereas the electric system only requires underfloor wire loops.

For a shepherd’s hut, an electric underfloor heating system is a much better fit for the space and only need electricity to run efficiently and effectively.

The great thing about underfloor heating is that all the heat travels upwards into the hut, thanks to the layer of insulation fitted underneath the loops. The heat is also distributed very evenly across the surface to ensure there are no cold spots. It’s also a system that can be used in conjunction with many flooring types, including wood, tile, vinyl and carpet and doesn’t require any maintenance and take up any living space. You can leave your slippers at home with this heating option!

3. Electric Plinth Heater

electric plinth heater shepherds hut
Electric plinth heater at Digby’s shepherd hut in the Peak District. Source: tinyecohomelife.com

Electric plinth heaters are a great bit of kit. Very efficient, good on energy and tucked away under the units, they’re another excellent option to heat a shepherd’s hut.

The great thing about plinth heaters is that they can be wired directly into the standard electrical system of the hut and can be controlled very simply with switches or connected to your smart wireless system, such as a Nest or Hive.

The pump out a good deal of heat (around 2kW) and the fan-assisted models means the whole shepherd’s hut will be heated up in no time at all. Flick it on and you have instant heat. It really will make a huge difference when it comes to heating your hut space very efficiently and quickly.

When it comes to a shepherd’s hut, it’s the floor space that is usually the concern. An electric plinth heater fitted under a kitchen unit will take up no additional space whatsoever.

I’ve stayed at huts with an electric plinth heater and they certainly are the real deal. For a relatively small investment, much less than the first two options, they are more than worth their price.

4. Portable electric heater

Portable electric heaters have a number of good things going for them – they work at the click of a button, they plug straight into the mains electricity and they are pretty cheap. They can also be put away during the warmer months and just brought out when needed.

On the other side, they are quite energy intensive to run, can be quite bulky and they won’t heat the space evenly.

My experience with electric heaters is that they are a good option as an additional source of heat for when you need a quick blast but I wouldn’t like to rely on one as my primary heat source, mainly because they take up a lot of valuable power and don’t heat the space overall as good as other options.

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative though, they could well do the job for you.


What else you need to heat a shepherd’s hut

Insulation

There isn’t much point thinking about heating your shepherd’s hut if it has got poor insulation. This is like trying fill a bucket of water with a hole in the bottom.

Good insulation will help to keep the heat just where you want it, inside your hut. This is a must and should be seen as a very valuable investment. Take a look at this in-depth blog on the best eco-friendly types of insulation for a shepherd’s hut.

Electric towel rail

Ok this one is an additional luxury, but a nice one to have, plus it can do an important job. Who doesn’t like a warm towel after getting out of the shower? Depending on where your bathroom or toilet is, an electric towel rail can also heat the space as a whole. This is particularly important if the bathroom isn’t located in the shepherd’s hut itself.

This was the case when I stayed at Raven’s Retreat who’s bathroom was located just next door, meaning it wouldn’t benefit from the log burner. The heated towel here did a great job of giving a little warmth to the space, especially important during the winter months.

Double glazed windows

Adding double glazed windows to a hut can make a big difference in keeping the cold out and the warm air in. As a shepherd’s hut is a fairly small space, any inefficiencies and little drafts will be immediately noticeable as soon as the outside temperature drops.

Header image source: Red Sky Shepherd’s Huts / Claire Williams Photography