Owning a shepherd’s hut has never been so popular.
Whether it’s to live in yourself, have as an extra room, garden retreat, home office or to rent out as a quirky stay on the UK holiday market, there are many reasons for wanting and buying a shepherd’s hut.
There are also many tremendous shepherd’s hut builders in the UK who craft astonishingly good, superbly designed huts all by hand.
It’s also clear though that you don’t always have to buy brand new. You don’t even have to buy a second-hand shepherd’s hut if you don’t want to.
There’s a third option: the self-build your own shepherd’s hut.
I spoke to one of the most well-established hut builders and self-build kit suppliers in the UK, Tithe Barn, all about building your own shepherd’s hut.
Self-build a shepherd’s hut
There are two main reasons why a person opts to build their own shepherd’s hut:
- Price – a self-build shepherd’s hut is cheaper than buying brand new
- Project – to have an experience and learn new skills along the way
With the right help and guidance, building your own shepherd’s hut from a self-build kit might not be as daunting as it first sounds. In fact, it can be incredibly fulfilling and very worthwhile.
Buying a comprehensive kit and having the right component parts combined with a detailed, step-by-step plan to follow means you’ll be on the right path to shepherd’s hut success.
You shouldn’t need any specialist tools or machinery and don’t need to have been a builder or carpenter for 20 years. A good shepherd’s hut kit with the right plan will allow anyone with basic building skills and a bit of grit and determination to succeed with their shepherd’s hut self-build.
Once built, it’s then a matter of kitting it out, adding the little touches and getting the right shepherd’s hut accessories to make the hut your own.
Where to get a shepherd’s hut kit for self-build?
If you’re looking to self-build a hut, the Tithe Barn website is your one-stop shop to visit.
There’s no doubt that their self-build section is the most comprehensive around. You can source all your main pieces of kit, parts and full plans to help your build your own shepherd’s hut.
If you are seriously thinking about building your own shepherd’s hut or it’s an idea for the future, here’s an insight into the self-build hut world and some common queries and questions with Rob Miller of Tithe Barns.
What are the key parts and elements to a shepherd’s hut self-build kit?
For any shepherd’s hut build there are a couple of essential elements that you can’t do without. These are the chassis and wheels, the timber roof construction, quality hardwood windows and doors, wall sheets and a corrugated roof.
Our (the Tithe Barn) full bundles contain all these key components, plus very importantly, our comprehensive step-by-step guidebook plan and detailed set of drawings. This self-build guidebook contains over 120 pages of useful ‘how to’ information covering every aspect of the assembly. This will give the self-builder the confidence to build a hut no matter what their past level of DIY experience is.
Alongside these main components, the self-builder will also need to buy a few extra pieces to fully complete the shepherd’s hut. Items such as the timber and sheets to construct the stud walls, insulation, wiring and a finished floor covering. We supply the self-builder with a full list of these materials which they can purchase direct from a builders’ merchants.
Is the shepherd’s hut kit fixed or are some things flexible?
Whilst there are standard lengths (14’6”, 16’, 18’ and 20’) and widths (7’2”, 7’6” and 8’) of a shepherd’s hut, there’s no reason to limit yourself to these sizes.
As we manufacture the chassis in house adding to width or length won’t break the budget.
Can people buy individual shepherd’s hut parts separately?
Yes, we sell all the key shepherd’s hut parts on our website. You can find everything, including cast-iron wheels, axles, both steel and oak chassis, turntables, doors, windows, corrugated wall and roof sheets of various types and grades.
You can also buy accessories to help kit out your hut, such as wood-burning stoves, hearths and flue kits. We have over 200 different component and parts on site. Remember, from January 2022 all new multifuel and wood burning stoves sold have to be Ecodesign ready.
In the new year, we’ll also be launching our own self-assembly CNC machined body and roof structure, specially designed so that our roof sheets, standard windows and doors all fit without having to cut into the structure.
Where are the materials from Tithe Barns sourced from?
We only use British suppliers to source the likes of our windows, doors, corrugated sheets and other parts. The vast majority of our products are not just made in Britain.
Our cast iron range of wheels for example are made from our own patterns in two UK foundries.
How easy is it to self-build a shepherd’s hut kit?
When following a detailed guidebook, self-building a shepherd’s hut should be relatively straight forward. You may need a little help from another person from time to time to help lift heavy and more awkward components into position so they can be secured.
The good news is you won’t need sophisticated tools. A basic range of hand tools, a battery powered jig saw, drill and screwdriver and you’re good to go!
Would a beginner be able to build their own hut from a self-build kit?
A beginner would certainly be able to build a kit with our guidebook. We have many customers who started out as complete novices and ended up with a fully built shepherd’s hut they built with their own hands!
We are also just a phone call away from helping anyone, customer or not, if they have a question on the build.
How long does it take to put a self-build kit together?
With one person, helped by another from time to time, I would say you could have a finished, watertight structure up in around two weeks of full-time attention.
After that, it’s down to finishing details, such as wiring, plumbing (if required), log burning stove and flue installation and a lot of painting.
Roughly, how much would it cost in total to self-build a standard shepherd’s hut?
Certainly from our experience, there is no such thing as a standard shepherd hut. But if you take a mid-size hut, say 16ft long x 7’6” wide, a full bundle kit would cost your around £6,000 plus VAT. You would then have approximately £2,000 of other materials to buy from a builder’s merchants to complete the build.
When compared to buying brand new, this total is significantly cheaper and you’ll still end up with a fantastic hut and asset for the future.
How long will a shepherd’s hut last for once built?
It does depend on a number of factors, but there’s no reason why a shepherd’s hut not last many, many decades. There are a number of things you can do as an owner to extend the life of a hut.
To make a hut last you’ll have to maintain the hut, keep the joinery painted or stained, keep the metal work painted and the structure needs to be kept watertight. If all these are kept well there’s no reason why the hut could not last indefinitely.
The corrugated roof sheets have a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years depending on the grade of sheet originally purchased and whether you are located in a coastal area.
Based in the East Riding of Yorkshire, Tithe Barns are a specialist shepherd’s hut builder and supplier of self-build parts and kits. They can supply kits to anywhere in the world and have had customers as far away as South Africa and Australia.
For more information on Tithe Barns and creating a self-build shepherd’s hut, head over to the Tithe Barn website.
If you found that useful, read more about shepherd’s huts…
I’m the Creator and Editor of Tiny Eco Home Life. I write and publish information about living a more sustainable, environmentally friendly life. Away from the laptop, I love spending time in nature and with my young family (plus Murphy the dog!) I round up my thoughts and recent blogs on the Eco Life Newsletter.
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