Blackdown Shepherd Huts was set up in 2011 by Will Vickery, who – along with his cousin, George – laboriously built his first hut in his garage. Building on the duo’s 20 years of carpentry and bespoke building experience, the company has since moved to a 6,000-sq. ft. workshop near Ilminster and now employs a team of skilled craftsmen.
Will: "Shepherds’ huts are very much part of English history, and Blackdown Shepherd Huts have been inspired by the traditional shepherds’ huts of yesteryear to create the ultimate dream huts for the English garden. The name comes from the Blackdown Hills where we are based."
The huts – which the company says are built to last for generations to come – come with an oak-clad or metal-clad exterior and include a bathroom and a kitchen, or simply a log-burner. Recent customers have purchased shepherd huts for a range of purposes – from summer houses and glamping businesses, to saunas and garden offices.
Will: "The English garden is a place that people feel is an extension of their home and our shepherd huts are the ultimate celebration of a quintessentially English style. We’re creating huts for people to use as craft rooms, sewing rooms, reading rooms, art studios, extra accommodations, offices, yoga or beauty studios that type of thing. A lot of people enjoy buying our self build huts to construct them themselves."
The company sold 21 huts as ‘she sheds’ last year and Will says the enquiries on this basis are coming in every week.
Will: "I have always been captivated by the heritage of shepherd huts, but also intrigued by the opportunity that the flexibility of the space presented. It seems both genders are jumping on the shepherd hut trend, and it’s great to see so much passion for something that is so quintessentially British and traditional, but which allows us to transform it for the modern day."
So why does Will love Somerset?
Will: "Blackdown loves Somerset because it still has a foot in the traditional elements of life, whilst also being progressive. The community is really supportive and friendly, and we can’t think of a better place to run our business from."