Discovering the festive magic of a shepherd’s hut

Christmas is a time for festivities, and what better way to while away the time than in a Snug shepherd’s hut. For the first in a series of festive blogs, we asked hut owner Gwennie, in Northumberland, to share her tidings of shepherd’s hut cheer…

How do you like to dress your hut during the festive season?

I hang strings of brightly coloured origami star garlands across the windows, bring in greenery to dress the beams, and hang a hurricane lantern from the hook on the central beam – very traditional! And lots of candles, of course.

As the hut is used as a guest room for the family coming to stay over Christmas, and the hut is situated at the edge of a wood, I always light the path to the hut with small lanterns and add two big lanterns on metal poles by the hut door. On a starry night, the hut glows with a magical welcome.

Gwennie’s origami star decorations

Describe how your hut feels at this time of the year

Stepping into the hut is like the feeling of pulling on a warm glove. From its cosy interior, with the stove lit, I look out across the fields and into ancient old oak trees in the wood behind. Just recently we had a spectacular hoar frost, coating every leaf and twig and blade of grass with sparkling crystals, and with smoke curling up from the chimney into the white trees, the hut was just beautiful. Being cosy and well insulated from the elements, there is an instant feeling of warmth and gentle peace stepping inside, surrounded by nature.

Snug shepherd’s hut in the snow

It is a beautiful place to be in winter, especially when it is snowing hard. The hut is a beacon of cosy simplicity and gentle light in the gathering stillness and darkness of the winter months. Tawny owls are undeterred by the hut and use it as a landing place! I sometimes hear them calling from the oak boughs right above the roof, and once I heard one scrabbling on the tin for footing.

Gwennie’s Snug hut amongst the winter landscape

How do you use your hut in the winter months?

The hut is located away from the house at the edge of ancient deciduous woodland, so just going across to the hut is a step away into the peace and sanctuary of the natural world. The hut has many uses in the winter months, not only as a home office, meditation space and guest room for friends staying over, but also as a place to simply withdraw and reflect and think more clearly.

This winter we opened the hut for the first time as an open studio for two weekends, as a place to exhibit my handmade patchwork and linen printed cushions, my husband’s prints, cards and calendars and to sell some of our local organic wildflower honey (from the hives just outside the hut – you can’t get more local than that!), and we gave a percentage of profits to the local foodbank. People loved coming to see the hut and said they could stay there forever.

Gwennie’s open studio in her Snug hut

Picture yourself nestled in your own shepherd’s hut on a snowy winter’s day, with a crackling fire in the wood stove and the smell of pine in the air? Get in touch to make your hut dreams a reality…

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