Care in our craft, care for the planet: how we make our shepherd’s huts

With a reputation for meticulous use of materials and exceptional craftsmanship, we are the only shepherd’s hut maker endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society. Here’s how our beautiful huts are made with care in Dorset – and enjoyed by happy home improvers across the UK, Europe and even the USA.

We don’t reinvent the wheel. But we do recycle the iron.

Purchase a Plankbridge shepherd’s hut and you can expect it to last a lifetime. But durability should never come at the cost of sustainability. It’s why we are fastidious about the materials we use – and provenance matters. All wood is sourced from traceable sources where good forestry practice is the rule, not the exception. The oak for our doors and external timbers is grown, milled and seasoned locally. And the leather straps for the doors are handmade by a local saddler here in Dorset to exacting quality. As for the wheels? They are made of molten cast iron – much of which is recycled.  

An ethos with prestigious origins.It’s more than a throwaway mantra.

Our pledge to use local materials judiciously is more than a throwaway mantra. It’s our founding ethos – stitched into the fabric of everything we do. Plankbridge founder Richard Lee studied at John Makepeace’s pioneering Hooke Park College in the early 1990s, during the college’s prestigious Parnham Trust era. There was sharp focus on utilising British materials wisely, creatively and sustainably – blending traditional techniques with innovation instead of importing readymade alternatives. It’s an ethos with an important legacy. Richard’s fellow alumni from Hooke Park and Parnham have gone on to create some of Britain’s most distinguished timber-based businesses – including LINLEY, Gaze Burvill and Trannon.

Happy staff make great products

"In order that people may be happy in their work, three things are needed. They must be fit for it, they must not do too much of it and they must have a sense of success in it." So espoused the fabled writer and philosopher John Ruskin back in the nineteenth century.

We have our own take.

If you want to make a fantastic product, you need a properly engaged workforce. It’s why we strive to provide a fulfilling creative environment for our team – many of whom joined Plankbridge as apprentices and have seen their careers blossom under the tutelage of our experienced craftsmen.

In rural economies, access to rewarding career-focused employment is crucial. From our Cycle to Work scheme to the suppliers we work with and the collaborative culture we engender, Plankbridge has become the vibrant countryside business we always hoped it would be. As we grow, our community does too.

Minimising our impact on the environment

Mother Nature gives us many of our raw materials. It’s only right that we give something back. That starts with our production methods. Much of our timber is homegrown – sustainably – and we have utilised reclaimed timber for feature walls and details on several commissions. We minimise waste and offcuts – recycling everything we cannot use. Meanwhile our forge is fuelled by sustainable Dorset charcoal rather than forge coal. Yet our ecological credentials extend way beyond the workshop.

As members of Woodland Heritage we support the productive management of Britain’s woodlands. And if you travel a short two-mile journey from our HQ you will find five acres of Victorian watercress beds. Our founder Richard Lee purchased these watercress beds in 1998 and has been working on rewilding them – so successfully that Dorset Wildlife Trust has designated part of the area a Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI). We hope that water voles and rare species of butterfly will soon be thriving in our wetland wildflower meadow. It’s great news for the local bee population too. We’re not members of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust for nothing.

Hunker down with a Plankbridge hut

To discuss your requirements and get your project started, please make an enquiry with our customer liaison team.

You may also be interested in:

>> Designed for living, built for life: about our shepherd’s hut lifespans
>> How a shepherd’s hut puts more pleasure in your leisure time
>> Shepherd’s delight: the joy of sleeping in a shepherd’s hut bed
>> Working wonders: the joy of a shepherd’s hut office

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