Three years ago, inspired by the shepherd’s huts at River Cottage, Barry Skues fulfilled a long-held ambition to have a Plankbridge Cabin in his cottage garden near Canterbury. Here, he talks us through his shepherd’s hut journey, from the workshop tour and design stage to the ‘military precision’ delivery down the narrow lanes of Kent
What inspired you to buy a shepherd’s hut?
I first heard of Plankbridge when I saw the shepherd’s huts at River Cottage, a number of years ago. Following that I then met some of the Plankbridge team at the Dorset County Show. At the time we lived in a converted barn with a fair bit of land and an assortment of animals, dogs, horses, chickens, etc. We mulled over the idea that having a hut at the edge of our land as a retreat would be a lovely idea. However, other life events conspired against us and the idea drifted onto the back burner for a while.
Some years later we decided to downsize and moved to our current location, a cottage in a rural area near Canterbury. Having moved to a smaller home it seemed an ideal solution for me to have a shepherd’s hut in the garden as a study and somewhere to escape modern day life.
What was it that made you choose a Plankbridge hut?
Having seen a number of Plankbridge huts and looked at alternative offerings, the quality and attention to detail in their huts stood out. We spend a fair amount of time in Dorset each year and arranged to visit the workshop to discuss our ideas and look more closely at the construction methods. We were well received and had a good tour of the workshop with Richard and met some of the team. Impressed with the craftsmanship we had seen and the guidance we received, it was an easy step to place an order for a Cabin that I could then fit out to suit my needs.
Can you tell us about the day your hut was delivered?
We live in a very rural valley, with a narrow lane, yet the entire delivery and location of the hut was conducted with military precision and absolutely no drama. The very next day it snowed, so we had lucky timing! The hut is situated only a short distance from the house, in a sheltered corner of the garden looking along the valley. I have used it predominantly as a retreat to do some art, reading, and writing my recollections of life (now I’m getting a bit long in the tooth!). It’s a wonderfully relaxing environment and seems to take one back to gentler times.