Your 8-Step Check List
When it comes to choosing a shepherd’s hut, it’s easy to fall in love at first sight. Your plans for a bijou home-office or romantic holiday let can easily mean the practicalities of hut purchasing and ownership get put on the back-burner.
With over 20 years of designing, manufacturing and installing our handmade snugs and cabins, we know a thing or two about shepherd’s huts. From planning permission and insurance to material choices and maintenance, we’ve compiled a checklist to ensure you’re ready to start your shepherd’s hut adventure!
- Do I need Planning Permission?
Before you get distracted by paint finishes and interior options, do your planning permission research! Confusingly, some people require planning permission for a shepherd’s hut, and some don’t so we always recommend contacting your local planning office in the first instance. If your hut is going to be placed in your garden and privately used, planning permission isn’t generally required, which makes them a great alternative to an extension.
However, if you intend to use a hut for rental purposes or holiday accommodation, or there’s a permanency to the structure (i.e. your hut has plumbing connected to the drain or septic tank) it may be viewed as less portable. If in doubt, remember that the shepherd's hut itself doesn't need planning permission, it's what you are doing with it that might.
- What type of chassis is best?
The chassis that your hut is built on is something you should inspect. It is crucial to preserving the hut’s condition, and makes transporting the hut much easier (which is ideal if you need to relocate in the future). Some huts are made on wooden frames, and are much more likely to twist or swell. Our huts are supported by a steel chassis and cast-iron wheels, which is why they last for generations.
- What interior features should I choose?
We’ve made plenty of unusual huts – moveable spas, party pads and secret cinemas – so you need only be limited by your imagination, however a good starting point is to consider the intended use. If you’re utilising the hut as guest accommodation or a B&B retreat, you’ll need a bed, shower room and kitchen facilities. However, if your hut is being used as a garden office or playroom, you might want more seating and plenty of storage. Either way, consider your ideal interior and let our designers bring your vision to life with CAD drawings and illustrations. Traditional craftsmanship combined with unrivalled technical know-how means a Plankbridge hut will always feel wonderfully sumptuous inside.
- What happens if I move house?
Don’t worry - we offer an unrivalled move-when-you-move service. If you ‘up-sticks’ and relocate within five years of purchasing your Plankbridge shepherd’s hut, we’ll help you move your treasured space. If you simply want to move the position of your hut in your garden – for example to a summer or winter resting spot – our huts have a draw bar on the steering end, meaning they can be pulled around using a small tractor or 4x4 vehicle.
- What heating options should I select?
Top tip – before you think about heating, check the insulation of your hut. We use British thermafleece sheep wool, which keeps our huts warm in the colder months and cool in the summer. It’s a sustainable and environmentally friendly material too. For extra warmth, we fit traditional woodburning stoves or cast-iron radiators, ensuring your hut doesn’t become off-limits as soon as the temperature drops.
- How long should I expect my hut to last?
A Plankbridge hut has been built to last for generations and we are one of the only manufacturers that offers a 20-year structural guarantee. We can do this with confidence because we only use quality (and often locally-sourced) materials. For example, our Thermowood cladding is heat-treated at over 200 degrees, meaning it has a low moisture content and is less likely to swell or distort with age. When it comes to design and craftmanship, we continue to innovate and invest, meaning a Plankbridge shepherd’s hut will have been authentically built by a talented team.
- How environmentally friendly will my hut be?
We’re firm believers in buying less and making things last. It’s one of the reasons why Plankbridge shepherd’s huts are made to design principles that are good for both people and planet. Before you buy your hut it’s worth asking a few questions about the materials and manufacturing process.
For example, our workshop is run to low-waste and energy consumption principles and we have a carefully curated supply chain, featuring predominantly British business. We also only use timber and sheet materials which carry certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) who promote sustainably managed forests worldwide.
- How much money could I make out of a shepherd’s hut?
With the rise in popularity ‘glamping', more and more people are using shepherd's huts to utilise available outdoor space and generate an income. A shepherd's hut is a great investment and with sites such as Airbnb advertising huts for between £70 and £175 a night, even with 50% occupancy at a low nightly rate you could generate over £12k a year. Your hut would quickly pay for itself, whilst also offering a free bolt-hole for you and your family to enjoy.