The Sunday Times Feature

I was recently mentioned in an article in the Sunday Times Home supplement. This is what they had to say…

While the majority of huts are built from scratch, original examples are increasingly being rediscovered an restored. Rebecca Hill, 42, who runs a farm near Blandford in Dorset. acquired two picturesquely decaying ones four years ago: ” One was in quite good condition and was about 100 years old. the other , apart from the original wheels needed a complete rebuild.” She and her husband, James, 42, who owns a fencing company, have positioned their restored huts in a field with stunning views of the Purbeck Hills, and, along with their daughter, Flora, 6, and son JJ, 5, use them as a retreat from the demands of running their businesses.

“We enjoy having somewhere to get away from the hubbub of the mobile phones and have some quality family time” Hill says. “There’s a little range inside, big enough for a kettle or a saucepan. There’s a bench along the back and I’ve put a gate-leg table in there. There’s nothing like a fried breakfast in a shepherds hut.”

The Hills century-old example is a gem of traditional agricultural engineering, originally constructed by George Farris in Coombe Bissett, near Shaftesbury. It was nursed back into life by¬†Eddie Butterfield, a Dorset blacksmith who is receiving an increasing number of calls to resuscitate crumbling cabins. He has stripped back and renovated so many old huts, he can now identify several local foundries’ work at a hundred paces., among them Farris (“look for wood axles and round spoke wheels”) and Lott & Walne of Dorchester (“plain cast-iron wheels, a wood chassis, but wrought-iron axles, good for resisting corrosion”). Butterfield remakes iron components and replaces worn out woodwork with new, seasoned timber, using tools from the 1800’s handed down from his great-grandfather Thomas Butterfield, who was a wagon builder.

* From spring 2011, Rebecca Hill’s shepherd’s huts will be available fro B&B, call 07974 425547 for details