Building a Shepherd's Hut

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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,128
4,478
Mid Wales
This is a project that has been in the planning stages for quite a while now but I've finally committed to it and made a start.

OK, I know it's not quite in keeping with my overall management plan for the wood but it will a) allow us to overnight in the wood when we are in our dotage (if we're not there now!); and b) it will allow us to share the wood with friends and relations that are not quite as eager to 'rough it' as we are.

In mitigation, all the infrastructure - compost loo and camp area is at one end of a 15 acre wood and there are plenty of places to explore, sit and even 'overnight' in unspoilt ancient woodland so, although it's a compromise, I have decided it's an acceptable one :)

I'll be building this over the next few weeks but I won't bore you with a daily log - just an occasional update. So, Here's the start:

The site, at the western end of the wood with great summer late sun. I dug this out a few years ago in anticipation; I wish I had been more careful about getting it flat - it's actually 250mm higher on the right than the left:

Shepherds hut 1.jpg

Wheel stations levelled and cutting the chassis members:

shepherds hut 2.jpg


Chassis complete, wheels and axles fitted:

shepherds hut 3.jpg
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
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Anychance you can keep a rudimentary log of running material cost.

As many Shepherds huts seem to carry a price tag of circa £15k I wonder just how much is actual material cost. Cheers
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,128
4,478
Mid Wales
Yeh, I'm doing just that. Material costs are just a shade over £2K at the moment - that will be completely finished externally and internally but bare - i.e. no beds, sink, tables etc. I could do it slightly cheaper now (some minor waste between design and build) but I was very lucky with the wheels (£80 for the four from a reclamation yard). However, I still have wood treatment and internal paint costs to come.

The cheapest alternative was a kit for around £5K that included a builders merchant purchase list - in other words still a lot to buy.

It's worth pointing out that the chassis is a non-steering one - I did design a steering axle for it but decided I didn't need it.
 
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TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
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And the legal ruling regarding allowance of a shepherds hut s what ? As long as it mobile ( wheels ) you can put it anywhere?
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,436
446
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You're gonna want something like joist hangers to hold those cross members to the side longitudinal timbers.
It increases the strength by a huge amount.
 

Redhand Jack

Member
Jan 25, 2021
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31
Devon
Any idea how much of the timber will be your own and how much will be bought Broch?.

Love the 'build chassis, add wheels and axle' approach, might have to borrow that..

As far as I know caravans for seasonal workers are allowed in woodlands under planning law as they're not a permanent building
 
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demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,436
446
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Thanks, I appreciate your thoughts, but I'm a chartered mechanical engineer; I've done the loading calcs :) -
Ok, but I've built several transportable timber lodges, a multitude of bits of decking and I've taken apart other peoples work that hasn't worked long term.
What works for now when everything is new doesn't always work long term on something that has to be moved about.
The transportable lodges bend, quite a bit upto the point where the levelling jacks are placed and they even have the joist hangers.
Personally I'd be properly annoyed with myself if I spent a few grand on something that was waffy after a move or two (it'll be in the planning rules that it has to be moved every once in a while) and I could have sorted it with a few hangers and a kilo of twist nails.

I'm not trying to enter into a "see who can slash highest up a wall" competition but would feel a bit bad if I didn't try and help out at the easy advice stage.
Totally upto you if you take it and I know my floors last and don't creak every step I take over them.
 
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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,128
4,478
Mid Wales
And the legal ruling regarding allowance of a shepherds hut s what ? As long as it mobile ( wheels ) you can put it anywhere?

There are many reasons I can put a shepherd's hut in my wood :):

a) It is wheeled and is capable of being moved the required 15m
b) if I want to classify it as a caravan it will not be used for more than 28 days a year
but, my wood is a 'working wood' so:
c) it is a permitted development for use by those workers in the wood throughout 'the season' - no one has defined 'the season' but it is generally accepted that it is less than a year.
 
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John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
22,281
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Pembrokeshire
The chap who now owns the woods I play in has built a similar thing in the field next to the woods ... is it obligatory to build one if you own a wood? :)
I love them - and the idea of owning a wood....
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,128
4,478
Mid Wales
Ok, but I've built several transportable timber lodges, a multitude of bits of decking and I've taken apart other peoples work that hasn't worked long term.
What works for now when everything is new doesn't always work long term on something that has to be moved about.
The transportable lodges bend, quite a bit upto the point where the levelling jacks are placed and they even have the joist hangers.
Personally I'd be properly annoyed with myself if I spent a few grand on something that was waffy after a move or two (it'll be in the planning rules that it has to be moved every once in a while) and I could have sorted it with a few hangers and a kilo of twist nails.

I'm not trying to enter into a "see who can slash highest up a wall" competition but would feel a bit bad if I didn't try and help out at the easy advice stage.
Totally upto you if you take it and I know my floors last and don't creak every step I take over them.

Sorry, no offence meant and I understand what you are saying. I did look at using joist hangers but decided, for a number of reasons, that they weren't needed. You're right though, easy to fit so well worth considering. This hut will not be moved very far to be honest otherwise the axle blocks would have been different as well (I did design more robust blocks).
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,128
4,478
Mid Wales
Any idea how much of the timber will be your own and how much will be bought Broch?.

Love the 'build chassis, add wheels and axle' approach, might have to borrow that..

As far as I know caravans for seasonal workers are allowed in woodlands under planning law as they're not a permanent building

Because I have no way of milling 5m lengths of wood I'm embarrassed to say that it will all be bought. In mitigation, the forests that provide it are far more sustainable than my ancient woodland so, perhaps, it is the best way to do it.

It's not just caravans that are allowed - a number of structures come under 'permitted developments' for working woods.
 

Redhand Jack

Member
Jan 25, 2021
47
31
Devon
I have a friend with an Alaskan sawmill who initially offered to plank up any decent sized logs, but after I described my woods (steep and difficult to access) he now applauds my decision to only use hand tools and man power with undisguised relief..

I looking to take a round wood framing course at sometime in the future - a hammock and tarp are fine for now but with a bit of work I reckon I can grow most of what I need to build a small cabin in only 20 to 30 years lol
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,436
446
-------------
Sorry, no offence meant and I understand what you are saying. I did look at using joist hangers but decided, for a number of reasons, that they weren't needed. You're right though, easy to fit so well worth considering. This hut will not be moved very far to be honest otherwise the axle blocks would have been different as well (I did design more robust blocks).
No offence taken, I just hate it when I miss a detail and later on when its a problem some wise guy says "I did kind of wonder about that" and admits they had spotted it but didn't bother mentioning it.
I try not to be that guy.
 
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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,128
4,478
Mid Wales
Quick update:

The studding has gone up, the base floor is in with a membrane under it (the floor will be insulated and planked once the inside is finished), the ridge is in and the 'ceiling' installed. Since this photo the insulation layer has gone over the whole thing ready for me to put the first few planks on each side before the corrugated roof goes on this Saturday.

So far, about 25 hours on my own. Thank heavens for battery powered tools :)

Note to self: next time, clear a much bigger space to work around and MAKE IT FLAT!

shepherds hut 4.jpg
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,272
2,072
McBride, BC
I hope that you have included lots of windows in your design.
I can't imagine getting up in the morning and not being able to look out as the first thing I do. Open the curtains and look out on my way to the bathroom.
Is it really quiet where this build is happening?
 

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