On Location…. Blackdown Shepherd Huts

I’ve been lucky enough to work directly with Blackdown Shepherd Huts here in Somerset for a few years now.  Long been admired in the Glamping market as the go-to brand for authentic, bespoke huts thanks to their incredible craftsmanship and innovation, Blackdown Shepherd Huts was started in 2011 by William Vickery.

It’s safe to say that as a result, the waiting list for one of these huts many be long, but it is a list many are very happy to join.

In the last couple of years as part of my work with them I’ve been out on site to visit hut owners or to photographically document the delivery process.  It’s fair to say that I’ve gained many new clients directly through this fabulous brand, and earlier this Autumn I followed another hut to document it’s delivery journey.

Delivery day with Blackdown Shepherd Huts - Hitching up
Delivery day with Blackdown Hut - Loading

Little Wheels to Big Wheels

Each hut is built to customer requirements with a very high specification.  From the very start the client/brand relationship is very important to the Blackdown team.  It never ends when a hut rolls out of their production area. One of the key differences Blackdown have over many other brands is they personally deliver huts themselves.  In fact much of the time Will himself is on the delivery team.  Such is the importance of ensuring these hand crafted huts arrive safely and are carefully placed in their final position.  It’s not something they are willing to hand over to anyone else.

Often the huts are off to start their new stories in people’s back gardens.  These extra ‘spaces’ are used for a wonderful array of purposes, from additional rooms for family stays, creative studios, relaxing personal retreats and of course, as income providers in the Glamping sector.  

With such diversity they’ve installed their huts in some pretty incredible spots. It’s not just from the perspective of the final view a hut might have, but more from how on earth they get them into these final spots.  

Much ingenuity and skill is involved & my role that day was to highlight the process through my storytelling photography style.

Delivery Day with Blackdown Shepherd Huts - Will Vickery
Delivery Day with Blackdown Shepherd Huts - Accuracy is Vital

Precision Matters

From the moment the hut was pushed and guided with the Landrover onto the back of the low loader that will carry it close to it’s final destination, it was clear that this is a seriously intricate ‘dance’, one where precision is vital. I would have to really pay attention to keep up with what the team were doing!  Once loaded myself and the team headed off to the destination to ensure everything is ready for when the lorry arrives.  On this particular delivery, a local one in Somerset, the new owners had prepared the land where the Shepherd Hut was to finally sit exactly to the plan. Great! Will & Rich, the day’s team, had no additional last minute issues to worry about. 

We’d arranged to meet the lorry just up the road from the delivery address as the last part wasn’t really suitable for a low loader to navigate.  The impact on the local traffic was non existent.  The Shepherds Hut was off loaded quickly and smoothly thanks to the safe hands of Will and clear guidance from Rich.  Once off, the Hut made its way though leafy, narrow lanes to the most idyllic spot, where its new owners were keenly waiting its arrival.  

After years of delivering, their installation process is super slick.  As an onlooker there were moments of ‘how on earth’ running through my mind, probably that too of the owners.  The Landrover was expertly utilised to steer & winch, even when at a 90degree angle. It made my ability to reverse my horse trailer into our barn look like an Egg & Spoon race in comparison!  Will and Rich were never fazed by anything at all, just focused on their respective ‘dance’ steps around each other.  They continued to simply and ably nudge the hut to the exact spot she was to sit.  At times it was millimetre precision stuff, but neither of them once looked perturbed.

Finishing Touches

Less than an hour after arriving on site, the hut was in place, plumbed into water and waste and hooked up to electric. The chimney top had also. been popped in place. Totally ready for its new owners to begin filling it with all the homely needs this Glamping hut would need to welcome all its guests with.  

Just enough time for a dusty shot of Will chatting to the new owners.

We said our goodbye’s and left them on the steps looking across the vast view and forward to the next part of their journey with a Blackdown Shepherd Hut.  

I wonder what they’ll call her…. surely she’s a her now and not an it…?

Rachel x

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