The Hampshire shepherd hut and furniture business born out of adversity
PUBLISHED: 11:14 10 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:14 10 October 2017
How a shepherds hut helped master cabinet maker Terry Lynch fight his way back to health and launch a business that's now booming
There was a time when the humble shepherds hut was the sole preserve of shepherds. But not any more. These days, they are at the forefront of the glamping craze and are snapped up by wealthy clients, including former Prime Minister David Cameron, as garden rooms and offices or a luxury bolthole.
But for Terry Lynch, they are more than just a trendy bandwagon. They gave him a way back from a devastating brain haemorrhage that almost claimed his life.
Terry, a master cabinet maker who runs Terry Lynch Handmade at Weyhill, was aged 47 and running his successful furniture and cabinet making business when the haemorrhage struck. The father-of-two knew that an immediate return to the strenuous demands of his business was not on the cards. A new challenge was called for, something that used all his considerable skills.
Now 49, he recalls: “What I needed was a project, something to focus on while I built up the strength I needed to return to work full time. I had long yearned to restore and refit a canal barge, but the answer came in the form of a pair of cast iron wheels and an ancient chassis lying unloved in the corner of a yard at my wife Natalie’s antique, French and industrial furniture business, Snoopers Bazaar.”
Those assorted parts gave him the idea to build his own shepherds hut, but with a difference: “I wanted to marry traditional craftsmanship with modern design and build a hut out of the best ethically sourced and eco-friendly materials,” he says.
After careful research, designs were drawn and workshop space cleared as Terry diverted more than 30 years of furniture and cabinet making experience, including restoration work for English Heritage, to bring his modern yet traditional shepherds hut to life.
His strength grew in proportion to his new creation and that’s when things took off in an unexpected direction: “One of Natalie’s customers heard about my project and requested a tour,” explains Terry. The customer made him an offer for the hut on the spot and he soon found himself fielding calls from people wanting to use his shepherds huts for everything from a riverside fishing base, a writing retreat to rental accommodation.
Each hut takes six-weeks to build, using long-lasting Accoya® wood, clad with European oak and insulated with British lambswool. They are fitted with retro Bakelite light switches, USB and power sockets, double-glazed hardwood windows and wheels forged at Bridport Foundry that can be be engraved with the owner’s name.
Business is booming and new enquiries are coming in every day. That canal barge is just going to have to wait.
Terry Lynch Handmade offers bespoke shepherds huts designed to exact customer specifications. Groundwork and specialist delivery are also available and hut prices start from £16,800.