The Midsummer Sampler: block 4
Last time we took our leave of Orchard Cottage to travel along the country lanes to meet our hard-working friend, the Shepherd.
the Shepherd's Hut block
The humble Shepherd's Hut is recorded for the first time in the 16th Century, but may date back even further. These wheeled shelters were simply fitted out with a wooden cage for poorly lambs, a bunk over the top for the shepherd and a fold-out table where meals could be taken. A tiny stove in one corner kept everyone warm - including the shepherd's dog - and a stable door allowed the shepherd to watch over his flock whilst sheltering from the wind.
The shepherd took his flock from field to field, where they polished off a forage crop and fertilised the ground prior to its ploughing. The introduction of artificial fertilisers a century ago - a byproduct of First World War munitions manufacture - saw the gradual decline of crop rotation and, as a result, of these useful little buildings. Most were left to rot in fields and farmyards until they were rediscovered, repaired and adapted into garden follies.
They have become so sought after that they are now built from scratch to provide romantic holiday accommodation - although I believe shepherding duties are not required - and you can actually hire the Shepherd's Hut in the photos above. And can you imagine having one at the bottom of your garden to use as a secret sewing retreat? Heavenly!
Next time we will be heading back to the garden. To the Strawberry patch to be precise. See you there,