The Hut

This page is devoted to the views of, and from, a shepherd’s hut type structure which I decided to construct at the top of our hay meadow, having developed the idea in autumn of 2017, once I’d sourced a set of antique cast iron wheels on ebay. We collected them on a trip to Devon, and it seems likely that they are of Eastern European origin, probably taken from an abandoned old agricultural vehicle. Their simple elegance really appealed to me. With poor winter weather, apart from designing a box steel chassis and detachable draw bar, which I had made up by a local forge, nothing more happened until spring 2018.

We’d always placed a couple of chairs in this location to enjoy the views at the top of longevity hill, overlooking our developing upper wildflower hay meadow. The photographs of sunrise taken at about 4.30 am from this point by award winning Australian photographer Clare Takacs when she visited us in May 2016 for a garden shoot were spectacular.

Some also subsequently made her personal selection into a book of 70 favourite gardens from around the world, published in late 2017 – “Dreamscapes – Inspiration and Beauty in Gardens Near and far”. These images got me thinking about how we could enjoy more time up there, with the far reaching views, big skies, and amazing weather in these hilly Western fringes of the United Kingdom, just a few miles from the Atlantic coast.  

Once I’d got my enthusiasm going as the cold late spring finally left us, the construction began in earnest. Nearly everything was carried manually up the hill, where construction took place, apart from the chassis and sub-floor, which I gingerly towed up the hill  …

These days it’s easy to get roof sheets curved to pretty much any profile you want, and we’re very fortunate to have a brilliant local firm which can supply these at sensible prices. I opted to have a plastisol coloured finish to minimise maintenance.

Very fortunately aided by the incredible dry summer of 2018, the build was finished in August, and it’s already proving to be a wonderful spot to sit and watch the clouds go by. Eventually we also hope that we can receive more rapid and less data restricted internet access from this location, since mobile network reception is better up here, and land based options have constantly been kicked down the road, in this era of “universal superfast broadband connectivity”.

It will, I’m sure, prove to be a great place to rest a while, and have creative thoughts. Much to my delight, the insulation and use of large areas of polycarbonate for the windows means that it always is noticeably warmer than the ambient outside temperature. 

Years ago we were moved by seeing the exhibition by Ahae, staged in a purpose built temporary pavilion close to the Orangerie in Paris. (Click here). The show consisted of a selection made from apparently 1 million images taken over a year through a single window of one property in rural South Korea. Subsequently huge scandal developed around “Ahae” – who he was, the validity of his work, and his other business and religious activities, which I’ve written about before on these pages, but there’s a also a detailed biography of him on line. (Click here).But the concept of observing nature from a single vantage point over a long time frame has always appealed to me. This is partly what has driven me to keep writing and photographing for this blog and website, since I began in the spring of 2011.

Fiona’s inspired idea for how to close the open-to-the-air window space I’d always imagined in my one and only back of an envelope (since lost) design for the hut, has created many options for framing and enjoying these views. (Fiona’s detailed design for eventually rejected more complex end “fan light windows” is shown above). Open to the air and sound, mainly. Or not, should weather or midges dictate otherwise.Other than these introductory words, this will be a page of many simple images taken through this window onto North Carmarthenshire. Click on any to view them in greater detail, should you wish…