The Glamping Show

We went to this year’s Glamping Show today at Stoneleigh Park near Warwick. Glamping has expanded over the years to include camping pods, newly-built shepherd’s huts, and tiny houses as well as the luxurious tents, yurts etc. I’ve included a gallery of some of the photos I took which gives you a flavour of the event, and points where glamping now overlaps with hutting.

The show is explicitly aimed at landowners wanting to diversify into glamping, and had stands from everyone from wood-burning hot tub makers to online visitor booking software. In the main hall were (mostly) smaller stands and three seminar spaces. Outside were a wide selection of the kinds of tents and cabins on offer.

Hutting tends to be about having the hut or cabin or shed or whatever for much longer than glamping, where you might just hire it for a week. Most hutting is about owning the structure and maybe even the land it sits on. However, there’s now a lot of similarity in the buildings, even if the glamping huts are quite neat and commercial. They’re a lot more soulful than caravans though.

So it was really interesting to see a fun talk by Max McMurdo about upcycling and glamping, and the idea that you might furnish or even construct glamping huts or tents with reclaimed materials to get away from a manufactured feel. He also made some good comments about the experience of glamping which resonated with the experience of hutting: such as the way daylight becomes so important when man-made light is not just available at the flick of a switch; and how satisfying the most ancient human technologies such as lighting a fire can be, especially when you’re living free of wifi and “being connected”. During the questions at the end Planning Law reared its head (as it always does sooner or later), and there was also lots of good advice (like looking for materials to reclaim in skips!) Max has also got a new book out about upcycling.

dsc_0021Back in the outdoor area,  I was really pleased to have a chance to look around the tiny house from Tiny House UK. This is the first time I’ve seen one in person and I hope we see more of them in Britain. Since the ones on wheels or liftable by a crane count as a caravan in planning law,  they have the potential to make all those situations where you’re allowed a caravan to be a lot more attractive. One of these is forestry, where you’re allowed to live on site in a caravan when doing forestry work as long as it’s “less than a season”.

If you’re at all interested in doing glamping as a business then I’d recommend looking at the magazines Open Air Business and Glamping Business for the adverts and articles. There are a lot of options, including DIY approaches all the way up to companies who do all the work and share profits with you in return for use of your land.


Shed of the Year 2015, grand final roundup

It’s been more than a fortnight since the grand final episode of Channel 4’s 2015 Shed of the Year competition but the #shedoftheyear tweets are still being posted, and there was a lot of newspaper coverage in the day or so after the final was broadcast.

The episode began with the “Cabins/Summerhouses” and “Workshops/Studios” shed categories. For the first category, I liked Teasel’s Wood Cabin and the Pixie Cabin. For the second category, I liked the Cabin of the Green Man, and its mention of chainsaw carving. I always like anything about the Green Man anyway.

My overall favourites were Cormac’s Bothy and the Corrugated Cottage from the first and second episode, but the judges’ choice and series winner was the Inshriach Distillery from the previous episode.

During the programme, #shedoftheyear was again one of the top hashtags for the UK, and this itself generated some confused responses:

Stories about the result appeared across the spectrum of newspapers, including the ones in The Independent, in The Scotsmanin The Daily Mail, and in The Daily Star. The Telegraph produced a gallery of photos from the competition. As a pub shed, the winner was also picked up by the drinks trade press.

This breadth of coverage was itself reflected on Twitter:

Businesses made use of the hashtag, some with interesting content to promote:

As did Glasgow University Archives:

And beach hutters:

Finally, the hashtag prompted this gem from the city of skyscrapers:

Shooting huts on Ickornshaw Moor

Hut on Ickornshaw MoorIcknornshaw Moor near Cowloughton south of Cowling in West Yorkshire has several wooden huts visible from the Transpennine Way. The land is a grouse moor with shooting rights held by the villagers, and the huts provide for early morning shooting. The villagers have held the hunting rights from the 16th century, and had to defend them in court in the 19th century.

The Geograph page for SD9641 includes several other photo of the huts.

Hilary Jack’s InsideOutHouse

InsideOutHouseManchester is currently having its biennial International Arts Festival and there are lots of events and exhibitions that are either formally part of the festival or coincide with it. One of these is Lost Gardens of Manchester at the City Art Gallery,  and in a small courtyard off a street alongside the side of the gallery is Hilary Jack’s InsideOutHouse. Hilary Jack’s website says:

InsideOutHouse explores themes of sustainability, industry and the outsider. Built from found office furniture with its own “smoking chimney” InsideOutHouse for Barnaby Festival 2014 was located beside Macclesfield Town Hall. InsideOutHouse embodies the romantic spirit of the homesteader, and the work ethic of “the shed” while acting as an antidote to the arrogance of corporate expansion and misguided town planning decisions.

InsideOutHouseMany of the wooden items used to make the walls are internal fixtures or parts of furniture, which gives the shed it’s inside-out feeling. When I saw it, the button to make the smoke was missing though. This second photo shows the shed in its courtyard between two buildings of the gallery. Passers-by can walk into this space from the side street, so it’s a very accessible exhibit.

Shed of the Year 2015, Episode 2 roundup

Last Sunday Channel 4 showed the second episode of this year’s Shed of the Year competition, with the “Unique” and “Historical” categories. For me the Treehouse and Anglo-Saxon Garden House stood out, but the Corrugated Cottage above all reminded me of the kinds of buildings put up by hutters and plotlanders in the 1920 and 1930s. A few of them still survive today – although more often in wood rather than corrugated iron. #shedoftheyear was trending again on Twitter during and after the programme, with thousands of people posting tweets with that hashtag, as I blogged about last week. During the week the tweets have continued, and some of them have linked to stories and blogs that are well worth a read: Next Sunday, episode three has the “Pub” and “Budget” shed categories.

Shed of the Year 2015, Episode 1 roundup

Last Sunday Channel 4 showed the first episode of this year’s Shed of the Year competition, with the “Normal Sheds” and “Eco Sheds” categories. “Eco” included Cormac’s Bothy (follow the link for lots of photos) which is a handbuilt, round-log cabin in the Scottish Highlands. #shedoftheyear was trending on Twitter during and after the programme, with thousands of people posting tweets with that hashtag.

Twitter lets us get a sample of what the audience thought, and many of the comments about Cormac’s Bothy were what hutters might expect:

Others questioned whether the entrants were really sheds at all!

On Monday, Patrick Barkham’s Guardian story was getting retweeted with the #shedoftheyear hashtag too:

During the week the tweets have continued, with a mixture of people watching on catch-up, and other people using it to reach target audiences, whether that’s Cuprinol or Yale advertising their products, people proudly showing off their own sheds, or exhibitors at events like Woodfest Wales:

Next Sunday, episode two has the “Unique” and “Historical” sheds categories.