A Cumbrian family-run timber and leisure business has announced that it has become the furthest north English company manufacturing and supplying authentic Shepherd’s Huts to the UK trade and domestic market, making it perfectly placed to exploit the vibrant Scottish holiday park sector. 

Rookland Shepherd Huts and Camping Pods, based at Harker in Cumbria, was launched in May 2017. 

Its parent company is the respected Laing Timber Products, a manufacturer of timber garden buildings and furniture, whilst sister company, Laings of Harker, operates a very successful farm shop, deli, butchery and gift shop/cafe.

Both the bespoke Shepherd’s Huts, and the timber camping pods, are created in house by Rookland’s team of skilled joiners, using fully sustainable timber.

In a few short months since its inception, Rookland Shepherd’s Huts and Camping Pods quickly identified that the burgeoning timber camping pod market was one it could easily target, having designed a pod which could be produced in a two week timespan. Shepherd’s Huts have also become ever more fashionable as holiday accommodation, fuelled by the continuing popularity of both ‘glamping’ and eco tourism.

Private domestic customers are able to purchase the huts for their own use, as being on wheels they are fully mobile.

With most companies manufacturing Shepherd’s Huts based further south in Yorkshire and beyond, Rookland is keen to put their own Cumbrian stamp on the product.

Managing director of Rookland Shepherds Huts & Camping Pods, Amy Laing, takes up the story: “We are delighted that this new business is doing so well, with a number of orders secured over the winter months. It has been a good decision to target holiday parks looking to expand, and private farms diversifying into holiday accommodation – both are vibrant sectors.

“We have taken a traditional “Sheep Stell” name, Rookland, as inspiration for our company name,” she continued, “Stells were built to offer shelter to livestock during wintery spells.  Our timber pods are definitely a step up from traditional camping, making it a year-round pastime, and a chance to add instant income if you are a farmer or landowner with land to allocate to self catering. Our shepherd’s huts are built with authenticity, and a nod to our farming heritage as a family.”

Rookland’s product range reflects the family’s farming heritage, with the timber pods named after native cattle, such as the Galloway and the Ayrshire.

Amy explained that the choice of product names for the Shepherd’s Huts reflects the choice of décor and accessories which are available with the product.

“We are partnering a number of small artisan suppliers which make luxury soft furnishings in Harris Tweed, including wool throws and cushions. We can provide pods or huts with an 'in house style' for a corporate customer buying several pieces of stock,” she said: “We are a one stop shop to deliver the huts to them complete with all the extras, so they can site them immediately. Or they can have something completely bespoke,” she said.

“For example, the Herdwick Shepherd’s Hut is themed on Cumbria and sheep,” said Amy, “whilst the Shetland is themed with tweeds and stags or Highland Cattle. The Cheviot has as its design inspiration the Borders and stags! We have had fun with it all.”

Amy also pointed out that she believed farming customers would relate to the new business because of Laing’s own farming background. “We are a rural business ourselves,” she said, “with many connections in the farming world, together with a lodge manufacture background, so we know what our customers are looking for. We offer fair pricing, reliability and attention to detail by an in house team taking care over each and every pod or hut we make.”

As regards an ‘as standard specification’, Rookland Shepherds Huts have superb attention to detail, with Belfast sinks, luxury showers and solid wood kitchen cabinets with ironwork detailing on the hinges and handles.

“It’s authentic, but also brings what the product bang up to date for today’s discerning holidaymakers,” she said.

Further details on the new pods and huts, together with Laings Timber Products and the family’s farm shop and deli, can be found at www.lainsgofharker.co.uk.

“We plan to have a separate website just on Rookland very soon,” said Amy. In the meantime the young company headed up by 23-year-old Amy and her brother Fraser, is looking to the next few months with confidence.

“Some parks close in the New Year and use this time to plan out what they want to offer in the Spring, looking at patterns of demand and trends in the sector,” she said.

“We can deliver pods and huts to locations in Scotland and across the North of England, even as far as the Midlands. It’s a complete service.”

Rookland Shepherd’s Huts & Camping Pods has models available to view now at its show site in Harker. Interested parties are invited to come along to discuss their requirements with the firm, meeting Amy and the team who are keen to retain that personal touch.

“Next year we plan to attend some of the leading farm, equestrian, and rural shows in Scotland and across the North of England to directly showcase our product,” said Amy. “Getting right into the heart of this sector will work well for us, speaking to potential customers direct. We can’t wait to show off what we have created.”