Friday, February 8, 2013

Gypsy Caravans and Shepherd's Huts - Anglophile Friday

 Gypsy Caravan
parked behind The Punch Bowl Inn, Low Row
North Yorkshire

Gypsy Caravan
Waiting for new wheels
Behind The Green Dragon Inn, Hardraw, North Yorkshire

Gypsy Caravan, Somerset

 Gypsy Caravan Breaks, Langport, Somerset

"Perfect for a romantic weekend break with a cosy twist, this picture-perfect bow-topped caravan awaits you in beautiful Somerset. There are hardly any of these caravans available for hire in England, but you'll find this one tucked away in an apple orchard on the edge of a smallholding, so it will be surrounded by apples or blossom depending when you visit. Inside you'll find a ready-made wooden bed to clamber into, and there's not much space for anything else. But don't fret, you'll also find that there's a separate shepherd's hut housing your solar-powered power shower and washbasin, and a 1970s Marshall caravan to cook in.

• Open April-October. From £75 a night, two nights £130, three nights £180, four nights £220, extra nights £55 (sleeps 2); the nightly price gets cheaper the more nights you book; 01458 270044,"

That was from May of 2011, so I would imagine that prices have changed. 


At first, it appeared to me that there wasn't a lot of difference between the Gypsy Caravan (Vardo) and the Shepherd's Hut. But after reading the articles I found, it seems that the main differences were permanence and use.

The Gypsy caravan was built for travel, and pulled by a single horse, usually no more than 15 miles a day. Often it was the means of going from one circus or fair to the next, and housed a family. The Gypsy caravan typically had larger wheels than did the shepherd's huts, for they needed to be able to ford streams. And although I'm not entirely certain that the first two photos of this post (which I took in North Yorkshire) are actually Gypsy caravans, I think it's the most likely explanation, although many of the Gypsy caravans, for which I found photos online, were much more ornate. If any UK readers can identify the 'wagons' in the first two photos, I would appreciate a comment with that information.


The shepherd's hut (see photos below), on the other hand, was a structure built for the sole purpose of housing the shepherd during lambing season, so he could be out in the pasture with the ewes and assist and care for them as they were ready to lamb. (Evidently, the farmers didn't all just phone James Herriot, which is what I certainly would have done). The shepherd's hut, on smaller iron wheels, was moved from one part of the pasture to the next, but stayed on the farm. Another later use, during the war, was to house a prisoner of war.

Ian McDonald and his restored shepherd's hut

'...It was built more than a century ago to provide shelter and a home-from-home for shepherds tending their flocks in the fields, and a place to nurse sickly or orphan lambs back to health.

'His research into his hut also brought him to the story of Hans Lenzen, the reason the hut had come to School Farm in Barford in 1945. He was one of two Austrian prisoners-of-war who were allocated to the farm to work from the nearby Kimberley POW camp. The hut was bought for £7 from Hall Farm at Rackheath, near Norwich, to house Mr Lenzen and he lived in it for two years...' Read Article Here.

And in case you're looking for a shepherd's hut to rent, here's a whole list, with photos, from Holiday Lettings.

 Shepherd's Hut in Wisconsin

And then there's this shepherd's hut in Wisconsin that's never been occupied. The shepherd would have nothing do do with it, although it has the finest accommodations, is well-built, fully insulated, consists of two spacious rooms, and even has room service.

The shepherd prefers to stay in the big house, where he can keep a closer eye on his flock.

I couldn't resist.


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This post may be linked to some of the following: Mop it Up Monday  and  Cure for the Common Monday and Mealtime Monday and Clever Chicks Blog Hop and Mosaic Monday  and Barn Charm and  The Marketplace  and On the Menu Monday and  Mix it up Monday and Make it Pretty Monday and   What's in the Gunny Sack and  Making the World Cuter Mondays and Make the Scene Monday and  Something I Whipped Up Monday and  Motivate Me Monday and  Making Monday Marvelous and Get Your Craft On and   You're Gonna Love it Tuesday and Tweak it Tuesday and  Coastal Charm Tuesday and  Take a Look Tuesday and  Tasty Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday and Love Bakes Good Cakes and  Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays  and Overflowing With Creativity and Mom on TimeOut  and Adorned from Above and Cast Party Wednesday and  We Did it Wednesday  and It's a Party at Creative Princess and Artsy Corner Thursday  and The Self-sufficient Home Acre and  I'm Lovin' it Thursday and  Mandatory Mooch   and Foodie Friends Friday and  Serenity Saturday and Get Schooled Saturday  and Inspiration Friday(ThursNite) and Vintage Inspiration Friday and Photo Friday and  A Favorite Thing Saturday and Sunny Simple Sunday and  Saturday Nite Special


Samantha said...

I've never seen a shepherd's hut if I'm honest! Plenty of gypsy caravans though, my grandmother was born under one as my mother's family were Romany gypsys (gypsies?). Fortunately they decided to settle into 'proper' houses by the time I came into being!!

J said...

The history lesson here is so charming, but of course, my favorite part is the last...the smart and beautiful shepherd who passed up his own quarters so he could share with those he loves! Gotta admit, the minimal cleaning of the wagons and huts appeals to me. I might be able to live in one for that reason alone!

Unknown said...

Wow, and I thought the 495 square foot apartment I had a few years back was small!! lol Love the picture of Bridger!!!

Yenta Mary said...

I love the gypsy wagon! Here I was expecting stained glass and flying buttresses, and you've taken me on an entirely different tour ... :)

Terri D said...

I've heard the terminology, but did not know about this, so I have learned something new today! Interesting!! Great photos (as always)! Wishing you a good weekend!

MadSnapper said...

BOL on the could not resist pic.. ha ha love it. i have seen the one you got off the net in movies, but not the ones like the round top and the one that looks like a house. i really like all of them

Paulette said...

I alway look forward to your Anglophile Friday post. Thanks for the information and lovely photos.

Diane said...

How interesting! Never saw either in person. I live near a cemetery where some gypsy "royalty" are buried. My mom remembers gypsies dancing and singing there way back-- 40s or so. Love your dog photo-- they're not dumb about housing accomodations!

Cherry's Prairie Primitives said...

I loved seeing the shepherds hut and gypsy wagon I wonder if there are any fully in tack ones here in the states?

Down Blueberry Lane said...

This has been most fascinating. Never seen either in person. The first one you describe sounds like a fun place to stay. ~Susie~

Mama Hen said...

Oh my goodness these huts are so neat! And the gypsy caravan is amazing. I love these pictures! Thank you for sharing them. I always love when you take us on one of your travel adventures. You have really taken some wonderful pictures. Hope all is well. We are getting a lot of snow here in the northeast. It is snowing quite a bit already. Have a great day my friend!

Mama Hen

Chatty Crone said...

Very interesting - I have read and watched about Gypsies - in England - I didn't know about those houses or the Shepherd house - but it makes sense. Love your fur shepherd! sandie

Joyce said...

Actual gypsy caravans are a bit of a problem in some parts of England. When we moved there I had no idea. In our village (and many others) they put pilings around the common so gypsys can't pull in caravans and set up house. In some towns they even pour concrete! The pilings can go up and down if there is a legitimate event happening on the common. When we first moved over there was a big legal battle going on about someone who'd fired (maybe killed?) a gypsy who'd set up on his property. said...

You may like our contemporary take on a shepherd's hut. Check out

Ruth Kelly said...

Did you stay in one while in England? We did a hostel in Ireland but the best places were the bed and breakfasts.

Robin said...

I'm pretty sure that the first two pictures are gypsys caravans. Great pictures!!

sweetbriardreams said...

If you are ever in the Lincolnshire area in England, the Romany Museum is a good stop off point. They even do day trips in one of the old caravans pulled by horse along with a meal cooked over an open fire. I've put the web address here:

Dewena said...

I would love to have that Somerset caravan out back for a secret getaway. A place to read--not to blog!

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

Interesting to read about the gypsy caravans and the shepherds huts. Thanks for sharing.

Rita's Recipes said...

I've enjoyed my visit browsing through your blog at many of your posts. I've had German Shepherds and now have Yorkies. Love all dogs, as you do. Thanks for stopping by May Days.

Carla from The River said...

Ha, I love that Wisconsin shepherd. :)
Did Kevin build the hut?

I love the All Creatures Great and Small episode about the gypsys. It is so sweet.

Love your photos!

J_on_tour said...

Classic Post, Informative and amusing. When I saw your local shepherds hut, I knew that there would be a big finish and it came. haha.
I passed through the Green Dragon on the way to Hardraw in June 2011 & I'm trying to remember whether the caravan was still there or not, then again it is a long time ago.
The holiday breaks look like fun although some people may be a bit disappointed if there is no en suite !!

Unknown said...

Great article and really interesting to see how the huts and the caravans differ once you look a bit closer! There's some nice info on shepherds huts on


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