Straw bale self-build going under the hammer

The Shepherd's Hut, Meltham, is up for auction with a guide price of �50,000.
The Shepherd's Hut, Meltham, is up for auction with a guide price of �50,000.

The Shepherd’s Hut, Meltham

Guide price: £50,000

This straw bale building is the most unusual property under the hammer at the next Boultons auction in Huddersfield.

The hut is topped with a green roof.

The hut is topped with a green roof.

Set in just over an acre of land, it was built by hobby farmers as somewhere for them and their sheep to shelter but its alternative use as a glamping pod is stirring significant interest.

While planning permission would be required for change of use to a dwelling, camping out in The Shepherd’s Hut is a possibility.

The sales brochure makes a light-hearted appeal to “hobbits, shepherds, off-gridders and glampers” and Boultons auction co-ordinator Debbie Breslin says “There are no mod cons or running water but there is a well and a natural spring at the top of the nearby bridle path. There is also the possibility of installing solar panels for electricity and, of course, if you wanted to use it for glamping you could always bring a chemical toilet.”

The design is based on a medieval round house and the owners had help from one of the world’s leading experts in straw building. Barbara Jones of Todmorden-based Straw Works, also ran training courses at the site.

The roof features a silver birch frame.

The roof features a silver birch frame.

One of the biggest jobs was the groundwork as the straw bale structure is built into the hillside.

The owners hand-barrowed 50 tonnes of quarry stone to create a retaining wall and a base for the straw bale “building blocks” that were covered in lime render and Keim paint. Locally-sourced oak tree trunks were used as frame posts and the roof is made from flexible silver birch and Douglas fir slats. These are topped with a moisture-proof barrier and turf to create an eco-friendly lid that blends into the landscape. The door was reclaimed from a church vestry and a fruit orchard has been planted nearby with apple, pear, cherry and plum trees.

The project was, say the couple who own it, a labour of love with hundreds and man and woman hours invested in the ambitious self-build. The results are outstanding and the “hut” is cosy thanks to the super-insulating properties of straw bale construction. The building is in a semi-rural position just off Huddersfield Road between Meltham and Netherton.

Debbie Breslin says: “The owners are selling due to a life-change and there has been a lot of interest from all kinds of people, including a beekeeper. It really is an amazing place with wonderful views.”

The hut sits in just over an acre of land.

The hut sits in just over an acre of land.

The auction is on September 14 at 7pm at the John Smith’s stadium, Huddersfield. The Shepherd’s Hut is open to view today, August 26, at 3pm and September 2 at 3pm. Sturdy footwear is recommended.

For more details contact the auction department at Boultons, Huddersfield, www.boultonsestateagents.co.uk