IT was in 2021 that couple James and Sally Ashton came up with the idea of expanding their hospitality business of three self-catering cottages and a bed-and-breakfast premises at >Heathy Lea in Derbyshire.
The couple lease the land for their business from the Chatsworth Estate, and pitched their idea to bring in five shepherd huts as a joint venture. The expansion was given the go-ahead, and Greendown Shepherd Huts was chosen as their provider. The huts were installed in early 2023 and are already being booked by guests. James Ashton kindly told us why we were chosen to deliver on this important project.
We had seen some shepherd huts in various places and felt they could fit in beautifully with the ambiance of the estate as well as deliver an extra service to our guests.
It’s very important to us that all we do is ‘in keeping’ with the estate and all it has to offer. With this in mind, we wanted to provide somewhere beautiful, exclusive and private for our guests.
We attract a whole range of people who wish to stay in this wonderful area of Derbyshire. Some of our guests want to spend time visiting the estate and Chatsworth House. Others are holidaymakers, ramblers, and people who enjoy ‘outdoorsy’ experiences. We also get many people visiting the famous horse trials, country fairs and annual Christmas markets.
We are licensed for civil ceremonies so attract wedding planners and couples looking for something a little bit different. In fact, we held our own wedding here in April 2023. We met during lockdown when Sally was already running Heathy Lea, and I joined her a few months later.
We started our research online and almost immediately Greendown stood out for us as being a cut above the rest. I mean that in all sincerity. We were very particular in what we wanted. It had to fit in with Chatsworth’s design and sustainability ethos, and blend perfectly into the landscape and woodland area where Heathy Lea is situated.
Our first impression was confirmed when we visited a tradeshow at the NEC. We looked at other huts before visiting Greendown’s stand. Their huts were simply better made and more luxurious.
The quality of the builds was better, with each hut clearly handcrafted. The communication from the team was also second to none. Our questions were answered in a timely manner and there was no pressure exerted. We were left to make our own decisions. This communication continued beyond placing our order and throughout the build.
The team was excellent in sharing each stage of the journey with us. They listened to our needs, visited our site and advised us on how this could work. They shared all floor plans with us, and gave us many options for fixtures and fittings. We worked together to create a mood board to showcase the look and feel of the shepherd huts too.
Once the huts were completed, they were delivered and installed in March and April 2023, and opened for business in early May.
It’s early days for us of course, however to date the feedback has been 100% positive. There have been zero teething problems, which you do expect when you are doing something new. Now we have to work hard ourselves to let people know about them!
If any of James’ comments resonate with you and you’d like to find out more, please get in touch for a no-obligation discussion.
Use Our Return On Investment Calculator
Owning or leasing a shepherds hut is a fantastic way to generate a good return on your investment. Whether you are a landowner, or an operator at a hotel or glamping site, you can rent your shepherds ...