Willow Springs Campsite Blog

ye olde shepherds hut video #blog

Hi all, It’s been so busy that writing a blog has unfortunately had to take a back seat….so here’s a short video, from the workshop to the pitch…and some serious erecting! You’l notice it says part 2 – I figured that it made sense to actually put some videos together of the whole progress – I’m still planning on finishing the written blog – but some people just prefer less reading and more watching. Hopefully I’ll have pleased everyone in the end!!!

Part 1 is probably going to be all the base construction in the workshop and part 3 will be all the interior – including soft furnishings…who knows maybe part 4 will be your blog from our hut! I have my head full of solar panels and controllers – because we need to put basic power in…enough for lights, phone and laptop charging, I’m toying with idea of a small fridge, just big enough for some milk, bacon, butter and beer!..or wine…maybe both!!! But power consumption is a big factor in designing a simple solar arrangement.. we’ll have to see how it develops.

feel free to either email via the website or tweet via @WillowSpringsUK or a Facebook message @WillowSpringsUK with your thoughts on what you’d expect when staying in a shepherds hut, how would you want to cook? would you prefer to bring your own bedding and towels? Would you ever consider staying in a 4 berth hut with friends? We value your opinions and points of view and love to chat, so get typing!!

Posted in Ye Olde Shepherds Hut

More trails than you can shake a stick at!!

Mountain ( and road) biking is big in our neck of the woods (pardon the pun!), If you know how varied and beautiful our area is you’d wholly understand why people come from all over the world to ride here. As far as I know we are the only valley or borough that has 2 visitor centres linking both walking and cycling trails. Obviously the majority of visitors will only ever see the more advertised routes, trails and places….and amazing as they are, its tip of the iceberg stuff!  You can’t get bored here, as for the trails well if you think you’ve done them all, think again – try hopping over to the Garw and Llnfi valleys which are only minutes away in the Borough of Bridgend – have a look at the youtube video from our friends at BridgendBytes.com courtesy of Brent Davies.

Posted in Wales

#blog Shepherds hut cosy adjustments…

The most eco-friendly action you can do these days is insulate, insulate, insulate. Here’s how we insulated the floor section of the hut which wasn’t initially designed to accommodate insulation.

The front and rear sections are joined by butting together 2 ends and then flat bracing, these load bearers (7 in all) end up around 5m long.

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Basic geometry ( measuring corner to corner diagonally) helped to ensure we were able to square the hut. Mrs Willow Springs insisted on shin pads and safety goggles on account my spring loaded tape measure would give Arkwrights till drawer a run for its money!


As we are fitting a rather shnazzy stove, I decided it wouldnt hurt to add some noggins between the bearers to give extra strength where the stove will be sitting.

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The kit comes with good quality ironmongery – probably over the top for its intended use, unusually pleasant feeling that you haven’t been short changed!!

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We can’t have daylight between the bearers – as all the insulation will fall out of the bottom, so we panelled the bottom with a good quality plywood, and of course treated it.

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Then once it was treated all the joints were sealed with a mould resistant flexible filler.

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Time to get itchy ,eeeew!!! Recycled glass fibre insulation left over from when I did the loft was perfect for this, good tip when using this stuff is buy some disposeable overalls, cheap gloves and an old cap and face mask .Use some electrical tape to tape the joint between your gloves and the cuffs on your sleeves, and when you are finished take a cool shower ( preferably without the overalls on!)

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When you are finished with the itchy stuff…its time to lay the boards! A welcome change from looking like an extra from Silent Witness!

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Oooh I had to use a paintbrush…again! 15 square meters means lots of floor varnish to seal the wood… after I’d sanded the higher sitting edges.

Mrs Willow Springs was a bit worried that the hut was too small, so I suggested she lay down on the floor where one of the beds will be. The hut sits about 3ft off the ground and Mrs Willow Springs doesn’t like heights, so much so she gets airsick if she wears 3 inch heels. Mans ingenuity knows no bounds, so, with the use of a blindfold, 2 fire blankets , some scaffold, 4 asthma pumps and a life size cut out of Justin Bieber we did indeed elevate Mrs Willow Springs onto the dizzy heights of the hut floor (albeit in the prone position!)

‘wow’ she said, ‘this is huge!’ ….I contemplated whether my life could indeed get any better!


So the floor is completed!…and that was the easy bit!!

Next It’s time to roll her out of the workshop and onto the pitch. That way I can use the space in the workshop for yet more painting – the sides, door and roof. Although before that, I need to put some carefully positioned slabs on the pitch so that levelling the hut will be the perverbial lemon squeezy thang!


Vic Reeves would get just as much pleasure rubbing my floor as he does his knees!! ooooh lovely Bob!

Just out of interest, these huts date back to the 1500’s and were initially a reasonable investment on farms, towed by horses usually to remote areas where the shepherd, having worked all day and far from home would then settle down for the night with nothing but the very basics…and absolutely no added insulation! Not unlike the difference between camping and glamping, for some 😉


Posted in Ye Olde Shepherds Hut

#blog Camping rallies…what’s it like?

Ever wondered what it’s like to ‘takeover’ a campsite?… this short video will give you an idea, and yes, everyone loved the slip ‘n slide. Thank you Port Talbot Town girls under 12’s football team (and parents of course!!), we had a blast!

Keep an eye on our youtube channel for more videos 🙂


Posted in Events, News

#blog Shepherds hut… how many coats?

Ok, guess what – there’s no miracle product!… and everyone tells you something different – sometimes the internet gives you too much info.

This week has been seemingly slow progress. mainly because I’ve been waiting for return calls or emails regarding the right wood treatment. As a result of that, I had to bite the bullet and get a general wood treatment product that would protect all the underside and internal floor area – nothing that will be really visible so the level of protection the treatment gave was more important than the colour or finish.

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As it happens the finish is top quality…. I can tell none of you are surprised by that…Aherm…..

This is the underside – the kit doesn’t allow for a cavity in which to insulate…this is part of the additional work I need to carry out. Going back to the ‘it’s been slow progress’ remark – the treatment on this is at least 4 coats, with a 4 hour drying time… minimum…with good weather….no humidity (rain!…errr this is Wales!)…consequently with panelling the bottom, I’ve just about managed 4 coats this week!

The actual treatment I’ll be using is called Carefree protectant, containing no solvents and it’s waterbased – about as environmentally friendly as I could get….the cost is painful, approx £40 per 2.5l of clear, or just over £60 for the same size with a colour pigment…they didn’t have clear! Other cutting edge products were even more expensive and required so much preparation.

Next I’ll turn them over and do it all again…. Mrs Willow Springs has openly admitted that her painting technique is more akin to a 5-year-old on a sugar rush! I’m fresh out of bibs so I’m doing this part on my own.



Posted in Ye Olde Shepherds Hut

#blog #ShepherdsHut front & rear sections..

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When they say kit form… they really mean kit form! No parts are formally marked and the inventory list has no illustrative pictures – we measured everything in order to identify it – then labelled it ourselves. When it comes to the actual assembly, the only parts that are pre-drilled are the ironmongery. Consequently, I spent ages looking for an old steel rule and square!! In truth, that’s part of the charm ,we really are building this hut, piece by piece. It will be unique, and as special to us as we hope it will be for you.

The plan was to (chemically) protect/preserve the wood in manageable stages. It was also important to us to find an environmentally safe way to do this – this sadly limits your choices, and so far we’ve been a tad disappointed with the lack of help and return emails. If anyone has any product recommendations please get in touch via the website, facebook page or twitter, and I’ll research it further.

The pictures above shows the front and back sections – next will be the timber floor structure which joins both sections, at this point we have a little extra work to do. Firstly ensuring there is extra support where the log burning stove will be placed, and also to super-insulate the entire floor section. For now, I’m back to the web to research preservatives :/  bye for now 🙂

Posted in Ye Olde Shepherds Hut

Ye Olde Shepherds Hut….in pieces !

Last month, February 1/2 term to be prezact! We had a delivery…..

shepherds hut delivery

shepherds hut delivery

No…not a forklift!… a nicely packaged German/Netherlands product via Tuin in Norfolk. Our glamping option. Consequently I’ve been clearing out space in the workshop so as to have room to check the inventory, store and start to build it all safely undercover….yer right!!


This picture only shows 1/2 the workshop… it took 4 hours to unload and identify all the various parts. Mrs Willow Springs was in her element, wandering around with a clipboard and pen!


The metalwork is really quite impressive, I was a little worried that it would be flimsy, not so – Mrs Willow Springs was on the hotline to the GP ordering a handful of Asthma pumps having only carried one wheel into the workshop…


This beauty has double doors and three windows… perfect for capturing our 360 degree views!! …..  Imagine snuggling into a large comfy bucket chair with the orange glow of the fire genuinely making you look more attractive than you are, your partner is similarly seated holding a glass containing a fine *Prosecco (*please insert preferred beverage!). The country air you are both breathing is additionally filtered by the wood surrounding you that makes up the shepherds hut construction. little needs to be said as the logs crackle gently – your partner shoots you special smiles that would warm the room (if I hadn’t already fitted a log fire!!) , It’s these glances that say so much – how amazingly wonderful you are for not only booking this very special and niche getaway but also for choosing one that can’t show match of the day in the evening. Maybe I should be a life guru too! Oh and if they did shoot you a puzzled look don’t worry they are trying to work out why you look more attractive – they’ll soon realise its the fire glow!!!


So now that everything is unpacked and marked ready to go…Mrs Willow Springs has got no excuses for not donning her bib ‘n braces – with tape measure and screwdriver to boot!… This hubby and wiffy project has the right ingredients to give gogglebox a run for its money!… Stay tuned… I need to look up some info on environmentally friendly wood treatments. next post will be Axles, base…and divorce!

Posted in Ye Olde Shepherds Hut

Dark Skies….valleys style!

Dark Sky Wales is proud to be part of the fantastic Welsh Government funded project that has seen the South Wales Valleys gain recognition for their dark skies. This video put together as part of the funding and produced by Bluesy Monster demonstrates those wonderful skies and the work undertaken to protect them.

Posted by Dark Sky Wales on Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Kindly embedded from Dark Sky Wales. Thanks Alan (Allan Trow
@AlDarkSkyWales )

Posted in Wales

Exciting news for 2016… #Glamping


We are really excited to announce our new arrival. It was always in the pipeline – because the setting is perfect.


We have some work to do on the pitch, which will boast it’s own fire pit, decking, patio set and hen house (which means you can collect your own eggs for breakfast!) As for the decor….well, you’ll have to follow the blog to see!…

Insulated and weatherproofed to withstand our harsh but incredibly beautiful winters, you can now escape whatever the weather.

So whether you stay for the mountain biking, hiking, road biking, kite-surfing, family adventure or simply to relax – you will love it….all year round!


Posted in News

Draconid meteor shower tonight!!! #blog


We have had some absolutely stunning evenings in September and so far in October too! Predominantly tonight and tomorrow we have the chance to see some more meteors, and don’t forget too look out for the International Space Station zooming over head too!


Posted in News

Welcome to Our Blog

Hello! Willow Springs Campsite is a family business which is located in the beautiful Afan valley in South Wales, UK.

This is our blog where we share latest news and updates from our small holding.

Best wishes
Marc, Jude and Liberty