A sheep farmer has come up with the perfect antidote to chilly nights tending his flock – a luxurious shepherd’s hut courtesy of Europe’s top trailer maker.
Anthony Barrow, from Bickington in Devon, spent two years converting an Ifor Williams D120 livestock trailer into a luxurious mobile home – and now watches the sun set over Dartmoor while keeping watch over his flock.
Anthony, 61, who keeps 400 sheep, 70 cattle and 35 goats through his business AW Barrow Transport, spends much of his time on the road visiting agricultural shows to exhibit his livestock and sorely missed his home comforts.
He turned to Ifor Williams Trailers distributor Winston Pincombe, based in Chulmleigh near Exeter, with the idea of building his own mobile shepherd’s hut and found the perfect trailer for the job – the Ifor Williams D120 livestock trailer.
Over the next two years, Anthony, who lives with his partner Lora Fielding, 54, spent every spare minute building the shepherd’s hut from scratch complete with carpeted walls, lead windows, double bed, handmade drawers, cottage-style bench, garden terrace, and oodles of storage space.
Now the hard work has paid off and Anthony has made the finishing touches to his labour of love.
“I’m really rather proud,” said Anthony, who has two grown-up daughters and two grandchildren.
“We’ve turned an old trailer which was getting to the end of its useful life into something that will be used for a very long time to come.
“Where we live we have unspoilt views of Haytor Rocks and the beautiful surroundings of Dartmoor. Now, we hitch up on a Friday evening in a field, go to the local pub for a meal, and come back to the hut and watch over the sheep!
“It doesn’t get any better than that!”
Lora, who runs her own cleaning company and has a grown-up daughter and son, added: “It’s an idyllic way of life. We are very, very lucky. You have hard times, of course, but you have to make your nice times even nicer.”
The couple attend agricultural shows across the country and have won a number of awards in the south west.
Before the shepherd’s hut, they stayed in an old caravan which eventually wore beyond repair.
“Lora has a Romani background and so we decided to make something ourselves,” said Anthony.
“We went up to Winston Pincombe. Originally I wanted a flat-bed trailer but Winston said: ‘Why don’t you get a livestock trailer?’
“It’s about 12ft which is the same size as a caravan. I’ve panelled the outside with wood and the walls and roof are double insulated with a waterproof membrane. It’s as warm as toast and stays the same temperature whether it’s hot or cold outside.
“I worked on it whenever I had the time and the weather was good so it came together in stages. It was really about spreading the cost and the time. With the materials and tools, it cost around £3,000.”
Winston Pincombe, who established his trailer business more than 40 years ago, said it was the first time his company had been asked to supply a trailer for such a project.
“We were absolutely delighted to help. It’s amazing,” said the 76-year-old.
“Sometimes trailers go further afield and you never get to see the finished result. It was lovely to see it completed.
“When you’re inside of it you’d never know you were inside a livestock trailer. It was the perfect trailer for the job and Anthony’s hard work has paid off.”
The roof is made of corrugated tiles and Anthony, who enlisted the workmanship of local carpenter Andrew Bowd to help with the fixtures and fittings, hand-painted his new mobile home in brown.
“It’s really no different to a caravan. We do a lot of shows and were recently at the Royal Cornwall and it was absolutely fantastic,” said Anthony.
“It catches everyone’s eye and turns heads when you’re on the motorway. We even took it to a vintage tractor show in Bishopsteignton and won Best in Show!
“It’s a good deal warmer than the old caravan and waterproof! We even have nice carpet tiles around the bed and walls.”
Lora added: “It’s amazing. It’s all Anthony’s inspiration and we absolutely love it. It’s also really comfortable.”
Anthony is no stranger to the Ifor Williams brand and admits no other trailer would have been worthy of the job.
“I’ve been a farmer for 42 years now. We’ve got three other Ifor Williams trailers here on the farm including a flatbed and a tipper as well as another livestock trailer,” he said.
“They’re absolutely brilliant. They drive well and are robust. They also stand the test of time. We were also really impressed by Winston, he really helped us and we can’t thank him enough.”
Two other members of the family enjoying life outdoors is Anthony and Lora’s pet dogs Chezney and Bonzo, who have quickly become accustomed to travelling in comfort. Chezney has his own bespoke wicker bed while Bonzo likes to keep watch at the door.
“They absolutely love it!” said Lora.
Andrew Reece-Jones, the Design Engineering Manager for Ifor Williams Trailers, said: “Anthony’s skilful craftsmanship has transformed a simple livestock trailer into a luxurious mobile home – I bet he’s the envy of every farmer in the south west!
“I’m delighted Winston Pincombe, one of our longest serving distributors was able to help Anthony realise his dream and make his job a little more comfortable in winter.”