“The Wagons that we make for THE PIGs have what I can honestly only describe as a certain magic,” says Plankbridge Founder Richard Lee, speaking by phone from close to the HQ of his wagon-building business, near Dorchester in Dorset.
Stepping out of his workshop for a breath of fresh air, Richard is strolling outside as he speaks, looking down to the valley below where in Victorian times huts were wheeled out to provide shelter for shepherds lambing and tending to vast flocks.
When founding the business in the early 2000s, Richard and his partner, Jane, were inspired to create huts and wagons that evoked the cosy, nurturing atmosphere of these shelters. Yet for all the rustic atmosphere, no shepherd could have dreamed of the conveniences of the latest, two new Stream Wagons at THE PIG-at Bridge Place.
As well as a cast-iron bath and large walk-in shower, they are kitted out with oil-filled radiators and a wood-burning stove, while a side door leads to an outdoor shower. Just outside the hut, which sleeps two, there’s even a private area with a discreet outdoor bath. All this is set in a suitably secluded Kent countryside spot by Nailbourne stream, in the grounds of the property.
“The PIG is a unique customer in that we use materials that they themselves choose to supply us with, such as beautiful reclaimed timber,” continues Richard, whose business has also created treatment huts and accommodation at multiple PIG locations, including Harlyn Bay and Combe.
“The location of the new wagons means they are probably the most private of the rooms we have here, other than the lodges, so that is part of their appeal, too,” adds Freya, the Deputy General Manager at THE PIG-at Bridge Place, when we call in for a wagon-related chat.
To reach the setting, “You walk down a path as if you’re going out into the woods to stay in them,” she explains. The huts also “have an outdoor seating area where you can have your morning coffee feeling that you’re in the middle of nature. And, of course, the outdoor and indoor baths are a selling point, plus the lovely wood-burning stoves heat up the room in an instant.”
“Because of the age of the building and the main house not being that big, we’ve already got a number of different styles of bedrooms, and these new wagons fit in perfectly and add something else again,” agrees her colleague Jamie, the Hotel Director.
“The main house bedrooms date from 1638, so people really like them. The majority of our rooms are in the Coach House, which is made from reclaimed brickwork, then there’s our seriously spruced-up barn, our Hop Pickers’ Huts … we have so many categories of bedroom and this is another one. A truly unique one.”
The PIG wagons at home
Liked your wagon stay with us so much you’d like to acquire one of your own? “We’ve had people phoning us from their wagons, such as from THE PIG-at Combe, asking if we can make one just the same for them,” says Richard. “And the answer to that used to be no – but now it’s yes! We’ve already had our first order.”
There are some caveats for those who want to order such winning style on wheels, including the fact that the designs can’t be a mix-and-match or a partial-PIG look. It’s the real deal or nothing – and it’s now available in your garden.
Tempted by your own wagon? Visit plankbridge.com