Shed of the Year judge- Kathryn Ferry Q & A

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Our Dr of Sheds as I unfairly call her, Kathryn Ferry has answered my Q &A and we look forward to her views during Shed week on all things hut.


Q) To you what sums up a beachut?

It’s a seaside escape, a place you can make your own and retreat to for a bit of relaxation. There is no better place from which to watch the weather change or listen to the crash of waves on the beach. Conversely a beach hut can also be really sociable because owners have a great community spirit. For me beach huts offer a splash of colour right on the country’s edge and I love the fact that such a small and basic building can be a genuine icon!

Q) Do you feel that beach hut ownership is currently pricing normal people out of the market?

Prices have got a bit mad recently but at least it’s a sign that beach huts and the British seaside are desirable again. It’s most frustrating when you read about waiting lists up to ten years long and then walk along the prom to find loads of the huts locked up! Some councils let their huts for short periods but even at places like Southwold, where most are privately owned, you can still get the use of a hut for your holiday. Tourist offices can give advice about this and owners also advertise their huts for hire on Even if you would prefer to have your own, the hire option is definitely worth investigating because that way you get the benefits without having to spend your weekends doing repairs and painting!

Q) What one bit of advice would you give to potential beach hut owners?

Make sure that you live close enough to your hut to enjoy it as much as possible! People have good intentions when they get their own hut but if it’s too far away you’ll have to plan trips instead of just going when the sun shines.

Q) What’s the most useful thing to have in your beach hut?

A gas stove. It makes the difference between a place to store stuff and a kind of home from home. With a stove you can brew that all-important cup of tea and it’s also a good heat source when the weather turns chilly. Just make sure that you always keep it turned off when you’re not using it otherwise the next question will be all too relevant…

Q) If your beachhut was on fire, what one thing would you save?

This is going to sound totally cheesy, but I’d save the memories. Beach huts are generally more at risk of destruction than your average shed because of the fact they’re built next to the sea. Storm damage is a real threat and vandalism is sadly all too common. All of which means that keeping things of value in your hut is not necessarily the best idea. It’s the good times you have in your hut that make you love it!

Q) What would be your ultimate bolthole/shed-away-from-it-all and where would it be?

It would obviously have to be by the sea but I’m not sure I’d really want to be completely away from it all. I like to people watch and see boats passing on the horizon. Even though I’ve visited beach huts around the world my ultimate would still probably be in England. I love the East Anglian coast and I’d probably pick Felixstowe. It would be great to have a designer beach hut but if it was really going to be my ultimate then I think I’d actually have a go at building it myself.

By Andrew Wilcox

I love sheds Founder & judge of Shed of the year - Wilco writes mainly about sheds. About the blog Enter your shed into #shedoftheyear