A two day shed building competition
on went's meadow, PRESTEIGNE

10th & 11th June 2017

After months of preparation, head scratching and corralling some very willing/slightly confused volunteers, Presteigne held it's first ever two day shed building competition

Dawn of the Shed


Day 1

Saturday 10th June

The first day started as the competition meant to go on, with controversy.

With the competition set to start at ten o'clock most of the teams lumbered in at five minutes to start time - only to find Huw Morris and his crack squad of carpenters and dogs with four corner posts and the beginnings of a roof structure already in place. Once it was explained that Huw couldn't make it on Sunday so he was being given special dispensation to finish his shed in one day the disgruntled competition got to work on their own creations.

Rob Dawson's team chose a very different tactic, turning up an hour late and then leisurely sitting around drawing pictures before finally taking the plunge and picking up some of their tools.

The family team of Richard, Hilary and Owen Rimington were pleased with their procurement of a pretty professional looking nail gun but less pleased with Owen's shed design which looked fine as a drawing but turned out to be a Spinal Tap style miscalculation of scale in reality.

Local shed legend Gordon Langton was the only competitor to take on the challenge single handed. Although he did attract a group of fans to watch him at work.

Lewers, Tom and Willo made short work of the first three walls of their shed but were then slowed down to a crawl as they tried to remember some of the physics they had learned in school to make their transforming roof work.

After lunch the teams faced their first real challenge. All week the weather forecasters had predicted a pretty terrible rain day on Saturday but it had held off until about three o'clock in afternoon, when it all came at once

Some teams were lucky enough to have their roofs in place and some didn't.


Gordon went to bizarre lengths to dry his shed out.

But by the end of the day the sheds were shaping up well. Huw even had time to go home and collect the necessary equipment to turn his shed into the Dawn of the Shed pop-up pub.

The Baa had a selection of Ludlow ales, both kinds of wine and a curious fruity home brew on offer. It even had it's own house (shed) band.



Controversy in the air again with accusations of pre-fabricated shed parts, complaints that some teams had been discouraged from using glazed windows where as others seemed to be making almost their entire shed out of glass and some disagreements as to whether the sheds were supposed to made of recycled materials or not.

The competition didn't have much in the way of rules, the organisers had thought this would free up the teams to be creative. But in the absence of official rules, teams took it upon themselves to make up their own rules and subsequently accuse each other of breaking them.

Amongst murmurs of boxes of screws going missing, stolen roof flashings and a secret pile of nice straight 4x2s hidden behind a grassy knoll the competition soldiered on.

Cupolas were set in place

Transformation mechanisms were fine tuned

Roof trusses were trimmed to size

And any bits of as yet unused wood were nailed to the walls

As the deadline of four o'clock approached there was frantic final push with some teams resorting to recruiting onlookers into their sheds to hold the other end of a piece of wood whilst they cut it to length or to pass drills up step ladders.

But we got there in the end. Two days of fantastic creative work and six beautiful sheds to show for it.

judging the sheds

The only reasonable way to end the competition was with some appropriately controversial judging.

A panel of esteemed judges from the local architectural and cultural authorities were set the task of deciding which team deserved the crown of the Grand Bodgers of the Presteigne Order of Shedwrights.

Crown designed and made by Rose and Sara Bamford of the Workhouse Gallery in Presteigne

Crown designed and made by Rose and Sara Bamford of the Workhouse Gallery in Presteigne

Donal McIntyre of Donald McIntyre Structural Engineering was on hand to asses build quality and structural stability of the sheds

Dean Benbow of Warren Benbow Architects was looking for striking forms without loosing sight of function

And finally local radio celebrity and psychogeographical word herder Ian Marchant was supposed to be charged with appraising the different shed's place in the culture and environment but it turned out he was more interested in whether they came with little nooks to hide things in.

They worked methodically and tirelessly with clip boards to review each shed on a fair and equal basis.

A challenge that was all the more difficult becasue of the organisers' less than helpful lack of rules and criteria for the competition

Here is some of their thoughts of each shed -


The Sun Room

TEAM - Just Gordon on his own

The sun room was praised for it's celebration of light with playful coloured windows and sunlight capturing cupola. A good use of recycled materials, especially the mounted banister spindles and burned wood treatment. Apparently the coloured squares were supposed to be the same size as the window panes so Gordon lost a few points on not measuring twice and cutting once.

The Baa

TEAM - Huw, Penny, Bertie, Richard and Kate

Undoubtably good in strength and stability being built with massive bits of wood and heavy barn doors and also very impressed with how it mocked the whole idea of needing two days to build a shed having finished it by about three in the afternoon on Saturday. More work on the inside than any other shed and also the fact that it contained a bar made it by far the most popular shed with members of the public.

The Frankenshed

TEAM - Neil, Teddy, Jacob and Jacob's friend (Sorry to not get your name Jacob's friend)

The Frankenshed or Community Shed or Shed of Potential took on many names over the weekend. It was an experiment to see if anyone would show up at the competition and be fool hardy enough to just go and grab their tools and try to build a shed on the fly. The answer was sort of, Yes. Neil and Teddy took the first shift late on Saturday and Jacob took the second shift very late in the day on Sunday (they started in the last hour of the competition) A valiant and impressive effort and voted shed with the most potential.

The hobbit's YOGA STUDIO

TEAM - Rob, Alithea, Doug, Coral, Tom, Harold, Peter, Dorothy, Jack, Richard and Malcolm

A shed truly built for relaxation and reflection, probably best placed somewhere with a nice view because it's more window than shed. It's unorthodox use of wriggly tin create a concave roof is inspired and it marked well for stashing things in, being the only shed with locking doors. But it did loose some points for not being finished in time despite having the biggest team.

The SLAvo-Welsh Chapel

TEAM - Richard, Hilary, Owen, Rose, Bertie (borrowed after The Baa was finished), Armel, John, Pete, Richard, Lewers and Bill (both borrowed from Dave's Stage)

Arguably the biggest team but Owen would argue only right at the end of the competition when things got really desperate and Rob definitely still had the biggest team. Nevertheless another shed marked down for embarrassingly not being finished in the allotted time. Did very well in late entry judging category of 'Looks most like a Ukranian Church' but it's water tightness was brought into question and it's thought to be a bit of a fair weather shed.

Dave's Stage

TEAM - Lewers, Tom, Willo, Bronwen, Bill, Neil, Teddy and An Pan

At first glance a pretty un-assuming shed, basic shed shape covered in basic shed materials. But Dave's Stage is a shed with a secret. If you've looked at the pictures above you probably already know what the secret is going to be.
As the judges approached the shed for appraisal it transformed like burgeoning butterfly or more accurately like an ambushing hippopotamus into a monumental festival stage.

And if that wasn't enough to seal the deal the team had hidden local Country Music Legend and Thames Estuary Cowboy, Dave Luke inside, complete with a mirror ball. Dave entertained the crowd with a new song he had written about sheds that can't be repeated here but it certainly had an impression on the judges.

The judges said that Dave's Stage fulfilled everything they were looking for in the competition it was most like a shed and least like a shed at the same time and the musical element tied in beautifully with the upcoming craft and music festival that the shed will be used at.

It was an amazing weekend and 'Dave's Stage' was definately a worthy winner!



Thanks To



Gareth, Dan and everyone at Presteigne Building Supplies

Firth Construction


Sam and all the team at Hornsey Steels

GARY and gethin and everyone at llandre sawn wood



IAN AT RADIO FREE radnorshire

dean at warren benbow architects

donald at donald mcintyre design



alex and helena ramsey

rob taylor


andy leavis and jules brisbane


katherine and victor o'rourke

tania dufort - Sorry i couldn't make it to pick up all the wood you so kindly offered



rose and sara bamford

alison parry and pete mustill

john hymas and nicky leopold

LiV and bertie 

sally butler

richard fletcher



rory BENNET and charlotte DOBSON

& all the sheep music trustees AND SUPORTERS




Who wasn't fazed at all by the prospect of picking up the giant sheds and moving them around Went's Meadow for Sheep Music's craft and music festival, Crafternoon Delight, due to start the next weekend



Llandre Sawn Wood  -  01982 570329

Hundred House, Llandrindod Wells, Powys LD1 5RS

RADNOR OAK BUILDINGS  -  01544 260727

Unit 13, Broadaxe Business Park, Presteigne, Powys LD8 2UH

Donald McIntyre Design  -  01544 260271

Unit 3, Broadaxe Business Park, Presteigne LD8 2UH


Hornsey SteelS  -  01547 530419

Riverlea, Bedstone Road, Bucknell, Shropshire SY7 0AQ

Purrfect Cat Hire  -  07977 593786

Presteigne, Powys

Warren Benbow Architects  -  01544 239136

21-22 Mill Street, Kington, Herefordshire HR5 3AL