Dream Devon Home

Wooden Wonders

Barrel Top Wagons is a West Devon-based specialist carpentry business that produces liveable timber structures from sustainable, locally grown wood

6 May 2015

Barrel Top Wagons is run by Ben Ranson and his partner, Jo Henderson, who live near Okehampton in one of their larger creations. These ‘caravans’ can be used for living in, holidays or work space. Ben has 25 years’ experience of working with wood and has developed relationships with timber suppliers on Dartmoor and in the Tamar Valley to source the best local timber, mostly larch, Douglas fir and cedar. 

Ben uses Earthwool for insulation and makes the trademark ‘double-curved’ roof from galvanised tin. With the addition of a wood-burner from Windy Smithy in Cullompton, the wagons are suitable for year-round use and, at up to 25 feet in length, they are larger than a shepherd’s hut. They can include all creature comforts such as a shower, toilet and fully fitted kitchen. 

Similar to a static caravan, the living wagons can be moved by a large tractor or put on a low-loader for longer journeys. The smaller towing wagons, such as the 2015 design, are suitable for pulling with a 4 x 4. This wagon will be on show at this year’s Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey. It is perfect for holiday accommodation or for use as a practical spare room in the garden. Another wagon is being supplied to Plant Belles near Crediton, who is taking one to RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year.

Barrel Top Wagons also makes cabins, lodges and workshops. Established in 2011, the business has recently received a Small Business Award from Theo Paphitis, formerly of the TV series Dragons’ Den.


Barrel Top Wagon
Barrel Top Wagon

About Devon Home magazine

Devon Home is published by We Make Magazines, a family-owned Devon company. The only specialist interiors magazine for the county, Devon Home is a celebration of homes, gardens and interiors, with expert information from local designers, architects and craftspeople. Together with our Devon-based writers and sales team, we show you how to improve and love your living space.

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