Painting of cows by a lake at sunset Patio with table, chair, door and wall flowers Point Reyes Beach

The Sheperd’s Wagon

The Sheperd’s Wagon is not available for rental at this time but we invite you to consider The Art Studio at the Point Reyes Schoolhouse instead.

The sheep wagon has one double bed, one padded bench bed with sheep skins and a game table. We have added a heater and an electric light for the comfort of our guests. The sheep camp sits outside Gray’s Retreat under the towering cypress trees as an adventurous annex to the family place. It can accommodate 3 for sleeping.

Our sheep camp was constructed in the Rocky Mountains by a wagon maker who supplies sheep ranchers throughout the West. It is roofed with corrugated metal inside and out, with insulation in between to keep it cozy. The metal is secured to ash wood hoops. The wagon box is made of poplar wood.

The running gear is from the 1900’s and has been fully restored by master craftsmen and iron smiths who specialize in wagon restoration. It is made of solid hickory wood secured by hand-forged iron hoops. It was designed to travel no faster than ten miles per hour. The dimensions of the wagon and layout inside are all in keeping with the traditional shepherd’s wagon of the west.

Wagons just like this one were used all over the western states by shepherds who would tow them by horse from pasture to pasture in mountain meadows and the open sage country of California, Nevada, Idaho, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming. Many are still used where ranch lands are vast and sheep graze on wild vegetation. Today, they will most likely have modern tires and be built to travel at roadway speeds up to forty miles per hour.

The design of the American sheep wagon, or sheep camp, seems to be derived from gypsy wagons used by traveling tinkers in England and Ireland in previous centuries. In America, the sheep camp was originally roofed with woolen blankets for insulation, covered with heavy canvas on the outside, then all the layers hand-sewn together and stretched over ash wood hoops. A wood burning stove for heat and cooking with a stove pipe vented out the roof was traditionally set into a sheet metal box on the right side of the wagon, with the door opening to the left.

The window at the rear bedside allows the shepherd to keep an eye on the flock and his working dogs from his bunk while resting or sheltering from inclement weather. The “Dutch Door” design in the front allows the shepherd to steer the horses from inside the front door with the top half secured open, avoiding cold and wind.

The sheep camp is most often home to the lone shepherd and his dog who spend the better part of the year out on the range together. However, in earlier times, there were also couples and families that made these wagons home – using tremendous ingenuity and resourcefulness to get along and make do in such a small space.

Rates

Not available for rental at this time

Amenities

Sleeps 2
(Retreat Annex)
1 Double
Electric Light & Heat
Ridge View
Game Table