A £500,000 project to create a hamlet of shepherd’s huts within the grounds of one of East Lancashire’s most historic properties has helped to protect its future, bosses have said.

The Hamlet, a collection of 28 traditional luxury huts at the Grade I-listed Samlesbury Hall, was completed 12 months ago and is now being credited with introducing a brand new audience to the 700-year-old medieval home.

The income it generates for the property, which is run by a charitable trust, is also helping to fund ongoing maintenance work to ensure the site of the 700-year-old medieval home is preserved for future generations.

Sharon Jones, Samlesbury Hall director, said since the final phase of The Hamlet was finished in January 2019, 8,000 people have enjoyed a stay in a shepherd’s hut on site, drawing people to the area and delivering a boost to the local economy.

She said: “We had been looking for a way to offer accommodation on site that would sit naturally into the surroundings of the historic hall for quite some time.

“We decided to create a hamlet of shepherd’s huts because it seemed to offer everything we wanted for our visitors and future guests.

“We’ve just completed our first full year and the move has definitely been the right one. The feedback we’ve had has been excellent.

“We’ve also been able to welcome people who had never been to Samlesbury Hall before.

“They travelled here for the experience of staying in a shepherd’s hut and then fell in love with the magic and history of this place as well as the surrounding area.

“We’re hopeful it will continue to go from strength to strength in our second year.”

Elsewhere, Dottie’s Wafflery, located in the Italian Courtyard, also underwent a major expansion which saw it double in size this autumn.

Ms Jones said: “It’s certainly been one of our busiest years.

“We’ve learned so much over the past 12 months since The Hamlet was completed, but it’s been even more successful than we could have hoped.

“The hall has stood here for hundreds of years.

"Our job is to make sure we look after it for future generations to enjoy, and The Hamlet is helping us to do just that.”