A MAN’s love of the natural environment inspired him to build a haven at his canine companion's favourite countryside spot.

Simon Jones’ getaway retreat in County Durham has now been recognised by the organisers of the annual celebration of the ‘great British shed’, the Cuprinol Shed of the Year competition.

Ellie’s Rest, a stand-alone cabin, complete with bed, log-burning stove and other home comforts, has been named among 21 shortlisted finalists from 260 entrants in the 16th annual Shed of the Year competition.

Submitted by amateur and veteran shed enthusiasts alike, among the 21 creations vying for top spot in seven categories, are a mix of home pubs, nature escapes, practical but attractive workshops and some state-of-the-art eco-friendly designs.

Ellie’s Rest, in Teesdale, is up against Mr G’s Extraordinary Eco Shed and a farmland Fairy Garden in the Nature’s Haven category.

They are vying for top spot of the category and then, possibly the overall winner, bringing with it £1,000 in prize money, a plaque, plus £100-worth of woodcare products donated by the competition sponsor.

Mr Jones said the inspiration behind Ellie’s Rest was his, “love of the natural environment and desire to spend more time in it.”

He built it at the favourite countryside spot of his black and white spaniel which has become a family favourite for sunset picnics.

Head judge and competition founder Andrew Wilcox was highly impressed by Ellie’s Rest and the other 20 contenders.

Read more: Bishop Auckland shed named one of Britain's best garden pubs

“We’ve seen some first-of-their-kind designs, making it nearly impossible to whittle down to just three from each category.

“One great thing that has come from successive lockdowns is how much it has inspired people’s creativity and it’s great that this has been channelled into the design of their own little escapes.

“These past years, more than ever, have shown just how much a role our gardens and sheds can play in our lives and the different ways they can be used.

“It’s been great to see shed enthusiasts old and new come up with some truly fantastic ideas, which we hope will inspire the next generation of shed enthusiasts.”

Winners will be decided by a public poll, with the voting window open from now until July 15.

Images and details of all shortlisted finalists in each category can be seen on the website readersheds.co.uk, via which votes can be submitted.

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