Ben founded Barrel Top Wagons in 2011, after recognising the need for small, well-made structures, taking inspiration from vintage caravans and showman's Wagons. He wanted to design and make solid structures without compromising on aesthetics or the standard of construction. He is also passionate about using locally sourced, sustainable wood in an attempt to buck the trend for imported, slow-growing timber.
After moving to Devon in the mid 90's, Ben received European funding to train in bench joinery and wood work, gaining an NVQ. Since then he has travelled extensively, learning constantly about all aspects of the trade, including timber framing, log cabin building, and both traditional and modern methods of building and carpentry. Ben has overseen substantial building projects and brings all of those skills to BTW's. His skills continue to develop, and he now provides 3D computer designs of proposed structures which prove to be an essential part of the service.
On the rare occasion of time off, Ben likes to head to Cornwall for walking on the coastal path, or Iceland for the hot baths.
Jo Henderson / Founder & office manager
Originally from Cumbria, Jo moved to Devon in 2001, via Amsterdam, Spain and Brighton. Having worked throughout Europe in the food industry, she set up and ran a successful restaurant in West Devon for five years. Now Jo is one half of BTW's, supporting Ben on the office side of the business. She brings her love of meeting people to the role, always happy to chat through ideas and queries, and also offers assistance with planning applications for BTW structures, which is proving to be a successful and popular aspect of the business.
She loves living between the moor and the coast and can normally be found in Bude on days off, eating ice-cream.
The couple purchased a small piece of woodland near the Devon - Cornwall border, and were granted planning permission in 2014 to set up a small scale, unique off-grid holiday site, complete with six of their Wagons and Cabins, wood fired saunas, reed bed and communal area. When not making beautiful structures for other people, they focus on the necessary work required to turn this small piece of Devon into a remarkable place for holidays and courses.
Ciaron / Carpenter extraordinaire
Having worked with wood for ten years already, and with an NVQ in carpentry, Ciaron came with all the skills needed to assist Ben. He brings a cheerful, calm approach to the workshop and it's heartening to see a young guy with such a clear and focused work ethic. His football skills almost match his carpentry and he plays for BOCA seniors FC in the local league.
Clare / Painter extraordinaire
Painter extraordinaire, Clare specialises in exquisite barge work, and can normally be found at Cold Harbour Crafts. She takes on complex and detailed vintage gypsy wagon renovation projects and spends summer touring the festivals with a beautiful hand-cranked merry-go-round. Clare's incredible attention to detail and conscientious approach means we know we will get a product finished to a standard that matches our reputation. She is particularly fond of sunshine and deckchairs.
Do you have a question or need a quote?
We would love to hear from you, please call us on 07969 948 631. We always encourage people to come and see our work up close here in Devon. On occasion we are out on site, so do call to arrange an appointment.