In 1974 Stanley and Betty Shuttleworth bought the property from Rex Jubb for just R27 000. They named it Woodlands and renovated the small house on the 12 acre land.
The Shuttleworths were a fascinating couple. Betty’s garden designs are still evident today in the layout of the garden beds, trees and indigenous bush. She was also famous for her porcelain dolls, which were known as Diaz Dolls. Although the pair travelled abroad extensively, their passion was local. Stanley wrote two books, Kenton Kaleidoscope and The Woodlands Story, exploring the history of the people, land and development of infrastructure of the local community.
Woodlands Country Cottages itself was started by Beverly and Dave Selwyn Smith in the mid 1980’s when they bought the property from the Shuttleworths. They started with one small cabin and opened their home to guests. Bev and Dave were stalwarts in developing the tourist connection for the area, with relentless efforts of international communication through Bev’s famous tea garden.
In 2015, 2 years after the sad passing of Bev, Allen and Gail Cunningham bought Woodlands.
They invested much time and funding in setting up and streamlining the operation for increased occupancies. Allen and Gail are passionate about preserving the authentic bush stay experience, keeping the rates affordable for guests, and conserving the environment.
Under their management many positive developments took place. The land was officially rezoned for trading, evasive creepers and bush were removed responsibly, a sewerage system with a bio plant was set up, the cottages were renovated and restored without losing the rustic and peaceful bush setting. An aquaponics system was established for chemical-free vegetable and herb farming.
On the Woodlands property, the Goat Shed bush bistro & bar was established and named by local legend, Thaine Theolopolis. Allen and Gail took over this unique, rustic bush pub, which is now a hireable licenced venue where locals and foreigners flock to enjoy entertainment by famous bands and musicians.
Matthew took over Woodlands and the Goat Shed in November 2021 and started further upgrades, including solar geysers at 3 of the cottages, new water tanks and pumps to allow water usage all year round - especially in Summer when Kenton often struggles with water due to the volume of people. The Goat Shed is now open 5 days a week throughout the year (Weds to Sun, 12 to 9), as well as 7 days a week during season. An inverter/battery/solar system to ensure everything stays on during loadshedding!