A chance for huts on public forest land?

credit-A-WightmanDuring the last few months Donald McPhillimy has been working on behalf of Reforesting Scotland to carry out Phase 1 of a Pilot Study  for Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) about the potential opportunities for hutting sites on public forest land. FCS initiated this research and has been very enthusiastically supporting the process together with Reforesting Scotland’s campaign for A Thousand Huts. FCS see it as part of their work to engage and involve communities in their local forests, and hutting provides a perfect opportunity to benefit both local people and those travelling from nearby urban centres. FCS is looking at a range of possible sites in rural areas accessible to the central belt.

Donald has just completed the report of Phase 1 of this process, which you can download here –  FCS Huts Pilot Study Report.

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Hutters Gathering is fully booked!

Pine-Trees-Hut-1-construction-shot[3]We’ve been overwhelmed by the interest in February’s Hutters Gathering and the event is now fully booked, with no more available space. But if you did not manage to book into this event –  watch this space – we’ll soon be announcing a bigger event in early summer!

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Hutters’ Gathering – Booking now closed

graeme purves pic of carbeth hutWe’ll be hosting a Hutters’ Gathering on 22nd February 2014  in Edinburgh. The event is for all hut enthusiasts – whether you have your own hut, you’re curious or you dream of having a hut some day. We’re inviting everyone to join for an afternoon of inspiration looking to the future of the hutting movement in Scotland.

Huts have an amazing potential to create affordable access to nature for families and individuals of all income brackets. We want to look at how the hutting movement in Scotland can be revived to improve peoples’ quality of life. We’ll take a look back at what has been achieved in 2013, and the opportunities for 2014. With a range of lively speakers and participatory workshops it promises to be a great day!

More information and a full programme will follow soon, but in the meantime, please get in touch if you’d like to come. For booking and for more information, please email huts@reforestingscotland.org

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Could huts be the new shielings?

Shieling-ProjectTraditional shielings were crucial in the process of passing knowledge between generations in Scotland’s past. The Shieling Project gives children an opportunity to learn the skills of rural life – and, as Dr Sam Harrison explains, there are many parallels with hutting culture.

I remember my first experience taking school children to a shieling.  On a grassy bench half way up a hillside, two streams either side of the open meadow, scattered with tumbled hut walls.  Through our activities there I could see the children slowly realising that this would have been their summer life: herding, milking, standing watch, singing around a fire.

Recently I went to the shielings at Cuidhsiadar, in Ness on Lewis.  Here they were still milking at the shieling after the second world war (when most mainland shielings had long been ruins), and here the connection between shielings and hutting stands out most clearly.  There were some stone and turf structures, but the majority of the huts were built from what came to hand : old caravans, converted sheds, log cabins.  Here some of the essence of shieling culture is still alive: going up to the moor to live a little more simply, to share community.  The legacy of the shieling is one strong precedent for hutting.

Having now taken many groups of teachers and pupils to shielings I am developing the Shieling Project.  From our hut encampment, the children will explore the skills and feelings of the shieling (dairying, peat cutting, working wool), and ask what that means now for our food, energy, land.  Dr. Sam Harrison - sam@openground.eu.

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Groundswell of support for hutting in Scotland

graeme purves carbeth picSince we heard the great news that there had been 787 consultation responses to the Scottish Government’s proposals on the inclusion of huts in Scottish Planning Policy we’ve been working hard to produce a paper on best practice for new hutting developments. Scotland has  plentiful expertise in the fields related to hutting – everything from green building to building control, and from  nature conservation to tenancy rights. Come and contribute to the process at the Thousand Huts workshop at this year’s Reforesting Scotland Gathering.

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MSPs come out in support of hutting

On 29th July Jenny Marra MSP lodged a motion in support of hutting in Scotland – and it has already won wide support from Labour, Scottish National Party, Scottish Liberal Democrat and Green Party MSPs. If your MSP hasn’t signed it yet, do drop them a line and ask them to show their support.

Jenny_Marra_MSPMotion S4M-07327: Jenny Marra, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour,Date Lodged: 22/07/2013

Hutting in Scotland

That the Parliament welcomes the proposed provision for huts for temporary recreational accommodation in the draft Scottish Planning Policy; considers that huts can deliver significant benefits to urban and rural communities, including many of the most disadvantaged groups in society, by providing a renewed culture of healthy and rewarding experiences of simple living in Scotland’s natural environment; believes that this could demonstrate exemplary low-carbon rural enterprise; considers that the current lack of provision unreasonably limits access to the countryside for many people in Scotland; welcomes Reforesting Scotland’s campaign to expand the possibilities of hutting, and urges all relevant stakeholders to smooth the way for legitimisation and encouragement of a new Scottish hutting culture.

As of 6th September this Motion is supported by: Anne McTaggart, Patricia Ferguson, Iain Gray, Jackie Baillie, Jayne Baxter, Alison Johnstone, Angus MacDonald, Alison McInnes, John Mason, Neil Findlay, Richard Lyle, Mike MacKenzie, Kenneth Gibson, Roderick Campbell, Malcolm Chisholm, Rhoda Grant, Sarah Boyack, Dennis Robertson, Nigel Don, Margaret McCulloch, David Torrance, Jim Eadie, Kezia Dugdale, Drew Smith, James Kelly, Maureen Watt, Richard Baker, Lewis Macdonald, Stewart Maxwell, Gil Paterson, Elaine Murray, Hugh Henry, Sandra White, Stuart McMillan, Jean Urquhart, Claudia Beamish, Christine Grahame and Willie Rennie.

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Massive response to hutting in Scottish Planning Policy consultation

Carbeth-Thistle-Dae-hutWe’ve just heard that there has been 787 consultation responses to the Scottish Government’s proposals on the inclusion of huts in Scottish Planning Policy. An amazing response! Yesterday we had a very positive meeting at Carbeth with people from the Forestry Commission and the Scottish Government. It really feels that there is a groundswell of interest from all quarters. Our Facebook Group has over 1300 active members now, and it has been wonderful to see all the enthusiasm there. Feels like we have a real chance to make a difference together! The next few months will be interesting!

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One day left! Speak up now for hutting in Scotland

Pine-Trees-Hut-1-construction-shot[3]You have until 5pm on Tuesday 23rd July to voice your support for hutting in Scotland. For the first time ever, the Scottish Government has proposed that recreational huts should be included in the Scottish Planning Policy – but the consultation ends tomorrow, so respond now! If we support this now, it will be a crucial first step towards making huts more accessible to people in Scotland. You can do this quickly and easily, by taking part in our e-action, and encouraging your friends and family to do so too. Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter using the tabs below. There is only 1 day left to respond to the consultation!

We all know the simple pleasure of small, rustic buildings close to nature. They’re a great place for kids and adults alike to learn about living simply, away from the over-consumption of city life. In Scandinavia it is normal for families to enjoy breaks in a hut in the countryside. Scotland, too, has a history of simple buildings like bothies and but’n'bens which form an important part of our cultural landscape. To allow future generations to benefit from these little gems, we must act now to smooth the way for a new hutting culture in Scotland.

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Just a few days left to show your support for hutting in Scotland

cute-hut-Cormac-credit-A-WightmanScotland has a rich cultural history based around simple recreational huts – ranging from bothy culture to the working class hutting movement of the early-mid 20th Century. However, as things stand, simple huts for recreational use are not provided for in the Scottish planning system.

Now, for the first time the Scottish Government has proposed to include provision for huts in the new Scottish Planning Policy. This is a great opportunity to make a real difference to hutting in Scotland. We have just one week left to show support for this through their consultation.

To do this, you can either take part in our e-action launched in partnership with Friends of the Earth Scotland, or make your own response to the consultation. If you would like more information, you can find all you need in our Parliamentary briefing on Hutting.

And please share this information as widely as you can!

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Ask the Scottish Government to make a thousand huts a reality

Cordwood buildingDid you know we’ve got a window of opportunity to make huts more available to the people of Scotland? For the first time ever, the Scottish Government has proposed there should be a provision for huts within the Scottish Planning Policy. We’ve teamed up with Friends of the Earth Scotland to launch this e-action where you can add your voice to the call for a framework to support the development of a hutting culture. The consultation on this draft policy closes on 23rd July 2013, so now’s the time to make your views heard.

Some simple changes to planning regulations could mean that more people across Scotland have access to a hut, in the same way as most families do in many parts of Scandinavia. These simple shelters create so many benefits. They are a place to play, to dream, to relax and do practical work – a place where a healthy connection to the outdoors begins. Currently planning and building regulations make this very difficult to achieve in Scotland. But if we give a strong response to the current review of planning policy we might just be able to make the changes needed to allow more people to access these simple, low impact buildings.

Please tweet, post and pass on the call to all hutters, aspiring hutters and hut enthusiasts.

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