Well, it’s been a while, but a revival is aptly timed to promote an event to be excited for. This year’s Big Tent Festival is just days away and has an impressive line up of talks, music, workshops, activities, food and much more! One of the main themes being explored supports Reforesting Scotland’s “A thousand huts” campaign lauched by a hundred folk in Edinburgh in June 2011. With over 800 Facebook followers, the campaign is showing strong growth including many urban dwellers seeking a frugal rural retreat at weekends.
Big Tent is hosting a unique Big Question session entitled “A Thousand Huts” which session will provide an opportunity to hear what the hutting campaign is all about and what we can learn from Wales and Nordic countries.
Speakers are Andy Wightman, land rights campaigner (Chair), Gerry Loose, Secretary of Carbeth Hutters on the joys and tribulations of hutting, Lesley Riddoch, journalist and researcher on hutting traditions in Norway and Scotland, Carol Craig, Centre for Confidence and Wellbeing on the value of huts in times of austerity, Jane Davidson, Director of INSPIRE at Trinity Saint David University (Institute for Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness) and Welsh Minister of Sustainability and Environment, 2007-11 on her experience of introducing and implementing the One Wales, One Planet policy on low impact development as a Minister for the Welsh Assembly.
This is one of the many enthralling and not-to-miss talks at the Big Tent Festival held at Falkland estate this weekend, 21st and 22nd July. Also, come and see how the windfall timber from the Forest of Falkland is being used sustainably for numerous purposes including uniquely designed huts! There will also be the opportunity to find out from Scottish Ecological Design Association, learn about woodfuel and much more.
Read the full programme here and get planning your weekend!
For ticket sales and more information visit www.bigtentfestival.co.uk – we’ll see you there!
A couple of pieces appearing over the past week have underlined the notion that this hutting campaign could be very big – it could be a social revolution.
First, is Peter McColl’s blog post at Bright Green which outlines why huts represent something quite fundamental in terms of society’s relationship with nature and the political forces that have shaped that over the centuries.
Then, there is an amusing take on the topic by Scotland’s best loved political sketch writer, Rab McNeil in Holyrood Magazine. I won’t say any more – just read it!
We had a fantastic conference on 15 June with over 150 people turning up. Detailed planning is underway on how to take the campaign forward. Meanwhile, contact us if you have any questions.
Please also join in the 250 and more people talking about huts on our Facebook page.
A motion has been tabled today (23 June 2011) in the Scottish Parliament supporting the thousandhuts campaign by Alison Johnstone MSP. Please contact your MSP and encourage them to sign it.
S4M-00380 Alison Johnstone: Thousand Huts Campaign—That the Parliament welcomes the Thousand Huts campaign launched by Reforesting Scotland on 15 June 2011; supports the campaign’s aims – to celebrate, expand, protect and enjoy the use of huts in Scotland for living, working and relaxing in; celebrates the cultural heritage of hutting communities such as that at Carbeth; considers that having access to a hut brings many benefits in terms of physical and mental health as well as spiritual and emotional wellbeing; notes also the recreational and play benefits that the experience of using huts brings, particularly for people on low incomes; supports calls for changes to the planning system to support hut building; endorses the campaign’s call for better security of tenure for existing hutters; deplores the eviction of hutters such as those at Barry Downs, Carnoustie, and calls on the Scottish Government to support the aims of the campaign and to explore ways in which land owned by it can be used to expand hutting.
Welcome to the heart of Reforesting Scotland’s new campaign on Scottish hutting.
15 June Conference – flyer and conference programme and Press Release
At Reforesting Scotland’s 2010 annual gathering, it was proposed to start a campaign to promote and expand hutting culture that will promote hutting as a valuable and acceptable way of woodland living, working and learning.
Hutting in Scotland has its roots in working class culture and has provided an affordable means for people from towns and cities to enjoy the countryside. With little money, hutters took out a small stake in marginal land to create a powerful symbol of freedom, enterprise and independence – building simple homes and shaping their own place, culture and community. The Carbeth hutters are best known and grew to prominence at the height of land reform in Scotland in the 1990s when their landlord sought to carry out a twentieth century clearance.
A further expansion of hutting could promote sustainable living, social benefits to disadvantaged groups, recreational opportunities, and a practical, sustainable and affordable form of housing, educational and adventure opportunities utilising practical woodland management and woodworking skills.
We are aiming to progress hutting on three fronts:
1.Raising awareness of the simple beauty and value of huts.
2.Promoting sustainable hut building from local timber.
3.Developing a campaign for huts, heart and planning changes.
The aims of the campaign are likely to be to: identify ways of overcoming key barriers to hutting (awareness, planning system and access to land); and to undertake political and practical campaigning to expand hutting culture. We hope that the end result will be heightened awareness and revitalised action on hutting and new opportunities for folk who could not otherwise enjoy a hut.