Why do huts make people happy?

Huts and wellbeing eventOn 17th August, Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Huts campaign hosted an event at Abriachan Community Woodland exploring the health and wellbeing benefits of hutting.

A lively crowd of people came together to lend their thoughts and ideas to the discussion, including hutters, builders and representatives of the Forestry Commission, NHS Highland and the Cairngorm National Park Authority. Continue reading

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Students! Opportunity for research on hutting

Kittiwake hut KGWe are looking for some students who might like to take on several pieces of research, including the analysis of two surveys we have carried out:

  • Survey of prospective hutters – including around 20 questions on peoples aspirations for a hut of their own, including affordibility, location etc. (there are around 560 responses to this)
  • Survey of existing huts – including around 20 questions on hut use, structure, cost etc (there about 60 responses to this) 
  • Study of the development of Hut Pilot Sites
  • Huts and Wellbeing

Continue reading

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Come and see Peter’s Hut at the Scottish Storytelling Centre

Peter-and-his-hutIf you go down to the Nordic House exhibition at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh between 30th July and 5th September you’re in for some hutting inspiration. Architect and builder, Peter Caunt of Quercus Rural Building Design, has designed a beautiful hut within the new Scottish Planning Policy definition of a hut and has created a model which sits near the sculpture of Patrick Geddes in the garden there for the duration of the exhibition – a model for how huts might look in 21st century Scotland. The model gives a great feel how such a hut would look in the landscape and what it would be like to occupy it. So, if you need help to envisage your own hut, go along and have a look.

The Nordic House is a free exhibition of artwork from the five Nordic nations, including a a series of images of Vennlyst allotment gardens – still a vibrant hutting community today. Exhibition Director, Lesley Riddoch, thought this resonated with the campaign to establish more huts and hutting communities in Scotland after years of decline, so Peter’s hut was born.

For more hut inspiration, have a look at our Gallery of New Huts, also collated by Peter for A Thousand Huts.

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A hut in the woods: creating spaces that change how we relate to the world

Thoreaus_quote_near_his_cabin_site,_Walden_PondImagine a small, simple, handmade building that resonates with a sense of humanity in balance with the rest of the natural world. Through the ages, huts have provided this bridge between nature and culture: a work of art you can live in.

For the last four years Reforesting Scotland’s campaign for A Thousand Huts has worked hard to remove the barriers to building a simple, low impact hut in the woods. Last year’s inclusion of huts in the new Scottish Planning Policy was a huge milestone and a significant leap forward, but a lot of work is required to make the dream a reality. The new policy needs to be embraced by the worlds of planning, building standards, and those with access to land (whether private, public, or community owners). So there is a lot of work to do in communicating the technicalities of hutting and the opportunities huts can offer in terms of wellbeing, nature connection, and ecologically sustainable rural development.

Here’s an update on just some of our work in the last few months:

A Pilot Hut Site on Forestry Commission land. This project is progressing well and we hope it will serve as an inspiring demonstration of Continue reading

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Voting open for ‘Shed of the Year’

Cormac SeekingVoting is open for Channel 4’s ‘Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year 2015′, and this year’s shortlist includes at least one from the Thousand Huts network: Cormac Seeking’s beautiful log cabin, which has featured on so many of our hut promotions. You can vote for Cormac’s hut here – or for any of the other dazzling entries, for that matter!

While it might pain many hutters to refer to their masterpiece as a ‘shed’, there is no doubt that the ‘Shed of the Year’ competition shows an amazing range of mischief, innovation and sheer creativity. There are lots of great ideas there, as well as a fair bit of inspiration to get building!

Cast your vote soon – voting closes at noon on May 29th 2015.

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Imagining hut sites for 21st Century

Pine-Trees-Hut-1-construction-shot[3]On April 13th 2015 a seminar was held to explore the opportunities, challenges and questions that face those who wish to create new hut sites for 21st century hutters that are beautiful, affordable and sustainable.

The day started with a site visit to a prospective hut site on Falkland Estate, attended by the majority of participants, providing an opportunity to visualise how a hut site with up to 20 huts might sit within the landscape.

Introductions revealed a breadth of experience, knowledge and motivations amongst the twenty seven participants. Presentations were given about two potential hutting sites – Carnock Wood (Forestry Commission) and Falkland Estate.

In the afternoon, participants opted-in to two rounds of exploratory sessions, during which insights and questions were captured and briefly fed back to the wider group at the end of the day. Key issues included: How to get a hut site; How to build flourishing relationships between landowners & hutters, and financial models.

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2015 – it’s going to be a good year for huts!

ninian-at-his-hutLast June’s inclusion of huts in the new Scottish Planning Policy amounted to just a few words. But one small step for planning policy is a giant leap for all those who dream of spending time in a small, simple cabin in the woods. The policy makes reference to huts, suggesting that Local Authorities consider them for intermittent recreational use. Crucially, it includes the following definition of a hut:

A simple building used intermittently as recreational accommodation (i.e. not a principal residence); having an internal floor area of no more than 30m²; constructed from low impact materials; generally not connected to mains water, electricity or sewerage; and built in such a way that it is removable with little or no trace at the end of its life. Huts may be built singly or in groups.

Contained in this simple definition are all the elements that make a hut a sensitive and low-impact development: small size; environmentally appropriate materials; and off-grid living.

A shared hutting history

Like many other Northern European countries, Scotland has a long history of this type of hutting. Between the First and Second World Wars there was a flurry of new hutting. Industrial workers from the urban centres of Scotland would build a simple hut, often using materials scavenged and reclaimed Continue reading

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The rise of hutting in Scotland

sept7leftHutting is gaining a bigger following in Scotland. Many people talk about the wonders of spending time closer to nature and in a small place they can call their own not far from the towns and cities. Here Fiona Russell talks to several keen Scottish hutters.

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Fantastic crowd at the Hutters Rally

BsV_wG2IUAAwGzOOn 12th July 2014, over 150 people gathered in Maryhill Burgh Hall in Glasgow to celebrate the recent recognition of huts in Scottish Planning Policy, and to explore the barriers to, and opportunities for, a new hutting movement in Scotland. The strength of will and enthusiasm in the room was palpable and we all came away with the strong feeling of positive momentum.
 
Maryhill Burgh Hall proved to be a fantastic venue, and the morning saw excellent speakers set the tone for the day. Ninian Stuart, founder of A Thousand Huts, opened the day, and Carbeth hutter Alan Graham gave everyone a taste of the stories of Scotland’s largest hutting site in advance of the afternoon’s site visit there. Alastair McIntosh led a rousing rallying cry which took us from politics to theology in lightning time! Lesley Riddoch had us all on the edge of our seats with her thorough comparative analysis of the opportunities for hutting in Scotland and Norway. Everyone got the chance to participate in the Panel Discussion featuring Donald McPhillimy, Anne Cunningham, Gerry Loose and Alastair McIntosh, chaired by Lesley Riddoch, before the workshops began. Our site visit to Carbeth was wonderful. We were given a very warm welcome from the Carbeth Hutters, some of whom not only welcomed us into their huts, but also plied us with such delicacies as home made macaroons and birch sap wine! Continue reading

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Come to the Hutters’ Rally – July 12 – Glasgow

Cordwood buildingHutters and would-be hutters! Come to our Rally on 12th July in Glasgow and find out how the change in Scottish Planning Policy is a first step for new hutting in Scotland. The speakers will include Lesley Riddoch and Alastair McIntosh, plus a panel discussion about the future of hutting, workshops on all things hut-related, then a site-visit to Carbeth Hutters Community. To order your tickets click here.

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