The Encampment: A new hutting opportunity

 

Encampment woodlandApplications are now open for people to apply to have a hut in a beautiful and historic site in Lanarkshire. (Please note this project is NOT being developed by Reforesting Scotland or the Thousand Huts campaign, but by a private individual – so RS/TH do not have any responsibility for, or involvement in, the project itself. We are promoting it solely on the basis that the information may be of interest to our supporters.)  All interested parties should contact – Louise Witter – the private developer of the site who is keen to ensure that it becomes a thriving, low-impact, attractive hutting site which many can enjoy for years to come. Below you will find information that she has supplied us with about the site (full version downloadable here), and application forms can be downloaded here.

The Encampment Project – information below supplied by Louise Witter

  • The aim of the project (aside from having peaceful huts and forest to enjoy) is to interact with the local community and improve the environment
  • One hut is allocated for community / charity / education purposes
    • This will be free to use by small, well behaved groups who abide by the rules of the Hutting Constitution (the planning application excludes buses or coaches)
    • Use by commercial organizations, e.g., private schools, will be subject to a charge which will be used for community purposes
  • The project has established a relationship with local group Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI) and we hope this will further develop over time
    • CCI have sent placement groups to site to assist with tasks such as clearing access pathways and will hopefully continue to send small placement groups to help manage the forest
    • It is hoped that the hutters will engage in some community work via CCI or other local organizations
  • The project would also like to improve the biodiversity on the site
    • Seen so far… hare, rabbit, badgers have settled on the monument, birds of prey, deer, frogs, moths…
    • A habitat survey was conducted
    • Wildlife cameras have been fitted and the footage so far has been great
    • It is hoped that they could forge some links with universities to have biodiversity measured and monitored
    • They have met with Lanarkshire Beekeepers and it is also anticipated that we get some loan hives and learn how to set up our own
  • Local volunteers are helping kick start an agroforestry plot
  • A site App is planned:
    • Maps
    • Information about local amenities and points of interest
    • Links to train timetables
    • Upload area for photos / species spotting
    • Area for posting jobs to do and logging any problems that the landlord needs to resolve
  • The project should grow organically and incorporate suggestions from the Hutting Committee

The-encampmentThe Encampment Location

  • ~32 acre site called ‘Camp Wood’
  • North East of Lanark town, accessed from the A706
  • Lanark train station is 2.2 miles from the site – trains direct to Glasgow Central take ~47 minutes
  • Carstairs train station is 3.8 miles from the site – trains direct to Glasgow Central take ~35 minutes and trains direct to Edinburgh ~33 minutes. Carstairs is also on the line between Ayr and North Berwick (1 hour 40 minutes and 1 hour 12 minutes respectively)

 

The Encampment – Woods

  • The site was previously owned and managed by the Forestry Commission
  • There is some existing infrastructure which significantly reduces the impact of The Encampment project
  • There are also some improvements to be made to the land to fully return it to its natural state after years as a commercial forest
    • Some of these improvements are in the process of being undertaken by a contractor
    • Other improvements will be part of the ongoing forestry management plan and it is expected that the hutters will take an active interest
  • It is a quiet site bound on two sides by farmland.

The Encampment – Scheduled Ancient Monument

  • Approximately half of the site is covered by a section of a scheduled ancient monument (in the above map, The Encampment is outlined in blue and the scheduled area is pink)
  • The monument consists of the remains of some of the walls of a large Roman camp (a dotted L shape on the map)
  • It is thought that these walls are one of the few examples in the UK of gates with standing titula to protect them (Google it!) and at least two of the gates are known to be within Camp Wood
  • Roy mapped the area in the 1760s and in the linked document you can see the site just above the words ‘Roman Camp’
  • The schedule itself does not impose any obligations other than to ensure that the monument is protected from damage however this does have an impact on how the site is set up and managed. For example,
    • Work on the non-scheduled area has to be considered carefully, for example obtaining access for plant for routine agricultural maintenance
    • None of the huts will be on the scheduled area
    • No mountain biking is allowed on the walls however you can walk freely over the walls and any part of the scheduled area within Camp Wood
    • Permits are required from Historic Environment Scotland to undertake certain development and maintenance works
    • We have developed a positive relationship with HES and want to work with them to get the best amenity value from the monument
    • It is planned that HES will come to site to talk to the final hutting group about the history and preservation of the monument
  • The name ‘The Encampment’ is inspired by the history of the site

The Huts

  • There are 16 huts planned (14 for rental), to be situated at the North of the site
  • The indicative position of the huts has been determined as required for the planning application
  • The sizes are Small, Medium and Large (however the size of the hut on each plot can be changed, the allocation is indicative only)
  • Some of the huts are close to each other and others are more secluded
  • The huts will be located in the area of the forest that borders the farm land
  • Indicative designs have been submitted with the planning application but there is scope to amend these designs

Amenities

  • The initial plan includes:
    • A car park accessed from the A706 (shown on the map with a red car)
    • Natural paths to the huts (shown on the map as green lines)
    • A standpipe at the car park (tap!)
    • Paths between the huts and main path as required
  • The site has 4G coverage – this may or may not be a good thing depending on your view but it’s there!
  • There is a plan to add further amenities to the site such as log stores, recycling facilities, field kitchen, etc but the plan will be discussed fully with the Hutting Committee

The Lease

  • In line with the Thousand Huts voluntary code
  • 15 year leases minimum (longer leases welcomed)
  • Annual rent paid in advance
    • Rent £1300 per year for a plot with a small hut, £1400 medium and £1500 large
    • No sign up fee
    • No site development or site maintenance fees
    • No additional charges or fees
    • Legal fees for the administration of the lease paid by the landlord (hutters should however seek their own legal advice on the content of the lease)
    • Rent frozen for 5 years and thereafter potential for index increases, e.g., adjusted to the cost of living but equally there is scope for the rent to remain
  • Hutter to build their own hut on the allocated / selected footprint
  • Hut to be maintained by the hutter for the duration of the lease and removed with no trace at the end of the lease (unless the lease and or hut are reassigned to a family member as below)
  • Requirement to be a member of the Hutting Committee and abide by the Hutting Constitution
  • Clauses to allow reassignment of leases to family members subject to approval of the Hutting Committee

Next Steps

  • Interested parties to complete an application form
  • A site visit to be arranged in September to show prospective hutters round the forest and the specific hut locations
  • Hut sites to be allocated shortly after and leases signed
  • We are hoping to hold a Hut Design course at CCI’s premises but await final costs
    • 2 places will be allocated to CCI folks free of charge
    • Final costs allowing, the rest of the places will be available for hutters who wish to attend either free of charge or subsidised
  • Visit from HES to educate hutters on the history and responsibilities
  • Hutting!

 

 

 

 

 

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