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May 31, 2011

A call for a thousand huts

Last year we highlighted the story of a small community of ‘hutters’ at Carbeth who were trying to assert their right to remain on the land where they had been for almost 90 years.  It turns out Scotland’s tradition of hutting extends far beyond Carbeth – a campaign is about to be launched which aims to celebrate and inspire people with the simple beauty and usefulness of huts that are built within Scottish woodlands

Environmental charity Reforesting Scotland (RS) has announced plans for a visionary new campaign to celebrate Scotland’s traditions of hut building and encourage people to build a thousand new huts in and from our forests over the next five years.

Prominent supporters of the campaign for a Thousand Huts include award-winning broadcaster and commentator Lesley Riddoch and land rights author Andy Wightman. They will speak at a launch event in Edinburgh on 15 June, alongside Historiographer Royal Professor Christopher Smout, and author and hut-dweller Mandy Haggith, among others.

Reforesting Scotland’s new campaign for a Thousand Huts aims to celebrate and encourage hut building in Scotland, inspiring people with the simple beauty and usefulness of huts, and seeding the idea of a thousand more at a time of social and economic transition.

The campaign celebrates the value of huts built in Scottish woods from Scottish timber. It also highlights the need to overcome the main obstacles to building more of them, addressing both planning law and lack of opportunities to own or rent land in rural Scotland.

The campaign was conceived by Reforesting Scotland directors and members and reflects a growing interest in huts, cabins and simple woodland shelters for living, working and learning. Reforesting Scotland director Ninian Stuart says that the organisation has been overwhelmed by people’s interest following publication of the spring-summer 2011 issue of Reforesting Scotland Journal.  “We are delighted by such a huge response to this campaign which is attracting interest and support from people from all backgrounds and all parts of Scotland and the UK. For many a hut represents a simple place for work or play whilst for more serious hutters it represents a fundamental need for shelter.”

Reforesting Scotland’s journal introduces the topic from a range of perspectives. Articles celebrate the many forms of hut design, the joy of building your own, the social history of hutting and the present obstacles to hut building in Scotland. Also featured are personal perspectives from hut enthusiasts such as Grand Design’s favourite woodsman Ben Law and social entrepreneur Nigel Lowthrop, who has recently joined forces with Falkland Centre for Stewardship and Reforesting Scotland to run a hut-building course in August.

The campaign for a Thousand Huts is a partnership involving collaboration between Reforesting Scotland, its members, local community groups and key organisations such as the Scottish Ecological Design Association and. The launch event is supported by the Forestry Commission Scotland and forms part of the International Year of Forests celebrations in Scotland.

The event ‘A celebration of forest culture and launch of a Thousand Huts’ takes place on 15 June 2011, 9.30am to 4.30pm at Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh. Tickets are £10 and advance booking is essential.


More information and a full programme for the day is on our website