A Thousand Huts is a Reforesting Scotland campaign centred around the idea of the hut as a place, an experience, an endeavour, an ideal for all to enjoy. In contrast to many other European countries, Scotland has a modest historic tradition of hutting, whilst in Nordic nations hutting is well established as a way of life.

Building huts with local timber can revive skills that all rural communities once took for granted and strengthen community resilience.

In Scotland, hutting is predominantly associated with a working class movement that developed early in the 20th century when small holiday huts began to be built on land close to Scotland’s main industrial cities. The best known of these sites is at Carbeth in Stirlingshire. Hutters in Scotland can be characterised as belonging to a number of groups:

  • Traditional hutters in hutting “colonies”.
  • Individual hutters often seeking a quiet retreat.
  • Alternative homes (Lunga etc and those who live in huts or dwellings of uncertain status).
  • Allotmenteers (urban hutters).

A Huts and Hutters in Scotland research study carried out in 2000 by the Scottish Executive identified a number of structural weaknesses in the sustainability of traditional hutting including an ageing population and poor legal safeguards. (See Huts and Hutters in Scotland, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2000.)

What we’re about

The aim of A Thousand Huts campaign is to promote huts and hutting – the building and enjoyment of simple structures (usually wooden) for living, working and recreation in the countryside. This will be achieved by securing a change of culture and attitude and reform of the law so as to permit those who wish to build huts and pursue hutting to do so freely and within the law.

A Thousand Huts will work with a wide range of organisations to deliver change in a number of areas, some of which will take time (e.g. legal, planning etc). Our campaign will focus on the following areas of activity:

Raising awareness of huts and hutting

1. Research and publish material on the Scottish history and culture of huts and hutting, in the context of the European tradition.
2. Research and document current state and extent of traditional hutting.
3. Develop and Twitter and Facebook campaigns.
4. Curate exhibitions of huts and hutting.

Huts, hutting and sustainable rural development

5. Encourage urban and rural community, youth and cultural groups to build and use more huts in the countryside.
6. Work with landowners to develop woodland hutting communities and/or hutting retreats for people who don’t own land.
7. Develop models of legal land tenure structures to facilitate the expansion of hutting and promote the benefits of hutting as a way of stimulating the rural economy.
8. Develop, organise and promote good hut design and building techniques.

Huts legislation and hutters’ rights

9. Initiate and support the establishment of a Scottish Federation of Hutters.
10. Lobby for proper legal protection against eviction for existing hutters.
11. Publish a report on the laws and planning regulations surrounding hutting in different European countries.
12. Lobby for a change in planning legislation to create a “hutting consent” and a new building class of “hut” within building regulations.