PRESS RELEASE: Visionary new campaign calls for a thousand huts

PRESS RELEASE: Visionary new campaign calls for a thousand hut


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 Carbeth Hutters Association. The launch event is supported by the Forestry Commission Scotland and forms part of the International Year of Forests celebrations in Scotland. 


Reforesting Scotland are pleased to announce


A great celebration of forest culture and


The launch of a thousand huts


930am – 430pm on 15th June 2011


in Greyfriars Kirk


Purpose of the day


1. To celebrate the International Year of the Forest with an event to remember
2. To consider the past, present and future of forest culture in Scotland
3. To launch the vision of a thousand huts




0915 Registration – tea/coffee
0945 Welcome and overview: Donald McPhillimy, Reforesting Scotland director 


Leukin’ back


0950 Forest Culture: Prof Christopher Smout (Royal Historiographer and writer, 2003) 


1010 Scottish huts, a lost heritage? Ranald McInnes (Chief Inspector, Historic Scotland) 


1040 A cultural history of hutters in Scotland: Fi Martynoga (“the History Woman”) 


1100 Questions


1115 Short break


Taking Stock (Chaired by RS Director, Ninian Stuart) 


1135 The state of our forest culture: Gordon Gray Stephens


1150 Living in a forest: Mandy Haggith, forest dweller and author 


1205 Timber-building in Scotland today: Bernard Planterose, founder of RS and builder


1220 Hutting Communities: Carbeth – Gerry Loose, hutter and poet 


1250 Questions


1300 Lunch 


Goin’ forit…(Chaired by Gerry Loose or Morven)


1400 Lessons from Norway: Lesley Riddoch, broadcaster with Jim Rowling (a Barry hutter)


1430    Building huts and community in the Forest of Falkland 
Nigel Lowthrop (social entrepreneur from Hill Holt Woods)


1445 A thousand huts: Andy Wightman: land reform campaigner and hut builder 


1500 Small group sessions on aspects of woodland culture inc. huts


1600 Fast thoughts from the floor and reflections from three people who have simply listened


1630 Away to our hills, our woods and our huts…