A thousand huts

Sporadically looking at alternative homes at the moment. A Thousand Huts is a campaign to revive a declining interest in hutting – usually colonies of simply-structured, intermittently-used, often informal and haphazard dwellings without amenities in rural northern Europe. They grew up before the era of planning laws and their presence, like that of other intentional communities, is a reminder that the question of sustainable plentiful homes is ultimately a question of who owns the land.

There’s a video by Paul Wimbush about hutters at Carbeth – built to get the factory and shipyard people of Glasgow and Clydesbank into the country during the newly invented weekends. Their successors are now faced with rent rises which push their cost of living beyond most caravan sites, although caravan sites have far more in the way of amenities and services.

There’s a descriptive research report which identifies some perceived benefits of hutting – the peace, quiet, tranquility and escape – and patterns of use and expectations which place hutting in the category of seasonal retreat rather than year-round residence.

So hutting seems to be a matter of small numbers of people getting out into the country in summer in a way which sustains commitment to a community and to a rural economy. Small cabins in wild, off-grid locations, renovated or built from scratch and limited only by the owner or occupier’s skills and invention. And the land laws.

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