Woodland huts are small, simple, low-impact buildings that allow people from stressful urban situations to have a connection to nature and the countryside without costing the earth. They are common in most Northern European countries but quite rare in Scotland for historical reasons.
Reforesting Scotland pioneered a recent change in planning law to make getting permission for and building a hut easier in Scotland. One of our members, who has cancer, had the vision of one of these huts that could be available for short stays for people in situations like his own. Contact with nature is good for both physical and mental health, but someone in poor health or a difficult situation cannot be expected to build a hut themselves.
Local organisations supporting people suffering illness or other hardships, and their carers, will be able to refer them for a weekend or midweek stay. The Hut of Wellbeing will be built in an existing woodland hutting community in Fife. Being embedded in a supportive community will be an important part of looking after the hut and its users.
This project was conceived before coronavirus, but the pandemic has both made people more aware of the mental health benefits of access to nature and put pressure on Scotland's landscape and accommodation, so we believe that the need for the Hut of Wellbeing is more urgent now than even before.
Reforesting Scotland has already put in money to engage an architect and builders, to make sure that the hut gets planning permission and suits both the site and its users. A steering group of hut users and care organisations is working with us to make the project a reality. We now need to raise more funds to build the hut itself and then run and maintain it once it is built.
If we do not raise enough money to make the project viable and we are not able to get match funding from elsewhere, all money raised through the crowdfunder will be donated to the Maggies Centre in Kirkcaldy instead.
Please watch our video in which Reforesting Scotland member Tony Carter describes how he came up with the idea for the hut and Lesley Riddoch talks about the links between huts and wellbeing. You can find out more about the project on our website. We have some wonderful rewards available, donated by Scotland's hutting community in support of this project. All the offers of accommodation or events must be worked out with the person offering them, and bear in mind that not all dates will be possible for them. Contact us if you need any further details about any of the offers but remember that when they are gone they are gone!