Shielings, mountain bothies and wooden huts – modest, rustic buildings – are recognised features of rural Scotland and a part of Scotland’s cultural heritage. As well as being built by fishermen, crofters and gamekeepers for shelter, they have provided a place for rest, recreation, cultural activities and spending time with family and friends in the hills, forests and countryside.
A century ago, hutting became increasingly popular with industrial workers, providing the opportunity to escape the city for weekends and short breaks in the countryside. It was for this reason the Clarion Scouts, a socialist movement, were permitted by landowner Allan Barnes-Graham to establish summer camps at the Carbeth Estate near Strathblane from 1895. Wooden floors constructed for tents evolved and, following the Great War of 1914-1918, Barns-Graham allowed the first ‘Carbeth Huts’ to be built.
Carbeth became a retreat for Clydeside residents, allowing them to escape the pollution and activity of their everyday lives in the shipyards and factories and enjoy fresh air and tranquility. The site continued to develop and by 1940 there was a shop, tea-room, pub, swimming pool and around 100 huts on the side. During the World War II, Carbeth hosted 1000s of evacuees and those made homeless by German air raids, in particular the Clydebank Blitz, and at one point there were as many as 250 huts on the estate. As Clydeside was gradually rebuilt following the war, families returned to the conurbation but Carbeth remained a popular retreat for weekends and summer holidays.
In the years following the 1940s and 50s, societal changes and other reasons saw an erosion of the hutting movement and declining hut numbers at Carbeth. Problems arose, including vandalism, arson, fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour. Thankfully, in 2013 and following a protracted dispute over rents and the threat of eviction, the hut owners purchased the 90 site acre site and Carbeth is now going from strength-to-strength. Under community ownership, the Carbeth Hutters Community Company manage the site; the problems of the past are largely gone and the number of huts has risen again, to around 160.
For nearly 100 years, the huts at Carbeth have been characterised by a natural, if sometimes rickety, charm and piecemeal appearance arising from the fact they are ‘hand-made’ and have evolved over time. This organic form distinguishes them from chalets and has created a variety and individuality but an overall cohesion in style is apparent in building form, material and finishes used.
Carbeth huts typically have a floor area of 23 sq. m. but in many instances have been extended. They have low profile pitched roofs of 15-35° and are built from low impact materials: reclaimed, recycled or natural materials from sustainable sources, usually timber. Predominately, the huts are painted green with black, mineral felt roofs.
Sustainability and low carbon living is central to the ethos and tradition of hutting; huts at Carbeth are generally not connected to mains water, electricity or sewerage. Water is provided by communal standpipes, while most huts are heated by a wood burning stove.
The Carbeth Estate has been designated as a conservation area. A Conservation Area Character Appraisal was compiled in 2000 and recognises that the Carbeth Huts form an important feature of the estate, part of the mid-development phase of the designed landscape’s history.
We have prepared planning guidance in support of its policy for huts, at Carbeth and elsewhere within the Stirling area. The aim of this guidance is to ensure that proposals for new and replacement huts, including the creation of new hutting sites, achieve a high standard of quality with regards to siting, layout and design and enhance the environment.
The Supplementary Guidance provides guidelines on the siting, layout, design and use of both chalet and hut developments. The local development plan supports proposals for new chalet developments and huts where the landscape can accommodate such development without it being visually prominent; the supplementary guidance set outs in more detail where chalets and huts should be located, what they should look like and how they should be used.
The guidance relating to chalets – holiday letting accommodation constructed in timber or more traditional construction materials – has not been changed but the section on huts is new and will be particularly important at Carbeth given its historical significance.
The draft supplementary guidance can be found online at http://my.stirling.gov.uk/services/planning-and-the-environment/planning-and-building-standards/local-and-statutory-development-plans/local-development-plan/review-of-supplementary-guidance.
We are inviting comments on this and two other supplementary guidance documents up until Friday 9th March 2018. If you wish to make any comments then please either email us at email@example.com or write to us at SG Consultation, Planning & Building Standards, Stirling Council, Teith House, Stirling, FK7 9JF. Please don’t comment directly on this post if you have any comments as we can’t take them into account as part of the consultation!