Log cabins on YouTube

The cabin-in-the-woods is part of the folklore of North America and it’s not surprising that there are a lot of videos about them on YouTube. Some are quite conventional second homes that just happen to be built of wood, but at the other extreme are basic log cabins built by the owners using the surrounding forest. This post is a collection of some of those YouTube channels that are worth looking at, and that might be relevant to woodland hutting in Britain.

Kyle’s cabin

https://www.youtube.com/user/sickwarriorgoalie35/

A detailed, step by step video record of how Kyle builds a log cabin using a handful of tools on forest land in Minnesota.

Martin’s old off grid log cabin

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheNorthwoodsman1/

A long series of videos going back a decade with an account of Martin’s shared hunting cabin, including some photos and home movies going back decades before that.

Bushradical

https://www.youtube.com/c/Bushradical/

Some very useful practical videos about a wide range of topics related to off grid log cabin life.

Off grid homesteading with the Boss of the Swamp

https://www.youtube.com/c/thebossoftheswamp/

Another long series of videos about living in log cabins, including many practical aspects of cabin life.

Cabin dweller

https://www.youtube.com/c/CabinDweller/

Living year round in a log cabin in north west Canada.

Cabinland

https://www.youtube.com/c/Cabinland/

Sara and Jacob are building a cluster of unique cabins from scratch, and give a flavour of what they’re doing with this polished series of videos.

Weekend Off-Grid

https://www.youtube.com/user/Jim302dew/

One video, but a good walk through of a nicely furnished log cabin.

Off grid with Doug & Stacy

https://www.youtube.com/c/OFFGRIDwithDOUGSTACY/

Doug and Stacy make their living from their homestead and live in a log cabin they built on their land. Their videos have a lot of practical details about off grid systems.

TA Outdoors

https://www.youtube.com/c/TAOutdoors/

TA Outdoors is a series of videos about building cabins and huts in British woodland from reclaimed materials like palettes or timber cut from the forest. They really do demonstrate that woodland structures don’t need to built from planed wood from a timber merchant.

There are a lot more channels and videos about log cabins on YouTube. Do you have a particular favourite I’ve not mentioned?

“Henry builds a cabin” by D.B. Johnson

“Henry builds a cabin” shows a bear called Henry building a cabin in the woods near a lake, just like the house that Henry David Thoreau built by Walden Pond in 1845. We meet the bear’s friends (Bronson) Alcott, (Ralph Waldo) Emerson, and Miss Lydia (Emerson), and Henry explains to each of them how his cabin isn’t too small because he has the woods to enjoy too. This lovely book has become a family favourite that we now read together in our own cabin 🙂

Woodland Hutting

Once upon a time, people across Britain had the freedom to build a weekend hut or a cabin-in-the-woods on land they rented or bought for a few pounds. All that changed in 1948 with the Town and Country Planning Acts. In Scotland, there is a growing movement to get some of that freedom back. How can we do the same in England and Wales? I think the first step is to start with cabins-in-the-woods and “Woodland Hutting”.

“Woodland Hutting” involves a hut or cabin-in-the-woods which satisfies the following conditions:

  • It is built within plantation woodland or in accordance with a management plan which protects an Ancient Woodland site.
  • It is not visible from outside the wood, or if in new woodland, it will not be visible when the wood matures.
  • It is largely built of renewable materials, especially timber.
  • It has no formal foundations and can be removed leaving little or no trace.
  • It has an internal floor area of about 30m2 or less.
  • It is owned and primarily occupied by the same individual or family, whose primary residence is elsewhere.

These conditions are designed to address concerns about ecological damage and impact on the local environment and neighbours.

Read more on the Hutters.uk page about Woodland Hutting, which covers legal routes for increased hutting, finding land, and next steps.

Log cabin updates from Century Wood

This month I’ve made two hutting related posts over on the Century Wood blog: “Storm Alex in the log cabin” and “A rocking chair”.

“I’d planned to spend most of the weekend at Century Wood before the warnings about Storm Alex started, and after a close look at the forecasts I went ahead. Despite 18 hours of continuous rain, the overnight stay was comfortable and I got a lot done on Sunday which was dry.” more …

“Last month I invested in a wooden rocking chair for the log cabin. There have been benches there for years but on an evening you want something you can sit back in. Henry David Thoreau famously had three chairs in his cabin in the woods: ‘one for solitude, two for friendship, and three for society’. more …

Yverdon chalets

Yverdon-les-bains is an ancient spa town at the south end of Lake Neuchatel in Switzerland. Near the beach area (“la plage d’Yverdon”) on the bank of the small Buron river as it approaches the lake, are a row of chalets.

In style, they are very similar to plotland chalets and huts in Britain, but with some Swiss mountain cabin styling. Just as with the equivalent huts here, they are not holiday homes to let: they are places where families go at weekends and for holidays, perhaps for generations, often bodged together by their owners. With modern conveniences like satellite dishes, but also chimneys for wood stoves.

The following photographs were taken in the early summer of 2017.

Bid launched to bring hutting back to East Lothian

“An intitiative dating back to the 1920s could make a comeback and see a hut built in a woodland near Gifford. The concept of hutting in Scotland dates back to between the First and Second World Wars. Now, plans are with East Lothian Council which would see a hut built in the southern section of Wynd Wood, to the west of Gifford.”

https://www.eastlothiancourier.com/news/18746209.bid-launched-bring-hutting-back-east-lothian/

“Huts: a Place Beyond” by Lesley Riddoch

Lesley Riddoch has been a long standing supporter of the Thousand Huts campaign in Scotland, and an advocate for a resurgence of hutting. For the past decade she was working towards a PhD from the University of Strathclyde on hutting, and her new book, “Huts: a place beyond”, is her thesis reworked into a more popular format. I think the book will be a very helpful contribution to the movement, but there are some significant problems with it.

Continue reading ““Huts: a Place Beyond” by Lesley Riddoch”

Hill Farm chalets near Bewdley

Back in July 2014 when I started this blog, one of my first posts was about Jonathan Meades documentary “Severn Heaven” from 1990, in which he visited the Hill Farm chalet field next to the River Severn near Bewdley. Almost six years to the day I went there myself and it’s still much as it was when Meades filmed it.

There are bits of the film on YouTube and here’s one of the clips, showing the river and the chalets from the air, with Howard Davidson’s rather rousing music.

Continue reading “Hill Farm chalets near Bewdley”

Broomlee Camp

Back in the early summer of 1983, a young Iain McNab went to Broomlee Camp south of Edinburgh with most of his primary school class. They stayed there for a week, playing in the woods, being bussed into Edinburgh and off to Melrose Abbey, doing treasure hunts and an orienteering course around the grounds, and sleeping away from their families for the first time. It was also the first time I stepped into a wooden hut, never mind lived in one for a few days. A couple of years ago I visited on a damp April day just before they opened up for the season and took these photos.

The Broomlee Centre, as it now is, is one of the three Scottish Outdoor Education Centres, and first established in 1939 as part of a network of schools in the countryside for children evacuated from cities to escape bombing during the Second World War. After the war they were converted into residential education centres, used by schools and urban youth groups like the Scouts, as they still were when my school took us there.

Continue reading “Broomlee Camp”

“Win the wilderness” TV series

BBC Two is currently showing a six-part series “Win the wilderness” in which British couples are competing to “win” a log cabin and the surrounding land in Alaska. It’s really an extended selection process to allow the American couple who built the cabin in the 1990s to choose who would be best suited to taking it on. More on the BBC website.