SPENDING a weekend in a cosy cabin in the forest, collecting firewood to light along with the candles at night might not be out of the ordinary for most Scandinavians.

But now a new project aims to bring the Nordic experience within the reach of Scots, with the development of Scotland’s first designed “hutting site” in Fife for almost 100 years. ,

The project, a partnership between the campaigners of A Thousand Huts and the Forestry Commission, will see the development of small site with room for 12 residential huts in a small area of Carnock Woods in Fife.

It will also feature a “school hut” which could be used by local primaries as part of an outdoor eduction programme.

It has received positive feedback at consultation stage and is now going through planning permission.

Donald McPhillimy of A Thousand Huts, who works for Reforesting Scotland, said the pilot project was an exciting development, which he hoped would lead to more across the country.

“As the name of our campaign suggests, we’d like to see 1,000 huts or so across Scotland,” he said. “But this is a good start. We’ve made good progress on persuading the Scottish Government to look at the laws, allowing new huts to be built and it seems that behind the scenes they were also in discussion with the Forestry Commission, who have been very supportive of this project.

“In Norway, there are 4,000 huts for a similar sized population. In a lot of countries like ours its a common idea and we think it would work well in Scotland too. At the moment we are the odd ones out.

“It helps you get closer to nature, and lets you get away from the hurly burly of modern life. But the number one reason that people in Scandinavia go to their cabin is to spend time with family and friends. There it’s the way that they de-stress.

“Here people de-stress by drinking, or taking drugs and isn’t that sad when we are living in such a beautiful country.”

McPhillimy claims that though the project has not yet been advertised, over 700 people who have heard about plans via social media and community meetings, have expressed an interest in having a hut. He admits that the initial proposal for 12 huts is likely to be over-subscribed.

Once planning permission has been granted, people will be invited to apply for a plot with applicants being interviewed to make sure they know what will be involved.

Successful applicants will either build their own hut or employ someone to build it for them, paying a small rent to the Forestry Commission.

“We want to make it as affordable as possible,” added McPhillimy. “We expect building costs to be a few thousand but it will vary greatly. Some might use reclaimed materials, others might want to use something quite high spec.”

Design guidelines will be issued to make sure the huts, which will be off grid, have continuity in terms or look and feel, he said.

Existing hutters claim they are attracted by the simple life offered by a hut, which they say is very different from a second home.

The official definition is: “A simple building used intermittently as recreational accommodation (ie. not a principal residence); having an internal floor of area no more than 30m2; constructed from low impact materials; generally not connected to mains water, electricity or sewerage; and built in such a way that it is removable with little or no trace at the end of its life. Huts may be built singly or in groups.”

So far the project has received £10,000 of funding from the Forestry Commission, to help kick-start the campaigners plans.

A spokesman for Forest Enterprise Scotland, which looks after the Forestry Commision’s estate, said: “We are pleased to help Scottish ministers with a drive to find new ways in which the public can get more engaged with land and woodlands – this includes maximising the benefits from the National Forest Estate.

“This is a pilot project which Reforesting Scotland is taking forward – they are leasing a small area of the National Forest Estate in Fife to run this interesting initiative with the aim of finding out whether hutting can successfully be re-established in Scotland on public land.”

Though some ad hoc huts exist across Scotland, the only other site is at Carbeth in Stirlingshire, where huts were built in 1918 for soldiers returning from the First World War.

It has attracted controversy with hutters going on long running rent strikes due to hikes proposed by the landowner. But in 2013 the Carbeth Hutters Community Company successfully completed a community buy-out.