Homesteading & Smallholding

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Maybe you have acquired some land and are planning to build a house on it?  So then you are probably facing the prospect of spending an additional and at the very least £100,000 through an architect and builder before you can live on that land.

Imagine as an alternative taking delivery of a beautiful SMALL house which is light-filled and cosy and has everything you need to survive the world for less than £50,000!  Welcome to your NestHouse from Tiny House Scotland!  It will be ready for delivery within 4-6 months and can be the start of a whole new way of life. Small Living is the art of living in a compact, carefully designed space with minimal impact on the environment. It is 'light' on the land and doesn't require tons of concrete for a foundation - it can be moved without leaving a trace!

The NestHouse has 250mm thick walls with insulation levels which exceed the U values of the new stringent Scottish Building Standards and are light years beyond BS3632:2005 construction standards for Residential Park Homes. It comes to you fully built (subject to site access) and can be plug and play to services or self sufficient with off-grid systems.  It offers that quintessential 'cabin in the woods' experience - Pioneering for the Modern Age!

This is true building sustainability and is ideal as part of a holistic approach to living on a smallholding or small farm with varying degrees of self sufficiency or of course just taking a conscious decision to live more simply and closer to nature whilst working from home. Depending on your circumstances it may mean you could live debt-free or without a mortgage.

The NestHouse is built with many Passivhaus principles and being small – allows thorough attention to detail during the construction process.  But this is definitely NOT a caravan, hut or shed!!! - this is a proper SMALL HOUSE and weighs between 5 and 10 tons depending on size and specification!

The planning advantages are that is moveable and classified as a caravan and also within Householder Permitted Development parameters although of course these factors will depend ultimately on the land use of your site and the presence of any existing buildings:

NB. if your NestHouse is to be your primary residence - you WILL still need planning permission, despite these advantages!

There are no easy answers yet to the age-old issue of procuring land to live on (- read some of the FAQ's) - a lot of people dream of living in a 'cabin in the woods' but the difficulty of finding a plot, even for a standard house build, puts one in the position of competing for the rare commodity of a serviced plot at a price that reflects its rarity locally.  Finding a permanent site for your NestHouse requires creativity and lateral thinking and it has to be said that agricultural ties with a smallholding or woodland management can be useful - see the next article on building on non-development land.

Jonathan Avery - A Personal Note

I would love to see some small house communities - maybe with four to six tiny/small houses, perhaps in a rural setting with integrated sustainable businesses such as an organic garden and farm shop or an attached managed mixed woodland producing coppiced products etc. This would be sustainable crofting or small holding for the 21st century to bring diversity and productivity back to the countryside.

There's nothing new about lowland crofting - look up West Lothian Council's foray into the idea around 1996. It was a fantastic idea but is is largely considered a failure because in the long run it could do nothing more than become part of the speculative property market. Recent sales of property there were in the £400,000 - £500,000 region - around 2.4 times the average local property value in that postcode!

Where I think small or tiny houses could be different in such a scheme, is that they would not attract people whose sole aim was to make a killing and clamber further up the property ladder.  OK, I know it sounds Utopian, but it could be an interesting experiment - especially in Scotland where we have such a huge amount of rural land with very low population, not to mention that local schools and post offices etc. are dropping like flies.

NestHouse 4.8 with Entry option from Tiny House Scotland.
Tinyhousescotland.co.uk - tiny houses, barns and cabins in Scotland.
The birch wood at Shangri La Farm.
The birch wood at Shangri La Farm in 2015 - now standing at 6m plus!

Our Smallholding

Since moving to our smallholding in 2010 we have planted over 3500 trees to create a sustainable woodland and fuel source as well as of course being a beautiful wildlife haven. We try to live frugally and sustainably and just be happy with TODAY - not always striving for a tomorrow that may never happen - live life in the moment!  Our wood was created with the help of the Woodland Trust  who donated 2500 Native British trees: Woodland Trust help with planting trees.

The Birch wood at Shanrgi La Farm 2017
The Birch wood at Shanrgi La Farm 2017