Living on the croft is a central part of crofting tradition, indeed the right to a house on the croft is enshrined in crofting law (though planning approval is still needed). Whilst the law does not require a crofter to be resident on the croft (rather, they must reside within 32km), most would see the right to live on the croft as one of the key benefits of crofting, and one which has been crucial in enabling crofting communities to retain population through the provision of housing.
The provision of housing is also central for many to the attractions of a woodland croft, alongside the chance to manage their own woodland. Furthermore, alternative approaches to designing and building with timber, such as post and beam construction, make the use of timber from one’s own croft as a construction material a realistic proposition in many situations, whilst woodfuel for heating will almost always be available.
These possibilities, coupled with the availability of a site on the croft and the potential to input ‘sweat equity’ into the construction, mean that building and running a home on a woodland croft can also be an affordable, low-carbon option. If designed to be adaptable, it can also respond to the need to provide space for home working, and cater for the extended family as required.
However, housing in general is heavily regulated in terms of the planning system and building regulations; there are also specific provisions in crofting law which relate to housing; and not all timber is suitable for use in construction. A Guidance Note looking in more detail at these issues is available here and serves an introduction to the subject – ultimately professional advice should be sought.