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Shelter building

Once upon a time nearly everyone knew how to build a quick shelter. In days gone by, it was the only way for travelling people to be sure that they would be able to shelter from the rain, cold, wind or hot sun. Nowadays, den-building is usually for fun.


Here’s how you can join in the fun at a Commonwealth Wood near you.

  • Find a long sturdy branch and rest this against the tree so that one end is resting securely on the trunk of the tree and the other end is resting securely on the floor.
  • Place smaller branches against this long branch so that the top of the smaller branches leans again the main branch and the bottom of the smaller branches rests on the floor. Do this all along the main branch on both sides.
  • Using smaller wispy branches cover the whole of the shelter so that all the gaps are covered, but don’t forget to leave the end by the tree clear so you can get in your shelter.
  • Once this is made you may want to clear out any leaves from your shelter floor, put in some seats if there is room (using logs) or create patio just outside your shelter where you can eat your picnic (if you remembered to bring one).

Send us your pics.

We would love to see pictures of your dens. Why don’t you send some to our Commonwealth Woods Facebook page?

Shelter building
Shelter building
Shelter building







Forestry Commission Scotland Woodland Trust Scotland Commonwealth Forestry Association Glasgow City Council South Lanarkshire Council North Lanarkshire Council West Dunbartonshire Council Clyde Gateway Cassiltoun Housing Association Paths 4 All