Can I Build A Cabin In My Wood?

Is there anything more cosy and romantic than a cabin in the woods? We think not! If you own a piece of woodland then you might be keen to build your own little piece of idyllic tranquillity but you have to keep in mind that there are several restrictions and rules when it comes to this. So can you build a cabin in your wood?

You may need to obtain planning permission to build a cabin in woodland, even if you are the landowner. However, this largely depends on the size of the cabin, how it’s made and what the intended use is. 

We would never recommend going ahead with a build before checking whether there are any legalities you need to adhere to. If you don’t do this then you may end up being ordered to tear the whole thing down and nobody wants that!

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about building a log cabin in your woods.

Do You Need Planning Permission For A Cabin In The Woods UK?

When it comes to working out whether you need planning permission for a cabin in the woods, there are many factors that play into this. Where one person might not need permission, his or her neighbour might require it. 

It all comes down to the location of the cabin and how big it is. But even after this, there are exceptions so it’s essential to remember that no two situations are the same. 

Let’s assume that you are going to build the cabin either to the side or at the back of an existing building, such as your house. As long as it doesn’t cover more than 50% of the available space here, you probably won’t need to get planning permission. 

Additionally, it’s unlikely you’ll need planning permission if you’re going to attach the cabin to the existing building since this could be classed as an extension. Of course, in this case, size will play a part in determining whether you need to apply for planning or not.

In the UK, you will also need to think about the height of the cabin. If it sits within two metres of the boundary of your land then the height (at the highest point of the roof) can be no taller than two and a half metres.

If you are building the cabin further away from the edge of your land then this height can be extended to four metres at the highest point of the roof. But keep in mind that the eaves will still not be allowed to be any higher than 2.5 metres.

While these rules are generally observed around the UK, there may be some local nuances which affect whether you need planning permission or not. This is why it’s always best to contact your local authority who will be able to give you a more detailed rundown of what’s allowed in your area. 

Do You Need Planning Permission For A Cabin In The Woods In Scotland?

The rules in Scotland are pretty similar to the rest of the UK. Usually, as long as the building is not higher than two and half metres, you should be able to build it without applying for planning permission. Again, it’s vital to check with your local authority to make sure there aren’t any local limitations that will affect the build. 

You should also keep in mind that if you own land within an AONB then you will need to apply for planning permission regardless of the size of the cabin. 

The other major difference in Scotland is that you cannot build your cabin within one metre of any neighbouring building if it is higher than two and a half metres. 

How Do I Get Planning Permission?

If you have determined that you’ll have to apply for planning permission then you’ll need to do this via your local planning department. You can do this on your own or there are several companies around the UK  that specialise in helping people obtain planning for a log cabin. 

What Happens If I Just Build The Cabin Anyway?

You could just go ahead and start building your cabin without going through the proper channels. But this isn’t something we would recommend. The problem is that, if you build the cabin and are later discovered to have done so without planning, you could be given an enforcement notice to remove the building. 

All that hard work and money will have been spent for nothing and then if you want to rebuild the cabin, you’ll have to go through the whole process again. 

While it can feel intimidating and be a pain in the backside to get planning permission, it’s much better to do it now than to face more severe problems down the line. 

Can I Live In A Cabin In The Woods UK?

A lot of people want to build a log cabin so that they can live in it and this isn’t something that can’t be done. In fact, it’s quite possible to build a cabin with all the mod cons and live there permanently. But with this comes more legalities that you’ll need to adhere to.

In the UK, if a structure is built for dwelling then it has to comply with the UK building regulations which is vastly different than just throwing up a cabin for something like storage or for use as a place to chill out.

A standard log cabin is not considered to be a habitable structure so if you’re building something as a residential property, there are a whole host of other things you’ll need to ensure to make sure that the building is safe and suitable for human habitation. 

In this case, you will always need to apply for planning permission regardless of the height or size of the building. 


Many of us dream of having a cute little cabin in the woods and if you’re lucky enough to own some woodland, this dream could become a reality. However, in a lot of cases, you will need to apply for planning permission so it’s important to check this before you start building. 

You’ll need to get planning permission if the building exceeds 2.5 metres in height but you’ll also need to consider the location of the cabin and how you intend to use it. 

While it can be tempting to start working before you’ve obtained planning permission, this is never a good idea as you may be ordered to take the building down.