Prior to the agricultural improvements of the 18th and 19th centuries traditional farming methods included taking cattle and sheep to summer grazings in the hills. This ensured that stock did not encroach onto growing crops and meadows, and made use of the upland pasture.
Groups of summer huts were built in sheltered glens, by a burn, usually several miles away from the main township or fermtoun. They provided shelter for the women and children who went to herd the stock, milk them and make butter and cheese. Patches of enriched grass still flourish in the immediate vicinity of the ruined huts, marking the focus of what would have been quite extensive shieling grounds.
This shieling hut is one of a group at Chest of Dee in Aberdeenshire that was revealed after heather-burning. Aerial photographs, historical and current OS maps are all used to identify these areas, although fieldwork recorded in Canmore can provide additional information.