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We were in a central European forest last weekend and discovered a few places where a bunch of sticks were leaned against a tree. They build kind of a circle so that it looked like a small hut. However, this can't be the purpose of them, cause they weren't pretty close to each other (so they are holey and thus wouldn't serve as a roof).

I've made a little sketch (wasn't able to take a photo :/):

tree

There were quite a few of them. We've discovered at least three.

What's the purpose of such "buildings"?

Edit:

The room "covered" in those sticks was pretty small. So the shelter theory would only work for kids.

Edit:

As far as I can remember they were leaned against a pine. At least not against a fruit tree.

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Were they long? More than 5 meters? If so, they were likely teepee (tipi) sticks. They are commonly stored this way all around the Czech Republic and some neighboring countreis; remember that there's probably more than a 1000 scout campsites here, most featuring teepees. – yo' Jan 22 at 18:55
up vote 18 down vote accepted

These dot the woods near my house (Eastern United States), where children construct them as play forts. I suspect this activity has worldwide appeal.

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We get these a lot too, Scout etc will build them as well as just kids doing it for fun :) – Aravona Jan 18 at 7:49
    
I can confirm this is also very common in Switzerland. The woods around cities are full of these... – fgysin Jan 18 at 8:02
    
yep, normally kids groups, scouts, etc. build them as "shelters" – Liam Jan 18 at 14:12

Were there fruit trees nearby? I ask because here (South Germany) the old-style apple trees grow really big, and in autumn they have such masses of fruit that the branches can break off under the weight. So they keep those sticks leaning on the trees, and in autumn they get wedged under the long branches so they don't break.

The modern apple plantations for the mass market have short trees which don't have this problem. The really big trees are for cider apples - the older breeds are supposed to have more taste.

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Good point! I know these sticks, too. However, it was in the forest with no fruit trees nearby I'm afraid :/ (edited my question accordingly). – OddDeer Jan 19 at 7:50

While that construction has no shelter currently, Scouts and other outdoors groups will often make a frame like you describe, and then cover those branches with leaves, moss or even a tarp in order to provide a shelter.

Using the tree trunk gives a solid support for this sort of thing, and often the tree itself provides some shelter from its own branches.

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