View Full Version : restictions? location, location
I have read through a bunch of threads and have noticed a common theme, it seems 'not easy' to find a good patch of forest to camp in. I have never been to Europe, so I really have no clue what it is like. I am from Canada, which is a bit less crowded.
What is it like in the UK to find a campground, or forests that are crown land you can camp on? It sounds like there are few, and then some restrictions. I do apologize if this is a stupid question, I just happen to have no clue.... :)
Hi Cod3Man and welcome to the forum,
Finding an area to camp out of the way and legally is really quite difficult unless you know someone with woodland or own some yourself. Scotland on the other hand has some of the best wild camping rules and regulations of any country in the world, quite a contrast to England considering we're all part of the UK.
Welcome cod3man and remember the only stupid question is the one not asked. We are all here to learn from each other.
okay, another question, Camping is allowed in designated campgrounds. But if you want to stay in the woods- backcountry, the land is a all private estate, you need to talk with the landowner? There are no government, crown owned land that you can muck in? I just feel a pit in my stomach thinking of it. How far away is Scotland from the majority of the population?
Hi there and welcome.
I have camped in some woodland over night, but I never tried to get the permission of the land owner, to protect my self or rather my location I shied away from fires and only used a small stove for cooking.
Having joined the forum I have realised that I have been a naughty boy and also very lucky not to get caught by some cheesed off farmer, let alone missing out on serious bushcraft.
'Curse the Forum' I hear you shout, well no, Whilst I respect and love the land, I've never given a second thought to the land owners particularly those who have created a habitat for wild beasties.
I started a thread a little while ago which a couple of long timers kindly offered some advise about approaching land owners if any one else wants to chip in then please do, but if you are lacking in confidence when it comes to the thought of approaching land owners perhaps designated campsites are the best, checkout the uk forestry commission website and the uk YHA as they offer sites as well, sorry about the length of post.
In the UK all land is owned by somebody. This might seem an obvious statement, but that means that the average camper is not usually welcome on land. The Forestry Commission and National Trust own land for woodland management and again aren't too keen on camping, let alone wild camping. The further south you go, the worst it gets (it seems). There is something called common land, but these are small areas which were turned over to grazing land in the old days. Nowadays, these have been usualy turned into village greens.
You should also realise that in England and Wales, trespassing isn't a criminal offence, therefore the worst a farmer can do is tell you to get off the land. (that's if the farmer isn't out with his shotgun and "accidently" discharges his gun near where you are). The ironic thing is that in Scotland, trepsassing IS an offence but only if you light fires and intend to camp, but it seems to be more tolerated there. Nevertheless, wild campers aren't generally welcome on land.
For us folk who want to practice bushcraft skills it's frustrating trying to find a site where it is accepted in England. There are official camp sites, but they usually don't allow open fires. The choice is to sneak around a wood without permission and take your chances with an angry farmer (which I don't condone) or find out who the wood belongs to (sometimes not an easy task) and ask permission.
The final problem for English bushcrafters is that England is tiny compared to the vast expanses wilderness of say Canada. We have very little wilderness woodland left. This is due to the changes in farming techniques over the last 50 years and of course the big cities overspills that have encroached into the countryside. There are very few forests and woodlands left. A sad indictment on what is essentially a wonderful and diverse English countryside.
If I am inaccurate on some of these statements, I'm sure someone will put me right, but generally I think this a snapshot of how it is for English bushcrafters.
I have to say that Pablo is on the mark with what he has written and he's right to say that he does not condone sneaking around the woods, having done it I have realised the errors in my ways and consider myself to be very lucky that I didn't become unstuck very quickly. Not to mention the whole shotgun thing is a concern. :aargh4:
I would also agree that most campsites don't allow campfires but that is not to say all, there are at least three in East Sussex that I can think of however, they are not necessarily great sites.
Again Pablo is spot on when he says that the Forestry commission don't like campers in there mists however, they do have some sites that they manage, I've never stayed at any but always an option I guess but I suspect they are pretty strick. As for the Youth Hostel's I mentioned earlier, again I've personally never stayed at any of their sites and I understand that they are closing some next year, but I have a friend who is planning to tour the UK primarily using YHA sites later this year so hopefully I'll get the low down then.
As for the bushcraft thing. It is very sad here, I think personally, that part of our history, a way of living so in tune with our countryside, wildlife and land is so difficult to practise and keep alive.
Thanks for the insight. All my questions were answered I think. I sure hope that guys like you will be able to continue practicing bushcraft. You seem to haver great enthusiasm and passion. It does seem a tad dismal, hopefully Ray Mears or whoever can raise enough public awareness about keeping land green, or reclaiming/ restoring land. Cheers.