When choosing a location to hone your bushcraft skills there are some things to consider, land ownership, laws and bylaws in the UK can make it more difficult than it used to be in days gone past to simply wild camp.
Unlike other countries, most land in the UK is owned privately. However, there are exceptions, there is public footpaths and trails across many beautiful landscapes in England and Wales that you are free to hike.
There are areas of England and Wales where you have the ‘right to roam’ meaning you don’t just have to stick to footpaths. The Natural England department of the government have made this data available online.
Try to find a private location to camp, ask the landowner in advance. You might be surprised to find that alot of farmers will give you permission.
Scotland is very different as it allows unhindered access to open countryside, giving you the right to be on land for outdoor purposes including; hunting, shooting and fishing, etc.
England and Wales allow wild camping in many upland areas. If on private land, dont forget to seek the land owner’s permission first.
England, Wales and Northern Ireland you must have landowner’s permission for a camp fire, it is also permitted in Scotland.
The outdoor access code also states “Wherever possible, use a stove rather than light an open fire. If you do wish to light an open fire, keep it small, under control, and supervised, fires that get out of control can cause major damage, for which you might be liable. Never light an open fire during prolonged dry periods or in areas such as forests, woods, farmland or on peaty ground or near to buildings or in cultural heritage sites where damage can be easily caused. Heed all advice at times of high risk. Remove all traces of an open fire before you leave.”
It is illegal in the UK and Northern Ireland to uproot wild plants without permission from the landowner. Whereas picking flowers, leaves, berries, nuts, seeds and fungi is allowed where legal access is granted.
Before using any snares you must obtain landowner’s permission and follow the codes of practice set out by Defra. There are restrictions on the use of snares in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
If you’re looking to roam freely and wild camp then head to open access land, or head to Scotland for a more relaxed wild camping experience, with far less restrictions than in England & Northern Ireland.
Outdoor enthusiasts trying to find land on which to practice and hone their bushcraft skills is the biggest challenge, the key is to use your initiative and dont be afraid to knock on a few landowners doors, you will be surprised at the offers you may get.
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