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How to open a new campsite???

Discussion in 'Bushcraft Chatter' started by gorilla, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. gorilla

    gorilla Settler

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    as i mentioned in the 'bushcraft insurance' thread, myself and a friend, both cheesed off with the grind of town life, have been seriously considering selling up and opening a campsite - not a 'square field, camp-round-the-edge-kids/dogs/fires/bbqs-prohibited' site, but a bushy-fires allowed-camp in the woods type of place. both of us have been googling like crazy trying to find a starting point for research, but with little success. i've found woodland for sale sites, but cannot find out what you are allowed to do once it's yours, and there doesn't seem to be any info anywhere on how to start a campsite of any description. things like business license/liability insurance aside, does anyone have any tips/knowledge/advice on where to find out anything? we are thinking of northern england/wales as an area, and we're both getting pretty frustrated at the difficulties in even finding out the smallest pieces of information :banghead:
    any help would be greatly appreciated
    i'm a townie - GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!!!
     
  2. Toadflax

    Toadflax Native

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    I don't know whether any of the bushcraft schools would be able to offer advice. I realise that they could conceivably see you as competition - or on the other side of the coin they could see you as another means of drawing people into bushcraft (and into their schools).

    You probably don't have anything to lose by asking.



    Geoff
     
  3. andyn

    andyn Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    Gorilla, check out http://www.woodlands.co.uk/ there is heaps of info on there including different contacts and ideas etc.

    BUT...A lot of places where you buy part of a wood will come with a covenant..just like if you buy an appartment, where all tenants are expected to behave and conduct themselves by a set list of rules. Unfortunately in the case of http://www.woodlands.co.uk/ that means not running any commercial activities from the woodland. So the woodland they are selling will not be suitable for you. The info on the site though should give you some starters though.

    Good luck with your quest.
     
  4. gorilla

    gorilla Settler

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    thanks andyn, but you're right about the covenant - it includes the clause 'shall not be used for a commercial campsite' and this is the problem i have come across time and again.
    is there anywhere that advertises private land for sale that isn't governed by such stringent rules?
     
  5. Eric_Methven

    Eric_Methven Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    Do you know any farmers with woodland? You could approach them with a proposition. A couple of questions first.
    1. Do you envisage selling up and moving to the bushcraft woods permanently? (Lock stock and family in tow).

    2. Do you plan on just doing summer bushcraft, or will it be open all year round?

    3. Do you know how to write a business plan and cash flow forecast?

    If the answer to 1. is no, then you won't need to worry about building your family a house on the site, also planning permission won't be a major issue.

    An all year round campsite might have access problems due to muddy tracks in the winter, so a few tons of hardcore might have to come into the equation. First couple of years running a summer only bushcraft campsite might be wise to see how it goes.

    A business plan and cash flow forecast shows people you are serious. It will show a landowner that there may be profit in it for him/her.

    Realistically, it needn't cost much to start up. An agreement with a woodland owner, access for parking, minimal facilities (a tap plumbed in to the site and a couple of 'treebogs'). You can grow willow vigorously round a treebog and this can be harvested annually for anything you can use willow withes for (baskets, weaving, living willow structures, shelter building etc). Treebogs also mean that your campers won't need to dig little holes all over the place (which would mess up the site in no time at all).

    It certainly sounds feasable. Appropriate advertising would guarantee you a regular stream of visitors, and a regular income.

    Check to see if any of the environmental support organisations offer startup grants for small rural businesses, then check to see if your venture will qualify. You'll need the business plan for them too, so it's worth while writing one.

    Can't think of anything more at the minute, but I'd just like to say I think it's a great idea and I'd be happy to lend a hand (as a mate) at any stage of it's development if you think I could be of any use.

    Eric
     
  6. leon-b

    leon-b Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    sounds like a great idea mate :) good luck and i hope it works out for you
    leon
     
  7. gorilla

    gorilla Settler

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    thanks eric!
    in reply;
    1. yes, but renting off-site is not out of the question
    2. all year, but your point on starting summer only is a sensible one
    3. i have a little experience, but my friend has alot, plus my little brother has a business degree and is well versed in all that kind of thing

    i too was thinking that initial start-up would not be horribly expensive - we will have the cash from 2 house sales to invest, and like you say, beyond the purchase of the land and the installation of a few basic amenities, the costs should not be out of reach. from what i've read on bcuk in any mildly relevant thread, demand for the site should not be a problem, as the availability of bushy sites is pitifully thin on the ground.
    as an example of something i aspire to, Glyn Y Mul Farm would be a decent benchmark. i'm going there later in the year with the friends in question, and maybe can find out something from the owner there, as long as i assure him i will be far enough away so as not to impact on his business!!
    my friend is of the opinion that leasing unfarmable land from a farmer may be the best way to go (although ideally we would like to own it ourselves), but the biggest stumbling block is still finding the land in the first place!
    many thanks for the advice mate, and also for the generous offer of help. if i ever need it, i will call on you!
    it just seems to me that we all want good sites where we can do our own thing, and as considerate land users to a man/woman, it shouldn't be made to be this hard!!!
     
  8. spamel

    spamel Banned

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    I reckon you would be best off with a farm. I was thinking this the other day when I watched Ray and Gordon (Wild Food) clambering along the Scottish coast line collecting sea food and saw an old farmstead or pig sty that looked like it could be converted to live in. The idea would be for people to come up and live in a stone building with none of todays conveniences such as refrigeration, electricity, water on tap, etc. Foraging from the coast and meat from sheep kept around the area would be a fantastic way to live for a week to get a taste of how it would have been, a big hot fire boiling a big pot constantly, and all sorts of wild foods being collected. Certainly something that could create a lot of interest as I believe people just want the escapism more and more these days.
     
  9. Moff8

    Moff8 Forager

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    Speak to your council and local government bodies. I know that one of the places I trained had been give a fairly hefty grant to help buy the land in the first place. From what I remember of grants though you will need the business plan that Eric mentioned.
     
  10. Eric_Methven

    Eric_Methven Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    I've just had a look at the Glyn Y Mul Farm website and it looks great. Good idea to visit there and do a bit of research.

    Eric
     
  11. Nichola

    Nichola Member

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    Hi, dont know if it will be helpful for you, but i was in Little Plumpton village the other day (kinda near to Wrea Green, near Kirkham), and i noticed some land for sale. I'd read your thread just the day before and immediately thought about the problems you've been having. The land was 17 acres currently used for agricultural purposes. It has 2 fresh water ponds and good access from Preston New road. It is being advertised on the UK land directory website (www.uklanddirectory.org.uk/land-for-sale) for £130,000. I think the UK land directory would probably know about the stuff you need (permissions, insurances, etc). Why not give them a bell and see what you can find out?
    Hope this helps, Nichola
     
  12. Greg

    Greg Full Member

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    Hello Gorilla,
    Why don't you try and speak to these guys, they seem friendly enough.
    http://www.bushcraftadventures.com/
    They run a site where you can specifically go an do the bushcraft thing.
    I hope this helps.
    ATB Greg
     
  13. Matthew.Passmore

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    Could be Sheffield, Torquay, Dartmoor, the Peaks,
    just a thought about the covenant on woodlands.co.uk it says "No Commercial campsite" and "no business from the land apart from forestry" .

    would you be able to set up a bushcraft school?

    as you are not allowing people to camp there when they want and you are not refining the materials and resources of the land directly for commercial gain i.e keeping livestock in it,

    you are teaching people how to work with the forest, maybe you could put a conservation spin on it.
     
  14. commandocal

    commandocal New Member

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    i am also stuck in a crappy town no where near any woods,although a wild camping/woods site would be great,recently i did this race called Tough Guy and the guy owned lots of land and there was a choice to camp on the grass - no fire, just tents etc, and there was also a forest camping, fires allowed, make your own shelter if you wanted! but that wasnt even used and it was alot cheaper! i dont know whats wrong with people haha:p, If you are on about starting a campsite what i did was walk to my "local" woods about 5 miles away made afew shelters, made like a base and me and my friends go now and then to just relax, its a public woods but untouched sadly :(
     
  15. ilan

    ilan Nomad

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    Hi yes I have thought about this to and may be on day it will be possible . But I would think you would have to be a bit realistic about it. For the most part camping has a very short season perhaps 8 weeks at most with a bit of grey area perhaps another two so in ten weeks you have to make enough to live on etc given the cost of the woodland rates etc it would be difficult to make it pay . the route I was thinking would be more self sufficiant still work and have one or two guests just for the crack and bit extra income
     
  16. gorilla

    gorilla Settler

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    i disagree completely.
    i camp all year, and from what i read on this site, and many other campsite forums (becuase i have researched beyond this forum) the demand for an all year bushcraft friendly campsite is there with bells on. if you work on an 8 week season, i figure you as a fair weather camper - your grey area seems to be 'if it's raining i won't go'
    my sense of realism doesn't need to be called into question by you - i have invested alot of time into researching what is a very difficult hurdle to overcome - but don't worry - when the wintermoot is taking place at my site in 2 or 3 years, i won't assume you're coming
     
  17. Eric_Methven

    Eric_Methven Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    You seem to be confusing namby pamby commercial sites that cater for families on the summer holidays with a rough and ready bushcraft camping site - made for people who drink Iron-bru (made in Scotland from girders).

    Of course it'll get used all year round. The only reason many of us don't winter camp is because most places close for winter. If they stayed open we'd use them. That's why Gorilla's idea has so much merit. Blimey, the people on here could probably keep the venture going even without outsiders.

    Eric
     
  18. gorilla

    gorilla Settler

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    thanks for the backup eric - good to have the support
    i feel an advertising tag coming on - 'camp in the woods or in the methven field....'
     
  19. wanderinstar

    wanderinstar On a new journey

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    Another thing to consider, is that if you have a lot of bushcrafters using a permanent site all year round. You WILL have to provide timber/firewood, if not your tree stock will dissapear like ice in the desert.
    I wish you luck and if you do get it going will be among your first customers.
    All the best.
     
  20. Toadflax

    Toadflax Native

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    If you could do a site where it was possible to catch fish (e.g. pond /lake stocked with trout) and maybe provide some game (even if the people who attended didn't actually catch the game) - i.e. you provide fresh bunnies or something similar for people to buy, that they could then prepare and cook, that would be really good.



    Geoff
     

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