Landowners Official Permission

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Al88b

New Member
Apr 6, 2020
4
5
42
Cheshire
Hello I am new to bushcraft but I would like to get involved. I want to do wild camping/bushcraft but I don't like the idea of trespassing on someone else's land. What is the most successful proper way of finding out who owns a piece of land and asking their permission to do some wild camping/bushcraft on it? How do the professionals go about getting the landowners permission? Thanks. Alistair.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,152
4,503
Mid Wales
There have been a few threads on this subject in the past (not surprisingly, it's a thorny issue); in fact, I thought you asked a similar question earlier in the year.


The reality is, it's very difficult. It may be easier to try and find groups in your area already meeting. For every suitable piece of land there are probably half a dozen people/groups or more that would want to use it in a busy area. What are you offering the landowner? Why would they give you permission to do something on the land that they can get good money for? Why would allowing you to do what you want to do be of any benefit to them? Can you offer a service or give a value to your use of the land?

So, for example, I own some woodland. If someone came to me and said that they'd spend a day a month helping me carry out the (hard) work that's needed to look after it, and I liked them, I would be happy for them to spend the odd weekend camping in it (subject to a few rules). All too often though people assume permission should be a one-way deal.

I'm sorry, I know this sounds very negative, but it is the reality on this overpopulated crowded island.
 
Hello I am new to bushcraft but I would like to get involved. I want to do wild camping/bushcraft but I don't like the idea of trespassing on someone else's land. What is the most successful proper way of finding out who owns a piece of land and asking their permission to do some wild camping/bushcraft on it? How do the professionals go about getting the landowners permission? Thanks. Alistair.
I am a land owner Alistair, & I would prefer it if you fronted up at my house & asked me personally face to face. Check out the farms in your area, they will likely also know the owners to adjacent land/forests.
Regards, Keith.
 
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It might be helpful for the uninitiated if the land owners here, or folk that do such work, could list the kinds of things that land owners can appreciate help with.
The only help I need is for campers not to litter, leave the area just as they found it, be safe with camp fires, & report to me if they see any trespassing, find any broken fencing, see any feral animals. Though right now I do have a composting toilet bucket that needs changing, any helpers? :)
Regards, Keith.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,152
4,503
Mid Wales
Thinning
Coppicing
Snedding
Logging
Timber processing
Fencing & fence repair
Brash removal & burning
Bramble and bracken clearing
Ride repair and maintenance
Dangerous tree felling
Windblown processing
Pest management (squirrel, deer, rabbit…)
Drainage digging and clearing
Windblown agricultural litter clearing (silage bags typically)
Stray livestock removal

and so on ....

To be clear, for anyone to use a chainsaw in my wood they would have to have a LANTRA or NPTC ticket or my insurance would be invalid. I have to pay insurance for Public Liability; as soon as someone 'uses' the land or 'works on' the land, my insurance costs go up.
 

Redhand Jack

Member
Jan 25, 2021
49
38
Devon
I have permission to do as I please with a small patch of woodland (the owner bought it as they owned the adjacent farmland and access track) and my only obligation is to challenge anyone else I see on their property.

Most small woodland is owned by local farmers and the larger areas by the gentry or investment syndicates, neither of which are particularly keen on folk playing wilderness on their land. For 'official' permission you need to talk to landowners face-to-face in my opinion, and finding them isn't always easy. If and when you do it's as much about personalities and timings as anything else, you might have great talk about conservation or rural skills and restoration but even if you can give them a reason to give you permission, like cleaning up and repairing hedgerows etc for free in return, because of legal and insurance issues they're unlikely to be interested..

If you're in it for the long game you could try putting Woodland Wanted adverts up in the local farm shop and livestock market cafe, as well as the local paper, parish newsletter and any local advert board near areas you'd consider traveling to - it's a shot in the dark but you may get lucky..

Whatever you do good luck
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,052
1,194
Berlin
I think it is important to choose a good place for a camp first.

I would search in the hiking map for a good place, if possible with wellspring for drinking water, a medow to camp on in a corner of two hedges and a wood in approximately 100 m distance for gathering fire wood. Wind protection, no old trees above the tent.

If it looks good in the map I would go there and if I am convinced that it is worth the effort, I would take photos of the corner, well and forest and go into the next village and ask the farmers who owns it. And then ask the owner for permission, personally.

Would we get an e-mai from a guy in Berlin we probably would say no.
If he stands around tea time in front of the gate, asks courteously and looks good, we probably would say yes.

I recommend to avoid camouflage clothing as well as bright colours. And I would rather speak about silence and bird watching and a small tent in a corner than about wood-shelters, bushcraft and survival.

I would ask for fire permission later in Autumn, not in the beginning. If I know the guy and trust him, he can ignite a little fire on our ground to make a tea, why not?

If one comes along and asks if he may dig a WW1 trench here and burn down our forest we tend to call the police...

But a guy who wants to watch birds and other wild animals next to the forest and also stay over night? If he looks for silence he probably will be relatively quiet.
Why not? We can try it with him.
 
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Urdasein

Member
Nov 26, 2020
29
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40
France
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Mod Note:
The Original Poster in this thread is in England. The following post was made by someone in France. Had this post been seen sooner, it would have been removed for advocating what is in England, illegal camping. Since it has been mentioned by subsequent posters, it is being left, albeit in an edited state. For reference, if anyone wants to advocate for these methods, please do not use this forum.


Leave no trace philosophy.

-> don't get seen = won't get caught, be as stealth as possible.
-> don't leave clues of your presence. No trash, no ashes, no trampling.
-> be as polite as possible.

Be like the cheshire cat. ^ ^

If the landowner is not aware of your presence while and after you're camping. There is no reason to discuss about this (unless he wants to make you pay for accessing his location = big nope in the name of Allemansrätten and fight against proprietarism).
 
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nigelp

Full Member
Ummm. Not sure about advocating what is basically trespass. Going onto land with knives and axes, setting up a camp and even having a fire in a fire box will certainly leave a trace. People will know you are there; especially if you are moving about in the woodland and lighting an kind of fire.

It won’t be relaxing if you have to keep any eye out for an angry landowner.

‘Bushcraft’ is quite different to using a tent or bivvy bag on an upland moorland or some out the way stretch of down land.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,052
1,194
Berlin
And the point is, that it is generally tolerated and in a lot of cases even officially legal in Germany and France.

So far I am informed it's a bit different in Britain. It surely can be done but first experiences probably should be better collected with permission.

If you can find a very nice spot and easily reach it, because there is a railway station not too far, it's good to have it anyway, even if you later become a hiking stealth camper.

A good stealth camper sets up the camp with sunset and leaves it with sunrise. But it's nice to spend a whole day in camp as well.

One also could do the opposite if one is already experienced enough.

One could search for good legal spots while hiking and stealth camping. In this case I wouldn't sleep in the best places of course.
 

slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,347
357
Devon
It might be helpful for the uninitiated if the land owners here, or folk that do such work, could list the kinds of things that land owners can appreciate help with.

Well, I'm not such a slave driver as Broch! I'd settle for someone helping piling up brash I've left form felling some trees. There's plenty of decent wood in it for a sensible fire. I'd then be happy to hear what was seen about the place.

Attitude would be important. At the moment, for example, it's been very dry for well over a month so I wouldn't expect someone to suggest having a wood fire. I also wouldn't want anyone to annoy the neighbours.

As for contacting people, I did leave contact details by my entrance but someone removed them for some reason.

If the landowner is not aware of your presence while and after you're camping. There is no reason to discuss about this (unless he wants to make you pay for accessing his location = big nope in the name of Allemansrätten and fight against proprietarism).
However, these sort of comments puts me off allowing anyone.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,052
1,194
Berlin
Yes. But the stealth camping idea here came from the French- German border.
That's why I pointed out the differences.

In France I slept a few hundred times on farmers ground in different places without asking for permission and if the landowners came along they usually didn't say much more than "Bonjour!".
And if we still slept, they didn't disturb us.

The Frogs are pretty cool people.
 

Urdasein

Member
Nov 26, 2020
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France
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@Urdasein There is no "Allemansrätten" in Britain. You have to come to fenno-scandia for that.

Yeah, but this is a concept that should be instigated everywhere. It's a fundamental right, like free speech, IMHO.

The thing is that property is also a basic right.

End of debate for me.

I would still talk about Escape & Evasion and Stealth Camping (in another subject), but from a "recreational" perspective, where "normal" camping is legal. :rolleyes:

Remember the Cheshire Cat ^ ^
 
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Urdasein

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Nov 26, 2020
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France
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The Frogs are pretty cool people.

Well France has many very different cultures. In the East, we are closer to the Germans were the nature is a mystical thing = the "jedermannsrecht" is not a written law but it is a custom (80% of forests are the property of the state, not people <3). However, in the south, they have a sepherd / farmer culture and well... It's a bit more tricky (and fires are a real threat). This contrast is also VERY noticeable about the hunting method (and its symbolism).
 
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Limey Pete

Tenderfoot
Jun 20, 2021
57
38
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pnom, penh
In England there is a right to roam law which give persons access to certain public land, and private land.
Plus there is rights of way, and public footpaths across privately owned land. I have never had a problem.
Most farmers can not be bothered chasing walkers off their land and if the walker buy eggs and milk from them they might let you marry their daughter.
 
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