Regulating bushcraft

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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,917
1,812
McBride, BC
Expect the unexpected. That's where I find I enjoy "bushcraft" applications the most. I have always done a lot of practicing at home. Can you do that? A really bad spring blizzard with zero visibility is the wrong place and the wrong time to be a neophyte learning anything.

The right place and the right time is this minute in the snowstorm at my house. Get out my front door and make shelter and fire. Come back in to rethink this if the first trial doesn't work.

I can build a camp fire quite easily (aka find dry tinder under any Canadian circumstances.) We used to make a competitive race out of that. My brother was the winner, fire in the fireplace in less than 30 seconds.

This house has no fireplace and hearth for simple fires and food prep. I keep thinking how I can add some sort of an open decorative fireplace (acorn?) to indulge my curiosity with bowdrill fire kits.

Bushcraft gets regulated here. Moreso nearest the major population centers. Moreso for the people who won't for some reason, drive an extra hour to really "get away." The pressure on available wilderness campsites has led to a reservation system. Spring reservation system crashes every year are the norm.

Where I live, the wildest of unorganized campsites are always occupied by strangers who are very good at leaving no trace but bent grass and the big stone fire pit. They are so clean, I am happy to see their hunting camps, year after year after year. Moose and bear mostly. Some deer. Slothful residents like myself are content to come home each night to a big, warm, wooden "tent" with an indoor bathroom.
 

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Silverclaws2

Forager
Dec 30, 2019
207
103
53
Devon
First define "Bushcraft" then define what aspects of it are unique to "Bushcraft", and somehow require you to carry an identity card/licence and thats before you try and licence it.

Then go over "There" and when you get "There" can you just go a bit further away?
Ta muchly.
And does Britain have a ' bush' to practice 'bushcraft' in as I was under the impression what's outside of cities and other built up areas is 'countryside', where perhaps what folk really practise in the British countryside is ' country craft '
 

Lean'n'mean

Nomad
Nov 18, 2020
313
125
France
And does Britain have a ' bush' to practice 'bushcraft' in as I was under the impression what's outside of cities and other built up areas is 'countryside', where perhaps what folk really practise in the British countryside is ' country craft '
Get thee to the naughty corner, infidel. :rolleyes:
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,639
1,013
Berlin
You are already incredibly restricted in Britain. What I did read here in the forum about your legal frame seems totally weird to me. Like a bad joke, really!

I am no specialist for international laws regarding the open landscape, but my impression is that you are standing pretty alone with your legal frame.

I think you have a lack of human or public rights in the United Kingdom, because it is still a Monarchy and you had no revolution that ended middle agest circumstances, like it was done in other countries. I don't blame your royal family, or anybody else who inherited forest, but I criticize your current legal frame.

Historically the living area of a tribe was common land. Of course the fields were private properties, as there was invested a lot of work and the there growing plants were privately owned.
But the aristocratic class robbed the land and human rights of the weaker farmers and forced them out of the before commonly owned forests and meadows. They suddenly interdicted them to hunt wild animals and so on.

In most European countries the folk took back the rights to access and use the own land in a sooner or later happening revolution.

As nowhere in Europe was any wilderness left, the woods and open landscape stood in private ownership but larger aristocratic owned forests usually went over in public ownership. And also the remaining privately owned land became public accessible nearly everywhere in Europe. Just the planted trees and fields are protected as privately owned.

(Not being an advocate I have to mark the following as my private opinion about how I understood the laws I talk about here. I shortened the informations. Everybody has to inform himself about existing laws directly. But I can tell you that I am not so bad informed about it, as a private, non official person.)

In Germany for example we have generally the right of everybody to walk or sit around where he wants to, as long as he doesn't disturb actively wild animals or plants, doesn't destroy domesticated plants, desturb domesticated animals or set any values in risk or enters a private living space or fenced in closer business area.
(In most European countries the legal frame is pretty similar to German laws so far I am informed.)

Land owners need very good reasons to limit the public access to their land: They can fence in private properties around the own house and business, including areas where they grow fine vegetables. They can fence in domesticated animals.

Areas closed by hedges, trenches, sand walls, stone walls, wire fences and electric fences and also just well visible written signs that declare such protected private properties aren't allowed to cross and enter.

But the land owner isn't allowed to fence in his whole farm without very good reasons, like growing sheep in a wolf district. No, instead of that he has to keep his land open for public access for recreational use. In some countries that includes wild camping in others it doesn't. In some countries wild camping for just one night is allowed for hikers, for example depending on the altitude or if the land is owned by the state. Each area in Europe has a bit different rules, but nowhere we find so restrictive laws like in Britain.

Officials can limit access to nature reserves and declare special rules for limited areas with good reasons, nature reserves, drinking water protection and military areas for example, areas with danger for forest fires too, but generally Europeans may walk and sleep where they want to everywhere in Europe as long as they don't disturb other humans or animals in their homes and living spaces.

If I enter a forest and don't look up, and get a branch or complete tree on the head, or do step I a hole and break my leg, that's my own problem. A forest is no idiot proof playing ground. Who enters it has to live with the risk he counts in.

In Germany we have rather the opposite: Land owners usually aren't allowed to cut away dead trees if they don't stand next to ways, due to animal protection. There are a lot of species that need them as living space. If sonebody walks under a dead tree and gets it on the head, it's his own fault. Who isn't able to switch on his brains and lost every good instincts should better stay in town.

In my opinion it's really weird to force forest owners to get an insurance if they don't lock out others of their woods.
I can't imagine that such rules exist anywhere else than Britain.

You may do in your country what you want, of course. But instead of thinking about a hiking, walking in the woods and sleeping on a lawn licence I rather would start a people initiative for general access rights to forest and open landscape or even the introduction of allemansräten after Scandinavic pattern in Britain.
 
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Bee Outdoors

Full Member
Aug 10, 2019
35
28
50
Manchester
You are already incredibly restricted in Britain. What I did read here in the forum about your legal frame seems totally weird to me. Like a bad joke, really!

I am no specialist for international laws regarding the open landscape, but my impression is that you are standing pretty alone with your legal frame.

I think you have a lack of human or public rights in the United Kingdom, because it is still a Monarchy and you had no revolution that ended middle agest circumstances, like it was done in other countries. I don't blame your royal family, or anybody else who inherited forest, but I criticize your current legal frame.

Historically the living area of a tribe was common land. Of course the fields were private properties, as there was invested a lot of work and the there growing plants were privately owned.
But the aristocratic class robbed the land and human rights of the weaker farmers and forced them out of the before commonly owned forests and meadows. They suddenly interdicted them to hunt wild animals and so on.

In most European countries the folk took back the rights to access and use the own land in a sooner or later happening revolution.

As nowhere in Europe was any wilderness left, the woods and open landscape stood in private ownership but larger aristocratic owned forests usually went over in public ownership. And also the remaining privately owned land became public accessible nearly everywhere in Europe. Just the planted trees and fields are protected as privately owned.

(Not being an advocate I have to mark the following as my private opinion about how I understood the laws I talk about here. I shortened the informations. Everybody has to inform himself about existing laws directly. But I can tell you that I am not so bad informed about it, as a private, non official person.)

In Germany for example we have generally the right of everybody to walk or sit around where he wants to, as long as he doesn't disturb actively wild animals or plants, doesn't destroy domesticated plants, desturb domesticated animals or set any values in risk or enters a private living space or fenced in closer business area.
(In most European countries the legal frame is pretty similar to German laws so far I am informed.)

Land owners need very good reasons to limit the public access to their land: They can fence in private properties around the own house and business, including areas where they grow fine vegetables. They can fence in domesticated animals.

Areas closed by hedges, trenches, sand walls, stone walls, wire fences and electric fences and also just well visible written signs that declare such protected private properties aren't allowed to cross and enter.

But the land owner isn't allowed to fence in his whole farm without very good reasons, like growing sheep in a wolf district. No, instead of that he has to keep is land open for public access for recreational use. In some countries that includes wild camping in others it doesn't. In some countries wild camping for just one night is allowed for hikers, for example depending on the altitude or if the land is owned by the state. Each area in Europe has a bit different rules, but nowhere we find so restrictive laws like in Britain.

Officials can limit access to nature reserves and declare special rules for limited areas with good reasons, nature reserves, drinking water protection and military areas for example, areas with danger for forest fires too, but generally Europeans may walk and sleep where they want to everywhere in Europe as long as they don't desturb other humans or animals in their homes and living spaces.

If I enter a forest and don't look up, and get a branch or complete tree on the head, or do step I a hole and break my leg, that's my own problem. A forest is no idiot proof playing ground. Who enters it has to live with the risk he counts in.

In Germany we have rather the opposite: Land owners usually aren't allowed to cut away dead trees if they don't stand next to ways, due to animal protection. There are a lot of species that need them as living space. If sonebody walks under a dead tree and gets it on the head, it's his own fault. Who isn't able to switch on his brains and lost every good instincts should better stay in town.

In my opinion it's really weird to force forest owners to get an insurance if they don't lock out others of their woods.
I can't imagine that such rules exist anywhere else than Britain.

You may do in your country what you want, of course. But instead of thinking about a hiking, walking in the woods and sleeping on a lawn licence I rather would start a people initiative for general access rights to forest and open landscape or even the introduction of allemansräten after Scandinavic pattern in Britain.
Yes the laws are quite restricting and the issue with land ownership limits what we can do but in fairness I can actually understand most of it, the thing about us Brits is we easy going and traditionally if there is a queue you will normally find that brights people respect the order. What we need to understand is that we are a island and not that big, overwhelmed with a big population and if these regulations were not in place I would hate to think what the environment would be like. Yes we have far too many laws and regulations but I tend to think that using common sense is far better and effective than a revolution. My opinion and by no means do I think it’s the right one but I think education is key, it should start early I don’t know why outdoor skills and education is not a active subject in schools, this would have a massive effect on how people see and respect the environment.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,639
1,013
Berlin
A revolution surely isn't needed in Britain, but probably an adjustment of current laws regarding access rights to the open landscape.

If Britain would publish new laws about land access, they also could easily publish what they do with people who dig out wild plants, disturb animals and throw their garbage around.

Things like that can become pretty expensive in Germany. Often enough you can read in our laws regarding nature protection something like "up to 50.000 €" or even "up to 5 years".

And it isn't so horribly expensive to hire a few rangers who look after the most attractive spots like lakes or whatever, and to put a few garbage bins in the landscape.

I doubt that England is more crowded than western Germany, Austria or Switzerland for example.
 
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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
4,597
3,854
Mid Wales
I doubt that England is more crowded than western Germany, Austria or Switzerland for example.

Similar to Germany, a bit higher than Switzerland.

The last year has shown that the great majority in the UK have no idea how to look after the countryside - hell, even the farmers haven't a clue (generally, there are exceptions). The police have no way of dealing with the yobs and any 'Rangers' would have even fewer tools to ensure people acted sensibly.

No, keep the human animal to designated areas so their mess is easy to clear up and has least impact on all the other residents; keep them out of the areas we need to protect.

The general population has not had continuous free access to land since farming started thousands of years ago. As soon as you start working the land you need to protect what you have carved out from the bullies that will take it off you. If you can't, and most can't, you end up ploughing the land to feed the bullies - that's the nature of mankind. The land never did belong to the peasants though we like to think it did with rose tinted glasses.

Let's not get into politics, (and please don't try telling us Brits how it could be better if we adopted other European systems) but I actually like our political system and, in general, support our laws; they are a compromise but they generally work.
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,655
742
Vantaa, Finland
I have a feeling that Erbswurst is right that the British practice concerning land and it's use is a feudal relic. We have at least one of those old laws still left, all large animals game and carnivore are "owned" by the State. I think that follows from old Swedish laws from the time of slightly absolute monarchy.

While we can walk in most forested areas we have about the same restrictions EW listed. One really important thing is that one can't make a fire without permit. National parks and recreational areas are nowadays quite well furbished with fireplaces for those who don't want to carry gas stoves (that many people do).
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,655
742
Vantaa, Finland
Let's not get into politics, (and please don't try telling us Brits how it could be better if we adopted other European systems) but I actually like our political system and, in general, support our laws; they are a compromise but they generally work.
The system has reached a kind of evolutionary stable point. Almost every where else in Europe there was a revolution that broke feudalism and resulted in various systems that took some time to stabilize. The resulting systems mostly work, difficult to say if better or worse but quite differently from the British one.
 
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Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,346
2,323
S. Lanarkshire
The elephant in the room is Industrialisation, and that the overturning of the population from rural to urbanised happened first here, and did so in a way that divorced the majority from any access to the countryside.
That wasn't a 'feudal' thing, that was simply that a workforce needed to be close to the factories and had very few holidays or free time.

Now, the idyll that TLM claims about furbished with fireplaces, just doesn't work here. Even the bothies, remote and hard to access, end up vandalised. It's a mindset among just enough that truly spoils much for the rest.

Change comes slowly, but the sight of the litter left behind in the park when the students descended last week (news story) is a clear indication that many just don't give a damn.
 

TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,655
742
Vantaa, Finland
That wasn't a 'feudal' thing, that was simply that a workforce needed to be close to the factories and had very few holidays or free time.
I referred to land ownership mostly.
Now, the idyll that TLM claims about furbished with fireplaces just doesn't work here.
I don't know if it is an idyll but anyway reality, yes there are people who break things or litter but if one goes even a bit farther from the centers things are not that bad. It even looks like people have learned to use them properly. Some of them even speak to strangers! ;)
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,639
1,013
Berlin
Off course I can't tell you what's the best for your country.

And perhaps it's really just a question of education.

We had in Germany and still have a lot of former Boy Scouts and members of our own and older similar moovement called Wandervogel among the teachers, and apart from that perhaps also the HJ, BDM and FDJ education, that forced everybody to go for wild camping in organized groops, made German people more sensible regarding nature protection.

The German air force chief Herman Göring, sitting for dinner with mass murders, passed very modern nature protective hunting laws, and of course that spirit was also taught in HJ and BDM. That really was some kind of national program. Incredible, that they had no problems to murder millions of humans but were very compassionate with the wildlife, but that are historic facts.

Our green party does a great propaganda for nature protection and is very very visible since decades, and we still have in school every month a hiking day.

Yes, because we have so many Wandervögel and Boy Scouts among our teachers since more than 100 years, we have official hiking days for school classes! And we have regular similar school class journeys as well, where hiking is taught, usual living in youth hostels, but anyway: They run around in the woods all day!

Probably that all are the reasons why we have no garbage problem in the woods.
 
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demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,379
389
-------------
So what activities would the licenced people be able to do that the non licenced wouldn't? Carry a slightly longer knife? Are the any other activities that might occasionally need that knife and wouldn't want a wally factor nine licence?

I sometimes cut insulation with a long knife, it makes less dust than a handsaw and shears just wont do.
Would I need a "bushcraft licence" to cut building insulation? Naah, not having it.
 

Woody girl

Full Member
Mar 31, 2018
3,081
2,204
62
Exmoor
Today I have been for a walk in the fields bordering a private estate.
I saw a bit of broken down gate, and just inside the wood, a load of empty cans and plastic bags, and a fire scar.
So I went in and started to clear all the rubbish into a neat pile, intending to come back and remove it. I had just finished, when the landowner and her dog came wandering down through the trees. She was very pleased I was clearing up for her, and we had a long chat, and I brewed a cuppa for us on my pocket rocket. She told me there was a tent and a huge fire scar further in, so I went to have a look. Cheap gear, blunt as anything axe, bottle of pink gin and obviosly a girl camping there . The tent was in a heck of a state, and hadn't been used for a while so had been abandoned.
I have a suspicion who it is, and will be going back tomorrow to clear and bin all the stuff, and try and sort out the fire scar a bit. It will be a big job.!
Hopefully it will make me favourable in the landowners eyes, and she has already said I'm welcome to sit and brew a cuppa anytime. Who knows where it might lead in the future.
But its idiots like this who make it difficult to get landowners onside , when I just want to ask nicely and spend a few hours just sitting in the woods watching nature and screwing my head back on! (Sigh)
 

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