Rules and regulations for practicing bushcraft in different countries

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tutorp

Member
Dec 21, 2014
12
0
Trondheim, Norway
Earlier today, I was looking around to see if there were any threads in here covering the rules and regulations for practicing bushcraft in different countries in my vicinity. Seeing as this is a UK forum, I did find a few resources covering the UK, but I figured a thread detailing the basics of this for Western European countries (and countries outside of Western Europe, if anyone has a good knowledge of these) could be a good resource, and that this subforum would be the right place for it.

As a Norwegian, I'll start off detailing some laws and regulations in Norway (I know similar rules apply to Sweden and Finland as well, though I don't know the details there). I'll try to edit in the information posted by others to this post (with credits, of course), so as to make a more orderly overview.

Hungary (thanks to Lacijag1)
  • Camping is legal on any state land, and a large part of the forest and wilderness areas in the country are state owned.
  • Collecting wood for personal use for a fire is allowed.
  • Collecting water and harvesting wild fruits and edible plants for personal use is allowed.

Norway
  • In Norway, there's an established "Everyman's Right" which includes the right to freely roam any land area which is not defined as "innmark" (cultivated land), and a limited right to use even cultivated land (except fenced-off areas, gardens, and courtyards). Any land defined as "utmark" (uncultivated land, whether private property or state-owned) can be freely roamed by foot throughout the year, and, except if otherwise noted, also by horse and unmotorized vehicle (like a bike or a sled). The same right of roaming applies to any road or trail used to access such lands, as long as this travel is not to the detriment of the owner of the land (or you have to pass through his courtyard). In any case, in using these rights one should display due care not to damage the land one uses, not disturb animal life, and avoid leaving a trail.
  • Travel in freshwater by unmotorized craft (and swimming/bathing) is also generally allowed. In the sea, motorized crafts are also allowed.
  • The "Everyman's Right" also include the right to set up camp in any area of uncultivated land for up to two nights. One should not set up camp so close to any house or cabin as to be of disturbance, and never closer than 150 meters. Anywhere sufficiently far away from civilization, like up in the mountains, the 2-night rule does not apply, and elsewhere, one can of course stay for longer than two nights with the permission of the landowner. Furthermore, the camp should not be of inconvenience of other users of the area (so try to avoid setting up camp on a trail :p ), and must not cause damage to the environment in which you camp (meaning that one should not set up camp in, say, young woods, not leave traces of ones passing like trash or half-burnt logs from a firepalce, etc.).
  • With the exception of any area that has been adapted for specific outdoors activities (like a camping spot or a beach with facilities), these rights are to be free of charge.
  • In some specific cases, these rights can be limited - examples include nature preserves or very popular areas, in which the landowner can put up restrictions to protect the land.
  • In uncultivated lands, one has the right to harvest any mushrooms, berries, flowers, plants and roots of wild herbs, as long as one shows due caution not to cause harm to the environment. One can also collect nuts to be consumed on the spot, though not harvest to bring home. In certain areas of Northern Norway, the landowner can prohibit the harvesting of cloudberries, though one still retains the right to pick them for consumption on the spot.
  • It is forbidden to make fire in woodlands, or in the vicinity of woodlands, during the summer half of the year, from 15/4 to 15/9. This technically includes any source of open fire, including camp stoves, though from what I've gathered this is not always too strictly enforced. Outside of woodlands, and during winter, it is generally allowed, though local restrictions may apply. Generally speaking, it is forbidden to "make fire or handle anything that represents a fire hazard in such a way that it could cause a wildfire".
  • One has the right to collect (fallen) deadwood for firemaking, though one is generally not allowed to harm living trees, including collecting bark.
  • Carrying a knife of any size is generally not permitted unless one has a reasonable cause of carry. However, bushcrafting and outdoors activities are definitely considered reasonable cause of carry. I would recommend leaving your belt knife in your pack when traveling through urban or suburban environments (though it shouldn't pose much of a problem if you look "outdoorsy" enough), and definitely do so if you stop by a pub during your trip (though in a rural environment, I'm not sure even that would be much of a problem).
  • In saltwater, one can generally do sports fishing for free, as long as one keeps at least 100 meters away from anywhere where fishing is restricted (including freshwater sources such as an estuary). In freshwater, one must buy a fishing card for the area/river/lake, unless one is below 16 years of age. There are laws and regulations covering what kind of implements can be used for sports fishing, minimum size for fish caught, fishing season for certain species, etc. Hand-held fishing devices like rods have relatively few restrictions.
  • To hunt, one needs permission from the landowner, as well as a hunting licence from the government. Unless one satisfies the conditions to hunt the kind of game one intends to hunt in ones home country, getting this licence requires a 30-hour course and passing a test. The hunting season for different game animal varies, and the scope of this post is far smaller than required to cover that topic.
 
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Lacijag1

Forager
Oct 11, 2014
139
28
London-Teddington
www.youtube.com
I can only say few words about wild camping in Hungary.
It is legal to do on any state land. Most forest and wilderness area in Hungary is state land. Private lands are used for farming, they are clearly noticeable.
Collecting wood for fire is fine as long as you collect wood for personal use. Same with water or any wild fruits and eatable plants.
This what I know about the laws.
In reality people won't say a word when see someone wild camping, having a camp fire or building a shelter.
So in short, Hungary is a heaven for bushcrafters.
 

Imagedude

Full Member
Feb 24, 2011
1,995
40
Gwynedd
A timely reminder for those of use who take advantage of the generosity offered by the Scandinavian countries. Here's a summary of the rules for Finland which are slightly more stringent than those of Norway.

Everyman's rights in a nutshell

You may

  • walk, ski or cycle in areas outside private gardens and land that is in a specific use (for example cultivated fields and plantations)
  • stay for a short period in any area where access is otherwise allowed (for example put up a tent, but not too close to people's homes)
  • pick wild berries, mushrooms and flowers
  • fish with a rod and line, and through a hole in the ice in wintertime
  • walk on the ice or boat.
You may not

  • disturb other people or damage the environment
  • disturb nesting birds or game
  • cut down or damage trees
  • collect moss, lichen, soil or wood
  • disturb the privacy of homes
  • litter
  • drive a motor vehicle off the road without the landowner's permission
  • fish and hunt without the appropriate permits.

Of particular interest are the rules relating to trees and open fires.

Trees and shrubs
Cutting or damaging standing trees, dead or alive, is prohibited.
In addition, permission from the landowner must be
obtained for gathering twigs, bark, cones, or any other parts
of standing trees. Permission from the landowner is also
required for the recovery of fallen trees. Everyman’s right
covers the gathering of twigs, leaves, needles, birch bark, or
bark that has fallen to the ground. The right also covers the
removal of bracket fungi, if it can be done without harming
the tree, with the exception of the chaga mushroom, because
its removal may harm the tree.

Lighting fires
Campfires or other open fires may not be lit without permission
from the landowner. If there is an obvious risk of a forest
fire, open fires must not be lit in or near a forested area, even
with the landowner’s permission. There is no need to obtain
permission to use a camping stove or a similar portable fire
source, which is free standing, because they are not considered
open fires. The person who lit the fire will be held
liable for any loss, if the fire spreads and causes damage.
At campsites and in recreation areas, special places for
lighting fires are usually provided, and fires must not be lit
elsewhere.
 
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Nov 29, 2004
7,808
9
Scotland
"...So in short, Hungary is a heaven for bushcrafters..."

It is worth mentioning that Hungary can experience very hot and very dry summers and that forest fires are a real risk.

Also, if camping near Budapest or any of the larger cities you are more likely to have your evening interrupted by the police or rangers. This in part because there are so many homeless folks these days and many have built little shelters and sheds in nearby woods and forests.

One thing that will be popular with many on here is that possession and carrying of a fixed blade or locking knife in a 'public' place is acceptable. However the blade length must be less than 8 cm. Larger knifes are ok if you have them in your pack until you actually need it in the woods/forest etc. :)
 
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Lacijag1

Forager
Oct 11, 2014
139
28
London-Teddington
www.youtube.com
One thing that will popular with many on here is that possession and carrying of a fixed blade or locking knife in a 'public' place is acceptable. However the blade length must be less than 8 cm. Larger knifes are ok if you have them in your pack until you actually need it in the woods/forest etc. :)

It just came in to my mind cos you mentioned the blades.
I heard something ages ago and couldn't find proof of that now. It was about the weight of the axe heads. For personal use can't carry an axe that heavier than 0,5kg (the head). Do you know something about it?

I didn't know about these homeless guys. I was born in Veszprem (small city) and was hiking and camping in the Bakony mountains or in the Balaton Uplands National Park. Never met any of them there.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Nov 29, 2004
7,808
9
Scotland
"...It was about the weight of the axe heads. For personal use can't carry an axe that heavier than 0,5kg (the head). Do you know something about it?.."

I didn't know about that either. It may relate to the illegal felling of trees, most of the DIY or superstores sell the Fiskars range of Axes so larger and heavier heads are available. I'll have a dig around.

"...I didn't know about these homeless guys. I was born in Veszprem (small city) and was hiking and camping in the Bakony mountains or in the Balaton Uplands National Park. Never met any of them there..."

The number of homeless people has greatly increased over the past two years, that and the Budapest local government making homelessness illegal a couple of years back resulted in lots of folks walking off into the woods rather than using doorways and benches.
 

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