If you really want to get down and dirty with the great outdoors, then bushcraft needs to be a skill that you have under your belt. Whether you just want to get some basic skills such as fire starting within your outdoorsy repertoire, or perhaps want to go the whole hog and learn some advanced bushcraft skills, if you are a lover of the great outdoors, a few bushcraft skills will certainly help you to make the most of your time in the bush.
What is Bushcraft?
Put simply, bushcraft is the art of surviving outdoors. This could be anything from basic fire lighting and plant identification skills through to the likes of foraging for and trapping food, purifying water and shelter building. It’s not just about being able to survive in the wilderness; it’s also about sustainability and living alongside the natural world without destroying it.
Who can Enjoy Bushcraft?
Pretty much anyone and everyone! If you’ve got a love for the great outdoors, then you can learn bushcraft skills to a degree that suits your needs. It’s never too early to get little adventurers involved too; more and more schools are taking up Forest Schooling, and Scouts and Guides have been enjoying bushcraft since their inception. There are also plenty of bushcraft gatherings and courses which are suitable for all the family. Bushcraft is great for team building and teaches skills which will set you up for wilderness exploring for life.
What are the Benefits of Bushcraft?
There are so many benefits to bushcraft! For some, it’s purely a fun activity which connects you to nature. For others, it’s preparation just in case you were ever to find yourself stranded somewhere. Others enjoy bushcraft as part of an integrated sustainable living approach, and many people just want to try something new and step away from a life of screen time!
Where can you Practice Bushcraft?
Learning the basic skills can be done anywhere from your own back garden to specific courses and gatherings. In terms of practicing your skills out in the bush itself, although there are no laws in the UK that relate to bushcraft as a whole, there are heaps of laws that relate to activities which would fall under the bushcraft tarpaulin.
For example, access is a big issue in the UK, as most land is either privately owned or controlled by local authorities. This means that you’ll either need permission from the landowner to set foot on the land, or you’ll need to pay close attention to your Ordnance Survey map to ensure that you don’t stray away from public footpaths or bridleways.
You’ll also need to familiarise yourself with the Countryside Code, and if camping, you should be aware of where you can and can’t pitch up; often you’ll need the landowners permission to camp, although sometimes wild camping is tolerated, often in line with open access land as marked on Ordnance Survey maps.
In terms of fires, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland you must have the landowner’s permission. However, having a campfire in Scotland is allowed, but it’s recommended that you use a stove rather than an open fire and of course keep it under control at all times.
Plants, trees and animals are protected by law, and if foraging or trapping you need to be aware of this. To uproot any plant, you need the landowner’s permission, and certain additional protections apply to endangered plants, plants within Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) or on Nature Reserves. When foraging, it’s wise to follow the Botanical Society of the British Isles’ Code of Conduct for the Conservation and Enjoyment of Wild Plants, which includes the likes of always picking in moderation so that there is plenty left for others to enjoy.
Bushcraft trapping is only allowed when snaring, and this carries specific restrictions too. Defra’s codes of practice should be followed when snaring at all times.
Who can Inspire us to get the Bushcraft Bug?!
In recent years, bushcraft has really made a name for itself, not just because so many of us are enjoying and reaping the benefits of being in the great outdoors, but also because there’s been more media focus on these survival skills. With many TV shows and magazine publications dedicating themselves to wilderness skills there’s plenty out there to inspire you to get the bushcraft bug! Who knows, you could be the next Ray Mears and Bear Grylls!
Where can I kit myself out for Bushcraft?
Want to spark your fire starting skills? Or fancy trying to build a shelter? If so, we have everything you need to kit yourself out and get back to nature! You won’t just be surviving in the bush: you’ll be thriving!