If you’re practising to hone your bushcraft skills, no one on the internet can grant you permission to perform certain things. It’s up to you where you go, but if you want to carry a knife and use a hatchet legally, you’ll need permission from whoever owns the land you’re going on.
There are several places to visit, with practically every significant woodland offering something unique, but if you want something truly one-of-a-kind for bushcrafting in the UK, check out some of the spots listed below.
- Cumbria – Grizedale Forest, Rydal and Grasmere
Grizedale Forest, which covers a huge area of the Lake District, is home to England’s last indigenous red deer herd. The lake in Grasmere is surrounded by woods, and the entire area provides the best terrain for practising a variety of abilities. The area is spread over such a broad area, so it is owned by many different people and organisations. Be sure to do some research before visiting.
- Northumberland- Kielder Land
Kielder Forest is England’s largest man-made forest, covering over 250 square miles. It also features the UK’s largest man-made lake and the Lakeside Way, a 27-mile long hiking trail. Despite the fact that it is not a natural forest, it is home to a diverse range of wild plants and animals and is one of the best areas to practise navigation and long-distance hiking.
There are several camp spots in the region, but if you want to camp in the woods, you’ll need permission. Even if you don’t have a camping permit, this is a fantastic spot to go for a stroll and a wonderful day of training to find out how far you can walk through the forest in one day.
- Gloucester- Forest Of Dean
The Forest of Dean is an ancient woodland that covers over 500 square kilometres and is home to a pack of wild boar that were illegally introduced by animal rights activists several years ago and have bred there ever since. The forest is varied and features some of England’s best tree varieties, making it an excellent place to practise identifying wild plants.
Since the forest’s tree types are diverse, it supports a wide range of mushrooms, with more varieties than any other English woodland. There are several affordable campgrounds in the vicinity, but as with wild camping anywhere in England, you’ll require permission.
- Hampshire- New Forest
The odd thing about this region is that it isn’t actually a “forest” in the traditional sense and would be better described as “New Moorland.” Thick patches of heather mark the sloping ground, which is punctuated by groups of trees and grazing animals.
Moorland is a type of terrain you should practise on at least once since it does not have as many building materials and a variety of wild plants as the forest does. In a survival situation, moorland is one of the most difficult terrain types to stay alive on because it poses more danger, provides less food and materials, thus allowing exploration, training, and practice to be undertaken.
- Devon- Teign Gorge
The Teign River flows through this deep forested gorge, starting on moorland and flowing into the deep valley known as Teign gorge. This is a wonderful spot to practise going across challenging terrain and navigating around winding forested slopes because of the steep forested valley sides.
Starting with bilberries on the moorland and on to some interesting plant life along the river, the area has a diverse assortment of wild foods. Moving about the valley’s slopes might prove dangerous given how steep some of them are, but it’s an ideal practice for anyone wanting to become familiar with this type of terrain.
- Cannock- Cannock Chase
The forest here is mostly pine and man-made, yet it covers a large area and has several camping sites around. A number of streams meander through the woods as well, and the regions are steep, meaning it’s easy to become disoriented since many trees are identical.
There are many fallen pine trees in the forest, and since pine is such a fantastic building material, it’s a good place to start building a shelter. Cannock is located right on the edge of the woods, so if you get lost, you won’t need to walk more than a few hundred feet to find your way to safety. For beginners, Cannock Chase is one of the safest sites to explore because it is relatively bare, easy to find, and beginners are unlikely to lose their way.
- Norfolk And Suffolk- Thetford Forest
Essentially a larger version of Cannock Chase, Thetford Forest is England’s largest lowland pine forest, boasting an abundance of trails and roads across 47, 000 acres. This forest, which is largely made up of pine trees, is home to a huge population of wild deer, mostly muntjacs. It also has one of the most diverse wild bird populations in England, making it an excellent location for animal watching and tracking.
Wild camping, in which you set up a camp in the woods rather than at a recognised campsite, provides an invigorating sensation of seclusion and independence. It’s a way to have all the benefits of camping without having to deal with the crowds. More so, bushcraft brings people closer to nature, and that, alone, is spiritually cathartic in its own right.