Open campfires and the law

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  • Does anyone know about the legalities of rural camp fires? It's so nice to have a little camp fire going but I'm not sure if I should feel nervous about some busybody ordering me to put it out.
    In the New Forest no fires are allowed, and after some of the awful heath fires that they've had there causing untold animal fatalities I'm prepared to comply, but I have no idea if, say for example, it is ok to light a campfire in the wasteland next to a quiet lay-by, or to have a lovely beach fire going on a summers night. Is it a local bye-law issue, a national law issue or is it an area that our glorious EUSSR leaders have reserved for a fallow lawmaking period?
    In the USA there are moves afoot to effectively outlaw nearly all woodburners (or so I've recently read - details unclear as yet)) so maybe we should keep our eyes and ears open for any similar rumblings here as I think there would be a lot of unpleasantness should they try that one. An 'EEC open fires directive (amended) 2015' isn't beyond the realms of possibility given the bureaucrats perpetual need to be meddling.

    Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is meant to be serious.

  • The law states that a person can burn brash (wood) on a open fire, on property owned by the person or with the consent of the land owner. The brash or wood must be produced/grown on that land. It can also be an offense to cause nuisance by emitting smoke from a fire. We have fires on lots of conservation sites, as part of our management practice, burning of brash for instance. Heathland can be managed by controlled burning, even if the heathland may be or part of designated area of land. Fires next to a highway would be considered a nuisance if the police officer/fireman/official didn't like your attitude/conduct or complaints are made to the fire brigade or police. Over the years I have had several visits from the police or fire brigade, when working as a hedgelayer. I would often burn the leftover brash from the hedgerow running alongside the public highway. They have never stopped me or put out the fires. They have asked that the fire is out before dusk, to limit any hazard to motorist & not left unattended. It is a offense of theft, to take wood from a hedgerow without permission from the owner.

  • use a metal container raised off the deck to contain a fire and call it a barbeque if questioned, safer for your surroundings - this is the method we got round the 'no fires' regulations on english heritage sites when we used to do re-enactment, we also had a couple of turves to stand it on in case any embers dropped to avoid scorching the ground - the reason on english heritage sites is to protect underlying archaology.
    Grendel

  • Thank you Grendel and AW.
    AW that's helpful to know not just from the aspect of campfires but also the growing pile of 'brash' I'm accumulating on my front drive from tidying the garden. Camp fires are obviously something that can cause discord if they aren't controlled and used thoughtfully, and I expect the police don't care too much if there is no risk to life or limb and no trespassing or theft.


    Grendel, I'm a member of English Heritage and feel it's wonderful that people are preserving the history of our land for everyone to enjoy. I'm reminded of a client we were working for, doing the finishing touches to his new £1.5m house in the country outside Winchester. He told us when we started work there that we would be finding quite a lot of roman era artifacts on the ground disturbed by the building work he'd just completed. He told us not to dare tell the local authority about the finds because it would delay his job finishing due to possible 'interference' from archaeologists. Whilst there I found tegulae, imbrex (roman roof tiles) and posh samianware pottery fragments, thousands of oyster shells (from snacking 2000 years ago) and orange brick pieces. Unbeknown to the client I took the finds to the local archaeology dept and they were delighted to have confirmation that a 'high status dwelling' had been on that site as they'd long suspected. As the job was finished they couldn't dig there without the owner's permission, and I've always felt guilty about our fascinating history being shut off under this rather snooty bloke's mansion.

    Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is meant to be serious.

  • To be honest, during the years we travelled with the horse and wagons. We mainly pulled off the road onto wide grass vergers, for a park up. A) To allow enough room and grass for the tethered horses to feed and not be parking their asses out into the oncoming traffic. B) Its frightening laying in bed with only feet between your pillow and fast moving lorries passing by. We often had a fire on the verge, just to cook in the evening, unless we planned on staying more than one night. Then the fire could be in for best part of the day also. Never had any problems. I just think they assumed we knew what we were doing with the whole set up.

  • To be honest, during the years we travelled with the horse and wagons. We mainly pulled off the road onto wide grass vergers, for a park up. A) To allow enough room and grass for the tethered horses to feed and not be parking their asses out into the oncoming traffic. B) Its frightening laying in bed with only feet between your pillow and fast moving lorries passing by. We often had a fire on the verge, just to cook in the evening, unless we planned on staying more than one night. Then the fire could be in for best part of the day also. Never had any problems. I just think they assumed we knew what we were doing with the whole set up.


    Exactly AW. I suppose one thing I will make sure to do is always have a water jack full of water near any camp fire so that the coppers and similar 'interested parties' will hopefully assume the same as they seemed to have with you.
    I'll be watching Ray Mears and Bear Grylls a bit more closely in future to see if they get bothered for having a fire going.
    I used to have a lovely 23' S/Steel Cobdale trailer with a solid fuel stove and it used to cause consternation if we stopped on New Forest campsites and had smoke coming from the chimney because of the open fire ban there. They couldn't figure out whether it came under that description or not. Was never asked to put the fire out though.

    Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is meant to be serious.

  • If u use an old wheel as a fire pit, sitting on bricks. Then its controlled and big enough to heat and cook on. I use a 16 inch renault master wheel it works perfectly


    Genius! It's even got air flow coming from underneath. Not that difficult to stow afterwards either, and easy to obtain.

    Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is meant to be serious.

  • Yeah i cant take credit for it thou, was him that knocked down chimneys n liked steam engines idea. Also a round bbq grill fits for cooking,
    A tripod can be made out of three orange bunting steel rods, available from most builders merchants and held together with a chain link. Perfect for holding a dutch oven and doesnt take up much space when not in use.
    The Renault wheel is deeper than ford or merc wheels

  • "Mmmm. Aye. Oh aye. Y’know?" - Fred Dibnah


    "I prefer the past to the present. Because life today, with all its modern technology, isn’t very good, is it? And the future looks even worse." - Fred Dibnah


    One more, but only to get the thread back on track.



    "Once the fire is lit, it’s out of your hands; it’s in the hands of ‘The Man in the Sky" - Fred Dibnah


    src: http://www.freddibnah.co.uk/

  • Well the horse drawn travellers had a few fires on the grass verges where they were camped up, around Gloucester last week, so they must have no issues. There were lots of police around as well. In the city you can burn rubbish in your garden within certain hours, not sure what they are though.

  • Dear old Fred, sadly missed, you naw like. Loved to watch him perform his miracles, and loved his appreciation for our Victorian and Edwardian heritage.
    Could we have him back and send Clegg instead?


    I'm going to light a few yogs here and there over the weekend and see if the gavvers take any interest. With chestnut roasting season coming up this is nice campfire time. I cut some air holes in a giant curry powder tin or cooking oil tin (about 18" high by 9" square) from behind a take away, then light a fire in it and put the chestnuts in a chip basket to gently cook them over the flames. It almost tastes TOO good.

    Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is meant to be serious.

  • I have a fire pit which is just a metal disk that sits on a heavy piece of metal with a hole through it and a stake through the middle holding it in the ground. It doesn't leave a mark on the floor and takes up no room in the van. If you're interested I'll post piccies coz they are made by a member on here (Bikebodger)


    I've had loads of camp fires all over the place and never had a problem. I've had a few cars slow down to check my van wasn't on fire, but I get that with the burner lit as well now and again.

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

  • The drum from inside an old washing machine also works well for a fire pit. There are holes all round for the air to get through and the shaft allows you to stick it in the ground. A couple of bricks underneath will keep it clear of grass.

  • I have the washing machine drum one. You can still spin mine too, which makes it look really pretty with the fire light coming through all the little holes. Problem is, it's a bulky item to store.


    I like the sound of this dish stardust mentions. This is how I think it may be.
    A circle piece of metal, with a small pie cut removed. A hole to the left or the pie cut and a hook attached to the right of the pie cut. When you want to use it, you pull the hook into the hole creating a cone shape.



    Is this right ?




  • Did this from my phone. Dunno how to resize them, so sorry if they're too big, but you get the general idea.

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

  • I'll get onto mr Bikebodger to come and post because I can't remember.

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

  • Yes they are made from harrow disc rollers. That would all bolt together in a long row. Two disc's facing each on a frame and towed by a tractor. the disc's turn as they move over the freshly plough soil and its the weight of the disc's combined that brake up any lumps of soil.

  • This dish is a must. :clap: I reckon if I can find a dish from a farmer or scrapyard, a nice long railway type spike for that main pin, and a piece of short, stout tubing for the pillar and that would be the job done. Not a colossal thing to carry around either, and a boon when you don't want to hurt the grass or leave a trace behind.
    Anyone reckon a couple of air holes in the dish would help or is there no point?

    Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is meant to be serious.

  • No point in air holes. Thing about the pins bikebodger supplied, was that the head was about two inches in diameter domed and covered the hole in the disc great. no slack, no wobbling, nice tight fit. if you can buy an old disc roller theres enough disc's to make about 20 to 30 fire pits.

  • Ohh hello, yes I've still got a few of these left.


    The pin is made new by the company that makes my marquee pins, its like them - but shorter. They come as per Stardusts pic (but the lump hammer is hers you can't have it :-) and they are around 12-14 inches diameter.
    I'm in Worcestershire, I do get out a bit though so may be able to drop them off somewhere, too heavy to post...


    Old disc harrows are pretty expensive - if you can get farmers to part with them - as there's a lot of weight of metal there. And they take ages and a lot of grinder discs to cut up...