Home in the woods??

Welcome to UKHIppy2764@2x.png

UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

  • My partner and I are looking at buying our own land/woodland. We're looking at about 3-4 acres, somewhere remote where you're hidden away and people don't pass through.


    Question is - we want to live there in a converted bus. Is this possible? I know it's 100% not allowed, but is it do-able? Is it worth giving it a go? I'm not sure what the chances are of anyone finding out if we're tucked away on our own bit of land that no one goes on?


    All advice/first hand experience gladly welcomed :)

  • As you say its not allowed. I would say don't put all your eggs in one basket so you are f**ked if it all goes wrong. Have flexibility that you can move off for a week or so. To visit family, go on holiday etc Keep your bus mobile and legal


    That way its provable that you are only visiting to maintain the woodland when you are there. If you go off site take pictures of your bus in other locations to prove it is movable should you need to


    Its harder to hit a moving target

  • depends on what you mean by not allowed . i think iff you are in a dwelling that can be moved every few weeks , you dont need planning permision ,and also, there is loopholes in laws such as this , and also iff you keep grazing animals on the location , such as goats or sheep ,you maybee allowed such a dwelling to manage the animals , dont quote me on this , but iff your serious about it , then look into these options,also iff you are looking for such a peice of land to live on ,miles from anywhere ,water is very important , so id be looking for somewhere that has a clean stream nearby or a spring ect ,pref on site

  • Legally you can only spend 28 days/nights on your land without permission. Forestry is more lenient than farming when it comes to staying on the land for woodland management. One of the other members will be along shortly to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. :)

  • sometimes tis best not to ask but just quietly do it.Nato green bus,quiet unseen ,tucked away.Remember also google earth,the eye in the sky.A friend picked up a dumped car on his land that way while he was in australia for 3 years.Its not updated often but is accurate.So tuck in under ever green or something.The less you say,the less that know,far better.Have fun.:D

  • Ah thanks so much all! We've been racking our brains how we can get out the rat race and live in the countryside on a relatively limited budget. There always seems to be restrictions at every turn. But then I think all the people who are inspiring us to do this took risks so hey! Here we go!


    Making it as 'green' as possible in every sense of the word is definitely a priority. I can imagine us trying it though and someone complaining first week - that would be our luck!

  • ex army camouflage net...you can buy it in all sizes and quantities.Paint the bus in camouflage patterns with the netting it will be well hidden and use some to create a porch over your outdoor area...avoid creatimg.uniform shspes folliwing the sjape of a vehicle it will.look obvious whsts there.
    Ive got a load i throw over my van sometmes which is a red van but once ivefinished you csnt see it


    The biggest problem though is being noticed by dog walkers and hikers walking by your plot who may report you so find somewhere away from.houses and public footpaths bridal ways or game shoots ...ts quite possible to hide in.plain sight if youre smart about it.

  • Yes they're our biggest concern too. i think we'll be pretty lucky to find the ideal land that's remote enough to not be stumbled upon. Going to be a bit of a wait. I did read somewhere about if a dog walker did see you, they would have to come back every single day (technically trespass on your land) and photograph you being there every day for 28 days in order to prove you've outstayed your 28 camping allowance. Any truth in that?

  • mate of mine lived for yesrs in his horse box truck parked up in a row of old farm tractors wagons and junk.that belonged to retired farmer ...he helped the old boy in the house and no one had a clue he was living on the field at the back...dont go.drawing attention to yourself,dont tell people your business and always be polite...you can get away with plenty with the right approach.Keep the.vehicle roadworthy and dont set down too permanent roots in case you need to move out quickly and have somewhere to move to as a backup.if you are forced out.

  • Camouflage might be good from hiding from the bird in the sky but wont it look super suspicious if someone does stumble across?


    Is it difficult to get permision for a working hut on woodland?

  • I don't think a dog walkers evidence would be acceptable it would be up to the council to gather suitable evidence after its been brought to their attention.


    Twas a local dog walker that reported my presence in a fsrm that got the planning enforcement officer intersted enough to come poking his nose around and give me notice to move.
    It only needs one report to a locsl council meeting or a casual.comment to a councillor or gosdip in the pub and time starts ticking...


    The other everpresent problem is councils and DEFRA use satellite and aerisl photography to monitor farming and unregulated farming activity...if you happen to be on lsnd and picked up.on.photography then unlucky but youll hsve to move.
    You can get away with staying in places a long time without anyone notice but the longer you stay the greater chance of being discovered.....its just a game really to see how long you can get away with what youre doing..

  • Twas a local dog walker that reported my presence in a fsrm that got the planning enforcement officer intersted enough to come poking his nose around and give me notice to move.
    It only needs one report to a locsl council meeting or a casual.comment to a councillor or hosdip in the pub and time starts ticking...


    Yep the grassing up to the council is almost inevitable by someone it was the use of their photos as evidence I wouldn't think could be verified it would be up to the council to gather in one way or another?

  • Legally if they want to take enforcement action its up to the coincil.to gather the evidence of illegal or unauthorised occupation...unless its a landowner who wants you off then its probably a joint effort to gather evidence....best thing is make like youre invisible and dont draw attention...people eont normally take notice.of a truck.or a csravan.parked in a farm but if theres lights on every night or smoke from chimneys or barbeques then people willl naturally get suspicious

  • My partner and I are looking at buying our own land/woodland. We're looking at about 3-4 acres, somewhere remote where you're hidden away and people don't pass through. Question is - we want to live there in a converted bus. Is this possible? I know it's 100% not allowed, but is it do-able? Is it worth giving it a go? I'm not sure what the chances are of anyone finding out if we're tucked away on our own bit of land that no one goes on?All advice/first hand experience gladly welcomed :)


    You are allowed to contruct sheds for tools and temp.accommodation for working on activities related to wood or forest management. Not a planning permission issue as far as im aware.
    I know or know of,a few owners of small forests who have many sheds and vehicles containers on their land and to the councils full knowledge over many years and never had hassle.
    If you have your own land and the bus is your 'temp work sccommodation and tool store' and youve no near neighbours to notice how often and how long youre there you may get away with it...just dont expect to ever get permission to live there permanently...aint gonna happen.You.may get limited permission over a few months of the year for wood management purposes to stay there but not residential.
    Once you ask youve set out your gameplan to the locals so youre best just keeping it low key and see what you can get away with.

  • I own about six acres of woodland in france and lived in the forest for quite a few years in a 21FT yurt. Eventually I got served with an eviction notice and went to court and got kicked out.
    If I could start all over again,knowing that stress was coming,I would still do those woodland years again,it was a lovely way of life.


    The yurt looked more fitting in the woods than what a bus does though and I think that it appealed more to the romantic side of the locals nature,if I was there in a bus,I would imagine that it would not of been so well accepted in the locality.


    To finally get rid of me,which they had to because of sarkozy bringing out new rules and I was unfortunately the test case for all future french jurisprudence,they decided to change the classification of the land the same day I went to court,making it a class where no loop holes were available. I wont go into the legalities,as its probably different in the uk.


    I strongly recommend that you live in woodland-forestland for as long as you can,but also recommend that when it all starts going down legal battle lane,get out and move on to greener pastures.Life is too short to battle against such a large opponent and it is very stressful.


    Back in the nineties,a lot of travellers bought fields and woodland and lived on other travellers land,and this made an evictiuon harder to carry out as they could not find the owner of the land as they were elsewhere on someone elses. I woukld imagine that litigation has since found its way around this,but worth looking into all the same.


    I wish you luck and success in making it happen and hope that you benefit as much as I did both physically,mentally and spiritually from living in the heart of nature.


    Love and light


    fly xx


    ps,still living in lots of forests and national parks now in my van,but am on the road doing it,which is great too :D

  • oh yes,it probably goes without saying,but be polite and respectful to everyone around you,even the dicks !!


    And keep those woods looking tidy and organize your camp so that it is pleasing to the eye and fits into that environment. That can keep the complaints at bay.


    A lot of it woll depend on how you get on with the locals and what they think of you. Be nice and help them when you can :thumbup:

  • Thanks all so much for your advice so far. It's great to talk to like-minded people as so far we have kept this to ourselves.


    Also, probably worth saying we're not planning on doing this forever. The idea is maybe 2 years in the woods and then to buy our own small holding (although have a feeling we will probably love the woodland life by that point!). Originally we were thinking more along the lines of a building our own tiny timber house or similar, but thought that might be deemed 'too permanent' if ever seen, whereas at least the bus is ultimately moveable and also we can go off travelling when we have the time.


    What do you reckon? Would you just go for it and risk it? We thought initially we could put the bus on the land (while we still have somewhere else to stay), cover it up as best we can and see if anyone picks up on it after a few months.

  • I would not contemplate leaving my bus out of sight for more than a day , imagine there is a complaint and the old bill rock up , decide they need to gain entry because they are 'concerned', thats a lump of glass or a door lock bolloxed in their disapointment all they can do is slap a notice on it and maybe wrap some blue and white tape around it ...., worse option is feral youth or other wronguns , lots of fun to be had getting hammered in someone else's bus when they aint looking so you get back to find ya sound system gone and a turd on the drivers seat.....

  • haha this is very true - didn't think of that!! That would really quite disappointing to find after building such nice chairs in it ;)


    I suppose it being 'our' land doesn't really mean much in the scheme of things does it. There's nothing to stop any one passing through it :(

  • depends on what you mean by not allowed . i think iff you are in a dwelling that can be moved every few weeks , you dont need planning permision ,and also, there is loopholes in laws such as this , and also iff you keep grazing animals on the location , such as goats or sheep ,you maybee allowed such a dwelling to manage the animals , dont quote me on this , but iff your serious about it , then look into these options,also iff you are looking for such a peice of land to live on ,miles from anywhere ,water is very important , so id be looking for somewhere that has a clean stream nearby or a spring ect ,pref on site


    Unfortunately keeping grazing animals in a small woodland is no loophole. Nor is a woodland suitable for grazing sheep or goats. Goats are very destructive in a woodland environment.

  • worse option is feral youth or other wronguns


    Yes I would say that would be a bigger worry for me. The police or the council may get stroppy but they won't set fire to your bus or smash all the windows.


    The best option is to try and find a piece of land with a derelict building on it. Then you can live there.

  • Yes I would say that would be a bigger worry for me. The police or the council may get stroppy but they won't set fire to your bus or smash all the windows.


    they have done in the past though , but yeah local smack head looking for an opportunity or kids finding a new 'den' , it all bodes bad if you do not have a presence there .

  • Legally you can only spend 28 days/nights on your land without permission. Forestry is more lenient than farming when it comes to staying on the land for woodland management. One of the other members will be along shortly to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. :)


    4 or 5 acres of woodland wouldn't be considered viable for acupation /residency other than what is already within the 28 day rule for management purposes. That size of land wouldn't support fulltime residency on grounds of Employment from the woodland. eg: charcoal burning.


    You would need to provide for yourself and your partners wellbeing eg. Prescriptions, dental work, income (other than none means tested benefits) for the duration of ownership of the woodland.
    Scotland looks more favourable for hiding away off radar. Access to woodlands is often fraught with difficulty. Often no vehicle access, soft soils. Restrictions in terms of tree removal, laying track surfaces. Other people's rights afforded to 3rd parties eg, access, shooting rights, mineral rights.