The 7 'Leave no Trace' Principles every Camper should follow

Posted by Victoria Wilkes on 24th Nov 2022

The 7 'Leave no Trace' Principles every Camper should follow

Let’s talk, ‘leave no trace’. It’s no secret that camping can be a bit of a messy activity, especially when you have a lot of plastic packaging for food, toiletries, and one-use disposable products. However, campsites more than ever are urging campers to be more aware of their wastage and to ‘leave no trace’. So, we’re here to talk to you about what ‘leave no trace’ means and to encourage you to follow these 7 principles that are set out by Wilderness England.

Plan ahead and prepare

Respect signs and regulations that are present in the area where you are camping/ hiking. Plan routes and locations in advance to reduce the risk of getting lost and needing to contact emergency services. Strictly follow weather warnings and be prepared that the weather can change at any minute. Keep groups small and split larger groups up for environmental and safety reasons.

Be considerate of others

Be respectful of the people who live and work in the countryside or the areas you are exploring. Be considerate when parking, and avoid blocking entrances, exits and paths. Especially when in the countryside, consider the size of vehicles that may need to pass your parked car/van. Don’t do anything that may have a negative impact on other visitors, such as being noisy or messy.

Respect Farm Animals and Wildlife

Avoid disturbing animals by observing them from a distance, especially during mating and nesting season or when animals are raining young. Don’t feed wild animals as human foods can damage their health and leave them vulnerable to predators.

Travel and camp on durable ground

The term ‘Durable Ground’ includes established tracks, campsites, rock, gravel and dry grasses or snow. In more populated areas concentrate on finding existing tracks and campsites and avoid walking in areas outside of this. In more remote locations avoid areas where impacts are beginning to show and disperse activity to prevent new tracks and campsites from being formed. Camp at least 30 metres from water sources to protect the quality of the water. Make it your aim to leave your campsite better than you found it.

Leave what you find

Respect people’s property, and make sure to leave gates as you find them, whether open or closed. Leave natural habitats as you find them, fallen trees for example are valuable wildlife habitats and shouldn’t be removed. You must avoid introducing plants or animals that are non-native to the area as this can have a huge negative impact on the local ecosystem. Don’t build new structures in the area.

Properly dispose of waste

Whatever you bring must come with you when you leave. One of the most common items left on campsites is tent pegs. We recommend counting all the tent pegs that are put down to make sure that all are taken with you at the end of your trip. You can find peg pullers on our site which can be used when tent pegs get stuck in hard ground. If disposing of solid human waste, make sure to dig a hole 15 to 20 centimetres deep that is at least 30 metres away from water sources, tracks and campsites. Make sure this is covered back over when finished.

Minimise campfire Impacts

The smallest spark can be incredibly damaging to natural habitats, forests and farmland, Due to this, it is best to carry a lightweight stove for cooking to reduce the need for a fire. In areas where fires are permitted use established fire rings, and barbeques or create a mound fire. Make sure that you keep fires small and under control by clearing a big area to prevent the flames from spreading. Be sure to only use sticks off the ground that can be broken with your hands. All fires must be burnt to ash and put out completely before being scattered as cooler ashes.

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