Allemansrätten – Our Impact On Nature & How To Minimise It

Allemansrätten is a unique Swedish concept, of the right of public access to roam freely almost anywhere in the countryside.  However, a few responsibilities come with this privilege.  We need to take care of nature and wildlife, respect landowners and others enjoying the countryside, respect the land and leave no trace that you have been there, and do not disturb and do not destroy.  It is a very rare concept, allowing you to enjoy the Swedish outdoors (which is important here in Sweden) in its full glory.  Despite not all countries having allemansrätten, there is still an impact of us enjoying activities such as camping, hiking, and cooking outdoors, so I want to discuss how we can minimise the impact and why.

Outdoor Cooking:

There is no doubt cooking outdoors on a campfire adds to the outdoor experience and memories, but it must be done safely and respectfully.

  1. Use fire pits where you can, or carry a light and portable stove with you.  Allemansrätten means we have the ability to cook on campfires on our outdoor expeditions. However, by using provided fire pits (we are lucky having a lot here in Sweden), or carrying your own stove, you are helping to protect the habitat of creatures in the area you have decided to cook in, plus reduced the risk of fire spreading. 
  2. You need to consider any fire dangers for the time of year (e.g is it very dry?) and bear in mind any local restrictions.  You don’t want to spread your fire.
  3. Take only wood from the ground, never from the trees, and gather it from a wide area.  You don’t want to remove everything from one small area as it has a job to perform in the ecosystem providing nutrients and habitats.
  4. Allow your wood to burn completely down to ash, and then spread them out when you are extinguishing your fire.
  5. Put out a fire with water not dirt,
  6. Avoid building your fire on rocks as it will scar them.  Also, if near coastal water that covers them after you’ve been and gone, when the water rapidly cools the rocks it may cause them to crack.
  7. Never leave your fire unattended, it is a fire risk and a hazard to any inquisitive animals.
  8. If you have moved any rocks, for example to make a bit of a wind break, make sure you return them to where they were.
  9. Make sure you take all your rubbish home again, to avoid harming animals and the countryside.

Pop over to my Outdoor Cooking category for some delicious outdoor recipes on my blog.

 

Hiking:

Hiking is good for us for so many different reasons.  Allemansrätten here means virtually nowhere is out of bounds.  I have written many times about the actual benefits of being in nature and the great outdoors .  So, I won’t go into detail about that here, but feel free to click on the links to read more 🙂  However, collectively enjoying the countryside means we will have an impact on the environment.  So here are some tips to help reduce that impact:

  1. Be polite and leave room for others.  Don’t take up the whole trail or path, so passers by are pushed off it.  People need to stick to them as much as possible…….
  2. Following on from my last point, trails are there for a reason, so use them.  It prevents us from trampling over the rest of the area and destroying vast quantities of the environment with our boots and feet.
  3. Be aware of wildlife, it is their home and they can be easily spooked.  Try and view them but not too close, give them some respect.  You don’t want to scare them as it could have disastrous consequences like mothers running off and leaving their young.
  4. Take all your rubbish home, EVERYTHING! Personal rubbish (I carry dog poop bags to clear up after us) as well as fruit peelings, and the usual more obvious rubbish clutter.  It can harm and injure animals, as well as look unsightly and harm the ecosystem.
  5. Don’t take anything…..only photos.  Each thing is part of a complicated ecosystem and has a function.
  6. Try and move quietly (we really struggle with this one!!).  You are going through someone’s home.
  7. Keep any pets you take with you on a lead.  It not only avoids them spooking the wildlife, but stops them veering off the trail too.

Wild Camping:

Allemansrätten means you can enjoy a “wild camping” experience.  We’ve enjoyed a wild camp , but you need to think carefully about how you go about it, and remember you are making a home in someone else’s home…you are a visitor.  Here are some tips to lessen your impact on their home:

  1. Avoid loud music and activities.
  2. Keep your group small.  Not only is it better for the environment, you’ll see and hear more too 🙂
  3. Try and leave any pets at home, but if they do come, keep them on a lead.
  4. Leave no trace you were ever there.  Tidy your campsite up after.  This not only means rubbish, but return nature to how it was…those boulders or rocks you moved to sleep more comfortably?  Pop them back.
  5. Bear in mind how you treat campfires or toileting activities as we have already mentioned above.
  6. Give animals space to use any natural water supply, especially early morning and evening.
  7. Do not leave any food out.  Not only does it attract animals (and some may be unwanted, especially for us living in Sweden), but it can also harm them.  Containers can injure, and some food can make them ill.
  8. Use biodegradable dish washing soap (or as we do, wipe them after a meal and save the proper washing up until you get home).  Spread any dish water out over a wide area.
  9. Only camp for a short time in any one place.

 

I hope you have found all these tips helpful as to how you can get into the great outdoors and enjoy it responsibly.  Do you think it’ll help you on your next trip out to be more considerate to the environment?  Comment below and let me know, especially if you think I have left something vital out 🙂

Allemansrätten, Our impact on nature and how to minimise it, allemansratten, every mans rights, Sweden, outdoors Sweden, impact on nature, hiking, camping, bushcraft, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Comments 39

  1. One of my recent posts is about LNT principles as well with a focus on my favorite outdoor playground in NY!

    I travelled to Sweden and Finland last february and immediately fell in love – I want to return and backpack the countryside so badly.

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  2. The first time I read about Sweden’s right of public access to surrounding land, I thought wow, what a lovely idea! But I can imagine though it also comes with responsibilities to make sure that the place isn’t spoilt. I would love to visit Sweden, it’s on my list 🙂

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  3. This all seems v familiar from a Scottish perspective. Right to Roam etc. It brings responsibilities and respect but what an opportunity. It puts the people at the heart of the countryside. Great to see a similar framework in Sweden.

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  4. Absolutely love this post. You named everything to the tee. Fires especially. I see so many people break small branches off of trees, use rocks, throw sticks and rocks at the trees, scream, yell, you name it. We need to respect our nature and those who live in them. Treat it with kindness so it can continue to blossom and be beautiful for others who come. Thank you for sharing and spreading awareness.

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      Ah thankyou so much for saying that. With three children I am often guilty of noise, but I am trying to teach them to be quieter out there and they are learning all the time 🙂

  5. So many great points! With the disrespect that I see on the trails every time I go out, unfortunately I do not trust the people in my country to behave with this much care should they be given this freedom to explore. I try to research as much as I can to ensure I live the “leave no trace” practices that I preach, and though sometimes it can be challenging it just isn’t worth it to cut corners and potentially harm the earth. This was an awesome read, thank you!

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  6. Unfortunately I don’t think us brits can be trusted with roaming freely here 🙁 as even a single trip to the beach will end up with loads of rubbish being discarded – it drives me mad how some people have no respect for the countryside. We could take a leaf out of your book! x

  7. Pingback: Our First Holiday Abroad With The Kids - Copenhagen and Sweden - Vlog - Renovation Bay-Bee

  8. I remember having to learn the Countryside Code when I was at school (in Scotland). One of the things that stuck with me was to “leave gates as you found them” rather than to always close gates behind you, as sometimes there may be a good reason why it’s open.

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  9. What a really interesting blog post! It just shows how important having all that country space and being able to roam in it is to our lives!

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  10. I’ve heard of this before because I think they have something similar in Norway too but you’re right it is so important we are responsible when out exploring and some great tips on how to do that here.

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  11. That would be amazing if tourists (people in general) could be this respectful everywhere they go.
    It probably help countries apply this great concept a bit more.

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  12. Your post is such a food for thought ! we always use fire pits as i am also mindful of disturbing / changing the nature in any way – and sometimes its just not safe to set a fire

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  13. I think it’s a brilliant concept, but like you say it’s so important to then ensure it is looked after well. These are some really good tips – we always stick to these when outdoors

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