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 and I have written more about it http://mammasschool.co.uk/living-abroad/enjoying-outdoors-in-sweden-get/ ) 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.
There is no doubt cooking outdoors on a campfire adds to the outdoor experience and memories, but it must be done safely and respectfully.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Allow your wood to burn completely down to ash, and then spread them out when you are extinguishing your fire.
- Put out a fire with water not dirt,
- 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.
- Never leave your fire unattended, it is a fire risk and a hazard to any inquisitive animals.
- 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.
- 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 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:
- 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…….
- 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.
- 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 disasterous consequences like mothers running off and leaving their young.
- 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.
- Don’t take anything…..only photos. Each thing is part of a complicated ecosystem and has a function.
- Try and move quietly (we really struggle with this one!!). You are going through someone’s home.
- 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.
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:
- Avoid loud music and activities.
- Keep your group small. Not only is it better for the environment, you’ll see and hear more too 🙂
- Try and leave any pets at home, but if they do come, keep them on a lead.
- 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.
- Bear in mind how you treat campfires or toileting activities as we have already mentioned above.
- Give animals space to use any natural water supply, especially early morning and evening.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 🙂