Small Woodland Owners' Group

Tipis in woodland

Paperwork, grants, legal issues

Postby docsquid » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:38 pm

We've been approached by a chap who runs non-profit weekends for kids from deprived backgrounds in tipis. He wants to place four tipis in our wood (permanently erected although still moveable), which would house 20 kids every weekend. He would pay a reasonable rent for the site, and wouldn't restrict our use of the site at the same time (although I think we wouldn't enjoy it very much if it were full of people). He is a scout and forest schools leader, and plans "low impact" activities.

We have a lot of concerns about this: wildlife disturbance being the main one, as there is the potential to disturb nesting birds, and trample on rather humble but nonetheless important plants while building dens, climbing trees and doing archery.

However the big question is whether this would require planning permission (almost certainly yes) or even change of use (from wildilfe site to campsite). I know we are allowed to camp there for up to 28 days a year, and we don't camp there that much, as we only live a mile away. He would have groups there for much more than 28 days a year and I don't know how that would sit with the planning people, particularly as he intends to erect the tipis more or less permanently.

Is planning likely to be a show-stopper? And if any of you run camping weekends in your woods, does it have an adverse effect on the wildlife?

We do want community groups to use the site, but have already ruled out Forest Schools on the advice of their co-ordinator on the grounds that it would be too damaging to the unique character and wildlife on the site. This seems to be a similar level of disturbance to Forest Schools, which is why we're trying out Wild Play sessions instead as they are more intermittent, shorter, and can be less intrusive depending on what activities you plan.

Any advice gratefully received.

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