Meet Stowmarket's Bear Grylls campaigning for wild camping in England

Sylvester can't reveal where he practises bushcraft as it is currently not allowed on enclosed land

Sylvester can't reveal where he practises bushcraft as it is currently not allowed on enclosed land - Credit: Sylvester Rekitnicki

A man from Stowmarket has created a petition calling for bushcraft, or wild camping, to be allowed in England as a way to develop survival skills and live in harmony with nature.

Bushcraft is not technically illegal, but many of the activities are restricted by access, trespassing laws, restrictions on fires, knives, foraging, fishing and trapping.

Sylvester has been practising bushcraft since he was a young boy in Poland

Sylvester has been practising bushcraft since he was a young boy in Poland - Credit: Sylvester Rekitnicki

Sylvester foraging wild mushrooms

Sylvester foraging wild mushrooms - Credit: Sylvester Rekitnicki

Sylvester Rekitnicki grew up in Suchacz, Poland, and was introduced to bushcraft by uncles who took him into the forest regularly to find wild mushrooms, berries and herbs.

The 49-year-old moved to Suffolk for work and a better life, as though his country had beautiful countryside forests, the political and economic environment was hard.

"Bushcraft has become more of my hobby, passion, and spending my free time away from everyday life, chasing money, problems at work," he explained. 

Sylvester says he'd be able to survive anywhere thanks to skills he's learnt through bushcraft

Sylvester says he'd be able to survive anywhere thanks to skills he's learnt through bushcraft - Credit: Sylvester Rekitnicki

Sylvester knows how to identify types of wild mushroom, fruit and herbs

Sylvester knows how to identify types of wild mushroom, fruit and herbs - Credit: Sylvester Rekitnicki

"Being in the forest, I relax, calm my mind and recharge the batteries for the next week. First of all, I breathe fresh air straight from the source of the forest.

"Even if I suddenly got lost somewhere or was on a desert island, I know how to survive, this is what my uncles and life taught me — it is such knowledge in my family passed down from generation to generation."

Mr Rekitnicki practises bushcraft several days a week and has launched petition to allow wild camping in England on unenclosed land — allowed in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland — which has currently amassed 12,048 signatures.

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He added: "We would like the government to set rules for practicing this hobby so that we do not have to hide somewhere in the bushes, and so that we can cultivate bushcraft or survive without fear of the police and other forest visitors."

Sylvester runs two YouTube channels on bushcraft, one in Polish and one in English

Sylvester runs two YouTube channels on bushcraft, one in Polish and one in English - Credit: Sylvester Rekitnicki

Sophie Dwerryhouse, Country Land and Business Association (CLA) national access adviser, reminded that private land is often a working environment and carries risks.

She said: "For health and safety reasons it is important that anyone considering camping speaks to the landowner first to gain permission and also understands and follows the Countryside Code which is there to help everyone.

“Some farmers and landowners set up temporary campsites — which they can currently do for 56 days a year — so it is possible to have a more remote camping experience in a safe, legal and enjoyable way.”

To visit Sylvester's YouTube channel and find out more about bushcraft click here

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