Walking, Hiking & Trail Running

Leave No Trace | How To Minimise Your Impact While Hiking

Part one of the Outdoors Magic x Fjällräven collaborative campaign

Credit: Ed Blomfield

With the rise of social media, particularly Instagram, more of us than ever before are venturing into the UK’s wild spaces to seek out certain trails or viewpoints. While everyone will agree that greater interest in the outdoors is a good thing, it’s hard to ignore some of the issues that are coming about as a direct result. Ironically, it’s on social media that we tend to spot them as well; that retweeted image showing piles of rubbish on a summit for instance, hillsides trampled by countless footprints or huge fire rings staining a beauty spot.

Teaming up with Fjällräven, a brand that have always had sustainable enjoyment of the outdoors at the heart of what they do, we’ve launched a new campaign to spread awareness of the ways we can all carry on exploring our wild spaces without damaging them for future generations.

We’ve produced a two-part series highlighting useful approaches that can often be overlooked. First up, is our advice for leaving no trace while out on the trail. In part two, we’ll be looking at minimisation while camping.

Watch: How To Leave No Trace While Hiking

We sent bushcraft and sustainable living expert Andrew Price out on a walk across Dartmoor and asked him to show the different techniques he has for making sure he sticks to the principles of Leave No Trace along the way.

What Is Leave No Trace?

Leave No Trace is a universal set of ethics to guide those venturing into the outdoors. It consists of seven principles:

  • Plan ahead and prepare.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimise campfire impacts (be careful with fire)
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors.

Here are some of the lessons from Andrew’s walk across Dartmoor…

Clean Your Boots

Ever thought about cleaning your walking boots before venturing out? Give your lugs a scrub to clear out any trapped dirt. It’s a very helpful way to prevent or slow down the spread of plant and animal diseases throughout the country.

Take Reusable Containers

We all know not to drop litter, but sometimes it’s done by accident; you’re eating a chocolate bar perhaps, and then the wrapper gets whipped away by a gust of wind, or you stuff a crisp packet into the side mesh of your backpack but it slips out. To avoid this happening, consider unwrapping all of your food before heading out and storing it in reusable containers.

Try A #TwoMinuteLitterPick

Try to pick up other peoples’ litter. It sucks having to take responsibility for the actions of the irresponsible, but you could say we’ve got to the point where it’s become necessary. The #2MinuteBeachClean has had huge success throughout the UK, now it’s come to our trails. So next time you’re on a summit, consider spending two minutes doing a bit of clearing up.

Credit: Ed Blomfield

Leave Things Alone

Cairns. Go to an Instagram ‘hotspot’ these days and you’ll sometimes find someone has stacked a pile of stones to ‘enhance’ their view. It might make for a pretty picture, but it can be hugely damaging to fragile habitats for plants and insects. There are also some examples of neolithic monuments being damaged for the sake of this. The advice here is simple: leave stones and rocks where they lie.

Stick To The Path

Erosion scars on popular paths in the UK have been known to grow up to 30 metres wide (that’s as wide as the M1). When out on the trail, be conscious of where you’re stepping, try to avoid straying onto path edges, and don’t be tempted by ‘desire lines’ ie. short cuts off the track.

If you found this advice useful, keep your eyes peeled for Part 2: How to Minimise Your Impact While Camping.

Other Ways To Help The Leave No Trace Cause

We’d love you to help us with this campaign. All we’re asking is that you pass this article on to your friends, share some of the advice on verbally while you’re out and about, or even just give the Youtube video a thumbs up.

There are also some great path repair schemes and organisations out there that rely on support from us outdoor enthusiasts. Check out Mend Our Mountains, The John Muir Trust, Friends of The Lake District, The Ramblers and Fix The Fells.

In partnership with
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