Real Campfires are back …
… at the heart of camping at Barefoot!
“…the real camp fires provided a great end to each evening, it was quite a sight to see all the fires burning around us in the darkness…” Mike and Shelley, 30th May 2013
It was with great sadness that, in July 2016, we suddenly had to ban firewood campfires on the campsite following a complaint of smoke. This was partly due to some campers a) bringing their own unseasoned firewood and b) gathering unseasoned wood, branches and twigs from the surrounding hedgerows. We did also find evidence that some people were bringing other wood products to burn – pallets, DIY waste etc. (Something which has always been strictly prohibited).
Because we knew that many campers came to Barefoot because we allowed, indeed encouraged, campfires, we offered refunds to everyone camping that first weekend of the ban so that they could book elsewhere. One of our campers who decided to come regardless, suggested it might be worth us trying smokeless logs, manufactured in the UK from renewable clean wood residues. Not living in a smoke-free zone I wasn’t aware of these although they were available locally, however, they proved hard to come by in the summer and we only managed to find a few packs. Ben and Ruth also brought what they could from London and we shared the packs around the campers that weekend. The Hotties certainly lived up to their name and generated great heat and importantly – without smoke! We finally managed to find a supplier and bought in several pallet loads to see us through the rest of the season. Thank you Ben and Ruth – you helped save the campsite that summer!
Finding a supply of Hotties meant we could keep the campfires burning for the rest of 2016 but although the they were safe to cook over and were certainly ‘hot’ they just weren’t quite the same as a firewood campfire: They don’t produce the glowing embers of a real campfire and although some campers did say they liked not getting smoke in their eyes, others really missed going home with the smell of smoke in their clothes and hair.
In 2017 we carefully managed the campfire situation on a weekend by weekend basis with a combination of seasoned firewood from sustainably managed woodland in Appleton; smokeless ‘Hotties‘, and kindling from untreated reclaimed timber produced by ‘Raw Workshop‘ – a social impact project who employ, train and support people from local communities who face prejudice and barriers to work. We also sourced Flamers Natural Firelighters – natural renewable, untreated wood shavings dipped in wax.
From 2018 are we are now hopeful that we’ll be able to keep real campfires burning at Barefoot, however, from now on only firewood purchased on the campsite may now be used for campfires though you are still free to bring your own smokeless alternatives.
“…allowing fires really makes it feel like “proper” camping…” Carolina (and Anna and Mike), 21stAugust 2013
Each Log Pod has it’s own campfire area and there are others around the site for campers. We make sure everyone has access to a campfire – whether that’s individually or for your group.
Campfires also need to be treated with respect – if you’re going to have a campfire please follow our Campfire Code
Campfires need to be treated with respect – if you’re going to have a campfire please follow our Campfire Code
- Only firewood purchased on the campsite may now be used for campfires.
- Light campfires only in existing fire pit areas.
- If you plan to have a campfire, consider where you pitch your tent: Don’t pitch too close to your fire-pit (minimum distance 3m) and try to avoid pitching your tent downwind of your campfire or you tent may fill with smoke.
- Kept your campfire to a manageable size and under control at all times and ensure that any smoke does not annoy other site users.
- Under no circumstances should you use an accelerant on your campfire such as BBQ fuel, petrol or diesel Kindling and firelighters are available for purchase on the campsite.
- Please do not gather wood from the hedgerows around the campsite: Apart from unseasoned or damp wood generating too much smoke, wood left to decay naturally plays an important part in the lifecycle of insects. Willow also has a tendency to spark which may leave pin holes in your tent so please don’t be tempted !
- Never leave your campfire unattended and make sure it is fully extinguished before you go to bed or leave site.
- Helpful advice on campfire safety, lighting, maintaining and extinguishing your campfire can be found at: www.campfiresburning.org
- If you want to cook over your campfire, we have a limited number of fire bowls, racks and used grills available to borrow. Please enquire.
- In very dry conditions the building of campfires may be restricted.