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  1. #1
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    I'm touring southwest England in October and plan to stealth camp. I've been camping here in Canada for some years and have experienced some discomfort and fear because of the local plants and animals.

    Here in Canada, one might expect a number of daytime and nocturnal visitors to ones camp site; squirrels and chipmunks are annoying and some consider them 'cute'. Raccoons can make an aweful mess of your food stores. So can bears, but the bruins are another concern as some can fatally injure campers. I guess I should be pleased that in the form of insects, only blackflies and mosquitos can cause much pain here in the colonies.

    As for plants, contact with poison ivy and oak can cause much grief and a trip to see the doctor.

    While I'm camping in England what kind of animals, insects and plants should I be careful to avoid?

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    Senior Member Netcelt's Avatar
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    Stay away....no stay far away from stinging nettles. They can and will ruin your day and possibly several days. The sting is worse than a fire ant and can hurt for several days. They can be found in hedge grows along the side of the road and in clearings (where you may want to camp) in woodlands. They usually grow in full sun so a shady spot may be safe.

    http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/n/nettle03.html

    At least you won't have to deal with bears....unless one gets out of a local zoo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stokell

    Here in Canada, one might expect a number of daytime and nocturnal visitors to ones camp site; squirrels and chipmunks are annoying and some consider them 'cute'. Raccoons can make an aweful mess of your food stores. So can bears, but the bruins are another concern as some can fatally injure campers. I guess I should be pleased that in the form of insects, only blackflies and mosquitos can cause much pain here in the colonies.
    If animals are getting into your food, then you are doing something wrong. Properly store your food!

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    Senior Member royalflash's Avatar
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    not been to Canada but I should imagine that the population density is a lot higher in the UK and it may be more difficult to find remote uninhabited spots to throw down your tent. I think this will be your biggest problem.
    only the dead have seen the end of mass motorized stupidity

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    Stinging nettle is fairly common throughout Europe. Try and learn what it looks like. It's in the mint family and has the distinctive square-shaped stems that plants in that family have. I once fell into a bank of stinging nettle in France. It stung (not unbearably) for a few hours and overall, was much less of a bother than poison ivy & poison oak, which last for many days, assuming you're susceptible. I honestly don't recall seeing as much nettle in the UK compared to France, though. I wouldn't be too concerned about it.

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    Senior Member saddlesores's Avatar
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    "...Are there unpleasant English..."

    sorry, no way around it. if you tour england, you'll come in
    contact with the english. just carry a bag of small pebbles.
    except for the most persistant englanders, most will amble
    off into the brush after you've thrown a few in their
    general direction. yes, yes, i know...you really don't want
    to hurt them. and yes, some of them are cute, at least
    after you've had a few beers. still, if you let them settle
    in your camp, you'll never be rid of the mad buggers.

  7. #7
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    The antidote to stinging nettles are Dock leaves (large and round), which are often found growing near nettles. Nettle stings are only by direct contact - you can spread the sting around by hand like poison ivy.

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    If nettles are your worst problem, you're in for a great trip........

    Stealth camping should be easy enough for the seasoned veteran. Asking nicely often works! Pitch late, and use a stove, rather than a fire.

    Bring waterproofs and warm gear.

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    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    The weather.

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  10. #10
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    I can't really add anything special that hasn't been said, but what has been said is golden advice. My English, naturalist wife says watch out for stinging nettles, but if they do get you, then Dock Leaf is the cure, and they are usually found together.

    She also adds not to eat any berries from the Deadly Nightshade shrub. The name kind of gives that away, but unfortunately the plant doesn't have its name printed on its leaves. Basically don't pick any wild berries unless you know what they are.

    In England, the berries will get you. In Canada, the bears. Hmmm, guess I would prefer England.

  11. #11
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Thank you for all the postings. As an arthritic old man, I was concerned that those stinging nettles in the hedgerows would spoil my stealth camping. But wait! You English must be 'having me on'. Turns out stinging nettles will help my arthritis.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/771563.stm

    I'm booking my flight!
    Last edited by stokell; 01-14-05 at 07:56 AM.

  12. #12
    Belt drive! vtjim's Avatar
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    Glaswegians!

    (Hey! I'm kidding. Got a lot of friends from Clydeside...)

  13. #13
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    Some of the fungi can be toxic. There are deer on Exmoor and Oct is the rutting season, so they may get a bit frisky with you. Just dont try to get too close.
    The most dangerous quadraped is probably sheep. On a descent of Cheddar Gorge, they kept jumping out from the side. Even top racing cyclists have been felled by sheep, they are totally unpredictable.
    2nd most dangerous QP is horse. There are lots of riders on quiet country lanes. You can always tell a regular horse route from their calling card. If you do see horse dropping, assume they come from a horse that is around the next blind bend. On narrow lanes between hedges it is easy to spook a horse.
    ps I recomend Cheddar Gorge, from E to W.
    In the East (Kent/Sussex) there are (feral) wild boar: escapees from farms. I havent heard of any problems, and they are less aggressive than the truely wild continental variety.

  14. #14
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    not been to Canada but I should imagine that the population density is a lot higher in the UK and it may be more difficult to find remote uninhabited spots to throw down your tent. I think this will be your biggest problem.
    I see stealth camping as a bit of a challenge. I use the Hennessy hammock, so my body never actually touches the ground. I follow the Leave No Trace principles and I don't cook. I'm only camping from pub closing to sunrise.

    Just for interest sake, this image was taken of a stealth site in the city of Toronto (average population density 65,600 people per square kilometre).
    Last edited by stokell; 01-14-05 at 02:39 PM.

  15. #15
    Charles Ramsey
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    Some bozo imported english ivy into the pacific northwest it climes the trees and kills them. It causes a rash like posion ivy but not quite as bad. The leaves are dark green and the vine can get up to 8 inches in diameter.

  16. #16
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    Footballers.

    Seriously, to the above poster, I've lived in NW for more than a decade and I have never had a rash from English Ivy, as much as I hate it. You might have a sensitivity. I used to pull that **** out by the fistful in my backyard and the only injury I ever suffered was chagrin in seeing it come back in three months.
    Go big.

  17. #17
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    Stinging nettles make a good soup if you do end up cooking 'em. Tastes a bit like spinach, but stronger. You need thick gloves though, and you only pick the tender leaves at the top.
    Zero gallons to the mile

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