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Thread: Living off grid in own woodland

  1. #1

    Living off grid in own woodland

    Hi all,

    I'm looking at buying a 4 acre mature woodland in Norfolk. I had the idea to build an off grid cabin inside and live in a caravan during the build then moving in to the cabin. I'd also like to start growing my own veg and get some chickens and goats. I make things from reclaimed wood and anything else i can repurpose too so having a 4 acre wood would mean lots of fallen material i could repurpose and also i could make as much noise as woodworking created without disturbing neighbours. Currently living on an estate working in a small shed so limited on space for tools, builds and have to be conscious of the noise i make (even if my neighbours are noisy inconsiderate sods)
    The woodland would be ideal for living and working but how likely is it you'd ever be able to get permission to build a small off grid eco cabin to live on your own woodland?

    Wish uk was simpler with living on own land, somehow planning is always granted for the million pound houses for the met rich but rest of us just forced into housing estates. Live in Cambridge so buying anywhere is not an option unless i can get hold of 350k just to live on a housing estate with the same issues i have now. I can get a woodland for about 40k in the Norfolk area.
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  2. #2
    Heavenly Creature Shroom's Avatar
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    Good luck , but from what I have read on here (extensively covered in other threads) you will need a lot more than luck and 40k. Aliceswondeland is very knowledable on this subject as I believe he owns such land and is not allowed to abide there ..

  3. #3
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Killjoy
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    Hi all,

    I'm looking at buying a 4 acre mature woodland in Norfolk. I had the idea to build an off grid cabin inside and live in a caravan during the build then moving in to the cabin. I'd also like to start growing my own veg and get some chickens and goats. I make things from reclaimed wood and anything else i can repurpose too so having a 4 acre wood would mean lots of fallen material i could repurpose and also i could make as much noise as woodworking created without disturbing neighbours. Currently living on an estate working in a small shed so limited on space for tools, builds and have to be conscious of the noise i make (even if my neighbours are noisy inconsiderate sods)
    The woodland would be ideal for living and working but how likely is it you'd ever be able to get permission to build a small off grid eco cabin to live on your own woodland?

    Wish uk was simpler with living on own land, somehow planning is always granted for the million pound houses for the met rich but rest of us just forced into housing estates. Live in Cambridge so buying anywhere is not an option unless i can get hold of 350k just to live on a housing estate with the same issues i have now. I can get a woodland for about 40k in the Norfolk area.
    40k is the going rate in most parts. Before you invest look at any restrictions/covenants/shooting rights/access rights imposed on the wood by the seller or their predecessors. Check out the neighbours. What is the woodland Ash/Oak/Alder/Willow? If just one complains or is likely to object you will be trying to sell on notified land that is unlikely to attract similar idealist buyers. You could end up loosing money on the sale.
    Too much to type out again, suggest you trawl through other threads. Chances are. You could do it if it was only temporary and you had a formal address and on the Council register at that other address. You could prove that 4 acres was sufficient to require your full time employment (which is very unlikely) I would manage 4acre in one to two months biannualy. You conducted no other none forest related enterprise on the site. You told no one about your activities, built no perminantly structures. Kept your head down and if approached by officials from the Local authorities, you admit very little, withdraw from the site for a long enough period. Changed tact, sold up and read on.
    even a gypsy caravan is too much settling down.
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  4. #4
    The woodland is Rowan, ash, Scots pine, oak, silver beech and holly.

    Thanks for the input. I had a feeling this would be the case. I've been looking at land for a while now and can't seem to find anywhere that's possible to live on. Tempting to just leave the UK but with brexit that's become more uncertain now. It's crazy you can't own land and live on it sustsainably. I've looked into the smallholding option as that's closest to what is like but that's very expensive to buy or setup and equally troublesome with planning it would seem.

  5. #5
    Heavenly Creature Editor aman's Avatar
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    Paul
    PⒶUL
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  6. #6
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by aman
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    Paul
    interesting reading. 2011/12 was the lull before the storm. A time when extending your bungalow without planning permission was well within the sights of control officers. Even promoted by central government to prop up the building trade. Many of the projects on the table got passed. Has things changed? Many have been applied for since, many have been pulled up short before a decision has been given. Some hit the local papers. You decide.
    Some valuable points made in there blog. if your project can be squeezed within policy frame work etc. Tourism and sustainable development remains constant throughout. I will be studying their planning applications for sure. Cheers Paul.
    even a gypsy caravan is too much settling down.

  7. #7
    Heavenly Creature itinerant child's Avatar
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    I lived for quite a few years in a yurt in my own 6 acres of woodland in france upto getting evicted because of politics ( latin for bollox) and despite the eviction and all the crap that came with it,I would do it all again.

    Living off grid in the middle of a forest amongst nature was and is a great thing to do and even if you only get a few years there before the system spoils it,it will be a few years well spent and you will always have the land.

    I was parked up in my woods last night and saw a huge wild boar,three stag,a fox and spent the night listening to the owls on the pull and the frog orgy going on in the nearby pond. One can not put a price on such things
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    I wish you luck with your endeavour xx
    anything is possible,that my friends is a mathematical certainty ;-)
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  8. #8
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    Rowan keeps the witches at bay, but not much use other than bird food.
    Ash could be susceptible to disease and be annihilated within a few coming years. Ash timber will be in abundance throughout the Country in which case market saturation for fire wood. If it gets to a point where it's ordered any felled diseased Ash to be destroyed immediately to limit disease spread, even the firewood market will be effected.
    Oak, (native) wonderful asset to any woodland when mature. Over 120 species of Oak trees world wide.
    Upto 5 cubic metres of Oak can be felled/harvested in any one quarter per year, but only so long as no more than 2 cubic metres are sold in any one year. = 5 cubic metres are equivalent to one large Oak tree.
    An incredible number of over 350 animal and insect species depend on or use oak tree ecosystem.
    Scotts Pine (if they are Scott's pine and not Corsican Pine or another Conifer sp) are valuable for the wood, fuel, habitat etc. May turn soils acidic.
    Silver birch? Good 'hard' timber, good fuel, short lived and a pioneer, nursery tree, tendency to spread through seed dispersal.
    Holly, good quality, slow growing wood. Valuable habitat and field layer/understory. Little economic value.

    If serious about about buying this wood, see if there's any TPO's (Tree preservation Orders) on any or all the Oaks/Pines.
    even a gypsy caravan is too much settling down.
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  9. #9
    Heavenly Creature itinerant child's Avatar
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    I have sweet chestnut,oak,maritime pine,silver birch,holly,hawthorn and hazel as the main part of my woods.

    I have also introduced a few small areas of willow,rhododandrums and a few other plants to offer a greater bio-diversity and have left an acre or so completely covered in bramble.

    Within the last decade,I have found many more different species of insect,birds,animals and mushrooms with careful and considerate management of the land.

    When I was living on the land full time,I also had a very successfull veggie patch in raised beds using leaf mulch for the soil.

    With a natural source for water just down the track,it was as dave lee roth sang 'just like living in paradise' :-)
    anything is possible,that my friends is a mathematical certainty ;-)
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  10. #10
    Walking back to happiness ma bungo's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by itinerant child
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    I have sweet chestnut,oak,maritime pine,silver birch,holly,hawthorn and hazel as the main part of my woods.

    I have also introduced a few small areas of willow,rhododandrums and a few other plants to offer a greater bio-diversity and have left an acre or so completely covered in bramble.

    Within the last decade,I have found many more different species of insect,birds,animals and mushrooms with careful and considerate management of the land.

    When I was living on the land full time,I also had a very successfull veggie patch in raised beds using leaf mulch for the soil.

    With a natural source for water just down the track,it was as dave lee roth sang 'just like living in paradise' :-)
    Not too sure about the rhododendrums IC , was this for a paticular reason ?

  11. #11
    Heavenly Creature itinerant child's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ma bungo
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    Not too sure about the rhododendrums IC , was this for a paticular reason ?
    Indeed,the bee's that have (excuse my lack of home knowledge) hived in the banks that have built up from cleared leaves spend lots of time in the rhodo flowers and there are a good few bird nests in the dense foilage.
    I also find flattened leaves underneath them where I believe the deer are chilling out and enjoying the shade in the daytime
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    anything is possible,that my friends is a mathematical certainty ;-)

  12. #12
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by itinerant child
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    Indeed,the bee's that have (excuse my lack of home knowledge) hived in the banks that have built up from cleared leaves spend lots of time in the rhodo flowers and there are a good few bird nests in the dense foilage.
    I also find flattened leaves underneath them where I believe the deer are chilling out and enjoying the shade in the daytime
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    we have valley sides throughout the UK, hillsides and estates now over run with Rhododendron. It's costing landowners hundreds of thousands to irradiate them an ongoing battle for many hill farming estates that's been going on for more than ten years in some cases. Often it results in mass spraying (cost effective) and requires the use of a helicopter. Very prolific, kills sheep, none native invasive species on par with Japanese Knotweed. introduced for its beautiful flowers. One or two can be kept in check. Left unattended crowd out and suppress other species.
    Theres far more favourable shrubs/trees that will benefit bees. You know what your doing though.
    even a gypsy caravan is too much settling down.

  13. #13
    Heavenly Creature itinerant child's Avatar
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    I did not know that. I suppose then it is a bit like laurel that can poison animals too. I have got a corner of my land with about twelve healthy bushes and they have not sprung any off shoots and are completely within my control. I appreciate the heads up however and shall keep a sharper eye out for new shoots and make sure that no veggie creatures get near them. Thanks xx
    anything is possible,that my friends is a mathematical certainty ;-)

  14. #14
    Heavenly Creature cricket's Avatar
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    Rhododendrons
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    Originally Posted by itinerant child
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    I have sweet chestnut,oak,maritime pine,silver birch,holly,hawthorn and hazel as the main part of my woods.

    I have also introduced a few small areas of willow,rhododandrums and a few other plants to offer a greater bio-diversity and have left an acre or so completely covered in bramble.

    Within the last decade,I have found many more different species of insect,birds,animals and mushrooms with careful and considerate management of the land.

    When I was living on the land full time,I also had a very successfull veggie patch in raised beds using leaf mulch for the soil.

    With a natural source for water just down the track,it was as dave lee roth sang 'just like living in paradise' :-)

  15. #15
    Not Quite a Noobie
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    Everyone here makes valid points, often from hard experience. But...we're none of us here for long and if you don't try it, you won't know.
    IC sums it up in the seventh post here.
    I've been doing this myself...stealth in the woods for 9 days now and if I can last a year (or even six) it will be riches beyond measure. The sunrises, the mists, the wildlife, the rain, the cold, the sunsets. It's like I've died and gone to heaven. In my 54 years on this planet I've never been so happy.
    Just do it now. For tomorrow we may die.
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  16. #16
    Thanks for all the comments, this forum is a great fountain of knowledge. I've just found a piece of land between Cambridge and Norwich, 1.8 acres. Sale by auction in may. It's got various outbuildings some can be restored others need pulling down but nothing too hard. Has land adjoining it too which has a house built on it so I'm thinking planning permission may be possible to live on the land. If the adjacent farm could build a house and live on the land then surely it'll be hard to argue i cant do the same regarding planning. An acre is more than enough for what i need to have a workshop for my business, have some chickens and goats and grow a fair amount of my own food.
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  17. #17
    just me Colin M's Avatar
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    Good luck.

    I will be interested to hear how you get on :-)
    Smile - It'll make them nervous.

  18. #18
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Killjoy
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    Thanks for all the comments, this forum is a great fountain of knowledge. I've just found a piece of land between Cambridge and Norwich, 1.8 acres. Sale by auction in may. It's got various outbuildings some can be restored others need pulling down but nothing too hard. Has land adjoining it too which has a house built on it so I'm thinking planning permission may be possible to live on the land. If the adjacent farm could build a house and live on the land then surely it'll be hard to argue i cant do the same regarding planning. An acre is more than enough for what i need to have a workshop for my business, have some chickens and goats and grow a fair amount of my own food.
    I would look at the guide price and treble it. Then consider insider information has confirmed getting planning for residential is not going to happen or it would be 4 x times the guide price and several serious bidderes at the auction all willing to go that bit extra to secure it.
    Interested parties can register with auction sites and pay a small fee, I've done it a few years ago. You get privileged emails regarding latest properties coming to auction that we register an interest in. It gives more time to run a search, contact authorities, secure funding and check out the area. Investing in this area hopefully puts bidders in a better position and bid realistically n the lot.
    even a gypsy caravan is too much settling down.

  19. #19
    FORM FROM THE VOID Danann's Avatar
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    I Be Wishing You Good Luck And May The Forests/Woodlands Surround You Will Their Love Peace And Happiness... For Be Loving And Protect Them All Be And They Will Bless You With Their Same And Beautiful Gifts And Say Hello To The Beautiful Woodlands/Forests Beautuful Mists ...As They Come To See You And Say Hello
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    ))
    Form From The Void & Mists

  20. #20
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    this is a nice plot to turn into a community inc business. Scrapyard licence no longer required. Make a good campsite.
    even a gypsy caravan is too much settling down.

  21. #21

    living in the woods

    I also have the dream of living in the woods. I have roundhouse building skills
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  22. #22
    Heavenly Creature
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    Originally Posted by alices wonderland
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    this is a nice plot to turn into a community inc business. Scrapyard licence no longer required. Make a good campsite.
    I would be amazed if that hasn't attracted the buying attention of travellers, it screams Dale Farm....

  23. #23
    lone wolf survivalist.
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    Originally Posted by sun sillo sin
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    I also have the dream of living in the woods.
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    yeah me too, that's some roundhouse.
    " Does not suffer fools gladly!"

  24. #24
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by vanwoman84
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    I would be amazed if that hasn't attracted the buying attention of travellers, it screams Dale Farm....
    This Note 1. In the general terms of sale will make the travelling community turn in their boots.....

    1. The transfer(s) of the land comprising Lots 3, 4 and 5 shall contain an Overage provision stating that if within 30 years from the date of the sale the land or any part of it is disposed of with the benefit of a grant of Full or Outline Planning Permission for any residential or commercial development of the site the owner of the land will pay to the current freeholders the sum equivalent to 30% of the increase in value that the land has acquired as a result of the grant of Planning Permission. This provision will be secured by way of a restriction on the title in a Charge in favour of the current freeholders.

    its always the small print you need to read...or pay someone else to research it on the buyers behalf.
    even a gypsy caravan is too much settling down.

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