The annual campout in and around forests that is open to all

Sunday summary of events 2020

As with so many things in 2020, for a lot of us, this year’s Big Canopy Campout event evolved through several different iterations before settling into its final form. 

The Big Canopy Campout UK team started planning our campout over the summer. We would meet at River Hamble Country Park (Southampton), where Syd runs many of his tree-climbing courses for beginner climbers. Jez, normally based in Scotland, was planning to drive through the night to be with us for the event, and we looked forward to being together to call the Bob Brown Foundation team in Australia as the sun rose for us on 17th October.

However, as the big day drew closer and COVID restrictions in the UK increased, it became clear we would have to adjust our plans and camp out separately in our respective locations. While it was a shame not to be together, it was a wonderful opportunity for us all to celebrate our local trees and wild spaces, just as so many other people did across the globe. Jez spent Friday night in the Cairngorms, camping in his portaledge in an area of ancient Caledonian pine forest, then shared his Saturday night with his wife Lizzie and baby son Bodhi in another tree closer to home. Syd spent the campout weekend in River Hamble Country Park, as planned, enjoying some amazing oak trees and the wildlife visiting from the Site of Special Scientific Interest nearby. Lucy and Andrew walked to their local woodland, Shotover Country Park in Oxford, with plenty of hot drinks and cosy sleeping bags for the autumn chill, while Bex and her daughter Raven pioneered the CampIN with an amazing blanket fort and chocolate orange cakes made over a fire.

In Germany and Sweden respectively, our other team members Vicki and Jim spent BCC 2020 in beautiful trees near to their homes, respecting COVID restrictions and honouring the local forests so vital for people and wildlife no matter where you are in the world.

Meanwhile in Australia, over 40 people set up in the takayna/Tarkine as part of the Bob Brown Foundation’s campaign to protect this incredible threatened habitat. An ancient rainforest, takayna/Tarkine is on the proposed logging schedule and the activists in the trees there were grateful for the 132 campouts in 26 other countries all recording their messages of solidarity and respect for those on the frontline of forest conservation who won’t take logging lying down. In the remote southern Tarkine, a group of high liners also joined the Big Canopy Campout in the tall Eucalyptus forests which are also threatened by logging this year.

At the time of writing, we have raised over $7500 AUD to support Bob Brown Foundation’s crucial campaigns and activism work, and we are hugely grateful to everyone who’s now climbing on the limited edition DMM gear that enabled us to raise these funds. We are also blown away by the sheer number of campouts registered this year – it’s the most we’ve ever had and we all feel very moved by your messages, photos and videos. In one of the most challenging years most of us have ever experienced, seeing everyone come together for our precious, irreplaceable forest habitats is a true balm for the soul. 

Thank you.

The BCC Team.

(Author Lucy Radford)