Our policy on BBQs

Barbeques and campfires are a significant fire risk

Just a single spark from a barbecue can damage landscapes and harm wildlife. Help us keep National Trust coast and countryside places safe by not bringing a barbecue or lighting a campfire when you visit. Instead, switch your BBQ for a picnic and please take any litter home with you to protect wildlife and keep the great outdoors clean for everyone to enjoy.

Why can’t I bring a BBQ?

Barbecues are a significant fire risk and can be hazardous for wildlife. The Countryside Code says not to have barbecues or campfires in the open countryside. 

The countryside is very dry after record levels of sunshine in spring. This has created the perfect conditions for fires to ignite and quickly spread. As a result we’ve seen a series of fires during the easing of lockdown. 

Help prevent dangerous wildfires

Since the start of April, several large blazes have broken out at the places we care for, including one near the Devon coast that was started by a barbecue and required six fire engines and a police helicopter to extinguish. At Studland Beach, where the risk of wildfire was extreme, fire crews extinguished 30 unattended barbecues in a single night.

" We’re urging people not to bring barbecues to the countryside or the coast. Many areas of land are still very dry and all it takes is a single spark from a barbecue or a dropped cigarette to cause a serious fire."
- Ben McCarthy, Head of Nature Conservation for the National Trust

Wildfires also put alot of pressure on the emergency services, and endanger local communities and wildlife. Although we have a very small number of designated barbecue areas at some of the places we care for, for instance on concrete surfaces where the risk of fire is low, these should not be used at the moment whilst there is significant fire risk.

Ben continues, ‘Please think of others; think of the wildlife; think of our emergency services; and don’t bring barbecues to the beach or countryside.’

Please take litter home with you

Wildfires and litter are also extremely dangerous for wildlife. Since the relaxation of lockdown, our staff and local volunteers have helped to clear huge quantities of rubbish from places across the country.

At Dovedale in the Peak District, 100 bin bags were filled in a weekend, and at Formby in Merseyside, cool boxes, chairs and glass bottles had been strewn across the beach.

Litter not only damages the landscape and but poses a threat to wildlife, which can easily become entangled or mistake it for food. It can also fuel wildfires. That’s why if you do have a picnic, we’re asking you to keep hold of your litter until you find a bin, or please take it home with you.

Image credit: Colin Lane

Fire fighters trying to extinguish the fires on Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

Wildfires are on the rise 

Incidences of UK wildfires are increasing in number and severity, in part due to changing weather patterns. 2019 was the worst year on record, with the unseasonably warm February and Easter contributing to blazes across the country. Among these was a devastating barbecue fire at the Trust’s Marsden Moor which destroyed 700 hectares of wildlife habitat and burned for four days. Thanks to your donations, we've been able to start repairing some of the damage to this special landscape. But there are so many more places that still need help.

Care for the countryside

When you visit the coast and countryside, we ask that you please follow the Countryside Code:

Respect other people

  • Consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors
  • Park carefully so access to gateways and driveways are clear
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Follow paths but give way to others where it’s narrow

Protect the natural environment

  • Leave no trace of your visit, take all your litter home
  • Don’t have BBQs or fires
  • Keep dogs under effective control
  • Dog poo - bag it and bin it

Enjoy the outdoors

  • Plan ahead, check what facilities are open, be prepared
  • Follow advice and local signs and obey social distancing measures

Thank you and enjoy your day out.