Permit free activities on land
You don’t need to have a permit to have an adventure. We’ve made a list of adventurous activities you can do without a permit – and without getting your feet wet.
For more information on any of these activities, check the activity rules and factsheets through the A-Z of activities. Don’t forget, you can do other activities without getting a permit by asking another permit holder (you can search on Compass) or using a provider (like Scout Adventures).
Before you get stuck in, you need to know how the Scouts classify terrain. Lots of these activities can only be led without a permit in Terrain Zero – land which isn’t too high above sea level, is within 30 minutes of summoning help, and contains no mountainous ground. For the exact definition, check out Rule 9.28.
Aerial runway. Building this rope slide is best suited to Scouts and older sections, but once it’s built, anyone can have a go on the aerial runway as long as the structure is suitable for their height and weight.
Bouldering. Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that takes place close to the ground, without ropes or harnesses. It can be done indoors or outdoors, and facilities cater to all ages and abilities. As well as being a sport in its own right, bouldering is a great introduction into other types of climbing.
Climbing with an auto-belay system. An auto-belay manages a climber’s rope, so a person doesn’t have to. It keeps the climber’s rope taut, then when they reach the top (or if they fall) the auto-belay catches them and slowly lowers them to the ground. Any age group can race to the top of a climbing wall with an auto-belay system, you just need to follow written operating procedures agreed by a County Climbing Assessor.
Crate climbing or zip wire. Whether you want to create and climb a tall crate tower, or speed down a wire in a harness. A permit is one way of running this activity, but you can also use a setup agreed by a County Climbing Assessor (or a suitably qualified European Ropes Course Association instructor) as long as it’s constructed by a competent person and has a written operating manual approved by the right people.
Cycling. Road cycling, mountain biking (Terrain Zero), and off-road cycling are generally more suitable for Scouts and older – as younger sections aren’t usually confident enough cyclists, and they lack road awareness.
Fencing. This activity can be adapted for all ages, as Beavers can duel with foam swords (‘real’ fencing is available to Cubs and older sections). Members can do the Core Coach training course (which lets them run anything beyond foam fencing taster sessions) at a heavily discounted price.
Go karting or quad biking. With the right equipment, everyone from Beavers to Network can race their friends around a track. All-terrain vehicles must be operated under the control of a competent instructor.
Grass sledging. Zooming down a grassy hill is great fun for Beavers and Cubs – and older sections too, if you can find big enough grass sledges!
Hillwalking in Terrain Zero. Anyone can enjoy spending time outdoors and in nature – just make sure your walk is suitable for the age and ability of everyone in your group. Why not try to spot wildlife, or head somewhere fun like woodland or wetlands?
Horse riding or pony trekking in Terrain Zero. Perfect for the animal lovers, horse riding or pony trekking offers a different type of adventure. You must use a British Equestrian Federation Member Body approved centre or club, though.
Land yachting. Anyone can enjoy the feeling of the wind powering their buggy across the land – as long as you can find equipment that’s the right size.
Laser clay pigeon shooting and laser games. There’s a laser game for everyone, whether you want to play indoors or outside, travel to a specialist centre, or adventure at your local meeting place. You can adapt laser games to suit your meeting – just make sure you get parental permission.
Martial arts. From aikido to tang soo do, Sport England recognise nine martial arts. The best way to find out which are suitable for your section is to speak to a local provider, and see what they’re able to offer. Whichever club you use, make sure it’s approved by the appropriate National Governing Body.
Orienteering. Everyone can have a go at find their way with map reading and compass skills if you adapt the course to their age and ability (younger Beavers may like to try a string course, for example). It doesn’t matter where you live, as orienteering can take place anywhere, from a remote forest to a local playground.
Skiing or Snowboarding on artificial or nursery slopes. Visiting a local artificial slope is a great way to introduce Scouts of all ages to these exciting winter sports. The person leading this activity needs to be strong enough skier or snowboarder for the chosen location – and new participants should be instructed by centre staff. Centres may have their own rules about who can participate without instruction.
Sledging on Terrain Zero. You don’t need a permit to sledge in Terrain Zero, which is likely to include the hill down the road from your usual meeting place. Next time you see that snow’s forecast, why not consider giving this adventure a go?
Tomahawk throwing. This isn’t an activity anyone can lead, as a leader has to be competent – it’s recommended they have at least a day (seven hours) of practical experience. Activity leaders (who can be young people or adults) don’t need a permit, although they’re encouraged to attend training. Each activity leader can supervise up to three targets, each with up to five participants – an activity with more than two targets needs a Range Master.
Trampolining. All sections can jump right into this activity using a British Gymnastics club with qualified coaches, or you could use a local jump park (as long as you follow the guidanceon the Scout website).
Tree climbing. Beavers and Cubs may especially enjoy tree climbing. You don’t need a permit where it can be done safely without the need of ropes or safety equipment (and where the risk of injury from a fall is minimal). Make sure your tree is safe and suitable, then scale its branches.
Zorbing. Individuals or pairs can roll down a hill (or across water) in a ball, without a leader holding a permit.
Check out our website for more information on the adventurous activity permit scheme.