Hi from Cambridge

Just came across this forum, looks great. Looking forward to participating in some of the topics.

I’m new to drones and recently got myself a Mavic Mini. It’s impressive! Particularly how it handles wind at height. I couldn’t image myself starting off with a lower quality drone.

I took the CAA test (scored 20/20!) to familiarise myself with the regulations, although I understand that’s not required for the Mini (<250g). I’m still a bit confused about where it’s ok to flight, though. There’re the obvious "don’t"s (near airports, large groups of people, etc, per CAA documentation). But are there any obvious "do"s?

Reading various websites, it’s pretty clear that hobbyists should stay away from National Trust and Wildlife Trust sites. Flying there can disturb local wildlife and visitors looking for peace and quiet. But many councils have not published any guidance, which is somewhat frustrating.

For example, are forests ok? We also have tremendous amounts of land with plantation on it. Flying over them is beautiful, but searching for ownership through the land registry is very expensive. Does the “Right to Roam” apply for those?

It looks to me like various bodies (councils, trusts, and the CAA) have issued clear restrictions on where to fly. But what about a list of areas which are clearly ok?



It shows most restrictions and recommended sites as well - reports from GADC members on each site. There are plenty more to be added to the map as people “discover” them. Login with your GADC username and password.

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Firstly, welcome to the club, it’s a great place with a wealth of knowledge and we aren’t the ‘drone police’ like many other clubs.
You have made a great choice of the Mavic mini.
If you haven’t already done so, download an app called NATs, this will show you areas in which flying is either restricted or might have areas which might be of concern such as schools, prisons, power lines.
No doubt there will be several of others nearby welcoming you on here and suggest other apps, such as weather or editing.
As for flying over property such as National trust and council land. As the law stands, the CAA regulate the airspace and as long as you are complying with the drone code, then nobody can stop you from flying. They might be able to stop you taking off from their property, but certainly not from flying over it.
If any official from the council approaches you and tells you that you can’t fly from their property/park/field, ask to see the relevant legislation, THERE HAS TO BE LEGISLATION, it’s not enough just to put up some signs. You will find that they won’t,in all probability,have passed the legislation.
One other thing to consider is that local authorities may be contravening the human rights act in denying you the right to enjoy your property by banning you from flying from a public space, as long as you are complying with the drone code. Just a few things to think about.

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Her Majesty, bless her has also given permission to fly drones from crown property. This means the area between high and low tides around the country. (Not Sandringham or balmoral, lol)
They have an excellent web site which outlines the beaches and estuaries and other areas which the crown estates own and allow drone flying.

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Hi Felipe and welcome to GADC.

Hey Brian, thanks for the pointers. I have downloaded NATS Drone Assist. It is indeed great, at least in my area, indicating zones around airports, airfields, military zones, shooting ranges, etc. But I feel it completely lacks with regards to National / Wildlife Trusts. Maybe we should start adding those ourselves if that’s possible. They do have legislation in the form of byelaws.

CAA’s drone code (section 7) says we have to observe them. I found this, for example:

There are some councils which have also published byelaws, like this:

The Sussex Wildlife Trust also published a nice video on why birds can perceive drones as predators and the impact that flying over reserves has on wild life. I think everyone gets that, but what I’d love is some clarity on where I can (certainly) fly.

Ultimately I think there are two things to keep in mind (on top of legislation):

  1. Flying will disturb nature
  2. Flying will disturb people

Disturbing nature is covered by the links above: avoid trust areas and places with wildlife. In other words: common sense. Disturbing people is more tricky. There may be a park or an area where people are used to visit for calm and quiet for years. Now, with the increasing popularity of drones, people feel disturbed if you put a loud wasp above them. For that, I think it’s a matter of a polite agreement: once you are at 120m height, you won’t hear anything. But ultimately if someone is still uncomfortable, then I’d respect that and go somewhere else. But where?

Last weekend I went flying over some agricultural area. The footage is AMAZING. I can’t wait to go back. But is it legal to fly over someone else’s (unbuilt) land? I would think so, but I’m not 100% sure.

Thanks again!

As @macspite mentioned above, you’ll also find Drone Scene has National Trust layers built in.

Check it out: https://dronescene.co.uk

Hey Macspite! Thanks for the link. I have found that page recommended in other parts of the forum. It’s great to see the material members are putting together. But lots of places I’ve seen tagged are within National or Wildlife Trust boundaries (even if there is no wildlife around in many cases).

It would be great to see more places getting added which are 100% ok for flying. I hope to contribute to that! :slight_smile:

I’m also looking forward to connecting with other local members so we can go fly together. One CAA restriction I don’t necessarily like is having to keep the drone in direct eyesight. If I look down to check on my camera, finding my drone again (at 500m distance from me) can be challenging. Having a partner who can help coordinate the flight (and then take turns, or fly together recording each other – being careful not to collide) also sounds like a lot of fun.

I agree with the part about local byelaws, but you’d be surprised at how many organisations post stuff on websites and signs on gates without the relevant legislation. A particular incident springs to mind regarding the ‘Harry Potter’ railway viaduct, where the farmer/gate guardian was collecting £10 a time to allow drones to film using the excuse that he was checking that flyers where conversant with the drone code. He had no training or legal authority as far as anyone knew. If money changes hands then a printed ticket with terms and conditions must be given or a sign with terms and conditions displayed. This guy just gave everyone a cloakroom ticket. So always check, don’t take things at face value especially from non elected government officials such as NT etc.

Join the club, I also find it hard to work out where I can fly without feeling like I am a criminal.