Camping In The Wild Of The UK
‘Wild’ often doesn’t mean camping in the middle of nowhere. It really means pitching your tent in a place that is not a recognised campsite, possibly somewhere remote but not necessarily. Apart from the sense of freedom, it is attractive to avoid paying site fees but you cannot just do what you like anywhere you please.
All land is owned by somebody so in England and Wales you should ask the owners’ permission to camp on their land. Sometimes, you’ll need to use your own judgement as to how practical that might be but follow the basic guidelines below and remember that the Forestry Commission and National Trust do not allow wild camping anywhere on their land. In Scotland, the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (www.outdooraccess-scotland.com) lets you to pitch in the countryside in small numbers, staying only a couple of days in one place, away from buildings and roads and not in cultivated fields. Essential factors are behaving responsibly with respect for others, their property and, of course, the environment.
As an alternative to ‘wild’, some farm sites can be pretty basic and remote with a definite sense of being wild.
Wild camping guide – you should not be picking and choosing from the list!
- Do not camp near or in sight of houses or anywhere near livestock
- Keep a low profile – pitch your tent late in the day and leave early
- Wherever you can, ask permission; if it is refused, do not argue or ignore the refusal
- Avoid lighting a fire and never do so without permission – use a gas stove instead
- Do not pollute water sources by using the nearby ground as a toilet
- Dig a hole to bury your faeces. Take away all other rubbish including tampons and sanitary towels
- Do not use soap, shampoo or detergent in streams – use a dry wash gel instead