Wild camping is really the best kind of camping. We’ve never been big fans of campsites that come equipped with recreation halls, hot showers or corner shops. If you’re hoping to explore Britain’s wilderness this summer, these tips will be invaluable for your first wild camping trip.
There are a few things you should know about wild camping before you get started. First, it’s not actually that easy to find places that A) are truly wild in Britain and B) allow wild camping. When wild camping is permitted, the sites are rarely accessible by car so be ready for a hike and be sure that you don’t pack so much that you can’t carry it all.
There are some campsites that are a little wilder than others and even some landowners who won’t mind you camping out on the edge of their land for a couple of nights. That being said, you should always ask permission, clean up after yourselves and keep the noise down.
So, ready for you camping trip?
Here are 10 tips for the best wild camping experience
1. Avoid camping on agricultural land. This is just common sense, and really, why would you want to camp on someone’s cabbage patch? If you think you’re remote, then you’ve probably chosen a good place.
2. Always be discrete when wild camping. Pitch your tent and camp site away from and out of sight of any farm buildings and houses. Respect that people live off the land.
3. Pitch your tent late in the day, say after 5pm, and pack up early in the day, before 9am.
4. Don’t light a fire unless you’ve checked that it’s allowed.
5. Pack protection against midges and ticks. “Dorothy, I don’t think we’re in London anymore.” It’s easy to forget about mosquitos and bug bites when you’re in the city so don’t forget to pack that bug spray!
6. Make your packing list and check it twice! Don’t be caught out in the middle of nowhere with no matches and no lighter to get your camping stove going. Some frequently forgotten essentials include: spare torch batteries, warm jacket for cool nights, enough fuel for your stove, dishes to eat off of (unless you’re cool with “happy spooning” out of the cooking pot, tea.
7. Pack in, pack out: Whatever you take with you also needs to come out with you. That includes all rubbish, empty bottles and if you’re really into “no trace” camping, then toilet paper. Which brings us to toilet etiquette.
8. Use a trowel or spade to bury your business. Take the paper with you and never bury tampons and other feminine hygiene products. It’s a good idea to get a separate “WC” bag that is waterproof where you can store toilet paper, trowel, hand sanitiser and also a few plastic bags for used TP.
9. Be prepared to move along if asked to do so. And always be polite and friendly to others you meet along the way.
10. Enjoy the freedom of the great outdoors!
Good to know:
It’s essentially illegal to camp anywhere you like in England and Wales unless you ask the landowner’s permission first. However, there are some regions in northern England and more remote areas where it is tolerated. These include the Lake District Hills, the Peak District (except when the moors are dry) and parts of Northumbria.
Do not camp on National Trust or National Park land. They are very strict when it comes to wild camping.
Wild camping in Scotland is completely legal and even welcome; just camp at least 100m from any public road. Like you needed an excuse to book flights to Edinburgh this summer!