Breaking Down the Barriers to Wild Camping in the U.K

Let me start by saying, wild camping is the bollocks! Yeah sure camp grounds are nice to visit with their immaculate lawns, hot showers and restaurants within spitting distance but, you don’t get the same experience and interaction as you do when wild camping.

The term ‘Wild Camping’ gets thrown around a bit too much I feel. I’ve been guilty of this for sure. It’s just camping in a place that has not been purposely designed for camping. Whether that be in a tent, hammock or your very own man-made shelter. Most woodlands for example are great for wild camping.

Rules and Regulations

A lot of people are put off by wild camping because of the rules. Yes, there are rules for this sort of behaviour but, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You need some street smarts now and tackle this conundrum yourself. If you camp in a private woodland and no-one was around to see it, did it really happen? It’s this mentality that has led me to wild camp all over this country. If you’re not comfortable with this then perhaps go north of the border into Scotland. Up there they have the right to roam act, you can pretty much camp where you like, within reason. I recommend looking at a local map and working out your routes in and out. The map will also tell you if there’s any residential properties to avoid.

“Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints”

I often go with friends into the local woods and stay out for the night. We don’t leave any evidence and stay well clear from disturbing people. Even having a fire is possible. Make sure you leave the grounds how you found them and be on your way in the morning. I think it’s fair to say that this is not a problem. If you start trashing the place then I’m afraid you’re a dick and you shouldn’t be allowed to camp out ever again.

Solo or with friends?

This is entirely up to you. I’ve wild camped all over the world. I spent many nights on my round the world motorbike trip sleeping wild, alone. Don’t mistake being alone for being lonely. Making camp and cooking dinner watching the sun set on your own can be a great moment for self reflection, it can also be a very anxious situation as you know you’re alone and it’s about to get very dark soon. If you’re new to wild camping then take a friend, learn together and share the experience with someone. Either way, just get in those woods and spend the night drinking whiskey by the fire and chatting shite.

What equipment should you take?

Not much if I’m honest. These items listed might help you out:

  • Sleeping bag. Appropriate for that time of year.

  • Sleeping mat.

  • Some sort of shelter. Tent (I have this one), Bivy, tarp, basha or man-made.

  • Cooker. If having a fire then don’t worry.

  • Pots, pans, grill. You’ll need something if you want to move past sausages on a stick.

  • Food. Pre-cooked or cook on site.

  • Water.

  • Torch.

  • Camp knife.

  • Small back pack to put it all in.

  • Camp chair. This is not survival. No rules against being comfortable.

Heading out for the night for the first time can be very daunting, especially when you take away the ease and comforts of a paid camp ground. However, you won’t regret this experience and will be itching to get out again on your next day off. If you do go out wild camping then do let me know how it went.


End Notes

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this post. Please do leave your email in the box for a very occasional email update from this blog. Before I go, I’m always looking for people to contribute to this blog, if you have a story that you’d like to share then please do get in contact with me. I’d love to feature more people on here. Cheers.

Aaron.