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From time to time no matter how well we plan things there may be occasions when we get caught out. Or like me you actually like the idea of camping wild. In this section we will look at the pros and cons for camping wild and the things to consider. Firstly in the UK there are very few places to legally camp over night other than official camp sites. However there are some remote places and if you study your map well secluded wooded area's that are suitable for a night stop over if this is on private land it is best to seek permission from the farmer or land owner I have found land owners to be  more than accommodating  some however are not so be aware. I always give assurances that I will leave there land as I find it and make sure that I do never ever leave litter or any thing else behind. 

"Where is it ok to wild camp?".

This is the most common question asked, and the qualifying phrase implied in the question is "without  permission". There are two answers: the legal one which is "nowhere" and the practical  one which is "almost anywhere" (this applies to England and Wales: the law is different in Scotland where wild camping is legal when done well away from any dwellings and roads).

All land is under the ownership of someone  and legally, permission to camp must be sought. In the vast majority of cases this is totally impractical of course, even if planned well in advance, let alone when a choice must be made on the spur of the moment. apparently most farmers will allow a pitch for one night on request. 

Wherever you pitch, the landowners have the legal right to order you to  move on, and you must comply. In the mountains of the Lake District or northern Snowdonia this will almost certainly never happen but it just might in other areas or on low level routes, and you must be prepared to accept it.

Pitch late, leave early. Also implied is the universal rule that you should leave no trace of your presence wherever you pitch. In summer, agricultural work often continues well into the evening and may force a late pitch.

There are of course practicalities to consider when camping wild here are some that spring to mind.




Choose your location carefully. consider the local environment are you safe. Don't pitch your tent on animal tracks they will try to pass in the dead of night. Seek permission. Try to stay secluded don't attract unnecessary attention to yourself.


You must consider arrangements for the loo not just the environment but also you own hygiene. Use biodegradable toilet tissue bury any solid waste. Use bacterial hand wipes for washing.  I find a small pouch of baby wipes very handy for those more sensitive arrears. It saves on water.


When camping wild you will need to carry more water than usual you will need extra for cooking and washing etc. If you are lucky enough to be next to a spring or river etc then use this for washing etc and save the fresh for drinking and cooking. If practical I stop at the nearest town and pick up a 5 litre barrel for the night. You could consider sterilization or bio filters for natural water supply.


Take more than you need keep it simple. Take some light snacks with you, consider your cooking arrangements.  


Always seek permission always keep water handy keep well away from the tent keep well away from brush and tree area's keep it safe and sensible make sure it is out before clearing it up leave no trace.


Minimum Impact Camping

  • Consider not only your own impact, but repeated impact by others.
  • Develop your own skills in finding a discreet place to camp rather than resorting to popular congregational spots that tend to be overused.
  • If in doubt about any of your actions, make an effort to find out what is right. Don't carry on wondering whether your present practice is right or wrong.
  • Enjoy the freedom of wild camping without leaving a trace of your passage. Protect our country's outstanding scenery and wildlife as well as the wilderness experience.


  • Camping on the same spot harms vegetation. Aim to move frequently and do not stay for any longer than 3 nights in the same place.
  • Vegetation is more sensitive at higher altitudes. Aim to camp lower down  where vegetation recovers more easily.
  • Dead wood is an important habitat for insects and many small animals, so it is best to avoid fires even for cooking.
  • Lighting fires poses a high fire risk on peaty soils and close to tinder dry grass. A high risk of fire can exist at any time of year, and not just in times of drought.


  • Watercourses  are important sites for birds and animals. Take extra care when camping near water or reservoirs, and try to avoid camping immediately beside them.
  • Food scraps (even when buried) attract scavenging birds and animals, some of which prey on more vulnerable nesting birds. Carry all scraps of food out with you.
  • Be prepared to move if you become aware that you are disturbing nesting birds or animals.


  • Always find a spot at least 30 metres from fresh/running water when going to the toilet.
  • Bury excrement in a small hole (not under boulders). A trowel  can be used to lift a flap of turf. In areas of sensitive  vegetation it takes a long time to recover, so holes should not be dug at all.
  • Be particularly careful to bury excrement properly when the ground is snow covered.
  • Burying tampons and sanitary towels doesn't work as animals dig them up. Please carry them out. Placing them in a container with a tea bag helps to absorb odours.


  • Remove all litter  Think ahead and only carry in what you are prepared to carry out. Do not bury or hide litter under stones as it can harm wildlife and offends those who visit after you.
  • Choose a dry site to pitch on 


  • Although camping beside a road is not normally considered wild camping, it does take place and is lawful. Following a few simple guidelines can reduce any impacts.
  • Whenever practicable use an official campsite with sanitation facilities. 
  • Ask nearby residents before pitching if you wish to camp near houses.
  • Avoid sites that are at risk of being overused. Congregational roadside camping can cause significant problems.
  • Take particular care with toilet hygiene.
  • If you are just looking for a place for a few hours sleep, then pitch late, leave early and be unobtrusive




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