Wilderness Camping In The UK
- The Law
- Some Helpful Tips
Wilderness Camping in the UK, and especially England and Wales, is often seen as an ambiguous notion and the subject of great discussion. Whatever the outcome of the argument may be, common sense should prevail to maintain the Status Quo of a truly wonderful experience for all - Wilderness Camping.
The legal situation for Wilderness Camping differs greatly in Scotland from England and Wales. In England and Wales there is no legal right to camp in the wild, and permission should be sought from the landowner before pitching your tent, but this is impractical of course.
In the hilly and mountainous areas of England and Wales, Wilderness Camping is, thankfully, generally accepted if you pitch your tent within the following guidelines: is above the intake walls, is discreet, is only for a short period, and is out of sight of any houses or farms.
If you are asked to move on by a landowner or farmer then do so politely, but this is virtually unheard of and you've probably not adhered to the above!
Always abide with local by-laws concerning wild camping. In the Peak District, Wilderness Camping is discouraged in many areas and banned completely if the moors are very dry.
The most popular and hassle free areas for Wilderness Camping in England and Wales are probably in the Lake District and Snowdonia, here you can expect to come across other like minded campers pitched around one of the many Tarns.
In Scotland, things are different where Wilderness camping is concerned: the new legislation which came into effect in 20005 states that you need only be further than 100 metres from a road, that's great news, but you'd probably want to be a great deal further away from a road than that! For further details on wild camping in Scotland, contact Scottish Natural Heritage.
The area that bucks the trend in England is Dartmoor, where thanks to an amendment of the National Parks & Access to the Countryside Act 1949, amendment Dartmoor Commons Act 1985
Article 6 states:
- No person shall knowingly use any vehicle, including a caravan or any structure other than a tent for the purpose of camping on the access land or land set out for the use or parking of vehicles except on any area which may be set apart and indicated by notice as a place where such camping is permitted.
- No person shall knowingly erect a tent on the access land for the use of camping:
(a) In an area listed in schedule 2 to these byelaws;
(b) Within 100 metres of any public road or in any enclosure.
- No person shall camp in a tent on the same site on the access land for more than two consecutive nights, except on any area, which may be set apart and indicated by notice as a place where such camping is permitted.
That's more like it! As long as you adhere to the above, you can camp where you like.
Some Useful Tips
- Camp discretely as possible
- Leave your campsite as you found it
- Keep group size to a minimum
- Carry out everything that you carried in, especially rubbish
- Do not dig drainage ditches around your tent or move boulders; find a more suitable spot
- Toilet duties should be performed 30 metres or more from water and everything buried using a trowel or shovel
- All ways strive to preserve the environment