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Wild Camping: How to Get Away With It

If you enjoy getting back to basics and spending a night under canvas then you

View from inside the tent of outstretched legs and walking books laying next to them.

might have heard of or even considered wild camping. Now I don't want to promote illegal behaviour and wild camping is prohibited in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Despite this wild camping is wildly done by many over the UK and is overall 'tolerated' by the authorities but if you want to make sure you do not cause any issues the main thing to remember is to leave no trace.

Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better - Albert Einstein

Lighting Fires

You do not want to light fires while wild camping, they are often difficult to control and put out, especially in dry or windy conditions. They are dangerous for both you and the environment and also leave scorch marks after you've left a site.

Myself sat in the doorway of a small tent on top of a clifftop.

Be Safe, Not Stupid

Especially in the UK, the weather can change in a moment and although we are lucky to avoid extreme weather such as hurricanes we still need to be sensible. The last thing you want to do is call out mountain rescue, especially if it could have been avoided. So there is no shame in turning back, having a backup plan or deciding to stay at a hotel or campsite. There have been many times when I've changed plans/routes because of fog or poor weather.

My tent set up at the top of Winnats Pass in the Peak District.

Leave No Trace

Essentially you want to be invisible both during and after your camp, which means setting up in the late evening and leaving early morning. Do not camp on private land or working farms. Take any rubbish home with you, if you are cooking food then do so on a stove rather than lighting fires.

Respect Others

You will often come across other people passing by your camping spot or setting up camp in the same area. Remember that although you are there to enjoy yourself you also don't want to spoil the experience for others. Avoid large groups, keep noise to a minimum, and if others are already set up before you get there, consider finding another spot, e.g. the other side of the tarn or further down the path.

Me stopped for a break walking up Winnats Pass looking over the hills.

What To Do If You're Asked To Move On...

This has actually never happened to me, as long as you follow these guidelines the majority of people don't care that you're camping however if you are asked to move on by the land owner then do so straight away. Either find another location if you have time to walk still or return back to a car or hotel for the night.

Tarp set up on the Norfolk coast for a beach camp.

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Sep 30, 2023

it's also important to not attempt any cooking (or heating with similar apparatus) in tents due to odourless but lethal carbon monoxide

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