The term wild camping is interpreted differently in the UK, depending on where you are and what type of camping you are doing.
Broadly speaking, wild camping is pitching up your tent, or parking your caravan or motorhome, free of charge, in a remote and picturesque location, with few facilities available aside from the ones you have taken with you.
Wild camping in the UK offers the best of both worlds if you are taking your RV. You can experience the thrill of uncertainty and freedom but also have the comfort of all your facilities on board.
UK Wild camping areas are often not easy to find and this can be part of the excitement for many. When looking for wild camping sites in the UK you must bear in mind that it is illegal in some areas and not all wild campsites are accessible by vehicles.
Wild camping in the UK – different rules
A lot of areas in the UK, particularly England and Wales do not permit wild camping at all. Many wild camping enthusiasts are still trying to convince some local councils of the idea. However, other parts of the British Isles offer an abundance of wild camping locations.
- In England and Wales, wild camping is illegal but in some areas, particularly if you are out of sight it is tolerated, but don’t bank on this. It is always worth seeking permission beforehand where possible. Avoid National Parks and forestry commission areas. The Lake District, Snowdonia, Dartmoor and some areas in the South Downs do allow wild camping
- Scotland is one of the best places for wild camping in the UK as the laws are different. Here, it is legal but you should still observe the rules, e.g. remember not to set up camp too close to roads or peoples’ homes. These guidelines are stated in the Land Reform Act 2003. Some recommended areas include The Cairngorms, Loch Lomond and the Highlands
- In both Northern and Southern Ireland there are a number of wild camping areas available in remote locations mainly because there are fewer campsites available. Again, it is not legal but is tolerated in some parts
Some wild camping rules
- Try not to go on agricultural land
- Keep noise levels to a minimum
- Be respectful of the land – do not dump waste
- Don’t overstay your welcome. The general rule for wild camping should be pitch up late – leave early
- Lighting fires may add to the charm but it could cause problems with locals if there are restrictions on this
- Take midgey spray, they are particularly prevalent in upper land areas
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