Notes on wild camping

If you decide to wild camp in England or Wales, generally you will be breaking the law. I do not condone anyone doing this but you have the right to make this choice for yourself.

In practice, I have never had a problem on my trips and this may be because I like to keep myself out of sight, more often than not in a patch of woodland if possible. Leave as you find. Have a critical eye and imagine you are tracking someone. Can you tell if someone had just been camping on your spot? Does that little corner of bright shiny plastic you dropped from your chocolate bar give the game away? Pick it up it doesn't take long, there maybe other litter about but why add to it.

If you choose to wild camp, then please act responsibly and follow some common sense guide lines.

Here's what I've found on the subject from different sources:

  • Wild camping in England and Wales is generally only legal with the prior permission of the landowner, but a polite request is unlikely to be turned down in most cases. However, it is generally recognised that making such a request is not always practical, particularly in more remote areas, and wild campers tend to be tolerated if they are out of sight, far from any livestock, do not build open fires, are not in large groups, respect their environment, stay for one night only, and follow the wild camper's mantra: "pitch late, leave early." If you follow these guidelines, the worst that is likely to happen is that a (possibly irate) landowner will ask you to move on. You should also avoid high fire risk areas, such as the North York Moors, where your presence (particularly in summer) is unlikely to be appreciated by the fire services.

  • Lake district National Park: In the past, camping has often been tolerated as long as people:
  1. camp above the highest fell wall, well away from towns and villages.
  2. leave no litter - this includes not burying any litter and removing other people's
  3. don't light any fires, even if there is evidence that fires might have been lit
  4. stay for only one night
  5. keep groups very small - only one or two tents
  6. camp as unobtrusively as possible with inconspicuous tents which blend in
  7. leave the campsite as you would want to find it
  8. carry out everything you carried in
  9. carry out tampons and sanitary towels. Burying them doesn't work as animals dig them up again
  10. choose a dry pitch rather than digging drainage ditches around a tent or moving boulders
  11. perform toilet duties at least 30 metres - 100 feet - from water and bury the results with a trowel
  12. at all times, help protect the environment

  • Keep groups small, Camp as unobtrusively as possible - Leave camp as you found it - Remove all litter (even other people's) - Carry out everything you carried in - Carry out tampons and sanitary towels (burying them doesn't work as animals dig them up again) - Choose a dry pitch rather than digging drainage ditches around a tent or moving boulders - Toilet duties should be performed 30m (100ft) from water and the results buried using a trowel - At all time, help preserve the environment and if you are in any doubt about what you're doing, find out more.

  • Arrive Late, Leave Early - Avoid Agricultural land - Stay out of sight - Leave no Trace - No Open Fires - Do not wild camp on the North York Moors (fire risk)

  • Access rights extend to wild camping. This type of camping is lightweight, done in small numbers and only for two or three nights in any one place. You can camp in this way wherever access rights apply but help to avoid causing problems for local people and land managers by not camping in enclosed fields of crops or farm animals and by keeping well away from buildings, roads or historic structures. Take extra care to avoid disturbing deer stalking or grouse shooting. If you wish to camp close to a house or building, seek the owner’s permission. Leave no trace by: taking away all your litter - removing all traces of your tent pitch - not causing any pollution.

  • Ramblers Association says of England and Wales: "In England and Wales you have no general right to camp and if you do so you may be trespassing, unless you use an official site or first obtain the landowner’s permission. In practice responsible “wild” camping may be tolerated in upland areas, particularly when you are a long way from alternative accommodation, though strictly speaking you are still trespassing and could be moved on. Some upland areas have particular sites where camping is informally tolerated. The best approach is to enquire locally or contact information sources such as national park authorities in advance.

Wherever you pitch, the landowners or their representatives have the legal right to order you to de-pitch and move on, and you must comply!

Ive summarised most of the points above into an easy to remember Mantra:

aste out
ndividual nights
eave as found
efacate 30M from water and bury

amp unobtrusively
rrive late
ove early
ollute nothing
ndoubt ask
o fires
roups small