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Wild camping in UK
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Here’s where you can go wild camping in the UK

Planning to swap the city for the wilderness this year? Pitch up your canvas at one of the UK’s wild camping spots

Ellie Walker-Arnott
Rosie Hewitson
Written by
Ellie Walker-Arnott
Rosie Hewitson

While there’s nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned campsite, there’s something about wild camping that really gets the juices flowing. This is how it is supposed to be, after all: just you, a tent, some ropey coffee and the elements. Wild camping has run the whole gamut over the years, from a standard family holiday to the domain of the adventurous and back again. Truth be told, wild camping is for anyone.

There are plenty of great options for wild camping in the UK, whether in the vast expanse of a national park or the homely surroundings of a local Welsh farm. Here’s everything you need to know about wild camping in the UK, except maybe how to make that coffee taste a little better. And don’t forget: leave not a scrap of rubbish behind.

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🦦 Where to spot rare wildlife in the UK

Is it legal to go wild camping in the UK?

Generally, wild camping without the landowner’s permission is illegal in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. But wild camping in Scotland isn’t prohibited, so that means you can technically pitch up wherever you like – including in the country’s incredible National Parks. There are some restrictions in areas around Loch Lomond. You can find out more on the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park website and Outdoor Access Guide to Scotland.

Is there any way to go wild camping in England and Wales?

Wild camping
Photograph: Shutterstock

If you want to wild camp in England or Wales, you do have options. Dartmoor National Park does actually allow wild camping in specific areas, with some simple rules in place. Campers must carry all their equipment on foot, and stay a maximum of two nights. Overnight stays are not permitted in vehicles, including campervans and motorhomes, and large tents are also banned. Campers must pitch up out of sight at least 100 metres from the road, and leave no trace behind. For more information, check out the park’s own camping guide, which includes an interactive map showing where wild camping is allowed.

Over the border in Wales, the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority provides a list of local farms which allow wild camping.

Elsewhere in England and Wales, including Exmoor, Snowdonia and the Peak District National Parks, all you need to do to wild camp is ask the landowner’s permission first – and make sure there’s no trace of your stay when you’re done.

Not quite ready for fully wild camping?

Then there’s nearly-wild camping: a network of locations ‘willing to host campers who are looking for a wilder, secluded or quieter camping experience’. Handily, this map reveals all the places you can go nearly-wild camping in the UK. There are more than 100 options around the UK and you’ll even find added extras like nature walks, fishing or pottery lessons at some of them. Winner.


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