Specifically for cycle touring subjects & questions
Agreed. I suspect it depends to a large extent on your behaviour and choice of spot, though it's also a bit of a lottery in terms of landowner attitudes. Things are also weighted in our favour somewhat by the fact that it is much easier to decline permission when asked than to turf somebody off your land once they are pitched up. Most people don't want confrontation so many will be inclined to tolerate somebody who has already arrived. Generally my experiences echo yours that people are normally quite content when they realise you're harmless.