Camping in England

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Psamathe
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Camping in England

Postby Psamathe » 2 Jan 2021, 9:06pm

Given C-19 meaning there is a chance no EU tours in (much of) 2021, I've suddenly realised I don't know how "camping" works in England (EU you just turn up on a bike and they'll normally fit you in). A few years ago I did a "test run" for a few days in England and 1st camp site no showers, others were Caravan Club Members Only (though they let me in as they were deserted).

In England can you e.g. use Archies lists and just arrive (with no Caravan Club membership) or is it pre-book or club membership or something else.

Ian

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Paulatic
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Re: Camping in England

Postby Paulatic » 2 Jan 2021, 9:47pm

Caravan & Motorhome club rarely allow camping and I wouldn’t bother with them. I’m in Camping & Caravanning Club and they’ve a useful app pinpointing their sites and facilities at each. When I’m on a bike I just turn up. When we are away with caravan we always book.
Outwith c&cc you are subject to the vagaries of private sites.
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Slowroad
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Re: Camping in England

Postby Slowroad » 4 Jan 2021, 12:01pm

Camping in England is very mixed. The Camping and Caravanning Club have both their own sites and 'certificated sites'. The CCC's own sites had a policy of always allowing single backpackers and cyclists to camp, even if officially they were full. I've done this many times and always been accommodated, though I do book in advance if I can. The non-member prices for backpackers/cyclists are good so I've never joined the CCC. Certificated sites are different, they are privately owned, often smaller and very small sites, sometimes with few facilities. You are supposed to be a member to stay at them, but some sites are more flexible. It's worth checking their website first.
There are of course loads of other sites, now even more varied that there's a lot of new glamping sites. At the very least I research the campsites in an area that I'm cycling to and note price and phone number - often I do book in advance. Prices have gone up a lot in the last few years and I often find prices £15-25 for one tent, it's worth emailing beforehand as sometimes they'll drop it for single cyclist.
I use the www.ukcampsite.co.uk site - an old-fashioned look, but very thorough.
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horizon
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Re: Camping in England

Postby horizon » 4 Jan 2021, 1:12pm

The OP will probably get further replies but just to say that campsites in the UK can militate against cycle touring. You might find for example:

Facilities that you cannot use but have paid for such as a swimming pool
Large standard plots which you don't need (but have to pay for)
A stipulation of a minimum number of nights stay
Glamping which requires advance booking and a longer stay
Booking in advance in popular areas
Nowhere to secure your bike
At the other extreme, sites without toilets and showers
A ban on camping at many sites
Large, rowdy family groups letting off alcohol-fuelled energy

But don't let that put you off: I faced all that but still had a great trip over eastern and southern England this year, stopping one night at each site. I found the sites I wanted, booked in advance and found many that had gone out of their way to accommodate cycle campers.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Tangled Metal
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Re: Camping in England

Postby Tangled Metal » 4 Jan 2021, 1:23pm

Alcohol fuelled energy? Saw a fair bit of that in brittany campsites two half years ago and even once in Belgium 1.5 years ago. You're lucky or you're not in that respect I've found wherever we've travelled.

If quiet is needed the more basic ones are often better and there are also ones catering for people looking for a quiet break, family only, no groups, etc. Booking is often needed with vehicles but sometimes by bike or foot they'll get you in somehow but that's not guaranteed. Bigger sites tend to be less flexible imho.

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Camping in England

Postby Tigerbiten » 4 Jan 2021, 2:37pm

I've done a few long camping tours around the UK, doing roughly 50 miles per day and each over 120 days long.
Doing that type of distance there are a few areas of the UK where there are no suitable campsites at all.
That's areas where they are setup wholly for caravans so no toilets and/or silly expensive.
But that's where you start looking for a nice hedge to hide behind.

I like the C&CC main sites, known quality at a known price.
With a bit of luck, I've found it's possible to string 3-5 sites together into a route that's roughly going where I want to go before I hit a gap in their main sites.

Luck ......... :D

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horizon
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Re: Camping in England

Postby horizon » 4 Jan 2021, 3:00pm

Tigerbiten wrote:Doing that type of distance there are a few areas of the UK where there are no suitable campsites at all.


Ironically that isn't just in the wilds of Scotland - around London they are few and far between. Normally i wouldn't book but this year with covid and the big boost in camping, I did. Many sites were fully booked and my daily mileages got a bit unbalanced but in the end it all worked out (with persistence).
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Pendodave
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Re: Camping in England

Postby Pendodave » 4 Jan 2021, 3:08pm

I recently came across a book by Bettina Selby in our mess room and borrowed it to read over christmas.
It was noticeable that she camps quite often in people's fields/gardens after knocking on their doors. As an arriviste in the world of cycle touring, I wondered if this was common practice.
A couple of caveats:
- Book was written in 1990 ish
- It's a book, not a document of record

Jdsk
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Re: Camping in England

Postby Jdsk » 4 Jan 2021, 3:27pm

Lots of good advice above.

I like to check and book one day ahead... it's usually the first job in the evening after getting the tent up.

They will usually fit in a couple of bikes and a small tent somewhere, but we were rejected twice in East Anglia in the hot summer of 2016.

Jonathan

PaulaT
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Re: Camping in England

Postby PaulaT » 4 Jan 2021, 5:49pm

I think a lot depends on the time of year you're going. Outside of peak times you shouldn't have any problem getting on with just a bike and a small tent.

bikepacker
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Re: Camping in England

Postby bikepacker » 4 Jan 2021, 7:06pm

Pendodave wrote:I recently came across a book by Bettina Selby in our mess room and borrowed it to read over christmas.
It was noticeable that she camps quite often in people's fields/gardens after knocking on their doors. As an arriviste in the world of cycle touring, I wondered if this was common practice.
A couple of caveats:
- Book was written in 1990 ish
- It's a book, not a document of record


Her book "The Fragile Islands" is a lovely account of her touring in the Outer Hebrides, well worth a read. I have a copy and occasionally have another read of it.

She gave us a talk at one of the Welsh Cycling Festivals about her ride across Pakistan. First white women in many of the places she went, It has to be one of the great pioneering cycle rides.
There is your way. There is my way. But there is no "the way".

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Sweep
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Re: Camping in England

Postby Sweep » 5 Jan 2021, 6:13am

Tigerbiten wrote:
I like the C&CC main sites, known quality at a known price.
With a bit of luck, I've found it's possible to string 3-5 sites together into a route that's roughly going where I want to go before I hit a gap in their main sites.

Can I ask if you are a member?
I know some folk have done some maths and reckon that it's not worth becoming one.
Sweep

gbnz1
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Re: Camping in England

Postby gbnz1 » 5 Jan 2021, 8:31am

Psamathe wrote:know how "camping" works in England n


Have to admit I've always simply turned up. Even whilst living in a tent for fiveteen months, several months of it in the UK, can't remember ever having an issue. Other than absurd prices in parts of the Lakes, Dales or issues that'd be anticipated anywhere I.e. drunken familes on a bank holiday wkd.

End of the day, it's easy enough to wild camp anywhere (Nb. Even in the Lakes, it's easy enough to cycle 30 minutes down the road, "out of the Lakes" to wild camp easily (Nb. Can't log in under gbnz, so gbnz1)

Psamathe
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Re: Camping in England

Postby Psamathe » 5 Jan 2021, 8:32am

Sweep wrote:
Tigerbiten wrote:
I like the C&CC main sites, known quality at a known price.
With a bit of luck, I've found it's possible to string 3-5 sites together into a route that's roughly going where I want to go before I hit a gap in their main sites.

Can I ask if you are a member?
I know some folk have done some maths and reckon that it's not worth becoming one.

Those folk - is that a "worth" in terms of costs or in terms of access to sites i.e. are there plenty of better sites without "members only" constraints or that you get a discount? I've no real experience UK campsites (hence starting this thread) but it was the "members only" that I thought might be limiting.

Ian

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Paulatic
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Re: Camping in England

Postby Paulatic » 5 Jan 2021, 8:47am

Sweep wrote:
Tigerbiten wrote:
I like the C&CC main sites, known quality at a known price.
With a bit of luck, I've found it's possible to string 3-5 sites together into a route that's roughly going where I want to go before I hit a gap in their main sites.

Can I ask if you are a member?
I know some folk have done some maths and reckon that it's not worth becoming one.

Doing 120 nights TB would be quids in being a member
We are a member and when I’ve worked out in the past 7 nights of members rates and over 60s discount and you've covered the £41 member fee.

Backpacking rates for a single person might be a different sum as a member gets 30% discount and a non member 17% off site prices.
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life

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