Wild camping in England ???

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rannochraider
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Wild camping in England ???

Postby rannochraider » 28 Feb 2015, 2:40am

Hi Folks, I'm not at all familiar with the laws in respect of wild camping in England. I'm not really into 'sneaking' onto land as I'm a bit big and like to stand up by my fire occasionally. I'm thinking about an early crack at the coast and castle route and fancy doing it self supported and camping. I know I won't be in England too long but I'd be grateful if someone could put me right on what I can and can't do in terms of tent camping whilst in that savage land of the 'unenlightened' ? :wink:

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Heltor Chasca
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Wild camping in England ???

Postby Heltor Chasca » 28 Feb 2015, 8:38am

It's generally a no go in England without the landowner's permission. I believe you can wild camp at 600 feet ASL but that means the top of Scafell Pike which is pretty bleak.

Some on here (myself included) do wild camp although officially 'we don't'. Arrive late and leave early. Clear up after yourself, extinguish your fire pit properly and use a 'poop shovel' to make decent cat scrapes. I never take a tent, preferring a hammock or in fine weather? The open sky. The trouble with wild camping and part of the reason land owners get so miffed is that a minority (as usual) leave their empty cider bottles and litter for him/her to deal with. I've come across a family tent, sleeping bags and gallons of vomitus. Unpleasant.

Enjoy: A great experience.

On the Bushcraft UK forum, wild camping in England is a banned subject because it IS illegal....b

beardy
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Re: Wild camping in England ???

Postby beardy » 28 Feb 2015, 8:56am

wild camping in England is a banned subject because it IS illegal.


Wild camping on private property is merely trespass isnt it? The only legal response the landowner has is to make you leave and sue for damage if you do any. I am more worried about any illegal actions that people may take against me.

I have chatted to people in roadside Gypsy camps and they say it is legal and lets face it, if the Police had any grounds to make them move they would have rapidly done so.

If you are thinking of lighting a real fire then that is where the real problem lies. I have been caught by landowners a couple of times as I am packing away and they have fortunately always been friendly towards me and more interested than annoyed. I think the situation would be rather different if there was any more impact to the surroundings than my little patch of flattened grass.

pwa
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Re: Wild camping in England ???

Postby pwa » 28 Feb 2015, 9:11am

I understand land owners feeling less than relaxed about wild camping. I expect everyone here leaves their site clean, but a lot of people don't. I know a park ranger who, on Monday mornings in the summer, does a tour of likely unofficial camp spots and removes abandoned cheapo pop up tents, single use barbeques and all the other litter you might expect. I'm afraid it is the dodgy characters making it difficult for the rest of us.

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Heltor Chasca
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Wild camping in England ???

Postby Heltor Chasca » 28 Feb 2015, 10:11am

100% correct Beardy. Trespass only becomes a nickable offence if ANOTHER law gets broken whilst doing so. Criminal damage, stock or plant theft, threatening behaviour, public nuisance etc. Wonder about scrumping? Most of the woodlands I have used have absent landlords. The patches In England I know are all places I have done wildlife volunteer work in so I have a pretty good idea what my chances are of getting caught. Knowing me, if the tenant farmer approached me, I would only be polite and apologetic. I'm respectful of the land, so unless someone was being particularly spikey, I doubt there would be any real issue to attack me about...b

EDIT: Any decent edible mushroom or foraging book will give you a more eloquent summary of the Countryside Laws.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Wild camping in England ???

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 28 Feb 2015, 10:24am

Hi,
Like others have said arrive late leave early, more often its dog walkers who will find you first on common land, I don't believe that if you are clean and leave no mess anyone will be bothered.
At least 2/3rds of Dartmoor is free to camp if you are out of sight of dwellings and 500 metres from a road, basicly anywhere under those rules.
If you camp where people leave mess then expect bother, out of sight is the best thing especially from car headlights.
Open fires are a definite no no on trust land but many easter / weekend revellers still insist on looking like guyforks night.

If you are trespassing then its shortest practical route to a public place not a frog march by angry land owners.
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Wild camping in England ???

Postby Tangled Metal » 28 Feb 2015, 11:16pm

I was always told trespass is still a civil offence requiring the landowner to identify you, take you to court (sue you) and proving that you deprived them of something. By the last thing I mean you caused financial damage, physical damage to land/property or prevented them from going about their business. For example you left a gate open and their sheep got out resulting in one getting hit by a car. That's a contrived situation but you get the idea. Actually, I'm wrong about that last one. About 10 years ago I believe trespass was partially made a criminal offence if you stopped the landowner from carrying out their business.

As far as simple camping without fire or damage you'll be unlikely to have problems if you are away from roads, buildings, above the highest fell wall, etc. Basically in a discrete location. Pitch late, strike early. I've never had any issues in the lakes and not heard of anyone else having problems.

Northumbria I believe have a few formal wild camping spots on footpaths but IIRC some on bridleways which could be good for bikepacking. Dartmoor has legalised wildcamping in most areas (not sure if that's open to all areas or if there's zones it's legal in). I understand the New Forest has a few legal wildcamping areas. All other areas of England it is not legal but it's a civil offence requiring the landowner to take you to court for it. Unlikely but they do have the right to move you on. Above all do not try wildcamping on low levels but above all improved farmland.

If you join the backpackers club they give you a list of landowners who let the club members and others camp on their land. Some even provide access to drinking water and I've heard even toilet facilities. Other websites even give landowners who'll let you camp on their land for a token fee, informal I think.

If you were walking there's always the mountain bothy association. Some bothies aren't too far from road, but the best like that get trashed. Well not the best but the easiest to reach. BTW there's an excellent one north end of isle of Skye if you're ever cycling round there.

You'll be lucky to get away with wildcamping on a cycle tour in England I think as you'll probably want to stay near the road and you're bike. There's a lot of campsites around I think.

One last thing. No fires in England especially peak district. You'll come a cropper in the peak district.

All above info is my understanding of wildcamping across England. Might be wrong but it's a good basis. I've been wildcamping in lakes a lot over last 10 years without any issues. Got a lot of good spots sorted and a few special ones yet to try. One to try is on top of a rocky outcrop, invisible to people passing below and you would never think you could camp there too. It has a nice level and dry grassy spot big enough for 2 small tents if small enough. I'd be using a tarp when I get up there.

mercalia
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Re: Wild camping in England ???

Postby mercalia » 28 Feb 2015, 11:21pm

it is less stressful if u just use a bivvy bag. I did that for a short time last summer near to where I live to try out the idea and found lots of places where you could stay for a night. obviously only fun if the weather is fine

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horizon
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Re: Wild camping in England ???

Postby horizon » 28 Feb 2015, 11:48pm

I used to "wild camp" all over the British Isles (... and America, Canada, Europe ...) in my younger days. Why? because I was hitch-hiking and trying to get to a campsite didn't seem worth the effort or wasn't always possible. But when I started cycle touring - joy of joys, you could actually get to a campsite. OK, some were a bit expensive, most not, and you had a shower and some peace of mind.

I don't really see the point of wild camping in the UK, France or Germany. But there are times when there are no campsites within reach - I was stuck one night in North Cornwall (yes, it's hard to believe). But a few enquiries later and I was happily ensconced in someone's back garden.

I don't think trespass comes into it - you just ask. And if there's no-one to ask then it's probably going to be all right anyway. On my last trip to Spain I wild camped and always looked for someone to tell them I was there!

The only time you will have problems is in hotspots: beauty spots, sea fronts etc and there will often be a no camping sign (there is one on the coast path near where we live).

So go for it, but make life easy and ask - you might get a nice spot!
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mercalia
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Re: Wild camping in England ???

Postby mercalia » 1 Mar 2015, 12:15am

horizon wrote:....The only time you will have problems is in hotspots: beauty spots, sea fronts etc and there will often be a no camping sign (there is one on the coast path near where we live).


Strange thing in some parks/green spaces in London where they tell you what you cant do - often a very very long list, they forget to mention camping lol. I have been temped to try it out .....

Tangled Metal
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Re: Wild camping in England ???

Postby Tangled Metal » 1 Mar 2015, 11:49pm

I spent one of my wildcamping nights on slopes of Coniston old man once when I met this old guy on a bike. It was well off any path or bridleway. He'd taken up bikepacking when age limited him backpacking. A real character who spent 5 minutes moaning about how he'd just found out they'd turned off analogue TV signal meaning his tiny portable crt tv with car battery didn't work anymore. I kid you not he'd be riding the hills in the lakes and elsewhere pitching up and watching tv. His home area still had analogue so he'd not realised it was off elsewhere.

Anyway him and others I've met on bikes prove you can wildcamp in some areas without issues. If you want to wild camp pick your areas in England or go to most of Scotland. Parts around loch Lomond it's banned and other hotspots of poor camping behaviour.

Have fun doing it BTW.

rannochraider
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Re: Wild camping in England ???

Postby rannochraider » 2 Mar 2015, 2:30am

Hi TM , I'm from Scotland and am familiar with the legislation re wild camping there. I'm just curious as to how to plan a relaxed trip such as the Coast and Castles route from Newcastle North. Seems it would be wise to book accommodation at different stages on the way up through England. I've no problem with that now that it's clear there's very little or any alternative available.

johnjo
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Re: Wild camping in England ???

Postby johnjo » 2 Mar 2015, 10:31am

You could always pop in to the local pub and ask around. Many rural pubs have back gardens where they will let you pitch up after spending some cash in the bar. Or maybe one of the locals will let you use their garden. Never be afraid to ask. Most folk are sympathetic to lone travellers.

Fasgadh
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Re: Wild camping in England ???

Postby Fasgadh » 2 Mar 2015, 6:22pm

beardy wrote:
wild camping in England is a banned subject because it IS illegal.



If you are thinking of lighting a real fire then that is where the real problem lies. .


This tolerant and mild mannered English landowner (who despises the English anti access laws) will turn into the worst get orf moi land propriatorial git at the very hint of a fire. No fire, you would get a cup of tea if discovered, fire - you are off, and I would consider it to be an act of criminal damage (doubt the law would back me, see Gipsy comments).

Scotland is great, but needs the law tightened up to protect lovely places from fire marks or worse.

I have yet to have any problems when touring in England, and as said upthread, the folk out and about early and late are walking dogs, dog walkers find me nearly every time. Late pitching and up early is the usual tactic. Much easier in Scotland of course.

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Farawayvisions
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Re: Wild camping in England ???

Postby Farawayvisions » 2 Mar 2015, 9:03pm

I have wild camped a few times in England over the last year or so. I have never been 'discovered' but then again,I would never light a fire on someone's land. Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight.