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Wild camping: How to have a UK break for free
Published 23 July 2016 by Linzi Nuttall
Wild camping offers a sense of adventure and fun – but if you’re not careful, you could end up on the wrong side of the law.
There is something liberating about camping. It gives you a sense of freedom that only comes with being at one with nature – taking shelter under the stars and in the great outdoors. And it’s nice to feel free. But if you feel a little bit too free and pitch up wherever you like, you might find yourself in hot water legally.
England and Wales
That’s because all land in England and Wales is owned by someone. So if you want to camp on it, you need to get permission from the landowner to do so (with the exception of certain places on Dartmoor).
If you don’t do this, the landowner can ask you to move on and there’s nothing you can do about it.
And let’s be honest, the last thing you want is to be turfed from your tent at 3AM, scrambling around packing up in the dark and having to find somewhere else to camp.
So where can you camp legally in the UK?
As we mentioned, Dartmoor has a rule of its own. As long as you do not damage the surroundings, leave rubbish or just generally cause a nuisance, you are welcome to camp on Dartmoor.
You can stay in the same pitch for two nights without any hassle. After this time, you are expected to move on and pitch somewhere new. Dartmoor National Park has put together this leaflet explaining where you can camp, with some helpful tips and information.
If you’d rather head north than south, Scotland is the place for you. Wild camping was made legal in Scotland in 2005.
With some beautiful scenery and outdoor sports, you could have a really great few days in the Highlands. So if you’re looking for a sense of adventure and freedom without the threat of being told to move on, then Scotland is a very safe bet.
The only exception to where you can wild camp is in the east of Loch Lomond National Park where wild camping is banned. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code offers information on safe and hygienic wild camping.
Before you pitch up
Wild camping is a great way to explore some of the more remote parts of the UK.
Being able to just put up your tent wherever you see fit after a long day walking and make it your home for the night really is a wonderful feeling. Just make sure that before you set off for your big outdoor adventure that you do your research first on where you’re heading to avoid getting in trouble.
So that’s it from us – now pack your tent, hope the weather is kind and enjoy your holiday!