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Thread: Wild Camping in not-so-wild areas

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    United Kingdom

    I live within striking distance of the North Downs Way & would really like to do some sections in 2-4 day chunks, camping as I go. however, campsites seem few & far between & I'm wondering about the possibility of wild camping in what are really some not-so-wild areas of the SE

    does anyone have any experience of this? obviously camp late & leave early - I was thinking that a natural-coloured bivi-bag would be a start, maybe some camo netting too?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    United Kingdom
    This subject has been dealt wit several times recently. You have no right to camp wild anywhere in England except in the Dartmoor National Park. However, I've been doing it for sixty years in both lowland and upland areas and have never been discovered. This is what I do in lowland countryside:

    Locate a suitable pitch out of sight of prying eyes e.g, the corner of a field (first making sure that there is no livestock), or the edge of a wood. You will need to be self-sufficient in food and water. Wait until dusk before pitching your tent and leave as early as possible the following morning. In the unlikely event of being discovered, don't argue, just leave.

    I've never camped wild on the North Downs Way but have on the Cotswold Way, the Ridgeway, the South Downs Way and on many other lowland long-distance paths.


  3. #3
    Goon Jim the park warden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    United Kingdom

    Camped along part of glyndowers way a couple of weeks ago ,on farmland ,and was lucky to get a thumbs up from the morning shepherd as he came by on his quad .(we left a bottle of pear cider for him on the gatepost)

    Most important is to LEAVE NO TRACE . And disturb no-one .

    Just remember if someone decides they don't want you on even the most unused far flung corner of their land ,the absolute right thing to do is apologise and leave as quickly as possible . Don't use camo netting ,it looks suss if you are seen .

    Farmers appreciate honesty ,so it could still work if you ask for permission to camp (something i did with great success over Exmoor a while ago )

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    United Kingdom

    thanks, useful answers. apologies if they have been covered recently, I don't stop by here too often

    much of the land around the NDW seems to be NT, so I wasn't too concerned about individual landowners wanting to move me on, the camo was more about not waking up in a bivi to find my rucksack had been nicked!

    did Guildford to Dorking today, glorious day, but my feet are buggered, time for some new boots ...

  5. #5
    an yuata
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  6. #6
    Goon Jonno2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    United Kingdom
    Green bivy bag and just find the most remote spot you can to stop. Wait until dusk to stop and get out again right after breakfast. Don't use any sort of open fire and if possible don't dress entirely in bright colours

    I know you're not supposed to do this sort of thing but the massive restrictions on what you can and can't do outdoors these days are just too much. It's hard to believe the degree to which the gov think it's acceptable to stop you enjoying your own countryside.

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