The Top 5 Spots For Wild Camping In The UK
Imagine waking up to a beautiful mountain view, or listening to the lapping of waters at a lake, without sharing it with dozens of other campers…
If this is your dream, you’re looking for the wild camping experience!
What you lose in having convenient loos and showers is more than made up for by stunning scenery, peace and tranquillity, and the sheer joy of being in nature.
What is wild camping?
If you camp anywhere outside an official campsite and without facilities like running water and electricity, you’re wild camping.
For most people who do it, the lack of amenities is all part of the attraction of getting off the beaten path and finding a real connection with the Great Outdoors.
If you’re looking to wild camp for the first time, here’s a previous blog from us packed full of useful information: Click Here
What does the law say about it?
Although wild camping is legal in the UK, there are several things you must do to ensure you stay within the rules and have a great camping experience. Essentially, you should leave no trace you’ve camped there and protect the natural environment.
- You must have the permission of any landowner to avoid trespassing. There are few areas of Britain which aren’t owned by someone, either a private individual, a company, or a body such as a national park authority. Some parts of the Highlands of Scotland and Dartmoor have unenclosed land where you can wild camp easily, but you must do your research.
- Don’t camp near people’s homes, in fields with crops, or near roads, behaviour that will irritate local people and could cause problems with local police.
- Check to see if there is an agreement in place where wild camping can happen on certain pieces of land in national parks such as the Lake District even though it is frowned upon elsewhere.
- After problems with inconsiderate wild campers in some areas of Scotland, like the Trossachs, you’ll now need special permission to do it.
- Always be respectful to local people and walkers and behave well, taking account of local regulations about things like campfires.
- Don’t urinate near water sources like streams and lakes, and always bury your waste.
- Take your rubbish home with you and take that into account when you’re packing, especially if you’re walking to a remote spot.
Now you know the basics, here are our top 5 spots for wild camping in the UK
Spots for wild camping in Dartmoor
Dartmoor may be best known as the setting for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles, but it’s also one of southern Britain’s most wild and beautiful places.
This national park has designated areas where you can wild camp, including the popular Riddon Ridge and Bellever. It’s vital to leave no trace here as wild camping was temporarily banned at these sites after irresponsible campers left substantial amounts of rubbish like wet wipes, disposable barbecues, and broken bottles there in 2020.
Other popular wild camping areas include Ugborough Moor, where you’ll see neolithic long barrows and the remains of the 19th century clay mining industry, and Yes Tor, the second highest point on Dartmoor at more than 2,000ft above se level, though you can also wild camp above the town of Ivybridge, with excellent views of the pretty town below.
Here is a full article on tips for Wild Camping in Dartmoor
The Isle of Skye
With a rich history, impressive medieval castles, rugged landscape, a beautiful coastline, and stunning white beaches, the Isle of Skye has so much to offer any wild camper.
You’ll see wonderful rock pinnacles at Quiraing including ‘The Needle’, the largest of all the columns at this site created by an ancient landslip that’s still moving today. Or you can visit peaceful Camasunary in a sweeping, majestic bay on the southern coast of the island.
You could also explore the ‘Garden of Skye’ on the Sleat peninsula or walk through the wonderful Waternish peninsula. Watch out for a wide range of wildlife during your stay, including puffins, golden eagles, dolphins, otters, and white-tailed sea eagles.
And, of course, there’s always a wee dram to enjoy as you gaze at the stars in Europe’s second Dark Sky Park.
If you’re wild camping in Scotland, it’s worth researching the country’s Right to Roam legislation and the SOAC (Scottish Outdoors Access Code) which is a detailed guide to the responsibilities of anyone walking or camping in the Scottish countryside.
The Brecon Beacons camping spots
Breath-taking mountains, beautiful forests, and a dark sky area where you can see the sky at night packed full of stars – what’s not to love about this amazing part of Wales?
It‘s a walker’s paradise, particularly along the Pen y Fan and Fan y Big horseshoe, four-mountain route in the Central Beacons that also takes in Cribyn and Corn Du. There are also lovely walks along the old Roman Road past the Upper Neuadd Reservoir.
In the east of the national park, the Black Mountains have stunning walks along Hattershall Ridge above picturesque Llanthony Priory, and on the Blorenge, Skirrid, and Sugarloaf mountains. To the west, walkers love the views at Llyn y Fan Fach and Llyn y Fan Fawr. There is also a stunning four-waterfall walk in waterfall country at Ystradfellte.
The national park has some of the best dark skies in the UK, perfect for stargazing outside your tent. The Dark Sky Reserve is near Usk Reservoir and is reached from Trecastle.
You need to be aware that no wild camping is allowed on Brecon Beacons National Park Authority land, so look for a friendly farmer and ask permission to camp on their land. Some farmers will charge you for the privilege, so make sure you have cash on you.
Wild camping in The Lake District
Visit the dramatic landscapes that inspired children’s author Beatrix Potter and the lakes that inspired Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons.
This is one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations and a huge attraction for walkers and wild campers.
So, try to visit at quieter times of the year and get off the beaten track in the Western Fells and Ennerdale Valley where there are woodlands perfect for wild camping, or hike out to Codale Tarn and enjoy the peace along the lake shore.
As we said earlier, although the national park authority doesn’t encourage wild camping on its land, there are some sites where it is tolerated in the Lake District, especially if it tents are pitched above the highest fence or wall line, pitched late and taken down early, and you leave no trace.
Spots at The North Antrim Coast
This beautiful, wild coast is famed for the Giant’s Causeway, Antrim and Dunluce Castles, the caves and beach at Cushendun, and, latterly, its association with Game of Thrones.
There is beautiful scenery and an area steeped in history and myth, and wonderful wild camping to be had around Ballycastle, Portrush, and Portstewart. You could also go further inland to avoid the crowds to the Antrim Glens, an area of outstanding natural beauty.
The nine glens run from the Antrim Plateau to the coast, with roiling hills and stunning countryside perfect for walkers.
Remember, wild camping isn’t permitted in Northern Ireland unless you’ve obtained permission from the landowner. There are Northern Ireland Forestry Service sites with facilities that offer something of a wild camping experience, too.
So, which of our top five wild camping spots will you try this summer?