Why You Should Try Wild Camping in the UK
The UK is an island of hikers, ramblers, and hillwalkers. In England, it’s estimated that over 9 million adults go on a hike of 30 minutes or longer each month. That may not sound like much, but it means that 22% of the population head outdoors for at least one substantial hike every few weeks.
In 2021, this figure has risen. Since the pandemic, hikes are now on average 50% longer as pent-up walkers head out to explore our country’s trails. Naturally, this also means that wild camping in the UK is also on the rise.
As confidence grows in hiking, so does the desire for wild camping adventures. Here are a handful of reasons why you should be one of the wild campers exploring the UK’s spectacular nature areas.
The Basics You Need For a Wild Camping Trip in The UK
Before you head out into the wild, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.
First and foremost, you need to make sure that you have the proper equipment. A tent, sleeping bag, and stove are essential, and you should also pack plenty of food and water. Secondly, you need to make sure that you are aware of the local laws and regulations regarding wild camping.
In some areas, it is strictly forbidden, and in others, it is only allowed with permission from the landowner. Finally, you need to be prepared for the weather. The UK can be quite unpredictable, so make sure you pack appropriate clothing for both cold and warm weather conditions.
With a little planning and preparation, your wild camping trip will be an unforgettable experience. Now lets look at why you should try a wild camping trip.
Enjoy the Outdoors
After nearly two years of travel bans and disruption to holiday plans, the British public started to look a little closer to home. Instead of far-flung travel, lockdowns and local restrictions forced people to explore the world around them.
What people found was a huge array of landscapes that were previously under appreciated. The crystal-clear rivers, rolling dales, craggy coastline, and quaint farm lanes of the UK’s countryside came to be loved and enjoyed in a new light.
After being stuck inside for so long – working and relaxing in the same space – the appeal of indoor recreational activities has plummeted. As a result, wild camping has allowed people to reconnect with their home country and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.
It’s something of a truism to say that nature is good for you. Bracing fresh air and sunshine are considered to have a positive effect on your physical health. There’s even evidence to claim that nature has a more powerful impact on the body than we first appreciated.
Nature therapy is a concept that involves “bathing” in a natural ecosystem to connect with the outdoors. This in turn reduces stress, anxiety, and mental health complications. This may sound a bit too hippy and new-age for some, but the signs of positive growth are all there.
Therefore, going wild camping in the UK offers hikers the chance to boost their mental health. A night in the wild can clear your head and provide you with a grounding experience in the natural world.
Most people who go wild camping and connect their trip with a hike. The two are closely associated and many hikers like to trek to a remote area before setting up their camp for the night. This is good news as there are plenty of fitness benefits to be had when hiking!
If you’re wild camping, you need to carry all the suitable equipment for survival. Your sleeping set-up, clothing, and cooking equipment all need to be hefted around in your rucksack. This weight will build strength in your back, shoulders, and around your core muscles.
In turn, walking up hills and traversing challenging terrain will tone the muscles in your legs and flex out your joints and ligaments. There are also cardiovascular benefits from hiking. As you walk, your heart rate will rise. This increase in physical exertion is good for the body and will do wonders for your heart and lungs.
Adventures are Fun!
An often-overlooked reason to try wild camping is that it’s an adventure! Not enough credit is given to trying something merely to attempt a new challenge. For example, doing something that’s out of your comfort zone. An activity that gets your adrenaline pumping.
You don’t have to be a kid to feel excited about going wild camping. Hiking to a remote area and pitching your tent in relative secrete is invigorating. The fact that you must be discrete and conceal yourself only adds to the rush of emotion.
Wild camping can feel like an expedition or special mission. Huddling around your stove on a cold night with your tent pitched in a dramatic location is the definition of adventure and it’s this feeling of exhilaration that makes life worth living!
Learn New Skills
There are many outdoor skills that people have lost in modern life. When you’re wild camping in the UK, you are forced to relearn some of the fundamental skills our ancestors would have needed to survive.
There’s a great deal to learn about the outdoors. You can estimate what time it is by the sun’s position in the sky and judge how much light you have before sunset. You can judge directionality from the stars and identify planetary patterns. You can spot different plant and animal species and learn about natural ecosystems.
There are also a whole host of practical skills to be learnt. For example, knowing how to correctly pack a backpack for camping. Being able to pitch a tent and light a campfire are also important skills. Or understanding how to read a map and compass. All these skills can be learnt when wild camping in the UK. This is valuable information that the average person won’t have the opportunity to experience.
There are many reasons why the Uk is perfect for wild camping and you should try it. Reasons can vary from person to person. Some want to wild camp to focus on their bushcraft skills and may carry specialist gear and pitch a tent closer to home. Others may want to train for a long-distance hike where lightweight equipment and fitness are paramount to the success of their wild camping adventures.
Whatever your goals, try to be open-minded. Wild camping is not perfect. You will have times when you’re tired, overwhelmed, and uncomfortable. However, it’s important to take the rough with the smooth.
Wild camping isn’t about living a life of luxury. It’s about grappling with adventure and enjoying new experiences. With that in mind, leave your judgments at home and just embrace the adventure!