8 Bucket List Wild Camping Locations in England
Most people have a bucket list of places they’d love to visit, and wild campers are no different.
We choose places that allow us to plus into the natural world, take away our stresses and everyday worries, and take our breath away with amazing scenery.
So, as you compile your own bucket list of wild camping locations, here are eight of ours to inspire you.
We hope to try them, tick them off one by one, and love them as much as we do!
1 . Peppercombe Beach, North Devon
Imagine waking up to the sound of the waves on one of the most secluded beaches in South West England…
This delightful beach is found along the northern stretch of the South West Coastal Path a few miles east of the lovely town of Clovelly.
Choose your overnight spot carefully to avoid any overhang from the towering cliffs above it as there have been cliff falls along this path, and ensure you know the tide times to avoid getting your feet wet!
This beach is best experienced in a bivvy as opposed to a tent as most of it is shingle, though there are flat patches of sand.
Get comfortable and watch that stunning sunset!
2 . Ugborough Moor, Dartmoor
An ancient bylaw is the wild camper’s friend on Dartmoor, as it allows overnight hikers to wild camp for two nights in most of the national park.
Ugborough Moor is high ground above the town of Ivybridge accessed by the Two Moors Way.
Pitch your tent on this granite moorland for stunning views of the town and the surrounding countryside and the chance to see beautiful wildlife like peregrine falcons.
Follow the national park’s code, though, which forbids campfires and bans large tents. Stick to smaller tents and ensure you know where local water sources are.
You may want to use them for your water bottle, and you must avoid toileting near them.
3 . The Ennerdale Valley, the Lake District
Take a walk on the wild side in the forests of the Ennerdale Valley.
This lovely part of the Lake District has plenty of soothing streams and rivers and you’ll feel truly connected to nature among the trees or high up on the hills.
Walk from Great Borne to the Buttermere Edge ridge and set up camp for some spectacular views of Buttermere and Crummock Water.
Watch out for Galloway cattle introduced in the Ennerdale rewilding scheme, helping to control the bracken and encourage the growth of native tree saplings.
Though there are no bylaws allowing wild camping here, this national park recognises the tradition of wild camping in the area and asks campers to leave no trace, avoid polluting water courses, and camp as discretely as possible.
4 . The Cheviots, Northumberland
If you’re looking for solitude, look no further than the Cheviots in the least populated, least visited national park in England.
Walk the Pennine Way from Kirk Yetholm in the north or Byrness in the south to find the rounded hills.
The prehistoric routes used by ancient cattle drivers are now paths and bridle ways used by walkers, mountain bikers, and riders.
Ascend The Cheviot and, on a cloudless day, see views to Edinburgh and the Lake District.
North of the summit, you’ll find the remains of a crashed B-17 bomber from the Second World War, something that will be a perfect place to visit for those who are interested in military history. The plane crashed after a navigational error.
Spot the wildlife in the Hearthope Valley and camp near alder woodland and bubbling burns.
Visit the spectacular 18-metre waterfall at Ali hope Spout and walk to the ‘bottomless’ pool along the burn.
5 . Haystacks, the Lake District
Famed fell walker and writer Alfred Wainwright loved Haystacks so much that he had his ashes scattered there, so you know you’re in for impressive views of other fells and lakes and breath-taking skies.
In fact, the landscape of tarns and crags is so impressive that it was given UNESCO World Heritage status.
Camp at the 597-metre summit for spectacular views of Buttermere, Ennerdale Water, and Crummock Water, and, on a clear day, the top of Scafell Pike. Look up for wonderful views of the Milky Way and the stars in the dark night skies.
The summit has a large plateau with several sites that are suitable for wild camping, but this is a popular destination so it’s rare to have the mountain all to yourself.
6 . Salthouse, Norfolk
Walk along the northern Norfolk coast past pretty coastal villages and you’ll find the lovely pebble beach at Salthouse.
Nestling in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Salthouse gives you the majesty of Norfolk’s big skies and the rolling North Sea.
Pitch your tent on the grassy cliffs back from the shoreline and be prepared for the most spectacular sunrise!
Why not take in the lovely village of Cley Next The Sea, too?
It’s a short drive away and is exceptionally pretty, with local fishmongers selling Norfolk’s famous crab.
7 . Gaddings Dam, Todmorden
One of the best wild camping spots in the north of England, Gaddings Dam is something of a hidden gem.
You’ll find an unusual combination here – a beach tucked away in the Yorkshire hills!
After a fairly straightforward hike up a steep hill, you’ll quickly leave the nearby town of Todmorden behind, along with the farm buildings and tracks.
You’ll discover a disused reservoir with a beach in the northeast corner.
It’s the perfect place to cool off in summer, so is perhaps best experienced in the warmer months. It can get busy during August.
8 . Malham Cove, Yorkshire
It’s little wonder that Malham Cove is one of England’s best loved natural attractions.
Its impressive limestone pavement delights hikers and was featured in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.
Stunning Malham Tarn is the perfect rest stop to feed the soul and get back in touch with nature, impressive Gordale Scar is a waterfall you can climb, and you can swim in the nearby smaller waterfall Janets Foss.
Best of all, there’s a hiking circuit where you can experience all of it.
As this is a popular spot, you’ll need to hike a little way away from the tarn and the cove if you’re looking for peace and solitude to commune with nature.
Other excellent wild camping choices include Yes Tor and Statts Ho on Dartmoor, Watermouth Bay, Porlock, and Dunster in the Exmoor National Park, Codale Tarn and Grisedale Tarn in the Lake District, Lansallos in Cornwall, Kinder Plateau, the Burbage Valley, Dovedale, and Bleaklow in the Peak District, along the River Stour in Suffolk, and on the South Downs. Always check the map for nearby firing ranges and avoid them. This is especially important when on Dartmoor where there are several.
What are the best reasons to go wild camping in England?
The peace and quiet – Getting off the beaten track in the English countryside can allow you to spend time without seeing another soul. It’s just you, your tent, the skies, and the stars!
That connection to nature – It’s all to easy to lose it when most of us live in towns and cities, but it’s something many of us crave. It’s time to rediscover it.
You learn new skills – Wild camping teaches us so much, from how to select a suitable pitch site to how to forage for our own food.
It builds confidence – Learning how to do new things gives us an amazing sense of confidence that we take back into all areas of our lives.
It reduces stress – What better way to relax than by sitting by your tent and gazing up at the stars? Or by drinking in beautiful views?
You get to see so much of the country – It’s a fantastic way to get to know England.
You save a little money – While campsites are still the cheapest way to take a trip, the pitch fees can add up, especially during peak holiday seasons. Wild camping allows you to do more for less.
What do you need to know about wild camping in England?
Wild camping is only legal in England with the permission of the landowner, but while many national parks and other landowners do not actively allow wild camping, they will tolerate if provided you stick to their codes of conduct.
These codes expect you to leave no trace as a wild camper, taking your rubbish away with you and having the minimum impact on an area with your tent.
They expect you to ensure toileting is done away from water courses to prevent pollution (usually a minimum of 15m or 30m away, depending on the area), and they tell you to take used paper away with you along with any food waste or scraps of food, even fruit and vegetable peelings.
Wild camping in large groups is frowned upon. You should only camp with one or two tents together.
You should also camp away from arms and houses, away from roads, and be respectful and move without argument if a landowner tells you to do so.
Dartmoor, however, has bylaws that allow walkers on a multi-day trip to wild camp for two nights in some areas, meaning that it is one of the easiest places in Britain to go wild camping. That’s perfect for anyone just starting out or anyone wild camping with a family.
It does, though, expect wild campers to treat its landscape with respect. Find out more.
The Dartmoor National Park warns campers to pitch their tents out of sight and at least 100m from the road. There should be lightweight tents, no open fires or barbecues, and you should avoid disturbing wildlife, especially birds during the breeding season between March and August and lambs.
You should be able to carry everything you take into the trip in your backpack, the park authority says.
Wild camping in England is a wonderful experience and an effective way to see some of the country’s most spectacular scenery.
Whatever part of England you’re visiting, there’s a wild camping spot to take your breath away.
So, it’s time to make your list, lace up those walking boots, pack your backpack, and get out there!