8 Bucket Wild Camping Locations in Wales
Wales is a country of magical mountains, lovely lakes, breath-taking coastlines, and rolling valleys.
It’s also a place where you can find tranquillity, solitude, and a deep connection with the landscape. It’s not surprising, then, that it’s also one of the most popular places in the UK for wild camping.
If you’re planning your next wild camping trip in Wales, here is our list of spectacular wild camping spots to discover:
1 . Cwm Caseg, Snowdonia
This area can feel a world away from the crowds and queues on the top of Snowdon.
It’s far less visited but a richly rewarding experience for those prepared to hike off the beaten tracks.
At the centre is the stunning Cwm Caseg Tarn surrounded by steep hills, a place where you can enjoy wild camping and wild swimming while taking in the amazing alpine landscape.
Cwm Caseg is reached by a walk from the village of Bethesda, the track leading up the valley side and following well-worn goat tracks. Get ready for the very steep final part of the walk until you see the beautiful tarn appear before you.
The southern part of the tarn is largely flat and grassy, perfect to pitch your tent.
Pitch it and sit back to take in the beauty of your surroundings, including some of the highest peaks in the Carneddau range like Carnedd Llywelyn and Yr Elen.
And, of course, you benefit from easy access to a water source!
2 . Grwyne Fawr Reservoir, the Black Mountains
This beautiful area with views of rolling hills, woods, and water is reached by a walk from the Black Mountains car park, often paired with an ascent of the nearby Pen y Gadair Fawr to Waun Fach, descending along the Grwyne Fawr stream via the Grwyne Fawr bothy.
A bothy offering shelter for walkers is an unusual sight in Wales, though far more common in Scotland. This bothy sleeps two people comfortably and offers a chair and a table to have meals.
For those looking to pitch their own tent, there are several excellent spots around the reservoir, including on a cliff overlooking the water and among the trees lower down for a little more privacy.
This is a popular wild camping spot in the holidays and on bank holiday weekends, so always be prepared to walk a little further from the cliff or bothy to find real solitude.
3 . Porth Iago, Llyn Peninsula
The lovely Llyn Peninsula in North Wales has rugged cliffs, sandy coves, and wildflower-lined lanes, so it’s the perfect place to enjoy our coastline.
Porth Iago is a secluded, delightful cove with a golden, sandy beach and a brilliant west-facing position to watch the most stunning sunsets.
It’s overlooked by an ancient fort where you can pitch your tent for some of the most spectacular wild camping in Wales.
You can reach the beach and fort via a local farm which charges a parking fee that includes permission to wild camp. Just pay on the way in, pitch your tent, then enjoy the beach, fishing in the rocks, and cooking your catch in the open air.
4 . Plynlimon, the Cambrian Mountains
Some people call the ‘Green Desert’ of Wales barren, but we like to call it impressive, stark, and majestic.
High in the Cambrian Mountains, you’ll find the Nant-y-Moch reservoir, twisting through the landscape and creating shores of shale and coves where you can pitch your tent out of the wind. The reservoir has a car park that you can use as a base to leave your vehicle and explore the area including a walk over the bluff to the lovely Llyn Llygad Rheidol.
Rising above the car park is Plynlimon, the highest point in this mountain range and the source of the Wye and Severn rivers. This is a majestic sight when you open your tent in the morning!
Follow the tracks higher if you want to pitch your tent in a more challenging position.
5 . The Punch Bowl, the Blorenge, Abergavenny
For stunning views and interesting geological features, you can’t beat a trip to wild camp at the Punchbowl on the Blorenge mountain near Abergavenny.
The eastern side of the Blorenge is dominated by glacial cwm containing woods and a man-made lake, the Punchbowl.
It’s teeming with wildlife including damselflies and dragonflies in the summer, grey herons and warblers, cuckoos, and green woodpeckers. Some of the beech trees are more than 200 years old, and the Punchbowl also has oaks, ash, and rowan trees.
You reach the site either by going over top of the mountain from the Blaenavon side and down the road site or up from the villages of Llanfoist or Llanellen.
During your stay, walk the 12-mile circular Iron Mountain Walk that passes through the Punchbowl to learn about the area’s industrial past and connections with the Blaenavon ironworks.
The walk runs through the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape World Heritage Site and includes the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal and tram roads.
6 . Pembrokeshire Coastal Path
With one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the British Isles, Pembrokeshire attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year and many of them walk sections of the spectacular Pembrokeshire Coastal Path.
A night’s camping here will allow you to connect with the sea and give you wonderful sunsets. You’ll experience craggy cliffs, rolling waves, and fields and hedgerows dotted with flowers.
Long distance walkers often wild camp, so while it’s not technically allowed, wild campers who don’t camp too close to the path, who leave no trace and take their own rubbish away with them, and who respect local residents and farmers are often tolerated.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re able to camp legally is to look for a near-wild camping experience, and some local farmers open up part of their land for this purpose in the spring and summer.
Walking the coastal path between St David’s and Solva is a delightful experience where you’re likely to see puffins, seals, and porpoises.
7 . Cwm Llwch, Brecon Beacons
Pitch your tent in a field near a bubbling stream and enjoy the serene beauty of the Brecon Beacons. This area is the perfect place from which to walk up to Pen y Fan and Corn Du, too, and you’ll see far fewer people on this route than the usual path up from Pont ar Daf or Storey Arms.
You can reach this site by turning right in the village of Libanus and following the road two miles to the Nant Cwm Llwch car park, where you can leave your vehicle and take a short walk to find a suitable camping place. You may find that a farmer comes along in the morning and asks for a few pounds, so go prepared with some cash.
You’ll see the track heading up to Llyn Cwm Llwch and over the rolling hilltops to Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales. It’s a more strenuous walk than other Pen y Fan routes, but it gives you wonderful views from the ridge and you experience the last scramble over the rocks just as you ascend the summit. Go early or late to beat the crowds.
8 . Llyn Du, Snowdonia
Deep in the Rhinogydd mountains of Snowdonia, you can get close to nature without a soul in sight!
Llyn Du, at the foot of Rhinog Fawr, is one of the most popular wild camping spots in the area, thanks to a straightforward walk into it up Roman steps from Cwm Bychan.
The area gives you stunning views of the lake and the open skies, especially if you scale the mountain and look back down to your campsite.
For total solitude, head north towards Moel Ysgyfarnogod where you will find several small mountain ponds and sites suitable for wild camping.
Before you go, though, here’s what you need to know…
- Wild camping isn’t legal in Wales unless you have the permission of the landowner. Most National Park Authorities do not legally allow wild camping, but some will tolerate it provided you leave no trace and don’t camp to close to roads, farms, and houses. Check on the online forums used by wild campers and hikers what the local situation is and check the on the National Parks’ official websites. Snowdonia, for example, has its own wild camping code. Check it out here.
- Some landowners offer the near-wild camping experience, something that’s useful if you’ve never wild camped before and would like to see if it’s for you. These sites tend to be in farmers’ fields or meadows and you’re often nearer to amenities than at true wild camping sites.
- Many areas do not allow campfires, and this is something you’ll need to check before you go on your trip. Many wild campers choose to use lightweight camping stove systems instead.
- There have been more instances of antisocial wild camping since the pandemic, so lots of areas across the UK have been clamping down on those who don’t abide by the leave no trace code, spoiling it for all of us. Look on social media groups for wild campers and walkers to find out the latest information about any local rules that might have been introduced as a result. Also, if you’re challenged by a landowner, you should always be respectful and leave when asked to do so.
How can you leave no trace?
- Stay just one night in any place to minimise your impact.
- Don’t dig ditches or move stones for your tent – find a place that’s already suitable for it.
- Choose a tent that blends into the landscape. Check out our blog on the best two-man tents for wild camping, too.
- Don’t light fires or use disposable barbecues. Stick to spirit stoves or camping gas stoves and ensure they don’t leave foliage burns.
- Toileting should be away from any water sources (at least 30m) and waste should be buried at least 15cms deep. Carry away any used paper.
- Leave no litter – take it all away including scraps of food.
- Don’t use non-eco friendly detergents, soaps, or shampoos that could pollute water courses.
- Don’t camp in large groups – just one or two tents together.
Wales is a beautiful country and one of the best places in the UK for wild camping, but please respect it while you enjoy it.
Always have the ‘leave no trace’ mindset so that the next wild camper will have the same wonderful experience as you!