5 Wild Camping Starter Locations in the UK
Britain is an island of campers, hillwalkers, and ramblers. In fact, it’s thought that the British were the first people to camp for recreational purposes back in the 19th century. The Victorians took to camping like a duck to water and transferred from pleasure boats to grass pitches – particularly along the River Thames.
Clearly, camping is in our blood! So it’s no wonder that millions of UK citizens want to head out camping each year. Many people are now avoiding campsites completely and are heading into wild areas of the countryside to find an off-grid camping location instead. Making the jump from campsites to wild camping can be a big step. To ease this transition, here are some fantastic wild camping starter locations for you to try.
Where to Go Wild Camping?
Generally, the best wild camping locations are in rural and remote areas. The further you are from urban life, the better. As you become more experienced with wild camping, you can take some calculated risks and stealth camp in more built-up areas.
Naturally, the UK’s National Parks are perfect wild camping starter locations. They are protected nature areas with sparse human interference and plenty of uninhabited places to pitch a tent. AONBs are another good choice for wild campers. However, as they are less protected than National Parks, they often have more urban areas and fewer remote locations.
AONBs are best saved for more experienced wild campers. To begin with, try out some of these wild camping starter locations. As you build confidence and learn the ways of the wild camper, you can spread your net wider and search for your own secluded spots in the UK!
5 Wild Camping Starter Locations
1 . Brecon Beacons National Park
The Brecon Beacons is one of the best wild camping starter locations in the UK. The mountains aren’t as rugged and extreme as the peaks of Snowdonia National Park. However, there are still many towering peaks that offer excellent hiking and some good wild swimming spots too!
The footfall in the Brecon Beacons is relatively low so it’s easy to find a good camp spot. Pen Y Fan is the National Park’s tallest and busiest peak. However, you may struggle to have a quiet night’s sleep there. Instead, try heading west to the Black Mountains where you’ll find some excellent pitches. While you’re there, don’t forget to take a dip in the frigid waters of Llyn y Fan Fach or Llyn y Fan Fawr!
2 . Peak District National Park
The Peak District is similar to the Brecon Beacons. It is smaller than the Lake District with lower altitude peaks. That makes for easier hiking trails and reasonable weather conditions. Fortunately, the Peak District also has a lot going for it with plenty of rocky escarpments and rugged moors that make for ideal camping locations.
For wide-open spaces with ample remote pitching spots, head over to Kinder Scout near the village of Edale. The hiking trails around the Hope Valley do get busy but if you head away from the path into the moor, you will find plenty of wild locations. Those campers looking for a more dramatic view should head to Bamford Edge or Stanage Edge to set up their tent on the cusp of a gritstone escarpment.
3 . Cairngorms National Park
If you are concerned about breaking the rules of wild camping in the UK and Wales, you can head up to Scotland instead where wild camping is widely accepted. The Cairngorms National Park is an excellent location for your wild camping exploits as it is a vast scenic area with many ideal wild camping starter locations.
It is one of the best places in the UK to camp in a towering old-growth forest. Alternatively, you can opt for an elevated pitch on one of the 55 Munros found throughout the National Park. Of course, there are also many waterside camping spots at the Cairngorms’ lochs too!
4 . Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
Wild camping at Loch Lomond has become so popular that a permit is now required to spend the night in this National Park. Again, this may suit hikers who enjoy a more regulated camping experience without compromising on beauty.
The landscape around Loch Lomond is agreeable and easily accessible by road. There are plenty of flat areas of land with good access to water from the loch. This creates many ideal wild camping starter locations and is the perfect place for beginners to cut their teeth.
5 . Yorkshire Dales National Park
The Yorkshire Dales may not be as dramatic as some of the other wild camping starter locations on this list, but it has a quaint beauty that makes it wonderfully English. With its grazing sheep, tea rooms, drystone walls, and sloping dales, the Yorkshire Dales is an ideal place for first-time wild campers.
The trails are of mid-range difficulty and aside from bogs, the terrain isn’t too perilous either. Camping on top of the hills overlooking the dales is highly recommended.
Anyone looking for a challenge should try out the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge by climbing Whernside, Ingleborough, and Pen Y Ghent back to back. Along this hiking route, you can find multiple wild camping starter locations to pitch up for the night!
After you get a few of these wild camping starter locations under your belt, don’t be afraid to head further afield. Particularly in Scotland, there are endless wild camping locations where you can pitch in picturesque areas without breaking the law. Find your own lochs, glens, or Munros to camp on and stake claim to your own wild camping starter locations!
There are also plenty of remote coastal areas around the UK that aren’t protected National Parks. However, they’re suitably remote enough to make for a brilliant night of wild camping. Headlands make for excellent camp spots (especially if you like sunsets), as do remote beaches (just make sure you don’t get caught out by the tide)!