04 Nov Camping Clarity: What is your Right to Camp?
The majority of the UK countryside is privately owned. Only 2% of UK Land is owned by conversation charities, the rest belongs to a confusing tangle of state and private owners. This has made Britain’s wild camping rights notoriously difficult to grasp, and even more confusing to apply. With COVID-19, many consider camping sites to be unappealing. If you’re looking to get as close as you can to British nature, but aren’t sure where you can go, read on.
English & Welsh Camping Rights
In England, wild camping is legal with landowner’s permission. Many landowners have unspoken traditions that allow you to camp without asking. If land shows clear signs of being used such as courtyards, crops, etc. it is strongly recommended you ask the local landlord first. Many are perfectly happy to allow camping as long as you’re respectful!
Additionally, many British National Parks have designated wild camping areas. Dartmoor Park is renowned for its extensive wild camping zones, but be forewarned: they don’t allow group tents.
Trespass laws are fairly lenient in England. If you do find yourself camping somewhere privately owned and without permission accidentally, as long as you are:
- Causing no damage to the land
- Not using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour to the occupier, their family, employees or agents
- Not organising a rave
- Not occupying the land with six or more vehicles
You will only be asked to leave the land, and not return to trespass for three months. Most of these laws are the same in Wales, but Welsh law makes no exceptions to the rule. If you wish to wild camp in Wales, you must ask for landowner permission.
For Hiking, English law gives citizens ‘The Right to Roam’. This allows you to travel through open access land across the UK, even if privately owned. However, this does not allow you to camp without permission. This means that the vast majority of the English countryside is yours for the walking, in a pair of boots from our site!
Scottish Camping Rights
Scottish Access Rights are far more lenient than their English contemporaries. Essentially, most Scottish land is completely available for hiking, biking and camping. As long as you respect the interests of others, and avoid inappropriate areas such as airfields, housing and farmland (farmland can be crossed respectfully, but do not disturb enclosed fields) – you’re good to go!
Of course, there’s not much point in camping if you’re not going to do it properly. For the best camping equipment available in the UK that will ensure your wild camping trip is everything you’ve hoped for and more, shop our vast range of multi-tools, tactical kit and more from camping brands you love such as Under Armour and Dexshell today.