Is Wild Camping Legal?
Q. What is the legal situation regarding wild camping?
Whilst I realise you cannot wild camp on private land - are you allowed to camp on the higher slopes of The Lake District or Snowdonia. What about the higher slopes that are not within the National Park - like parts of the Berwyns in Wales?
Someone told me the situation is different in Scotland. Is this true?
Please help because I seem to be getting different answers every time I ask somebody.
Thanks in advance
Colin English, Leyland
A. Wild camping is only legal in England/Wales if you have the permission of the landowner - and every bit of land in England and Wales is owned by somebody!
The National Parks Authority expressly forbid wild camping within the National Parks in England and Wales.
However, in practice, both The National Parks Authority and land owners seem to realise there is a long tradition of wild camping the hills and mountains and can't stop wild camping completely. Most seem to tolerate it in the more remote areas - typically 3 or 4 hours walk from an official campsite or other accommodation - and, providing you leave everything as you found it and don't stay more than one night, will leave you alone.
Since there is no hard and fast rule about which areas wild camping is tolerated or not you are advised to be discreet, know the law and be prepared to leave your wild campsite immediately should the land owner request it.
In Scotland, wild camping is enshrined in the access legislation and is, therefore, completely legal. That said, some landowners take exception to walkers and wild campers and can become quite unpleasant. Fortunately these tend to be few and far between.
In any event, when wild camping you should:
- Keep groups small and camp as unobtrusively and discreetly as possible
- Use a trowel to bury all toilet waste at least 30m (100ft) from running water. Do not bury tampons and sanitary towels as animals tend to dig them up. Carry them out - a tea bag can help neutralise any odour.
- Remove all litter (even other people's) and carry out everything you carried in
- Leave your wild camping spot as you found it.
Enjoy it. Wild camping can be a lot of fun.
Mike Knipe, Crook