Does sleeping In a Bivi mean you are not technically camping?
Q. Just a quick question regarding the legalities of wild camping.
Are you still wild camping if you haven't pitched a tent?
I am looking to take my son on a long distance walk but don't want to do too much planning so we can have the maximum freedom to decide what we do and where we go.
I'm a pretty competent hill walker so want to maximise the experience.
I wonder if anyone can help me out with this!
Mark Taylor, Northampton
A. I understand that the law regarding wild camping is one of trespass - so it wouldn't make any difference whether you actually erect a tent or not - you are still trespassing and maybe subject to a civil law suit if you do not have permission to wild camp.
Sorry about that - but the information below might help.
A. Picking up on the point about trespass, contrary to the many notices you can never be prosecuted [for trespass] but you can be sued for damages.
Since a competent camper will go without much, if any, trace and given the nature of terrain - no damage should arise leaving a claimant only nominal (10p!) damages.
I believe it possible for certain organisations to pass a bye-law against wild camping on their land and then you could be prosecuted for breaking that law.
Chris Evans, Evesham.
A. Further to Chris Evans' point above - whilst I agree the amount of damage a responsible wild camper can cause is minimal - the potential cost of being sued by a rich and unreasonable land owner is much higher than 10p.
What about the legal fees for bringing the case to court - which you will probably have to pay if you lose?
In any event you would certainly have to pay for your own defence.
Why not just ask first? And if in doubt, wild camp somewhere else.
Clive Findlay, Settle
A. Wild Camping and The Law in England, Scotland and Wales.
Tents cannot be pitched just anywhere because every piece of Britain is owned by some individual or some organisation and according to the strict letter of the law permission must be obtained prior to pitching tent and camping.
In practice however, this is often impractical and wild camping is usually tolerated in the more remote areas - typically, more than half a day's walk from an official campsite or other accommodation providing you:
- Keep groups small
- Camp as unobtrusively as possible
- Leave camp as you found it
- Remove all litter (even other people's)
- Carry out everything you carried in
- Carry out tampons and sanitary towels (burying them doesn't work as animals dig them up again)
- Choose a dry pitch rather than digging drainage ditches around a tent or moving boulders
- Toilet duties should be performed 30m (100ft) from water and the results buried using a trowel
- At all time, help preserve the environment
- And if you are in any doubt about what you're doing, find out more
In Scotland, the current access legislation (which came into effect in early 2005) is explicit about your right to wild camp on hill land. However, there are exceptions. Since March 2011 you are not permitted to wild camp between Dryman and Rowardennan on the shore of Loch Lomond. See Loch Lomond Wild Camping Ban for more information.
There appears to be an exception to this with respect to camping in Dartmoor National Park where the right to wild camping is actually enshrined in the National Parks & Access to the Countryside Act, 1949 amendment Dartmoor Commons Act, 1985 - see Wild Camping in the UK for more details.
For the definitive answer with respect to wild camping in Scotland see the answer supplied by the Scottish Natural Heritage
For a few (tongue in cheek) tips on wild camping see Some Wild Camping Tips.
NB. go4awalk.com cannot offer any advice on suitable locations for wild camping - but click here for walks from exisiting campsites.
Hope this helps