Q. Is it ok to 'rough camp' anywhere? Such as create my own shelter from natural surroundings in forests or woods in Britain.
David Royle, Manchester
A. Hi David. The short answer is no! If you live in England or Wales you will be trespassing unless you have the permission of the landowner. However a lot of our forests are public access areas such as Forestry Commission land. This means you can 'free roam' these areas, but not camp there. Off the record if you find such a forest and scout out a suitable spot, away from people, and treat the area with respect it can be done. Remember to use only dead wood for your shelter, do not damage any live trees and be very, very aware that fires in forests can cause major problems. Fire in forests don't only spread outwards, they can burn downwards and ignite the tree roots. If its at all possible try and get permission from the landowner, could save a lot of hassle. Hope this helps. Jez
Jeremy Manning, Blackwood
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