Campsites on the South Downs Way
Q. Hey - I was just wondering what the long distance hike of the South Downs is like from the point of camping.
Are there enough campsites and could you request any?
Philip Holman, London
A. Anyone who wished to camp at Cocking carry on for about 3 miles and you will find the best campsite on the downs at Graffam
Ken Sewell, Quarry Bank West Midlands
A. Just completed SDW [The South Downs Way] and wild camped it . . . just be sensible. There's a lot of farmland so avoid obviously but loads of woods and you can find yourself some amazing pitches with a view!!!!!!! Pitch late and up and off early . . . it's fantastic . . . had a brilliant time. Free campsite at Amberley - High Tittern, High Tittern Lane, Amberley. [On Trail] (Open all year). Informal camping area above Amberley at grid ref TQ032123. Free to use, covered shelter, but no water or toilets. This area does have a fire site you can use.
David Milner, London
A. The Half Moon at Plumpton has a large camping field out the back of the pub. Its basic but the pub is fantastic having had a recent overhaul. Their tel. number is 01273 890253.
Steve Simpson, Hove
A. I have walked parts of the SDW and have camped just off the path. If you are tidy, unobtrusive and leave the spot how you found it, I can't see why there should be a problem! It's the same with the North Downs Way. there are very few campsites but plenty of fields and woods!!
Damien Boden, Canterbury
A. Hi there,
A friend and I just spent a couple of nights wild camping on the South Downs Way between Amberley and Lewes (in the snow which was a bonus) and on both nights found discrete places just off the path, though this might be trickier come the summer.
Certainly pitching late, rising early is the key.
Dixe Wills, London
A. I've got the South Down Way trails map by Harveys. There's one site marked in the Seven Sisters Country Park, near Eastbourne at the beginning/end dependant on which way you walk it.
Other than that, there is very little marked except campsites so far off the way itself as to invalidate its use.
I think the general rule will be ask farmers for permission to camp or camp late, rise early and be discrete.
D Morgan, London
A. Theres a fantastic small site at Alfriston (Pleasant Farm) which has hot showers. There is also a small site for about 7 pitches at Steyning (White House?) but you need to check with the new owner.
Both are literally just below The South Downs Way. Have just found one called Ash Farn at Jevington.
Unfortunately, there are not many . . .
Kate Griffiths, Tunbridge Wells
A. I walked the South Downs Way 2 years ago and camped every night except one - the Blue bell Inn at Cocking had new owners and they no longer allow camping.
I got a B & B in the village instead.
Richard Down, Bordon
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