What are the laws on camping in the UK, can I camp along a public footpath? Or in a field as long as I don't leave anything behind?


2 Answers

Julie Allen Profile
Julie Allen answered

If you intend to try wild camping in England and Wales you will need to get permission from the landowner. In addition, The National Parks Authority who own and manage fifteen sites across the UK including Dartmoor, Brecon Beacons and the Lake District NP, do not officially allow wild camping. Camping is permissible in Scotland thanks to access legislation.

Guidelines to wild camping in the UK

Although the National Park Authority and private landowners do not allow wild camping in England or Wales, in theory it is very difficult to stop campers entirely. After all the tradition has existed for many hundreds of years. If you choose a really remote spot (a few hours away from a designated camp spot) and ensure you tidy up after yourself, in theory they may turn a blind eye. In Scotland this is more flexible, although it often pays to seek permission from private landowners.

Camping in city parks, footpaths or amenity areas is not recommended as locals will likely report you to the police who will move you on.

It’s also worth remembering that there are hundreds of designated camp sites throughout the UK, available for just a few pounds each night. The bonus is often toilet and shower blocks on site with nearby mod cons. If you want to avoid an abundance of people, travel during the off peak season.

Tips and advice for camping in the wild 

Follow these tips whenever you choose to camp;

  • Keep your camping party small and discreet
  • Take all litter and all possessions with you
  • Bury any toilet waste 100ft/30m from running water
  • Respect your surroundings at all times
Ray Dart Profile
Ray Dart answered
Almost all camping on land owned by someone else is considered "Trespass".  If you arrive late and leave early, and no-one ever knew you were there, who cares? Public footpaths are always on land that is "owned by someone" - (and you might be disturbed by someone using the footpath). Generally speaking, if you are careful, and find somewhere remote (and clean up after yourself) no-one cares.

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