Is Wild Camping the new thing?

I keep seeing signs for Wild Camping.

As someone who, when I had a young family, used to go for the home comforts of Eurocamp and similar in Europe, I find the thought of camping with no facilities a little daunting. The popularity of it in 2021 is very interesting.

I do get the desire to pitch a tent in the back of beyond, with nothing but a sleeping bag or even bivouac, for company. Escaping the crowds, being at one with nature, and getting back to basics, seems pretty reasonable.

It is also easy to understand why people, in these difficult Covid times, want to encourage folk to stay on their land so they can earn an income, though that seems less like Wild Camping and more like facility-free camping.

What does Wild Camping actually mean? Well, in 2021, it isn’t as wild as one thinks. Raynor Winn and her husband, Moth, in The Salt Path wild camped because they had no choice and were homeless. This was about living on a tiny amount of money, keeping moving because, well, what else could they do, and living on cheap packets of noodles hydrated with boiling water.

Wild Camping in someone’s field, is not quite like that! First, you need to check it is legal, else you could be in a spot of bother.

Indie Campers say:

In Wales and England, almost all land is owned by someone and there is no law providing people access to someone else’s land, which makes wild camping generally illegal. The best option is therefore camp at one of the thousands of campsites that exist across England and Wales.

So, while traditionally it was pitching up in the middle of nowhere, in the wilderness of a multi-day hike, perhaps in a National Park, most Wild Camping is actually pitching up on someone’s land. Therefore, that someone is entitled to ask you for money. They also need to ensure they have planning permission and all appropriate facility checks in place. There are actually loads of regulations to adhere to, and there are fines/penalties for not adhering to them.

Lots of people are setting up ‘ad hoc’ Wild Camping sites on their land. The ’28 Day Rule’ allows a landowner to use land for tented camping only without having to get formal planning permission for 28 days in a calendar year, though pop-up campsites now allow 56 days. Farmers Weekly explains:

 

In 2020, the government doubled the allowance to 56 days to help businesses survive and recover from the Covid-19 restrictions. The move was successful particularly for pop-up campsites on farms which made an average of £12,500 in extra income last year.

In January the government announced PDRs would remain at 56 days to help boost recovery further. However, six groups (see box) have launched a joint-campaign to have PDRs increased to cover the entire period up to the October half term.

 

Countryfile mentions leaving nothing but footprints, a slogan with which we are all familiar. Let’s hope people adhere to it, as many wild camp sites (fields) have no bins or toilets. Additionally, nowhere to wash – people or clothes.

Some campsites are ‘wilder’ than others. Some just have a portaloo and bins, while others have tea rooms, showers, BBQs for hire, food available, and other goodies which make it all rather less ‘wild’.

Lots of people, of course, just park their camper vans somewhere. What are your thoughts on Wild Camping? A temporary fad, while people are struggling to find affordable accommodation in certain areas, or the way forward? Let us know.

Bude area has plenty of campsites. They are not much more expensive that a pitch in a field.

Other websites include Pitch Up.

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