Is Wild Camping Legal in England? A Comprehensive Guide
England is home to some of the most stunning and picturesque landscapes in the world. As a result, it's no surprise that many people are drawn to the idea of wild camping – the act of camping in the wilderness, away from traditional campsites and facilities. However, the question on many people's minds is: is wild camping legal in England? In this article, we'll explore the legality of wild camping in England and provide some helpful tips and resources for those who want to embark on a wild camping adventure.
Is Wild Camping Legal in England?
Wild camping with Tents
Wild camping with a tent in England is generally not legal without the permission of the landowner. This includes pitching a tent on public land such as national parks, forests, and nature reserves. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, wild camping is allowed in some parts of Dartmoor National Park and the Scottish borders, but only in designated areas. It's always a good idea to research the area you plan to camp in and contact the landowner if possible.
It's important to note that wild camping in a tent can have a significant impact on the environment if not done responsibly. When pitching your tent, be sure to choose a spot that's already disturbed and avoid sensitive areas such as wetlands, meadows, and habitats of rare and endangered species. Follow the Leave No Trace principles and pack out all your rubbish.
Motorhomes and Caravans
Wild camping with a motorhome or caravan in England is also not legal without permission. In addition to landowner permission, you must also follow specific laws related to parking and camping in vehicles. Generally, you can park overnight in designated areas such as campsites, motorhome parks, or on private land with permission.
Some local councils may also have specific bylaws related to overnight parking and camping in vehicles.
When wild camping with a motorhome or caravan, it's important to respect the environment and other people's property. Avoid parking on private land without permission, and don't park in areas that could block access for emergency vehicles or other traffic.
News and Fines
In recent years, there have been reports of fines being issued for wild camping in England without permission. In 2019, a group of wild campers were fined for camping without permission on the Lake District National Park. The fines ranged from £100 to £200 per person. In another incident in 2020, a group of wild campers were fined £300 for camping without permission on Dartmoor.
"Wild campers fined after causing damage in Lake District" - BBC News, August 28, 2019: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cumbria-49480519
"Wild campers fined £300 for camping on Dartmoor" - BBC News, August 14, 2020: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-devon-53753547
It's important to note that fines for illegal wild camping can vary depending on the location and severity of the offence. In addition to fines, you may also face legal action or be banned from certain areas. It's always best to obtain permission before wild camping to avoid any legal consequences.
Licenses and Apps
There are some instances where a license may be required for wild camping in England. For example, if you plan to camp on Forestry England land, you may need a camping license. You can apply for a camping license on the Forestry England website.
There are also several apps and websites that can help you find legal places to camp in England. These include the Camping and Caravanning Club, Pitchup, and Cool Camping. These apps and websites provide information on campsites, motorhome parks, and other designated camping areas. They also provide reviews and ratings from other campers, making it easier to find a suitable location.
See also: Wild Camping in Scotland
In conclusion, wild camping in England is generally not legal without the permission of the landowner. This applies to tents, motorhomes, and caravans. While fines have been issued for illegal wild camping, there