Wild Camp Law

What is the law in the UK regarding wild camping? In England and Wales, it's Illegal to camp wild as most property is owned privately or by some agency. Scotland's Land Reform Act of 2003 however has made it perfectly legal to camp wild and in the same kind of spirit Dartmoor National Park has made it possible to wild camp so long as it's for one or two nights on the open land. Given the evidence then it's illegal to wild camp in the Wye catchment.

This is of course true but the area in England and Wales where the Wye rises and flows has a long tradition of outdoors wild camping and most people know how impractical the law often is given the needs of human beings as a whole and the nature of being on the trail. This doesn't stop us from respecting the landowners or the land because we can, without doubt, do all we can to ensure the land is cared for and respected if we find ourselves unable to ask for permission late in the day whilst out hiking. It could be argued that we plan in advance of our hike but hiking or roaming is not like this - it's an impulsive thing and we find ourselves often going into places unforeseen.

If you find yourself pitching late in the day on someone's property and they discover your presence you have to be willing to vacate the property and move on. They have the legal right to ensure you move and there must be no complaints. With a polite tone and with respect gather your things and be on your way. In the high ground of the Wye catchment, particularly in the Radnor Forest, Black or Cambrian Mountains or Mid Wales, this is unlikely to happen but it can. Just be prepared.

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An overnight site set in a small ravine way below
a working track obscured by trees

Use Your Common Sense & Be Ethical

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