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Wild camping - where?

(22 Posts)
joshandjamie Sun 18-Aug-13 22:28:47

So perhaps you'll all tell me I am mad, but we want to go climb a hill, sleep on it (no tent, just a sleeping bag, bivvy bag and mat), then go down again next morning. My kids are 9 and 8. There will be two mums and four boys. This has been inspired by a motivational speaker who came to their school and suggested we all go on microadventures of this very kind.

I am keen. I know there are risks and I won't sleep and we'll be knackered, but I want to do it. BUT, apparently it is illegal to do wild camping in England as all land is owned by someone. So I was wondering if anyone has done any wild camping. I am looking ideally for somewhere in Yorkshire. So if you know of anywhere that involves a hill walk, somewhere for us to lay down our sleeping bags and then walk back down the next day, where we won't get caught by a farmer or similar, please let me know.

OddSockMonster Sun 18-Aug-13 22:45:28

DH does this sort of madness and has suggested maybe somewhere up Ingleborough/Gaping Gill?

He reckons it's quite well tolerated in the Lake District, wouldn't recommend the Peak District, and is allowed in Scotland and Dartmoor.

You might be able to ask around and get landowner permission if you're concerned (not sure who you'd ask), and I'm sure there are some websites dedicated to this sort of thing.

hz Mon 19-Aug-13 08:46:19

If you are just intending to sleep in a bivvy you just need to observe wild camping etiquette. Camp away from main paths, leave early, don't have a fire and leave no trace. The worst that is likely to happen is that you could be moved on. Alternatively contact the landowner for permission. Aim for a wild spot rather than farmland.

Sorry, can't be more specific about locations though. Sounds like a great micro adventure, I was looking at a website about this the other day. Do it!

joshandjamie Mon 19-Aug-13 08:52:59

Thanks Oddsock - I'll check those out. Ideally I don't want a big hill as I will be the one carrying all the stuff no doubt but I just want them have a bit of an adventure (yet don't want to be arrested!) smile

joshandjamie Mon 19-Aug-13 08:54:08

HZ - you were probably looking at the website of the chap that came to speak to the school which is where I got the idea from. Thanks for those tips. Sounds sensible

hz Mon 19-Aug-13 10:02:26

Yes, I think so. I watched a short video where he and his friends escaped the big city with back packs, climbed a hill, made a fire, slept the night then went home in the morning. Didn't look like he was anywhere that Wild Camping is strictly 'allowed'. Looked like South Downs to me!

hz Mon 19-Aug-13 10:06:33

Was it Alastair Humphreys? This was the one I saw -

It def is South Downs - It's in the title!

LifeofPo Mon 19-Aug-13 10:12:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

joshandjamie Mon 19-Aug-13 10:45:01

yes it was Alastair Humphreys. Scotland and Wales are both good for this. Sadly Yorkshire appears to not be. And if you want to wild camp, you need to be invisible - and with four boys, I think that could prove to be a challenge. smile

OddSockMonster Mon 19-Aug-13 10:51:29

I don't know how it is over on the North York Moors, might be a bit easier.

recall Mon 19-Aug-13 10:51:31

You can do it on Dartmoor and there is a map that tells you exactly where it is and isn't allowed, so you could relax and not get arrested


hz Mon 19-Aug-13 14:30:22

At the risk of scaling down your micro adventure perhaps it would be a tad easier to find a really basic campsite, hike to it, camp in bivvys etc. It can still feel pretty wild if you go to the right place and get there under your own steam.

treehouselover Mon 19-Aug-13 16:42:15

I took DD wild camping in May half term, inspired by the NT 50 things list. She turned 11 3/4 two weeks ago and only had one thing left to do. It was play conkers so we've agreed an extension on that based on seasonal restrictions!

We were in the Lakes, and drove up the road above Coniston that goes towards the Old Man. There's a car park at the top and a track that leads off it. The further you walk the less chance there is of disturbing anyone, but we passed at least 3 other campers so it's clearly a fairly well recognised spot to go. It was a stunning night and felt like a real adventure. We did have a small tent though so not quite as wild as you're planning.

I was really nervous, and was convinced we were going to get shouted at! Despite this, as we walked out in the morning we passed a farmer and he just smiled and waved, so I was probably worrying about nothing.

Hope you have a great time. We're inspired now to try a wild camping trip over 3+ days in Scotland next year.

badguider Mon 19-Aug-13 16:46:30

I read a book about a woman who did this all over England. Think it was called "extreme sleeps" or similar. Have a look on amazon - she covers all the strategies for being inconspicuous and places she slept.

joshandjamie Mon 19-Aug-13 20:23:15

treehouselover - we did consider going to exactly there - coniston and Old man. Might well do that. Glad yours was a success!
Badguider - thanks I'll look at that book

kernowmissvyghen Thu 22-Aug-13 00:39:57

In my youth my friends and I used to wild camp on Dartmoor a lot. I didn't even realise campsites with loos etc existed until I was in my late teens! It's a great thing to do - but:

I would strongly advise you take small lightweight 2-man tents rather than bivvi bags. I have been out on the moor in miserable pouring rain with just a bivvi bag an it is an exceptionally unpleasant experience. You don't want to put them off for life!

Borrow or buy the best quality tent, sleeping bags and waterproofs you can afford, and break in your walking boots thoroughly before you go. A cheap tent and Peter storm (or equivalent) waterproofs are a recipe for misery.

Don't light fires! it is against the leave no trace "rules" of wild camping and really irritates landowners. Take a trangia stove or similar instead.

Take loads of sweets and chocolate for energy and morale- you will all be glad of them smile

Consider a few practice expeditions walking to and camping in a local wood or bit of heathland or something. It is unlikely anyone will notice you on an overnight camp- just don't pitch the tent till dusk and make sure you're up and the tent packed away very very early!

Be realistic. The sort of country where people usually wild camp is likely to throw extreme weather at you, and you do need to be prepared, properly equipped and reasonably experienced before considering taking young children into that environment. children can get hypothermia very quickly, and it can be a killer. I'm glad the speaker was inspiring, but please assess the risks sensibly. People die out on the moors in the UK every year, and the emergency services can't easily reach you if things go wrong. Personally, I would not take children that young right out on the moors for the night- I'd wait till they were 13 or so.

Having said that, if you plan a walk so it loops back close to where you left the car / a pub with rooms / a village and you have a bail-out plan in case of excessive cold and unhappiness, I'm sure you will have a great time!

joshandjamie Thu 22-Aug-13 12:40:47

Thanks - good advice. I have spent a long time looking into this now and have come to much the same conclusions that you have given. To be honest, I think think we have now run out of time for this summer but will give it a try next summer

kernowmissvyghen Fri 23-Aug-13 00:22:31

Malham Cove /Gordale Scar might be a good place for you to go? Its in Yorkshire, there are several very basic campsites which have the wild camping feeling, a big hill to climb, and a remote feel but accessible and safe enough for primary age children? You could even walk there from the Settle railway line if the children are up to a half- day hike, but that might be a bit much for them...

Also, there are a couple of campsites in Swaledale which are literally just a field with a stream, no loo block or anything, which might also be worth looking into if that is close enough to where you live. You could walk a few miles to the campsite and make a good adventure out of it! Swaledale is really lovely and very remote.

joshandjamie Fri 23-Aug-13 12:46:17

thank you! I will check them all out

YellowDinosaur Mon 26-Aug-13 08:01:52

A fantastic wild Camping site near Newcastle (so not that far from you) is Brockwell wood. No facilities apart from a tap and organised pitches in a large wood where you may well not see anyone the whole time you're there. And they allow fires. Can't speak highly enough of this fab place and itcould be a good compromise?

YellowDinosaur Mon 26-Aug-13 08:03:08

I've taken my 2 sons there on my own when they were 4 and 6 and been several times with friends to...

joshandjamie Mon 26-Aug-13 16:30:18

thanks yellowdinosaur

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