UKH

Lowland wild camping England....

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 J1234 21 Mar 2021

...getting over being nervous.

I think this year its going to be the UK, particularly England as their maybe issues with travelling to Scotland so I am thinking a couple of easy short tours to get myself used to a loaded touring bike, so I am thinking Leeds to Liverpool and Euro Velo12 up from Lincolnshire Northwards.
Now the whole idea of the touring bike for us that we will have the flexibility that comes with camping and part of this will be wild camping, though if a campsite appears at an opportune moment, that will be a preference as this is about flexibility more than cost.

I have wild camped in the mountains but never low down and I know I have no legal right. I am thinking that so long as I camp places that will not piss people off and leave no trace, like at the side of a canal tow path, arrive late and leave early and no trace, it should be fine.

However I bet the first few times I will be dead nervous, I am a real scaredy cat, do people get over this nervousness and has anyone any experience of low land wild camping possibly on things like the Dales Way or on Canals.

In reply to J1234:

I very much doubt you would get away with it on a canal.  Boat owners wouldn't like it and would report it.

I suspect you are most likely to get away with it if you left the canal and went and hid in a nearby woods or similar, but generally lowland wild camping isn't a thing in England.

 Doug 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

As a teenager I often 'wild' camped in lowland England, for example on the banks of the upper Thames & along paths such as the Ridgeway.  Sometimes we asked at farms for permission, often we didn't. Never had any trouble but it was a long time ago - the 1970s.  I suspect its not as easy as it was then but would have thought that it was still possible with a bit of care.

 mike123 21 Mar 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

> but generally lowland wild camping isn't a thing in England.

or maybe the people who do are sensible  enough not to bang on about it with a look at me hash tag ?  (Not aimed at you )  so : pitch at dusk out of sight , strike at dawn , leave no trace , keep gob shut .

Post edited at 11:20
In reply to J1234:

Allthough as you acknowledge this year is probably a terrible time for low level camping if you are as discrete as possible get up early and pitch late you probably wont be bothered. I cant say I ever find the experience particularly enjoyable mind as like you I'm a scaredy cat. I find going for areas where you are least likely to meet angry landowners the best, I.e discrete car parks, forestry commission etc... canal paths would probably be a good one if you can get out of the way, the canals and rivers trust certainly wont give you any bother, fishermen will though if they catch you in the morning!

 MonkeyPuzzle 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

Will you be putting up a tent? Bivvying would be a lot easier to get away with from a visual impact perspective, plus it's quicker to move on if you get busted.

The most someone can do is ask you to leave, right?

 elsewhere 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

https://www.globalcyclingnetwork.com/video/a-royal-gravel-epic-bike-packing-the-king-alfreds-way

Bivvy bag rather than tent? 15 mins into video.

Although if all 67 million of us go wild camping it will literally be a bit sh#tty!

 Root1 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

You really just need to be a bit bold about it. Pitch late strike camp early and leave no trace. The worst anyone can do is ask you to move on.

 Ciro 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

It's ages since I've done it, but I tended to make a bit of an effort to to find a hidden spot to avoid being disturbed, but beyond that just take the attitude that English law is an ass.

I grew up with it being fine in Scotland, so I wasn't going to let a little thing like the law get in the way.

As a rule, people in England don't carry guns and getting the police out into the countryside to attend to a guy in a field with a tent doing no harm will take time and effort, so if a landowner comes along it generally just means some angry words and then you're on your way.

You're highly unlikely to be disturbed in the middle of the night, if someone comes along in the morning it just disturbs your breakfast a bit.

 Siward 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

I think the woods and hedgerows are your friends and as others have said a bivi bag/ sleep clothed and ready to go.

I am planning a 3/4 day walk to a friend's house later in the year. Notable on aerial maps though just how few forested pockets are left. What have we done to our paradise? 

 pad01 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

I’ve done a few bike rides along the Liverpool end of the Leeds Liverpool canal. It’s not somewhere I’d be too comfortable wild camping. Anywhere after scarisbrick heading towards Liverpool is very close to heavily populated areas with easy access to the paths and adjoining land. 
can’t comment for anything after scarisbrick heading towards Leeds though. 

 robhorton 21 Mar 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

Depends on the canal really - there are plenty of rural ones where you can pitch late away from boaters and you're unlikely to be seen. Even if you are spotted it's unlikely they would take offence, and even if they do who are they going to report you to and what are they going to do about it?

 bigbobbyking 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

Alastair Humphreys has been promoting 'micro adventures' and has these tips which you might find interesting: https://alastairhumphreys.com/legality-and-safety-of-sleeping-wild/

 J1234 21 Mar 2021
In reply to bigbobbyking:

> Alastair Humphreys has been promoting 'micro adventures' and has these tips which you might find interesting: https://alastairhumphreys.com/legality-and-safety-of-sleeping-wild/

Thats very helpful thank you.

 mrphilipoldham 21 Mar 2021
In reply to bigbobbyking:

That's a great link, thanks. I've often pondered running from home in Yorkshire to my dads in Suffolk over a week. Have a largely road free route plotted even but hadn't gotten round to imagining where I'd sleep..! 

 drdjpower 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

I have done this a fair bit. Often my work (in the olden days when we could move) could be made to involve a PM meeting and a night in the pub with visit #1, then a cross-country pedal and a bivi to arrive at visit #2 for 0900, then a leisurely pedal+train home. It's a good way to see some nice-but-mundane bits of the country - Norfolk, Suffolk, various fenlands, Kent.

As others have said, be sensible, arrive late and leave early, leave no trace whatsoever. The bike helps - murderers and burglars and insurrectionists don't tend to be associated with riding bicycles. Bivi bag makes it easier to move on, but I have never been asked to do so.

Leeds-Liverpool is surprisingly populated, but it'll be possible. Pedalling a mile or two away will help if necessary. 

Don't overlook golf courses, they really look after them nicely! I had a lovely night at a very famous place, followed by breakfast on the beach, and all sticking to public rights of way.

 druridge 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

Wild camping with a bivvy would work along the Leeds & Liverpool as soon as you get into the Dales

 smollett 21 Mar 2021
In reply to mike123:

Yes, this.

Forestry commission has always been fine for me but anywhere off the path and away from houses good. I like woodland best as invisible and feels safer for the bike also. Pitch out of sight, obviously no fires and leave early. Never had problems.

 Trangia 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

Try asking at farm houses along your route. I used to do this when I was a lad doing linear walks of a week or so. I found most farmers very obliging, appreciative that you had bothered to ask, and friendly. They would often direct you to a field near to the farm buildings where there was an outside tap and outside loo you could use. Sometimes got offered milk and eggs.

Admittedly this was a long time ago, and things may have changed, so maybe experiment with one or two shorter routes of 2 or 3 days and judge how co-operative they are these days?

Good luck.

In reply to J1234:

Boat dweller reply: you won't have any issue wild camping on the towpath in rural areas (fisherfolk do it all the time after all) - just don't pitch up abreast a boat. If nothing else, it'll be good to practise pitching late and leaving early!

Finding an appropriate spot might be tricky though, as the towpath is often quite narrow. But you're unlikely to attract attention, and almost certainly not from anyone with the authority to actually move you on (on CRT waters at least).

Post edited at 18:10
 Fat Bumbly2 21 Mar 2021
In reply to drdjpower:

Green keepers are up very early.

 ablackett 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

Worth a link to this incredibly beautiful video of a fella who lived on the South Coast and walked to (every?) Bothy in the uk, 3000 miles wild camping all the way.  He seems to just stick to footpaths and find forested thickets in lowland areas, but It's been a few years since I watched it.  You could contact him?

youtube.com/watch?v=yesqy-8gIYY&

 kevin stephens 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

With a ban on foreign holidays looking likely, and a squeeze on uk holidays it's going to be an awful summer for wild camping, like last year but worse.  Families pitching tents in beauty spots not too far from the road, litter and shit and noise everywhere.  Canal tow paths may wel be a prime candidate. Unfortunately the reputation is going to rub off on what we see as legitimate and responsible wild camping.

By all means enjoy your wild cmping but be prepared to use less accesible places.

Post edited at 19:02
In reply to ebdon:

> , I.e discrete car parks, 

I would avoid discrete car parks, higher than average risk of ending up being disturbed by flashing headlights and overly 'friendly' company. Although I believe for Ebdon, this just adds to the appeal.

Been a while since I did it, but in general the pitch late, leave early and choose somewhere discrete is all sound advice.

Post edited at 19:48
 J1234 21 Mar 2021

In reply to geode:

> i wouldn't worry- with a bike and some forethought you should have plenty of discreet camping options in my experience

Thanks, this is the encouragement I need, my problem is I over think things and always worry, when really its time I learnt not to. Give it a go and see what happens.

 J1234 21 Mar 2021
In reply to Trangia:

> Try asking at farm houses along your route. I used to do this when I was a lad doing linear walks of a week or so. I found most farmers very obliging, appreciative that you had bothered to ask, and friendly. They would often direct you to a field near to the farm buildings where there was an outside tap and outside loo you could use. Sometimes got offered milk and eggs.

> Admittedly this was a long time ago, and things may have changed, so maybe experiment with one or two shorter routes of 2 or 3 days and judge how co-operative they are these days?

> Good luck.

Thats great, I am a friendly chap and generally get on with Farmers, so what have I got to lose?

 J1234 21 Mar 2021
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> Will you be putting up a tent? Bivvying would be a lot easier to get away with from a visual impact perspective, plus it's quicker to move on if you get busted.

> The most someone can do is ask you to leave, right?

Yes bivying is good idea, however I have not got a Bivy bag, and Mrs X has enough to put up with, me, so suggesting she camps next to a canal in a bin bag maybe pushing it even for a lunatic like me.

 J1234 21 Mar 2021
In reply to kevin stephens:

> With a ban on foreign holidays looking likely, and a squeeze on uk holidays it's going to be an awful summer for wild camping, like last year but worse.  Families pitching tents in beauty spots not too far from the road, litter and shit and noise everywhere.  Canal tow paths may wel be a prime candidate. Unfortunately the reputation is going to rub off on what we see as legitimate and responsible wild camping.

> By all means enjoy your wild cmping but be prepared to use less accesible places.

Yes I accept my responsibility as an Ambassador for our community and I would not light a fire and in this Scenario will be carrying dog poo bags for the inevitable. Pitch Late, leave early and leave no trace.

 JStearn 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

One tip I haven't seen mentioned yet is to avoid kipping too close to houses as dogs will bark all night and disturb their owners. It always surprises me the places you can find to sleep if you look for them. When cycle touring, I invariably find a little turn off or somewhere to sleep in peace off the road, it is one of my favourite aspects of touring. With a bike it is fairly easy to cover some distance if you can't find a suitable place, so I tend to start looking around an hour before dark. If you are worried, you can head into little thickets at dusk. Having said that, the only country I have ever been asked to move on was England, we asked a farmer if we could put our tent up in his field and he sent us on our way! It is harder in Britain than other places because the population density is high and there is lots of agricultural land, but you can always find something.

 crayefish 21 Mar 2021
In reply to mike123:

> or maybe the people who do are sensible  enough not to bang on about it with a look at me hash tag ?  (Not aimed at you )  so : pitch at dusk out of sight , strike at dawn , leave no trace , keep gob shut .

Spot on.  Always worked for me.

In reply to Sam W:

I'm sure I've had many memorable nights in discrete car parks with you Sam!

 Bobling 21 Mar 2021
In reply to J1234:

Thing is though for me having a bit of time to chill at dinner time and breakfast time is one of the highlights of a trip - and having to be paranoid about every passerby and pitching late and leaving early would ruin this a bit.  Could just be me though.

My top tip - if you need to refill your water bottles I've always had luck at churches, where there is always an outside tap that they use for the gardening in the graveyard.

 J1234 22 Mar 2021
In reply to drdjpower:

Thank you, Golf courses, of course late on after the Golfers left and just push into a bit of the rough. A tip I have come across for water in France and possibly most places if you need water, nip in a cemetery.

 J1234 22 Mar 2021
In reply to Bobling:

> My top tip - if you need to refill your water bottles I've always had luck at churches, where there is always an outside tap that they use for the gardening in the graveyard.

UKC snap, I had not got to your reply.


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