With the exception of Scotland and the common land on Dartmoor, there is no legal right to camp in the uplands of England and Wales. Large areas of the National Parks are designated as open access land and although the 'right to roam' applies, there is no right to camp. All land is privately owned, and legally, camping requires permission from the landowner.
However, there is a long tradition of wild camping in the mountains where it is usually impractical to obtain permission. It has been widely tolerated by land owners, providing it is undertaken responsibly.
In the summer of 2020 coastal areas and the National Parks saw a surge in visitor numbers. It was understandable after the hardships of the first national lockdown. As one of the limited number of reasons to leave the house during lockdown, exercise outdoors, and especially walking, had become a new daily routine for many. Getting outside makes us feel better, and more positive. So when travel restrictions were lifted, going to the hills to walk, relax and unwind was a popular choice of summer break. Overall, this was certainly a change for the better.
Unfortunately, at that time, the increase in numbers visiting places like The Lake District was accompanied by reduced services, resources and accommodation capacity. May be as a result of increased demand and fewer official campsite spaces, some took their tents into the hills without the knowledge or skills to do so safely. Sadly, some who did so also behaved irresponsibly towards the environment, and others. This is not wild camping. In the news, it became known as 'dirty' or 'fly' camping due to the littering and environmental damage caused.
Wild campers take their responsibilities very seriously and show respect for the environment and others. That means choosing a secluded place to pitch high up in the hills, arriving late and leaving early, and leaving no trace - no fires, no waste, no litter, no damage to the environment. These are the principles of Leave No Trace, and they are a constant theme during all Camp 404 training sessions and expeditions.
The aim of Camp 404 is to introduce more people to responsible wild camping. We rely on the tradition of goodwill and tolerance from land owners and we are totally committed to preserving and respecting those relationships and the environment we love.
If you have any questions about wild camping, please do get in touch via the Contact page.