Wild Camping in England. Can it be done?
Living here in East Anglia, its difficult to find a decent place to go wild camping that doesn't take hours and hours to get to.
Dartmoor is miles. Scotland is even further..and The Lakes, Wales and The Peak District (where it isn't strictly allowed anyway by rights), are not much better.
Well, what other option is there?
Woodland camping can seem initially tempting, but is fraught with potential pitfalls, most to do with being 'discovered'.
The nearest actual forest to me is Thetford Forest. There are several people that Wild Camp here and there are even a few Youtube videos cropping up about camping here. But this is a good example of the discovery problem. Although the forest is large enough to get yourself lost in (in the spiritual sense, not the navigational, although that as well), it is also managed quite extensively. So, the risk of running into a ranger there is high. And it being Norfolk..they WILL, no doubt move you on.
The other big problem is about ignorance really. In this part of the world, wild camping would be seen as a little strange. Because we don't have big expanses of national park anywhere around, 'the locals' aren't used to seeing tiny pod like tents popping up here and there. There are a couple things people from round here hate. The first is change from the norm, the second is people enjoying themselves. The problem is that the average Dog walker knows very little about Wild Camping, and even less about the Wild Camping 'code'. He/She doesn't realise that a good 99% of WC'ers wouldn't dream of leaving any trace of their visit behind, and in fact, make it a significant part of their plan to make sure that no-one would guess where they were. The whole point after all is to be alone with nature, to put it cornily. That Dog walker would be very likely to abandon their walk, and their Dogs exercise just to get back and grass you up. Sad but true in these parts unfortunately. And the worst part is that most of them would describe themselves as 'outdoorsy'.
So, would I go woodland camping? Of course I would. You can only stay in so many campsites for one night with a titchy tent before the suspicious, bewildered looks get to you. No matter how secluded it was.
I suppose part of the fun is the possibility of getting caught, but I would love it if there were somewhere nearby that had at least some Wild Camping tolerance. Even if the local authority sectioned off some woodland and there was a permit/license system, like fishing. That'd be a start. I'm not concerned about Wild Camping being free. Just actually wild.
I wish every shop had a Dog bowl outside, and let Dogs in. I wish people called each other 'Pet', round here. I wish we had local delicacies that weren't made out of lips and stuff.
Oh God. I'm turning Northern.