Nearly wild camping – good for campers and land-owners

NWC3Sadly, there’s not really a (legal) chance to camp wild in England, so often the option is a campsite with tarmac and not a lot of privacy. Nearly Wild Camping is a newish idea – a network of places across the UK offering nearly wild pitches.


So far, there are 50 Nearly Wild locations in England, Scotland and Wales (and two in Italy) – all with no outdoor lights at night and guaranteed distance between pitches to ensure peace and privacy. Many are campfire friendly and most have only basic facilities.

“They’re more than a place to sleep,” says Lee Barton, who looks after the admin and is working hard to build up the network of land-owners. “These ‘sites’ offer the chance to explore – through guided walks, star-gazing, badger-watching, having a go at some regular tasks (from feeding the chickens to carving a spoon), cooking up homegrown veg on your campfire and more.”eco2
Each location is different – from family farms to nature reserves and hilltop smallholdings to riverside woods. Each listing has a personal note describing what to expect, any facilities and any restrictions (not suitable for young children, for example). There’s also a ‘wildness’ rating, prices and a form to contact the owner.

Some owners are more detailed than others in their descriptions and there aren’t many photos at the moment, but it’s easy to see whether the facilities you need are available or not. There are few possibilities for campervans or caravans, though it might be worth checking with owners in case they can come up with an option.

“We set up as a community co-operative because all the campers and hosts are working together for everyone’s (and nature’s) benefit,” says Lee.

It could be the perfect way to try out one of our favourite camping experiences – read all about that in our special feature on bivvy hammocks.

There are more projects planned, but Nearly Wild currently has an online directory of the locations and experiences with details of what to expect. It costs £20 to join.

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  1. Hi, like some other comments in this thread; I am looking for somewhere to wild camp in woodland in the Durham & Northumberland area. I will gladly pay £20 as it is not much for what i could get in return but, due to family commitments i am stuck to the above mentioned areas. This means that if there are no sites in my area it would be a bit of a waste.

    I do think this is great site as, in England we are very restricted and cant get anywhere.

  2. There have been lots of updates to the Nearly Wild Camping website over the last few months including a map of locations on the homepage:

  3. I’m willing to join as I’m after a nearly wild spot to camp with my family to get away from it all a few hours drive from the southend area where I unfortunately live, I hate typical campsites and want total privacy and not hear another person, the few sites shown is not enough to make me part with £20, I want to see all sites before I pay out otherwise I’m just gambling my money. Editor: That’s something to mention to Nearly Wild Camping, Phil. I can see your point, but it’s a small organisation trying to do something good. Unless people join they won’t be able to make the network grow.

  4. Kate,
    How much locations charge is varied. Some charge say £5 per person per night (bring your own tent) or maybe £15 per family of 4. Usually provided accommodation and equipment heading towards a glamping experience would be more in the £30-£70 range (upto 4 persons).

  5. Hi, I’m interested in listing our farm, have an amazing earth ship and fields overlooking river dart on Devon. How much would we charge to campers? Thanks

  6. Hi James, my good lady and i are looking for wild camping spots in beautiful Wales. Could you get in touch , currently planning an Isle of Wight camping trip for this weekend..small island with a big heart.

  7. I have ‘wild land’ in Wales if people would like to get in touch 🙂

  8. Hi, there is a page of example locations (accessed from the website) and a map showing where about they are located. There are new locations joining all the time and we hope to fill the gaps around the country soon so that everyone has a fairly local place they can escape to. Lee

  9. We’ve passed your details onto Nearly Wild. They’ll be able to help you.

  10. Kim Craigie

    Is there anyway to just see a map of rough locations before joining. I think Nearly Wild is a great idea but we are on a very tight budget where £20 goes a long way. If none of the locations are on our radar then it would be a waste to join, but otherwise we would like to join and support the idea. Thanks

  11. I have some land, would be interested.

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