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  1. #1
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    In a previous thread joelonghair had written:
    Well Stealth camping in the UK is totally safe, here the case is if the land has a fence of sorts then it is private, if you ask the owner, never been refused, its the way to go. But there is plenty of common land so 9 times out of ten you do not need to ask anyone. A general guide is to look on an ordnance survey map, private land is usually in white, forest, which is accessible to all, is normally green and there is also paths shown on the map. If you also see the word after the name, xxxxxx common, then this is common land. In the old days you could camp up and graze your cattle usually on the way to or from the markets, there is no problem stopping here, its best to obviously keep away from paths in the forest and don’t be fooled you will get people walking their dogs and the dogs will come up to your camp, The rubbish is always strung up on a tree high, and pots & pans with food kept away. This way the dogs will suss there is no food for them and go before the irate owner start to investigate why his faithful K9 is not responding to his calls. As I said I stealth camp every Friday and always have a fire lit up in the night. The obvious rule when you leave it has to be as you found it. Once I had an irate woman who told me this was not a camp site and that I could not camp there, my response was I am not on private property and the only people who had the authority to request me to move was the police so if she felt like that I suggested she should contact them. Never happened, actually on one occasion, I was in a deep forest and I found a tent erected with sleeping bag etc. I called out several times and had no response so I quietly left. 2 weeks later I passed through the same spot and sure enough the tent was still there and there was no sign of anyone had been there. Since I was there previously, I had left several pressure traps around in key places, this would have told me if someone had passed. The traps were all undisturbed so I got concerned; maybe the person is dead in the forest somewhere I thought. I called the Police and they promptly came. I had to escort them 1/2 a mile in. They investigated the whole area and then asked me how I found this place. I explained I do this every Friday with friends cycling and camping, cooking on fires etc. They seemed quite impressed. I am sure if I was doing something wrong they would have raised a point or advised me accordingly. As for the animals in forest you get fox, badger & rabbits. Luck if you actually spot one apart from the rabbits. Hunting is not allowed on public land so you will not get any shotgun merchants.
    Thanks for the info Joe. I once saw a dead badger on the road. They are kinda' like our racoons only bigger. I've heard they can be quite viscious.

    I'm wondering how to spot a sight in the UK. In Canada I look for litter on the ground. Beer cans, that sort of things. Canadian young people enjoy bush parties. I find parks arre good if you arrive late and leave early but you have to scout them out while there is still plenty of light.
    Last edited by stokell; 04-14-05 at 05:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    Well in the Uk on the whole, the concept of Bush Parties is not really there, If you pass a forest and there is no fence then as I said that for me is home sweet home for the night, the only people you will see here are dog walkers, and nature lovers, with a wee back pack and a walking stick. They tend to be in their later stages of life and are always pleseant people. If you keep away from paths, which is where they stick to you are ok. Racoons, yeah I guess badgers are quite like them and yes I heard they are also viscious but only if they think they are cornered. Up to now the only one I have seen are the dead one on the side of the road. There are so many places to pull up for the night out of town that you will not need a park to pull into. How do you guys out there cope with Bears, I must admit the thought of a Grizzley lurking around the camp makes a chill down my spine. Are they gentle giants, have you encontered them whilst camping out ??.
    Really enjoyed reading your tours, its always intersting to see how a foreigner sees your country and people. Mind you I would not have camped, like you, in Bodmin moor. For years there has been sightings of a puma or a big cat thats suppose to be living in Bodmin moor area, every now and then you get pictures in the news paper of the THE BIG CAT OF BODMIN.
    Last edited by JoeLonghair; 04-15-05 at 03:30 AM.

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    Scotland has different laws to England/Wales with respect land access. You can camp on private land without permission, provided you are not too close to houses. But really you should not be lighting camp fires, that probably will lead to trouble.

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    Anywhere dark after dark is almost worth a go.

    I got off the ferry in Dover one afternoon. It started raining as the boat docked. I got through Customs (a minor hassle that was) and set off looking for accommodation (cheap).

    Well that didn't work in Dover, so I set off looking for a campsite. I asked at a service station. I got some vague directions. Now this is getting on dark, in the rain. And a long uphill climb.

    I gave up looking for the signs after an hour (I travel with macro maps -- it's more exciting).

    I ended up camping in a roadside reserve between main arterial road and a line of houses. There was a culvert, and about five feet of space to put up a tent under some reasonably dense foliage, including blackberries. I could feel the tent pulsate from the wind wash from trucks going past on the highway most of the night. But I slept. No-one disturbed me.

    All I could think of was: Welcome to England. Yeah. Thanks.

    Anyway, I packed up a wet *orange* tent and set off for a real campground about 10km away for the following night.

    Point is, I suppose, you can freecamp just about anywhere if you are creative, prepared to take your chances with comfort, and are discreet (maybe after nightfall is easier, along with early morning breaking of camp).

    Similar (but more comfortable) campsites occurrred in France, Belgium and Holland on that trip!

  5. #5
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    How do you guys out there cope with Bears, I must admit the thought of a Grizzley lurking around the camp makes a chill down my spine. Are they gentle giants, have you encontered them whilst camping out ??.
    I live in a megopolis around Lake Ontario, so there is precious little land that is not in use. This is where I usually stealth camp. I've only camped in bear country once. I use a Hennessy hammock, so I have this dream of a bear batting at it with its paw to watch is swing back and forth while I'm inside having a panic attack.

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journ...=81&size=large

    This of course did not happen, but everytime I heard a twig break in the forest I thought it was a bear. In Ontario we don't have any grizzlies, we just have little bears. I think they are called brown bears. They seem almost as afraid of us as we are of them.

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    amaferanga
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    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Scotland Scotland has different laws to England/Wales with respect land access. You can camp on private land without permission, provided you are not too close to houses. But really you should not be lighting camp fires, that probably will lead to trouble.

    Nice bit of info, thanks for that. Would love to tour Scotland.

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    Rowan: Point is, I suppose, you can freecamp just about anywhere if you are creative, prepared to take your chances with comfort, and are discreet (maybe after nightfall is easier, along with early morning breaking of camp).

    Agreed Rowan being creative and doing the nightfall & dawn routine you can plot up just about anywhere, some Parks to sometimes you get a real big roundabout with trees and dense bushes. Right in the middle, ok it can be a bit noisy but you know there will be no one ..just walking past

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    Quote Originally Posted by stokell
    we don't have any grizzlies, we just have little bears. I think they are called brown bears. They seem almost as afraid of us as we are of them.

    Those kind of bears I can cope with..

  9. #9
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    I want to tour the UK badly one day. Brits crack me up and they are fun to party with.

    Conventional wisdom about bears suggests that you pack your food gear a good distance away from your camp site since bears are scavengers (some campers even suspend their foodstuffs in bags from high branches, where the bear cannot swat at it), but reality is that you are far more likely to get burgled of food from a raccoon than a bear (they are closely-related animals). If you see bear tracks in the mud, go the other way, but they are more likely to flee than to engage you. Here in western NY and PA (I'm actually right around the lake from stokell, but I tour the south of the state and beyond), bears do occasionally get into dumpsters at state parks if they are hurting for food, and people can and do get very close when they stupidly try to feed them from their cars, but it's not epidemic or anything. Mothers and cubs are a different story. Stay away - always.

  10. #10
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    I have lived and camped in bear country -we occasionaly even get them in the city -and the number one rule is keep a clean camp. No food or cooking gear anywhere near the tent, best bet is to hang it in a tree. Some even say you should hang the clothes you wore while cooking.
    Never had a problem with a bear, but is pretty hard to sleep if you know that one is around.

    If you're stealth camping, stay away from berry patches, and places where bush parties have been held. Litter and garbage attract bears.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the info on bears chaps, will ,sorry, bear that in mind, if I ever get to roam around in Bear country. Its pretty much common sense, mind you some times it seem to be common sense after it is pointed out to you.

  12. #12
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Back to stealth camping in Britain:

    One punter on another thread suggested that there weren't any trees I could sling my hammock to in Britain. He said it was mostly city and agricultural land and that Britain had been de-forested for centuries. Could that possibly be true? Will I have trouble finding two medium sized trees about 4 metres apart?

    I'm planning on starting in Cardiff, Wales and ducking across into Wilshire and follow the tow paths to Reading. Anyone with local knowledge?

  13. #13
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    Not true at all, yes this land was all forest at one time, because everything grows due to the weather. Yes we have cities but in any city the idea is where ever you live there is a park within walking distance.
    Even in London, this is the case. Out of any city you will always find comman land, land with no fence, accessible to the public where you could very safley stealth camp. The best way to check, as I do when touring, look on www.multimap.com look at the area you want, then there is a Areial Photo, or an icon with a camera. click on this and this will give you the Areial photo of the intended area. Zoom in and you see the size of forest , how close the dwellings are to the forest etc. Cardif in wales plenty of forest, around wiltshire, its mostly agricultural land but I am sure you will find a couple of trees, going to Reading which is the Thames valley, plenty of trees and you can camp anywhere along the River Thames, its public land. Normally here I do not need to stealth camp, just pitch up along the bank of the river and spend the evening by the fire chatting to local folks cruising the river.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeLonghair
    Not true at all, yes this land was all forest at one time, because everything grows due to the weather. Yes we have cities but in any city the idea is where ever you live there is a park within walking distance.
    Even in London, this is the case. Out of any city you will always find comman land, land with no fence, accessible to the public where you could very safley stealth camp. The best way to check, as I do when touring, look on www.multimap.com look at the area you want, then there is a Areial Photo, or an icon with a camera. click on this and this will give you the Areial photo of the intended area. Zoom in and you see the size of forest , how close the dwellings are to the forest etc. Cardif in wales plenty of forest, around wiltshire, its mostly agricultural land but I am sure you will find a couple of trees, going to Reading which is the Thames valley, plenty of trees and you can camp anywhere along the River Thames, its public land. Normally here I do not need to stealth camp, just pitch up along the bank of the river and spend the evening by the fire chatting to local folks cruising the river.
    Joe, you actually make it sound as though I should give Britain a second chance. The Thames idea really appeals.

  15. #15
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    If you like the idea of the thames path, then I strongly suggest going on to the www.sustrans.org.uk. Buy the thames Valley cycle route. Just did it yesterday, 98 miles from London to oxford, you go through Hampton Court, Windsor castle and I think 70 odd miles are traffic free, The bit of road you go on has a sepreate cycle route on it, or you just are on the actual road to cross it to then dissapear down some leafy track. The whole trip was really laid back stunning secenary and you forget how friendly people are once you are out of the city. We stopped at a pub to fill up with water and the landloard after asking us where we were going to stop for the night suggested we pitch up in the pub garden, we were also able to shower wash clothes etc and in the morning my gear cable snapped, I usually carry spear of these but my bike shop guy gave me 2 cables for brakes instead of one of each. Anyway this guy takes us 10 miles on a Bank Hoilday weekend and ensured we got our cabel.

    This route you really get a feel for old England, little villages, leafy lanes, pleasent people.

    Dont know when you last came here, but you know when people usually think of London they think of rain, well think again, Plenty of sunshine nice warm ,not hot hot weather, and friendly folks.

  16. #16
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeLonghair
    Dont know when you last came here, but you know when people usually think of London they think of rain, well think again, Plenty of sunshine nice warm ,not hot hot weather, and friendly folks.
    Joe, don't tell everyone, they'll all want to come.

    Even my wife, who has been to Britain (during a heat wave) is under the impression it rains all the time. I've done three tours in Britain, usually in the spring or autumn and have found that it does rain, but not all the time. I bring home pictures of skies full of blue sky and my wife thinks it must have rained all the time.

  17. #17
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    So allan

    when does your tour start?

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    Yeah its getting more tropical like weather, as in it use to drizzle all day and be muggy and pretty horrible, nowadays its hot then it builds into a tropical type thunder storm, lighting a good downpour and it then clears up. This is now becoming the norm from Spring to Autumn. Where is your next tour going to be ?

  19. #19
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skookum
    So allan

    when does your tour start?
    I'm hoping to do my shakedown tour on my new tour bike this weekend (Mother's Day in Canada and USA, may not be a good choice). I'm going to Paris. Paris, Ontario of course via Hamilton and Burlington. Then on to Forks of the Credit and home again. Mostly on trails, some on road stuff north and west of Toronto. I can't tell you where I'll stealth camp.

    My real tour starts in October in Cardiff, Wales and ends Reading about two weeks later with lots of time in Wiltshire, especially at the Swindon Beerex sponsored by the Swindon CAMRA (campaign for Real Ale) chapter.

    Ah, the joys of Real Ale and stealth camping!

  20. #20
    Gordon P
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    Hi Stokell, there is a camping/caravan club in the UK that allows members, and in some cases non-members, to use their property and facilities free. It might be worth at least to have a list of locations along your route, even just for a shower and to fill up with water. I know they publish a guide, maybe someone on this forum knows the name/website. Also some of the HI hostels allow camping for a reduced fee and full use of the kitchen, washrooms and drying room.

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