S24O suggestions in Oxfordshire?
Recently moved to Oxford from the US, and was thinking of doing an S24O (aka. short overnight bike camping trip) this weekend. Any suggestions within about 40 miles of Oxford (closer is fine!)? Rode up just north of Chipping Norton last week and the countryside there was beautiful, so that's one idea.
Not sure how it's regarded here when a couple cyclists just quietly camp in the corner of a field - is this generally OK? Better to use a paid campsite? Peace and quiet was my concern more than having to pay in terms of stealth camping vs campgrounds.
Thanks for any suggestions!
Just an update - we finally did it (a stealth camping S24O), although on a trip from Oxford to Bath, rather than within Oxfordshire. Previously we'd done a trip using a commercial camp site, which was not unpleasant but not exactly peaceful, so we decided to give stealth camping a shot over the August long weekend.
A short report:
Although it was a beautiful weekend, the early morning start featured plenty of damp mist:
We foraged some amazing cherries along the way, growing by the path up the hill leading to the Faringdon Folly. It must have been an orchard at some point, as there were several varieties of cherries unlike any I've had from a store. These yellow ones were delicious:
Then we stopped by Malmesbury Abbey - the entranceway the bikes are leaning against is nearly a thousand years old:
Finally, we approached Bath, and decided to look for a place to sleep (and eat!). Near Kingsdown we got lucky - a nice secluded spot with a quiet country pub just a few minutes ride away. The camping spot was close to a quiet footpath between some fields, but the trees provided cover and there was a good flat place for setting up a tent. We were pretty much invisible from the path and the closest farmhouses were pretty far away.
Here's the spot:
The pub had an amazing view over the valley and Sharp's Doom Bar on tap: :
Here's me with my beer in the back garden:
And this was the sunset we watched as we ate dinner outside:
After dinner it was nearly dark so we returned to our camp spot, and pitched the tent by the light of our rear red lights. It was a nice spot - dry and the owls were hooting in the trees above us. Next morning, we broke camp right at dawn, and made breakfast at the edge of a nearby field (back on a footpath, so no more trespassing issues).
…and foraged new growth nettles to add to the dehydrated soup. Quite tasty!
That's the extent of the pictures that aren't of us sightseeing around Bath :)
It was a lot of fun, and it took a lot of the fear out of doing this. We made the decision to not look for the landowner and ask permission, and just camp quietly and leave no trace. If it had been a place with more activity or if we'd needed to use a field rather than a wood, we'd probably have tried asking, but as it was it worked out well.
Nice ride report! We lived 5 years in the Thames Valley in Berkshire but close to S. Bucks & Oxon. Of course you have the Cotswolds so close but the Chilterns are also very beautiful and could be accessed easily from Oxford by bicycle. Here's a link to the Chiltern Cycleway which all or part might be of interest to you. I think that you could find similar opportunities for wild camping as you already have a nose for it!
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