£20 to wild camp?

Discussion in 'Hiking Chat' started by Fossil Bluff, May 30, 2019.

  1. Fossil Bluff

    Fossil Bluff Thru Hiker

  2. Rmr

    Rmr Section Hiker

    I have also seen this, surely any seasoned wild camper is not going along with this. I can use sites in the Peak District with all facilities for around £7 a night. Let's see how this goes, non starter I hope.
    Fossil Bluff likes this.
  3. Fossil Bluff

    Fossil Bluff Thru Hiker

    So here’s the booking site for those of you stepping out for a Lake District overnighter this weekend.



    I think the author of the article is missing the point when she says that the fee may discourage deprived city folk :banghead:
  4. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Moderator Staff Member

    £20 for an unimproved campsite no matter how "wild" it is doesn't sound like value to me.
    Fossil Bluff likes this.
  5. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    I've reported all of you to the authorities.
    Chiseller, Rmr and Fossil Bluff like this.
  6. Noltae

    Noltae Summit Camper

    Once 5g is fully rolled out along with the internet of things how long before one will just get automatically debited - Or a drone just shows up next to your vestibule ?
    Fossil Bluff likes this.
  7. Fossil Bluff

    Fossil Bluff Thru Hiker

    This lot? 20 years hard labour!

    edh likes this.
  8. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Moderator Staff Member

    It could get amusing when someone turns up to their bought and paid for pitch and finds someone is already there.
    gixer, Fossil Bluff, Teepee and 2 others like this.
  9. Rmr

    Rmr Section Hiker

    I love the thought
    Fossil Bluff likes this.
  10. Davy

    Davy Thru Hiker

    £20 is fine, as long as you get a fire pit, hot shower and flushing loo.

    Somewhere to charge a phone/tablet would also be good.
  11. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Now that is a scary thought.... But then I've seen @Shewie & @Teepee with a Frisby.... That drone won't be hovering for long :whistling:.... Allegedly of course :wink:
  12. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    I can see this being weaponised to control dissenters....
    Fossil Bluff and oreocereus like this.
  13. oreocereus

    oreocereus Thru Hiker

    Don’t like this at all. Aside from a broader argument about further commodifying public space (wild camping is seen as reasonably socially acceptable, regardless of legality, but if this becomes the norm then not paying for it will be treated as crimininal), this doesn’t make things accessible.

    When I plan trips I plan to spend at least 70% of that time wild camping, firstly because I enjoy it, but also because it’s the only way I can afford to. Train and bus tickets take a lot of my disposable income. Paying £20 a night would easily double or triple the costs involved.

    A night wild camping would cost twice as much as a night of my rent. A hostel in London is cheaper. Etc.

    I noticed some tracks in Snowdonia have donation boxes at road heads. I believe bothies in Scotland do too. It’s common in New Zealand for National parks to have donation boxes at park entries (and in the free huts), and its considered the done thing to leave a donation. It likely wouldn’t be a profitable but creates a much healthier relationship and one which doesn’t turn away the financially disadvantaged.
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
  14. Henry

    Henry Section Hiker

    Daft idea.
    Fossil Bluff likes this.
  15. Fossil Bluff

    Fossil Bluff Thru Hiker

    Mmm, so NGB / MLTE registered courses with a wild camp in the Lakes will commit to a given site and pay the fees?

    Maybe they will / do.
  16. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Moderator Staff Member

    You can almost guarantee that any site's location/coordinates will end up on Facebook.
  17. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    I wish it would cost £20 for me to camp on a decent hill. :(........

    ....costs at least £70 to drive to Wales and back. :smuggrin:
    Diddi likes this.
  18. Fossil Bluff

    Fossil Bluff Thru Hiker


    “...No man has the right to own mountains
    Any more than the deep ocean bed...”

    :rolleyes: Ewan MacColl didn’t think that one through.... :headphone:

    cathyjc and Chiseller like this.
  19. dovidola

    dovidola Thru Hiker

    Looking at the website, it appears more like some individual entrepeneur's money-making idea (and that's putting it kindly) than anything to do with the authorities. None of the 'sites' are in what we'd call remote locations, and there are so few of them that it's obvious this is a new 'startup' of some kind - a kind of AirBnB for farmers/landowners. You have to dig deep into the site to find any indication of who might be behind this, and the only reference I can find is to a (possible) company called The Bridge Strategy, of which I can find no trace at Companies House under that exact name. The closest match is The Bridge Strategy Implementation Ltd, a Harrow-based enterprise of seemingly little importance, which may or may not have anything to do with the operation.

    Turning to the Guardian article. Whether the 'Will Harris' of "Rewilding the Humans" (at least one person has reviewed it on Amazon) published by "The Waterloo Bridge" (of whom I can find no trace) is a part of this enterprise is unclear. I would love to know, however, the basis for Phoebe Smith (Guardian Reporter)'s headline claim that this is a "pilot scheme launched to promote wild camping in two of England's national parks". It strikes me as nothing of the sort. So, rubbish journalism and a micky-mouse business operation.

    I've written to ukwildcamp.org asking for details of the individual(s) and/or promoters behind their enterprise, and whether it has any connection with any statutory authority. I'm not holding my breath.

    In common, I imagine, with many others here, I'll prefer to carry on 'taking my chances' for the moment. It'll be a good while before much by way of enforcement action occurs. In any case, as I see it you're still not committing an offence by wild camping in the Lake District without permission (paid or otherwise); it's a civil matter for which you can theoretically be sued for damages and/or required to move on. New legislation would be required before any statutory penalty could be applied. In effect, all this £20 'booking fee' gives you is permission to camp at a specified spot, and thus exemption from civil action.

    On reflection, I suppose it's inevitable that with the growing numbers of people taking to the hills etc, there's going to be various attempts at extracting money from them.

    On a positive note, this could affect sales of the more brightly coloured tents.
    JKM, cathyjc, fluffkitten and 4 others like this.
  20. Dave V

    Dave V Moderator Staff Member

    This was posted on various Facebook groups last week.

    It's a broken business model before it's even started. Social media will kill it the second someone post up a picture.

    It is also un-policable which is why sensible and respectful wildcampers are rarely bothered by anyone.

    On one of the FB groups there was a point raised by a ranger. Saying if more above treeline locations are opened up there will all manner of issues from discarded waste to inexperienced people camping in locations there are not equipped for.
    OneBeardedWalker likes this.
  21. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    My worry is that a farmer who at present doesn't care enough to police, as long as you leave no trace, will be motivated to police believing they have been done out of their cut of the £20....
  22. Dave V

    Dave V Moderator Staff Member

    I don't know how much of a cut landowners are getting but I would not imagine it's very much. Drive quad bike or 4x4 up hill, 'Get off my land' drive back down, money spent on fuel.

    The overheads for such a venture will also start cutting into any profit very quickly.

    To get insurance for a flat, accessible camping site/caravan park is probably not too hard. When you start factoring in the remoteness of some of the possible locations it's going to bump up the cost. As your charging for the privilege of camping there, the site would need public liability cover as a minimum surely?

    Then if you want to go into the nitty-gritty of things, many campsites require a waste disposal license/certificate for human waste, as the sites will technically be classed as campsites will this also apply?

    I would imagine that environmental groups will also require an input in some locations. When I worked for a group of airports, regular studies for rare wildlife, moss and grass types were carried out before simple things such as cutting the grass were permitted. You start encouraging large numbers of campers in one location and habitat and environmental factors come in to play too.
    OneBeardedWalker, oreocereus and Enzo like this.
  23. Fossil Bluff

    Fossil Bluff Thru Hiker

    Yup, every cloud has a silver lining.

    I think your views on this are pretty much spot on. This is about those land owners who have identified land for wild camping and see it a revenue opportunity. It’s not about the vast areas that haven’t been identified.

    The Guardian article refers to an old bye-law allowing wild camping on a Dartmoor. The Dartmoor Commons Act was passed in the 1980s to try and deconflict the various common rights. Section 2 is centred on the right for open air recreation, so there is an established right to wild camp, but only on the commons (Thank you HRH Charlie :thumbsup:) - which, in fairness, is a pretty large part of the moor owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.

    I can only imagine that there are myriad land owners in the Lakes, bringing together a consistent right to wild camp would be a nightmare, so it can only be done piece-meal which is what this scheme is attempting to do. Do the land owners really give a **** if you camp on their mountain? Maybe, maybe not, but given an opportunity to take £20 a pop for something that has been hitherto free may seem like a nice prospect. WRT policing / enforcing it... they wont, if one person pays then it’s still £20 more than the land owner had yesterday...
    dovidola likes this.
  24. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    But humans are biased to see potential loss as more objectionable than potential gain.
    Clare likes this.
  25. Robin

    Robin Moderator Staff Member

    About ten years ago there was an e-petition to give campers in England and Wales the same rights as Scotland. From what I remember, there was fair bit of discussion about the legality or otherwise of wild camping under existing laws. I’m not a lawyer and my memory may be faulty, but I think under trespass laws it’s not actually illegal to camp on someone else’s land, but you do have to move on if requested and you can be prosecuted for not doing so or for any damage to the land. When I read around the subject, it seemed to be the opinion that unless there was verifiable, serious damage, it would be very difficult and potentially expensive to secure a prosecution.

    When I looked at the National Trust website in the Lake District at the time, the guidance was to camping above the 500m was tolerated. This seems to have been changed to “the higher fells” and follow the normal leave no trace guidelines. The LD National Park website has some guidelines and states that wild camping is tolerated above the highest wall (used to be the intake wall, which is actually more specific) https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/where-to-stay/wild-camping.

    I hope this is just a storm in a tea cup. It does look like a bit of a scam. However, with the increasing sophistication of drone technology and phone tracking, I guess it could become a trend, although I doubt the costs of monitoring would be covered by the revenue generated. More concerning, would be whether this prompts some idiot in the National Park administration or marketing departments to institute some kind of permit system as we see in many US NPs. Given the number of walkers and number of entry points to the fells, I suspect that the costs of policing would far outweigh the revenue but never underestimate the stupidity of the NPA, given that recently it seems to be trying to turn the Lake District into a theme park with its support for zip wires and the like.
    Enzo, Dave V, fluffkitten and 2 others like this.

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