In world increasingly filled with stuff to make you anxious, wild camping has always been one of the great mood levellers; a calming reset button for our hectic modern lives. That is, until someone comes along and tries to monetise it all in the name of profiteering. Step forward: UK Wild Camp, who in partnership with DEFRA and the Lake District and South Downs National Parks, have served up one of the worst ideas we’ve ever seen – wild camping without the freedom, wild camping without the fun, wild camping without any of the things that make it good. Wild camping, injected with capitalism.
If you haven’t read Phoebe Smith‘s excellent piece about all this in the Guardian yet, or got yourself up to speed on it elsewhere, here’s everything you need to know about the new wild camping scheme trial, and why it’s rubbish.
1) They’re Charging £20 A Night
One of the great joys of wild camping is that it normally doesn’t cost you a penny. Yes, it’s technically only legal in the UK in Dartmoor and Scotland but the unwritten rule for it has basically always been “arrive late, leave early, don’t make a mess/noise and you’ll be fine.”
By charging for it, and charging an extortionate amount while they’re at it, UK Wild Camp are taking away the coolest thing about it; turning wild camping into a “pay-to-play” experience which goes against the very fabric of what makes it special.
2) People Will Be Told Where To Camp
Like we’ve already mentioned, the fundamental ingredient of wild camping is freedom. The freedom to walk out the door, find your own secluded corner of nature and fall asleep under canvas, beneath the stars, in a place of your choosing. Freedom. Lovely bit of freedom.
This scheme wants to change all that by sending out a grid reference to bookers showing the places in the national park where you’re ‘allowed’ to pitch, a set of rules, and agreed camping dates. Way to strip any sense of adventure from wild camping, guys. Good job. Nice one.