It’s a country full of mountains, a stunning coastline, quaint villages and history-filled valleys, so it will come as no surprise that the idea of wild camping in Wales is popular with outdoor enthusiasts from across the UK and abroad.
But can you wild camp in Wales? Unfortunately, it’s not legal to wild camp in Wales. However there are exceptions to note, and in some places wild camping is tolerated despite it officially not being allowed.
We explain all of that next, as well as give you some tips to be a considerate camper.
Wild camping in Wales: The rules
Whilst wild camping – also known as free camping – in Wales is not allowed, one exception is that you are allowed to pitch your tent or park your motorhome if you have the permission of the landowner. That is, of course, often easier said than done.
We have also found that if you’re hiking or walking a trail – like the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path – then wild camping in Wales is often tolerated. That’s because hikes and walks can take more than a day to complete and so walkers will need a place to sleep overnight. Wild camping on beaches in Wales tends to not be tolerated though. (Related: Camping in Pembrokeshire)
If you are planning to go free camping in Wales – and can’t be swayed to stay in a campsite instead – we’ve compiled the following guidelines to help you camp in a considerate manner:
- You should camp in the same place for one night only, and pitch your tent discretely and in a remote place which will not be easily seen. Therefore don’t camp in or near settlements, someone’s farm or on cultivated land. If you think you’re on private land, always try and seek out the landowner and ask permission. They may request a small fee.
- Campers should set up their tent at dusk, and take it down at dawn. A tent that is discreet, blends in with the landscape, and pitches quickly is best. Therefore a lightweight walking tent like this one
- Most hikers and walkers tolerate camping beside trails that involve multi-day hikes – such as in Snowdonia. After all, serious walkers need somewhere to sleep! However as a matter of courtesy you should camp away from any path, and pitch your tent at dusk and take it down at dawn. (Related: Camping in Snowdonia)
- Respect the leave no trace policy and take any rubbish with you. Leave your camping spot exactly the way you found it.
Where you must avoid:
- Walking in and going through buildings.
- Land clearly attached to a building (private garden, backyard).
- Sports fields when they’re being used.
- Schools and school land.
- Building sites.
- Working and disused quarries.
- Land close to houses, settlements, road, and cultivated land.
Tips for wild camping
- Heavy rain can happen – even during the summer months. Therefore make sure you have a rainproof tent that can survive rain. A lightweight one-man walking tent like this
- Remember to always have plenty of water on you when you’re walking and camping. A space-saving collapsible water bottle would be a good purchase.
- If you need to go to the toilet then do so at least 30-50 meters away from water sources, such as rivers. Make sure to use a trowel (like this folding one) to bury any human waste at least six inches under ground. Take any tissue paper with you – use a ziplock bag to store it and dispose of it in the nearest bin.
Wild camping in Wales: The weather and best months to visit
The average temperature in Wales is around 20°C in summer, which makes it a great season to explore this country. The ocean is often calm and clear in the summer months too, making it perfect for swimming and dolphin spotting.
The spring months (March to May) are ideal for bird-watchers and nature lovers, as this is the season for migrating and breeding birds to visit Wales. Many wildflowers will bloom during this time too!
Autumn is a good season for hiking and walking without the crowds and enjoying the changing forest colours. Expect daytime temperatures during spring and autumn to range around 5-16°C depending on the month.
Winter can be cold, and we wouldn’t recommend free camping in Wales during this season. Snow is common on higher ground.
Recommended for wild camping in Wales
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