Last updated on May 22, 2023 by Wandering our World
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, highlight the exceptions, and give you some tips to be a considerate camper.
So read on to begin your Wales wild camping adventure!
- The Rules Around Wild Camping in Wales
- Where You Must Avoid
- Must Know Tips For Wild Camping in Wales
- The Best Months for Wild Camping
Wild Camping In Wales: The Rules & What You Need To Know
DISCLAIMER: Below we give general advice, but we always recommend staying in an official campsite. If you choose to go wild camping/dispersed camping, then make sure you do so with someone who already knows the area where you’re planning on camping for your own safety.
Whilst wild camping – also known as free camping – in Wales is technically 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. (Related: Camping in Pembrokeshire).
Wild camping in Wales while walking and hiking tends to only be tolerated if you choose to camp in a place that won’t be in any other hiker’s or walker’s way, not on cultivated land, and away from settlements.
On top of that you’re expected to leave no trace and only put your tent up at dusk and take it down at dawn.
However wild camping on beaches in Wales tends to not be tolerated in any circumstance.
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 and hopefully keep you out of trouble:
- 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 would be a great investment for someone planning to go wild camping in Wales.
- 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.
- Land close to houses, settlements and roads.
- Cultivated land.
Must Know Tips For Wild Camping In Wales
- Heavy rain can happen in Wales – 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 or similar would be perfect. For a good value tent that fits more than one person, this mosquito-proof one would work well too.
- Remember to always have plenty of water on you when you’re walking and wild camping in Wales. 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 & 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.