Bike exploring: The New Forest
Brockenhurst New Forest Loop. Just under 12 miles of easy going forest trails and tarmac. A great all year ride, perfect for families. The route starts and stops in the pretty little town of Brockenhurst.
Loads of us love a night under canvas. But might it be even better if you head not for a campsite, but for the hills or moors? Here's 12 great reasons why wild camping will leaving you smiling.
Camping is fabulous – the fresh air, the sense of escape. But sometimes getting away from it all also means you’re getting very close to other people. The views are of their tents, not rolling hills. Time to go wild camping.
To investigate just why you might want to, I joined Fi and experienced wild camper Ju Lewis for a spot of Dartmoor wild camping research. We've got 9 great reasons why you might also love it.
2. You’re heading out onto the moor when others are heading home. Walkers look at your full rucksacks enviously, thinking “they’re going to wild camp!”
3. Nobody else gets the best pitch at the site, because nobody else is there …
4. You become a campsite designer – rocks become kitchens and dining-room tables and chairs …
5. There’s no noise from too-close tents. So you can laugh more freely too …
6. It’s completely free – so more money for tent snacks.
7. Having to carry everything means you only take essentials. Less clutter means the break from your daily life is more pronounced.
8. The sun rises over tors and rivers, with nothing else in the way of the view.
9. It helps us really reconnect with our world, ourselves and with loved ones and friends.
10. It’s an empowering GetOutside – look what we did!
11. You walk off the moor as others are walking on. You’re grinning; still with a gleam in your eye.
12. When wild camping, it only takes nine seconds (ahem) to take down a tent*
*This one ‘might’ not actually be true …
Obviously, you can’t just start pitching tents just anywhere. In England and Wales you have to get the landowner’s permission first. Some parts of Dartmoor National Park are exceptions; in those you’re free to wild camp – provided you follow some strict but relatively simple rules. To learn more about Wild Camping on Dartmoor, check out this handy blog post from Dartmoor National Park enthusiast and GetOutside Champion Fi Darby.
Why do you love wild camping? What are your hints, tips and tricks? Tell us in the comments below.
Belinda Dixon is a travel and adventure writer, a broadcaster and a leader for the charity, the British Exploring Society.
Belinda champions the benefits of an active, outdoors lifestyle in everything she does and loves to 'showcase how everyone – whoever and wherever you are, and however you live – can enrich their lives by getting outside.'
You can find out about Belinda's adventures at belindadixon.com/blog.