I’ve done tent camping for decades but having read LTD's wild-camping thread I feel the urge to get a bit more basic. Only once the weather improves!!
Assuming it’s not raining, do I need a tarp as well as a bivvi bag? I don’t like sleeping under trees, are there downsides to sleeping in an open area?
I live on the borders of West Berkshire. There is a lot of pheasant shooting happening round here, and it is quite lucrative, so I suspect gamekeepers keep on eye on the local woodland. However we have lots of open gound too. Study the OS map along the line of the ridgeway and I am sure you could find ideas. I would avoid horse gallops, as they tend to exercise the horses early in the morning and they might be posessive. Watership down / Ladle Hill is possible, or along the general line of the Wansdyke south west of Marlborough. The CROW maps show patches of uncultivated land. On a midsummer night some of the local hills have glow worms.
Further afield might not be so bad if you have a vehicle. The New Forest (discreetly) is not so far and there is masses of space. Or if you are close to the M4 you could probably get to the Black Mountains or Brecon Beacons in about 2 and a quarter hours.
People see you! And from a good distance and investigate just for reassurance and will then disturb you. Just when you think you are alone a farmer on quad bike or a dog walker turn up. A curfew on head light use is worthwhile too as that can interest people.
I favour being hid away in trees.
Include a little history in your walks. Pecsaetan - Ancient Derbyshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire - http://pecsaetan.weebly.com/
Thank you for the suggestions, I shall investigate further with OS maps and maybe a day drip to check out the lie of the land locally. For future trips, the Brecon Beacons are reasonably familiar, but I've never ventured far into Dartmoor so would be worth a visit.
I picked up some ideas from a recent Trail magazine, and I was "encouraged" by the 2 hour walk-in to the bivi site which is generally more than most dog-walkers would do for a late night constitutional.
I've never slept outside of a tent (apart from the occasional alcohol-induced event as a student, but that's nearly 40 years ago now!) so don't expect to get much restful sleep the first couple of times until I become more practiced. And I'm not sure how much insulation I'll need (bivi bag, sleeping bag, mat, down jacket, etc) Hence the need to be close to home.
The warning about lights is good, I was thinking of going on a Moon-free night to watch the stars, but maybe a bit of natural light would be a benefit. Or shelter in trees. I'm not keen on being directly UNDER trees having had a branch fall on my tent while I was out walking!
I've the same problem with Kent, which is why I doub't I will bother and have to get my 'fixes' by travelling. I just don't fancy keeping an eye out for anybody who will bother me.
Good luck with your adventure, be that local or whatever.
Yeah, good luck.
I've rough-camped* on canal towpaths in the past. British Waterways bylaws probably forbid camping but their staff usually only work from 9-5 weekdays and passing boats aren't likely to care.
In Berks, there is the disused Berks & Hants Canal (some of which is being restored) and the fully navigable Kennet & Avon Canal.
Stay well away from towns and canalside pubs, pitch at dusk and strike soon after dawn and I very much doubt you'll get much hassle on or beside a towpath.
* I use the term 'rough camp' rather than 'wild camp' as I don't consider towpaths, farmland, waste ground, commons, roadside laybys and so to be 'wild'.
TheAdrian wrote (see)
I live near to the New Forest and like it very much. I have heard that they are quite strict on wildcamping and will move you on if you're caught, although that would probably be unlikely. There are loads of excellent spots, as it is quite flat and it is easy to avoid the boggy bits. A decent stream can be a little tricky to find and I would always purify any you collect.
I'd probably recommend practising with the bivy in the garden if you can and making a trip a little further afield away from Berkshire. For the record, my first wild camp was in the Lake District and I didn't find it a problem - it was like being on a normal campsite except that the water was in a stream and the toilet block was a bush!
Have fun and good luck!
Thanks, all good advice which is very welcome. I am "Mr Cautious" really, but like to set myself a few challenges. More-so since I retire in exactly 6 working days Oh, the joy, the freedom!
I wouldn't feel comfortable tent-camping "rough" although I did in my teens while canoeing with three mates along the Kennet & Avon canal. Camping in the garden includes the dozens of cats and the occasional fox!
So in my head it's a bivi bag, maybe a tarp as a wind break, well off the beaten track. As it turns dark, gazing at the stars until I fall asleep. Up at dawn, pack, then coffee and a bacon butty.
The reality may well be very different of course - a cold damp sleepless miserable night with a face full of dew and slugs ...
If only it will stop bl**dy raining and warm up again. Doesn't the weather know this is officially a drought?!
There was a thread on here last week for a Dartmoor Wildie meet - get down there and get your ear bent . It's 7/8/9 June iirc - wish I could point you to the thread. Take whiskey.
Here you go!
Sorry, I'm still here! This retirement lark is flippin' busy ...
Will it ever stop raining??
if this weather doesn't improve soon I'll have to practice in the back garden. But I know a fox uses our garden as a short cut most nights. While I think it's unlikely that it would try to chew my face off (they're far too well fed on bin-scraps to be hungry) I'm not sure I'm comfortable with being snuffled over by anything bigger than a hedgehog ...
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