Is it easy? Or hard to find places to camp?
You lucky so n so
The SWCP is ok for wildcamping - just need to walk till you find suitable spots. I have pitched late on the actual path before where I couldnt be bothered to keep walking on and the night view was interesting...
I know nothing about the ridgeway.
Wildcamping is technically illegal in England and Wales except on much of Dartmoor. But it is tolerated in a lot of places. Just pitch late, leave early and be discreet if on farmland - sure you'll be fine.
The Ridgeway comes in two halves. The eastern half isn't really for wild camping. On the western half, it's generally been tolerated well away from habitations, so long as you pitch in the rough grass to the side of the track, and obviously, don't cause any nuisance.
On the SWCP, you really need to keep a very low profile, because people do use stretches of the path from early until late for strolls and dog-walking, and some local folk will tell on you if they spot you! I've seen notices that ask the public to inform about any wild campers they see. Seems a bit extreme, but understandable if there have been problems.
'Problems', of course, aren't usually to do with 'wild campers', but 'wild boys camping'.
But yeah... just bear in mind that it's nearly always illegal.
BM - sounds like a good plan in the circs! FWIW, I like to use gear that's as low-profile as poss if I'm in areas where there might be difficulties, so an olive green bivi bag, or green tent can really help. I have discussed this with an ex-National Park ranger mate and he agrees: if one is camping 'illegally' but keeping a low profile, then authorities are more likely to turn a blind eye - that is if they see you in the first place. But if you are blatant in your bright red/orange or whatever tent, they are more likely to, and feel obliged to, do something about you - i.e. move you on.
Have a great trip!
I've camped on beaches all round the coast with no problems, I can't remember anyone even mentioning it. I'm not sure how close to the coast the SWC path actually goes but I can't see it being a problem.
Sorry to hear about your personal issues, I'm sure a long walk will help.
Not all those who wander are lost.
i walked the ridge way last bank holiday,mind if you camp around the trees at waylands smithy,cause officers patrol the area, there have been a few illegal raves there.though the wpc said she would not have moved me on otherwise.there is a camp site at the bottom of white horse hill hot showers and food £6 quid a nite. if you get a harveys map of the ridgeway it will show you where water taps are,there is bout 12 but i only found four....good luck
Click here for a sneak preview of the 5th edition of my book The Walker’s Handbook; Everything you Need to Know about Walking in the British Isles to be published in May 2015.
I agree that its probably better to say that wild camping is not authorized by law in E&W (except specifically in some parts of Dartmoor), some definitions I've seen of illegal include this and some don't.
And beware that there's a lot of National Trust owned land on the SWCP and their byelaws specifically ban camping and fires on their land. Theoretically you may be removed by Rangers and/or fined up to £20 in a court. I've never had any problems though and the chances of seeing a NT employee (except collecting money at car parks) is about zero. Trying camping on the lawns of a stately home may go down less well though.
Talking of which I wouldn't try camping too close to Chequers on the Ridgeway (the route crosses the drive to the house!)
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