anyone got any experience..?
I'm a member of the aforementioned Sussex Search and Rescue. Most of our work revolves around people with dementia who wander off into what is reputed to be one of Britain's most forested counties. I've also wild camped on the Downs. But I'm not telling you where! You might want to avoid anywhere where there are pheasant feeders - green barrels on tripods at the edge of thickets and fields.
I do a lot of wild camping in most parts of the uk and is the best way to see the country and enjoy your own space, as for the South Downs I live close to the the Downs and wild camping is easy if you abide by the the rules of leaving at first light and making sure you do not leave any sign that you were there...If you find a heavy wooded area it is possible to walk as far in and away from the paths so you are completely out of sight of any dog walkers farmers that may disagree with you camping, I use a basha and bivi as it is quick to set up and to pack up, as for lighting a fire this could give your position away, I tend to light a fire late into the evening when it is dark and not able to see the smoke, also keep it small and contained.
If you want to try wild camping? Dartmoor is a good area to start, you can wild camp in most places, but you need to know how to read a map and compass and don't just rely on GPS as they are not alot of good when the battery runs flat as it is easy to get lost on the moors!
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