NEARLY-WILD CAMPING: OUR FAVOURITE SPOTS


Campsites are reopening across the UK – but we’re not ready to give up the solo lifestyle just yet. We’re taking the opportunity to get a taste of the wild life, even if we can’t head as off-grid as we’d like right now. These campsites promise to offer the best of both: wild enough to avoid the crowds, organised enough to dodge the sometimes-confusing laws around camping in open space. Walk on the wild side – and camp there, too.

The Little Wild Campsite, Cornwall

Nothing says an authentic wild camping experience like a campsite that’s not even there 90% of the year. This pop-up site sits high on Tregonning Hill (part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and is the ideal spot for taking to the South West Coast path or discovering one of Cornwall’s many secret beaches and coves – but where this site really shines is its atmosphere. Campsite owners Baya and James run a series of bushcraft-themed courses if you feel like getting into the wild spirit, and a large communal fire pit at the site’s centre is the perfect spot to meet like-minded campers.

 

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Cilrath Wood Camping, Pembrokeshire

Comprised of just five pitches, this tiny site is as exclusive as it is brand new, having opened for the first time in 2020. Eco-friendly, off-grid and as minimalist as it gets, parking up and using the provided wheelbarrow to take your belongings through the woodland to your pitch gives the feeling of literally leaving the world behind. Natural springs, a wildlife lake and just south of the Preseli Hills, but with plenty of facilities if you want to use them, this little site strikes the perfect balance between secluded and socialised.

 

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Digs in the Wig, Pembrokeshire

Near to Cilrath Wood Camping, and very similar in values, is another Greener Camping Club campsite – which indicates the highest standards of sustainability have been met. This one is no larger, with just five pitches, but each pitch is nestled in its own individual clearing in the peaceful woodlands of the Preseli Hills, making it feel even wilder. Facilities are minimal, the ecosystems are largely untouched and the nearest (small) village is two miles away, so bring enough food to last you and get used to cooking on the open fire. Long story short, it doesn’t get much more wild than this.

 

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Lee Valley Almost Wild Campsite, Hertfordshire

Wild camping less than 5 miles from the M25. Sounds impossible, we know, but this is the real deal. Left untouched on purpose by Lee Valley Regional Park, this site has 17 pitches and not much else – a composting toilet, clean water and logs for the fire are about all that’s provided. After that, it’s up to you to use your imagination, and while away days at a time by the campfire or venture out into the Regional Park and marvel at the very existence of a purpose-built wild space running through a capital city. Impossible is what Lee Valley is all about.

 

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Swipes Camping, West Sussex

If glamping is your thing, stay away from Swipes. But if roughing it is your thing – and we assume it is, since you’re here – then it may just be exactly what you’re looking for. Just off the South Downs way, this site is back to basics in the best way - by which we mean, facilities amount to two toilets and freshwater taps. This is the place to bring everything you’ll need and embrace wild living with the best footpaths in the entire National Park right on your doorstep – but if you cave and end up at the pub for a classic lunch, nobody’s judging.

 

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