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Two National Parks in Wales named wild camping hot spots

26 Apr 2024 6 minute read
Pen y Fan sunset looking towards Corn Du. Copyright: Rudy Matthews

Two locations in Wales have appeared on a list of the top 10 most desired UK areas for wild camping.

With summer fast approaching, analysis has revealed the best road-trip destinations in the UK for an “off-grid” camping experience.

Going on ‘off-road’ adventures with friends and family is becoming the next big trend according to Pinterest, with searches for ‘off-road camping’ going up by 90% and ‘adventure car’ up by 80%. 

Whilst off-roading goes hand-in-hand with the desert and mountain landscapes of North America, we’ve seen this trend becoming more and more popular here in Wales too.

Recommendations

Auto Trader has revealed some of the top places to go off-grid this summer for motorists who want to discover the open road and embark on an unforgettable journey through the UK’s most picturesque landscapes.

Llyn Padarn, Gwynedd. Image: Hefin Owen

The motoring experts are reminding this year’s road-trippers, however, that most places in the UK (except for some places within Dartmoor and Scotland), require wild-campers to seek permissions from the homeowners before staying overnight.

With a fine or penalty for camping without permission being the last thing anyone wants during their getaway, the experts at Auto Trader have compiled a list of the country’s best legal campsites for a road trip that will provide that fantastic ‘off-grid’ experience.

The recommendations are all based in the locations where people most want to go wild camping in the UK and provide the perfect travel inspiration for adventurous road trippers who want to get their “wild” camping fix while keeping to the law.

Top 10 most desired UK areas for wild camping

1. Dartmoor – 52,800 searches per year for wild camping

2. The Lake District – 43,200 searches per year for wild camping

3. The Peak District – 19,200 searches per year for wild camping

4. Bannau Brycheiniog – 15,600 searches per year for wild camping

5. Eryri National Park (Snowdonia) – 12,000 searches per year

6. The Isle of Skye – 10,560 searches per year

7. Northumberland – 10,560 searches per year

8. The New Forest – 7,080 searches per year

9. Kent – 5,760 searches per year

10. Norfolk – 5,760 searches per year

Welsh entries

Coming in at number 4 is y Bannau Brycheiniog.

The writers say: “Home to the highest peak in the south of the UK, the Bannau are also home to jaw-dropping landscapes that will impress any open-road traveller.

“The Black Mountain Pass is a delightfully scenic road, commonly referred to as the best road in Wales.”

Pen y Fan sunrise. Copyright: Rudy Matthews

“For a more luxe ‘wild’ camping experience in this part of the country head to Wye Glamping.”

At number 5 is Eryri National Park, with the experts saying: “Eryri National Park is home to some of the UK’s most imposing mountains and dramatic scenery.

Sunrise on Yr Wyddfa (Credit: Amanda Kemp)

“For those who may want to go on an off-grid adventure but aren’t keen on hiking all the way up Yr Wyddfa, you can drive ‘a circle of Yr Wyddfa’ route, that will take you all the way around it, spotting the summit at various points on your journey.

“Camp overnight at eco campsite Ysgubor Wen Eco Camping for impressive, panoramic views of the national park.”

Trends 

Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader, commented: “Road trips and camping is a brilliant way to experience our beautiful British countryside, so we were excited to see Pinterest Trends predicting that the open road aesthetic will be big on social media this summer.

“We’ve seen lots of renewed interest in drivers looking to lease vehicles that suit the ‘off-road’ look, with lots more searches this year for Land Rover Defenders, as well as the new British Ineos Grenadier.

Photo by Patrick Gillespie on Unsplash

“Just make sure to ensure you’ve got permission to camp overnight before doing so, as the vast majority of Britain is private land. Avoid hefty fines and be sure to research ahead of time so you know where you can and can’t camp on your road trip through any of the UK’s areas of natural beauty.”

Things For Drivers To Remember When Going “Off-Grid”

  1. Research parking at your campsite – Be sure to check where you can park at your camping location. Some campsites will allow you to drive into the field and camp next to your vehicle, whereas others will have off-site parking, allowing for a more authentic camping experience. Always look for firm ground to park on, as soft or muddy terrain could lead to your car becoming stuck and avoid low-lying areas that could flood if it rains heavily. 
  1. Torches & extra batteries – LED flashlights or headlamps are durable and efficient options for lighting when it gets dark. 
  1. Portable power bank or solar charger – To keep electronic devices charged in camping areas where you may not have access to any electricity.  
  1. Jump starter or jumper cables – If you drain the battery of your car while off-grid, for example, if you accidentally leave lights on, or there’s sudden cold weather, it’s useful to have jumper cables or a jump starter to hand, to get your car running so you can travel to a garage. If you’re camping in an area where there’s another vehicle nearby, they can help you jump-start your car using theirs, but if you’re more remote you’ll need a jump starter or a battery charger. 
  1. Tow strap – A tow strap can be a useful item for pulling your vehicle or helping another.
  1. Spare car keys  – Spare car keys are essential if you’re planning on travelling somewhere off-grid, where you may not have the reception to contact a recovery service. Keep them somewhere accessible and safe.
  1. Rubbish bags – When camping off-grid, you’ll likely have access to very basic resources. Keep our countryside (and your cars!) clean by bringing rubbish bags with you to collect it all.

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Charles
Charles
25 days ago

No mention of toilet facilities. A shovel at least ti bury the stools. No mention of respect for locals or landowners in terms of disturbance etc.
The US has seriously wild areas with associated wildlife. These wild campers need to be restricted to sites with facilities as our National Parks are working areas.

Gwilym P
Gwilym P
25 days ago

No mention either of the legal requirement that you cannot set up camp until sunset and have to vacate the area at dawn! And also as stated above you are responsible for removing all your rubbish and excrement from the site.

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
23 days ago

Am a fan of the New Forest.

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