The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday 27 January 2008

Wild Camping: Time For A Change

I'm sure that many of us give passing thoughts to things that we think should be changed in the world, but so often we fail to do anything to try to effect that change.

Fortunately, in the case of the change that many of us wild-campers would like to see to access laws (a subject about which I will blog separately; I'm doing this rather out of sequence), Weird Darren has taken the bull by the horns and has organised a petition on the 10 Downing Street website calling for a change in the law.

Another of the Outdoor Bloggers, Blogpacker, wisely suggested that to highlight this issue further those who have an interest in this subject should write to their MPs.

So, I have drafted a letter to send to my MP. As far as I recall, this is the first time that I've ever written to an MP.

Here's the draft that I intend to use. If anyone spots any wild inaccuracy or has any comments on it, please let me know.

Dear Sir,

I would like to bring to your attention an e-petition that is requesting a legislative change to make wild-camping in England and Wales legal. The e-petition can be found on the 10 Downing Street website at

As the law currently stands, the position regarding wild-camping is inconsistent between England and Wales when compared to Scotland. By virtue of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, which granted wide-ranging access rights in Scotland, it was made legal to wild-camp (within certain remits) north of the border.

Although the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 greatly improved access rights in England and Wales when compared to the previous position at law, it specifically excluded the activity of camping from the access granted.

As is evidenced by the number of people who have signed this petition within the first few days and without any media coverage of which I am aware, the need to bring the position in England and Wales into line with the position in Scotland is well supported.

I would make clear to you that the right being requested by this petition is not to allow people to pull up at road-sides in their cars and camp willy-nilly on farm land.

The right being requested, as is already encapsulated in the law that applies in Scotland, is for people who are accessing the hills and countryside on foot to have a right at law to be able to pitch their tent or lie out their bivvy bag for the night, strictly following the ‘leave no trace’ principles.

If enacted in the same manner as applies in Scotland, anyone abusing this right by causing damage, litter or nuisance would be acting outside of the right permitted at law and thus the position of the land owners would be protected.

Would you please support this initiative to effect this change in the law?

Yours faithfully

If anyone else also feels moved to write to their MP on this issue, please feel free to copy all or any part of this letter.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely out Gayle

    I think we should all send that letter off ASAP