Motorhome Wild Camping

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Woody2, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. Woody2

    Woody2 Read Only Funster

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    We are about to buy our first motorhome and can't wait to get away to explore the UK. We intend to travel throughout the year and go where and when we fancy. One concern in doing this is finding places to park up overnight on the side of the road or close to our destination which would probably be near a surf beach having arrived to late to find a campsite. How easy is it in the UK?:Smile:
     
  2. activecampers

    activecampers Read Only Funster

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    Depends on a lot - and depends on your morals.
    WC is seen as "scum way of motorhoming" by many. And in truth, many who do WC bring that reputation on themselves!

    So you will get conflicting advice by far.

    Also, depends what van you have, and wether you can read signs or not.

    PERSONALLY:-
    We have a very small, dark gray, very well equipped and self contained van. We tend to "vanish" when its dark and even when we're in it with lights and music on, you can't tell. (cab looks normal). As such we don't appear to be a typical large white motorhome and get left alone.
    We always obey any legal signage, and try and obey any non legal signs, and always try and park in places where we don't get in anyones way. For instance, parking on the sea front in front of someones house blocking their view is bound to annoy them and cause problems.
    WILD CAMPING is almost certainly illegal, whereas OVERNIGHT PARKING in most cases isn't. So parking overnight and not being a pain to anyone will be okay in most places. Getting a BBQ and chairs/awning out is going to be illegal and get you in trouble.
    We use camp sites to fill up and empty waste (C&CC do a MH stop off) - we don't misuse public facilities.

    We wild camp because we want to be where or near where we are, and not 10mile down a country lane.

    So - depending on your views, it can be easy, and it can be difficult. Just do your research. There is another site simlar to this dedicted to wild camping, and they have a database of suitable spots we find usefu. However, many are okay with a layby next to the main roads, whereas we would never even consider it....

    We know some lovely spots, better than any camp site, and convenient. We have never had any trouble, and when we leave the next day (never outstay your welcome) - no one would know we were there....

    Shame so many Itinerants (and some MHers) spoil it.

    Hope this ramble helps :)
     
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  3. normanandsue

    normanandsue Funster

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    Woody, welcome to the world of motorhoming and the adventure that is wild camping.
    Wild camping is a skill you gain the more you do it. The first lesson you learn is do not stay in laybys at the side of the road everytime a lorry goes by your van will rock and you will get no sleep plus you are too vulnerable to a side swipe from a tired driver.
    Laybys that are a pull off, perhaps a piece of original road that has been made into a layby are suitable, but look for signs of night time actvity.... overflowing bins full of domestic rubbish means you could be visited by late night fly tippers, drinks cans strewn about the place might mean the place is used by the local youth as a night meet, broken glass and skid marks all hint of night time activity. However you will soon pick up a gut feeling about a place and if your gut says NO move on.

    Parking among lorries is fine but don't expect a long lie they warm their engines up from 5.00pm and you may not want to be off that early. Also remember they will not thank you for parking in the space left between them that makes for a tight exit.

    Have not done a lot of wilding in England but reading threads on mhf it seems not as easy as it once was.
    However Scotland is great especially if you are a surfer, the north of Scotland or the east coasts have surf people travel the world to use. In fact Thurso hosts some sort of international surfing championship, this year Fraserburgh hosted a surfing competition and you can park right on the esplanade.

    Safety is another issue - you need to be safe! Lock all doors loop seat belts through your door handles and fix. Have an alarm over your habitation door so should anyone gain entry you will be alerted.
    Always park facing the exit, should anything spook you - leave and don't go out to investigate. Must confess I have never had to do this but my motto for wilding is "Hope for the best and plan for the worst!"
    Neither seems to happen but it makes me feel safe.

    Also when you have turned out all your lights know where you can lay your hands on your keys in the dark and your driving glasses if you need them.
    This is in case of fire or a quick departure.

    Others will give you more advice, probably better than this, but this is a good start.

    Have fun

    Norman
     
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  4. Rayb182

    Rayb182 Funster Life Member

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    Also look on the road for tyre marks, that the boy racers, if you have to level up use a couple of peices timber so that if you have to shift quick your not leaving your yellow chocks behind and if you can reverse onto chocks for same reason, before bed make sure everything is stowed away as if your leaving in case you have to.
    Its not all doom and gloom, we have found some blinding sleepyspots, try to keep them to yourself as the more people that know the chances they're dissappear, ps. you can tell me........have fun and enjoy.
     
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  5. activecampers

    activecampers Read Only Funster

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    Good point about tyre mark hunting, as quiet spots can either used by boy racers or doggers.

    So, err, have lots of fun :thumb::Eeek:


    (PS - there was a fun thread on the other site about dogging in the same location - :Rofl1: - sadly we've never been invited :cry: )
     
  6. ShiftZZ

    ShiftZZ Funster Life Member

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    I have never felt comfortable 'wild camping' in the UK. We have done it near Whitby, York, Centre of Cardiff, Norfolk and Suffolk. Our fav is the car park of the Anchor in Tintern.

    I dont mind wild camping in France, but here I am never at ease, I cant explain it...

    The tips given are good, follow them and you should be fine..
     
  7. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Wild Camping In your Motorhome

    I enjoy wild camping, IMO it's what motorhomes are for. In The Motorhome Security Handbook I said this on Wild Camping..

    Wild Camping and Your Safety
    I am lucky enough to live on top of an isolated hill in West Wales. The whole family enjoys the peace and tranquillity that a remote location brings. You can probably understand that for us at least, some campsites are literally hell on earth. Parking up just yards from others, listening to a neighbour’s television all night, and in the morning smelling their burned sausages, is just not fun. I prefer to swop the sounds of other people’s kids enjoying themselves to the sounds of nature. Driving your motorhome right into the “wilderness” is real wild camping.

    Camping in the wilderness in places such as woods, mountains, desert or beaches requires the application of a little common sense but is as safe a place to camp as anywhere else, maybe even safer.

    Wild camping is not to be confused with wild ‘parking’ which is a term I use for campers that park up in populated areas, such as motorway service stations and city streets. Parking up in busy populated areas is not to be recommended. The motorhome can present itself as an attractive opportunity to thieves therefore parking up overnight in a very public place can really be asking for trouble.

    The vast majority of wild-camping in Europe is not done in a true wilderness, nor in busy built up areas, it is somewhere in-between. Travel around the coast of Britain, France or Spain and you will spot plenty of wild-campers, tucked away down little lanes that lead to beaches or taking advantage of a forest road.

    In most countries in Europe it is not against the law for you to sleep in a public place in your motorhome. However in the UK and most other countries some local laws will prohibit camping. Signs will be placed informing you, so look out for them. There are plenty of irresponsible people among the motorhoming community and they break simple rules, like staying for far too long and producing noise and mess. This is why more and more of these "camping prohibited" signs are appearing.

    The key to successful wild camping is to keep as low a profile as possible. If the Police swing by and see your "camp" is complete with deck chairs, washing line, awning and a large black sack off rubbish then they are probably going to bang on your door and ask you to move on.

    Security When Wild
    
Security is a concern of many who wild camp and it should certainly be high on your priorities when looking for somewhere to spend the night. You may have heard stories about others that have been robbed when wild camping but please put this into perspective. When it comes to robberies, statistically, you much more likely to be a victim in your own home rather than in your motorhome. Camping in a remote country lane for a few days is no more dangerous that building a country cottage there. In fact its ‘safer, you won’t be around long enough for thieves to suss out your movements patterns etc.

    My top ten tips for safe wild camping

    1. Look carefully at the area, does it feel right? Is the place littered with rubbish, used condoms, skid marks, this might indicate that idiots use the place at night.
    2. Think carefully before camping anywhere that there is no mobile telephone signal. Emergencies do happen
    3. Don’t be a Nosey Parker!! Always park in such a way that you can drive away, nose out, without having to do a 7 point turn!
    4. Don't put screens (sliver screens insulation) on the outside of windows; these will impede your ability to drive away. Driving away is the very best defence for many security situations.
    5. Try to be as inconspicuous as possible, I know this can be difficult in a 25 foot long bright white motorhome however you can lower your profile; do not put awnings and deckchairs out and light that barbeque unless you are certain your actions are not going to attract attention from undesirables.
    6. Make sure when you turn in that everything is stowed, doors are locked and you are not too drunk so as you won't wake and be able to drive away if an incident occurs.
    7. Secure your entry doors. Too often people awake to find someone in their motorhome because they have forgotten to lock doors or windows. Use deadlocks that cannot be opened too easily. Some people place chains between cab doors. These can be effective, but can trap you inside in the event of a fire, if you are going to use a chain, practice undoing it so that it is so easy you can do it quickly in the dark. You might have to!
    8. Be prepared to move on. I heard about a couple on a remote French aire that didn’t like the look of a bunch of youngsters that arrived at the aire and proceeded to light a fire and drink spirits. In the early hours of the morning when the youths had run out of things to burn they amused themselves by throwing stones at the two motorhomes. They were asked to stop and things got worse, The story ended with both motorhomes leaving the aire under a barrage of stones. Don’t let this happen to you. Go with your gut feeling, if you feel at all unhappy; move on, there are literally millions of places that you can find to park. The best way to avoid risks is to walk away from them. Don’t hesitate.
    9. Do not ignore other risks, such as medical emergencies. Parking up 3 days away from civilisation can pose problems. Have a plan already worked out.
    10. Use an alarm, if you have an alarm fitted then make sure you can set it to guard the exterior whilst you are inside. So if anyone touches your lockers or bikes etc the resulting alarm should wake you and frighten off the thief. Dogs work the same way and I know of some people who do not have a dog, but place a large dog bowl just outside to give the impression that a monster of a dog is asleep inside.

    Wild camping is fantastic. It can mean that yours are the only footsteps on a beach. Imagine how nice that cup of tea tastes when you are the only person seeing the early morning mist on a lake and the only sound is birdsong. With the application of the common sense tips above wild camping is no more dangerous than living in the country. It’s what motorhomes are for. Please do give it a go, there is nothing quite like it.
     
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  8. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    All you now need to do is find that idyllic spot

    All you need to do now is find that idyllic spot.... still looking myself. plenty of laybys with the trucks... the odd off road layby, but never sleep well. As said France is better.. bigger place so more places to do it in if need be.. but then the aires are on the whole not very good.. yes some are I know... camp sites? well, you might as well join the army .. keep in line etc.,

    Shows OK.. good if you are in with the MHF members, but otherwise the marshalls can be a pain ... same in some other clubs.... watched all day once at Newbury the Hymer club inching them in to line ..1" to far forward and it had to be moved backwards. Present them with an RV with a car trailer and watch them fly in to a panic.. all taken in the stride by our own excellent marshalls...

    But as for wild camping.. in this part of the world.. i.e Kent very hard to find...

    Bob.. p.s .. good luck with it and I hope you find utopia .. but then we all have to have a dream.. mine was owning an RV 24 years ago... got the RV.. well had a few, but still hunting utopia.. no welsh mountains or hills in Kent:Blush:
     
  9. normanandsue

    normanandsue Funster

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    Thanks I always thought Yorkshire was outside the UK now you have confirmed it, but I never knew Cardiff city centre, Norfolk and Suffolk were outside too.
    Well you learn something new everyday.:Rofl1::Rofl1:

    Norman
     
  10. ShiftZZ

    ShiftZZ Funster Life Member

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    Thats it, I am going to swicth off the light and pretend I am in the Dark Side..
     
  11. rob kinnear

    rob kinnear Read Only Funster

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    As others have said UK is not the best place to wild camp but living in Brecon you will find car park signs will allow you to sleep overnight as I have a few times (car park by river very peaceful )
    France we stop where ever is suitable with no worries just take common sense security precautions

    Rob
     
  12. wivvy's dad

    wivvy's dad Read Only Funster

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    Wilding in Kentshire.....???


    Easy-peasy, just gotta go lookin'.............:thumb:
     
  13. yorkieman

    yorkieman Funster

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    I think it would help if some parts of Yorkshire were outside the UK :Wink:

    As for wild camping round here (i.e. Yorkshire), it is possible if you know where to look, and as long as you haven't well and truly set up camp (i.e deck chairs and BBQ out) then you will often be left alone until morning.

    That said, there are heaps of inexpensive camp sites around Yorkshire (£10 and less per night, including EHU) that wild camping is hardly necessary.
     
  14. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    The ONLY time I found it necessary was on a long journey and only wanted to get my head down for a few hours.. it would be a last resort.. not a first choice ..

    Why carry chairs, BBQ etc and not use them.. ? Nothing beats a quiet CL , (nothing like an army camp Bob ) you can relax, unwind, have a barbie.. take the dog a walk .. then after a nice evening get into bed and relax with no fear of the local toerags waking you up .. ( and yes it has happened to us.. )
    In the morning, have a late rise, pack at your leisure and be on your way without being hassled ..

    There are literally hundreds of great CLs set in beautiful countryside at less than a tenner.. so what is the attraction ? .. I can see none ...
     
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  15. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Isn't the fly in the ointment that CLs are all linked to some club or other so you might be spending quite a bit in membership fees to do this successfully ?

    My only experience of CL was in Scotland. A pub with a great menu, somewhere around Tomintoul, I joined CC, went and saw the notice "No food on Monday night".

    Guess what day it was.
     
  16. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Well yes that's true... it costs £40 per year for CC .. but soon re cooped with the savings made on using commercial sites..

    I've used hundreds of CLs and never grudged paying the subs.. always felt it was GVFM
     
  17. scek

    scek Read Only Funster

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    We wild camp about 25% of the time in England and about 90% of the time in Scotland.
    This might post get removed as I'm about to tell you about another web site (its the 2nd best one after this one). We use google earth for the POI's and view them before we set off, giving a good idea of where we are parking. You will get a feeling when you get there as to whether its safe or not. I always take a short stroll around to see what's been happening, even if its dark.
    Look for beer cans and tyre marks - signs of boy racers. Make sure you are parked towards a good exit. Know where your keys are and leave the drivers seat clear ready for a quick exit - just in case.
    We've never had to move off - but if we had too we'd be quick off the mark.

    By the way, try pubs. We have stopped on loads of pub car parks. Just pop in and ask if you have a couple of beers and a snack can you stay overnight. We've never been turned down.
     
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  18. 1_man_and_his_dob(lo)

    1_man_and_his_dob(lo) Funster

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    Driven past there several times...seems to be very popular with MHers.

    Powys council generally allow you to stay overnight in their main car parks. I've used Hay-on-Wye and Knighton without any problems.

    If you know you're not going to be able to arrive at a site until it's too late (either after 11pm at places like C&CC club sites, or late enough that you might be unpopular) then it's an option. I've left music concerts late at night and rather than worry about getting back to a site in time, I've aimed for one of the places I mentioned above.

    You could also look at schemes like Brit Stops, where pubs, farmshops, etc. allow you to stay overnight for free.
     
  19. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    yes, as I said, ... it's an option.. but not my idea of relaxed camping unless you are in the wilds and miles from any civilisation .. and boy racers
     
  20. motorhomelover

    motorhomelover

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    we have stopped allover use trading estates, shopping car parks ( pubs with a good size car park morrisons , ASDA, tesco, Aldi, Lidel )

    on housing estates find a quiet cul ed sack or a wide road on a quiet estate
    (people living there think your visiting some one who lives there but are to polite to ask you are legal with road tax and insurance do not stay late move off early only use one place for one night never two nights
    get water form most MacDonalds they have out side taps plus free wifi

    good luck and enjoy :thumb:
     
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