A warm welcome awaits you in the shadow of Hadrian's Wall

Wild Camping In The North East


Wild Camping in the North East

So, what is wild camping?

Wild camping is an overnight stay, not on a campsite – finding a pleasant location off the beaten track that allows you to experience the rugged and natural camping experience. On many occasions you can find a perfect spot, away from the crowds, often with the best views or the closest beach or shoreline. Specifically, wild camping is in a tent but the term has grown in recent years to also refer to camping in a campervan or a motorhome and not on a campsite. It is also known as wild camping with a motorhome, campervan off-grid parking or free motorhome camping. 

Is it legal?

For campervans, wild camping is generally not permitted across the UK & Ireland. However, in many parts it is tolerated and a common-sense approach is taken provided the principles of “leave no trace” are respected. If you do wild camp in your VW T6 camper van please be aware that there is always the risk of being moved on, especially if it is considered that you are causing an obstruction. In some places in Scotland a small donation to the landowner if requested and there are local projects to open up public spaces overnight to campervans or motorhomes. In these cases you should always restrict your stay to one-night only and never over-stay your welcome. 

Opt for a campsite if you can

Nowadays there is such a large number of camp sites in picturesque locations across the UK that we would always recommend you use these first before you consider wild camping in your camper van for hire from Herding Campers. Large or small, 5-star facilities or basic amenities, there is usually something for everyone, particularly given the increasing number of certified sites (generally open seasonally for five pitches or less). Campsites have all the facilities you need, as well as a warm welcome and normally offer great local advice to visitors. Plus, if you stay and play you are contributing to the local rural economy and hospitality sectors. 

Wild camping in Northumberland


The archetypal “road trip” in a VW camper van would normally involve a trip to Scotland and Herding Hill Farm, on the Northumberland/Scotland border, is a fabulous location to collect your camper van for hire in the North East.

Whilst the “freedom to roam” was formalised in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, 2003, this Act permits wild camping on most enclosed land, but it excludes motorised vehicles and therefore does not apply to campervans or motorhomes. Wild camping in motorhomes/campervans has historically been tolerated in some remoter parts of Scotland but unfortunately, the significant growth in popularity of motorhomes – especially on routes such as the NC500 – has created issues in particular hotspots due to the effect on the environment and overall infrastructure. 

Certain Scottish islands don’t allow campervans or motorhomes at all, since they lack the infrastructure to accommodate vehicles of that size. Loch Lomond is subject to Wild Camping byelaws throughout the National Park between March and September in order to protect the loch shores meaning that camping is only permitted in certain areas. When travelling to a specific area you should research what is available before you travel to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on the local community and infrastructure.

We recommend making use of the wonderful campsites located throughout Scotland when taking your Herding Campers VW T6 camper van for hire North of the border. 

England & Wales

Wild camping is only legal in England and Wales if you have been granted permission by the landowner and every bit of land is owned by a private individual. The National Parks Authority forbid wild camping within any National Parks of England and Wales. 

Northern Ireland

Wild camping is only legal in Northern Ireland if you have been granted permission by the landowner and every bit of land is owned by a private individual, but the Northern Ireland Forestry Service issues camping permits at some of its sites. 


Wild camping in Ireland is not permitted but like many other countries, is tolerated in many parts. The rule of thumb is to move on if asked to and follow the Leave No Trace guidelines. 

Wild Camping Guidelines - Leave no trace

Anyone camping in the wild should follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code or the Leave No Trace policy. Your wild camping trip should leave no impact on the landscape and should never disturb the environment or wildlife around you. Please leave the area pristine for everyone to enjoy.

  • Avoid overcrowding by moving on to another location if it’s already a busy spot
  • Blend with your surrounding as much as possible and avoid becoming an eyesore to others
  • Be discrete, try to camp out of sight and away from houses or farms where you might disturb their privacy
  • Do not camp in enclosed fields of crops or farm animals  Park up late and leave early
  • Do not drink alcohol to ensure you can drive away if requested or required to  If asked to move, always be friendly and polite
  • Choose your toilet carefully – away from open water – and never leave any debris; bury what you can with a shovel. Take away all feminine hygiene products
  • Don’t light any fires, even if there are signs that fires have previously been lit in the same area. Lighting fires can not only be dangerous but will also spoil the landscape and leave a trace of your visit
  • Use stoves and BBQs carefully and leave no trace of any open fire on the ground or scorch the grass
  • Ensure that any flames are extinguished thoroughly before you retire for the evening  Never cut down or damage trees or other vegetation
  • Camp alone and be quiet to enjoy the peace
  • Always pick up any litter and leave the area as you found it
  • If in doubt, ask the landowner. Their advice just might help you find a better camping spot 

Wild camping in the north east

Is wild camping safe?

Wild camping, if done correctly and respectfully, is completely safe. Just be sure to take the usual precautions and ensure that your vehicle and your belongings are secured at all times. Always let someone know where you are, what you are doing and when you will return. If you don’t feel safe, or are worried about finding a spot every evening, then perhaps wild camping isn’t for you and you should head to a campsite instead. The UK is blessed with some amazing campsites in some beautiful spots. 

Stay with us here at Herding Hill Farm along the way!