Back to Basics | 5 'Nearly' Wild Campsites

By James Warner Smith, from

No signal, no Wi-Fi, no connection to the modern world; there’s something wonderfully primaeval about wild camping. And if you want to get off-grid, while still staying safely within the boundaries of an official UK campsite, there’s a growing band of back-to-basics sites that now offer the ‘wild’ experience on the right side of the law. We’ve picked just a few of our favourite wilderness campsites from our collection on – so forget the facilities and go wild this summer at one of these simple but beautiful locations…

Lee Valley Almost Wild Campsite, Hertfordshire

Who’d have thought such a wild, wooded location could be found this close to London? Within cycling distance of the capital, this rustic, campfire-friendly campsite has composting toilets, a cold water tap but very few other facilities and enchants every camper with its setting on the banks of the River Lee. The most intrepid visitors come by canoe, with boats slipped in and out of the water directly from the campsite, while hammocks can be used if you don’t fancy pitching the tent.
From £12 per person per night.
Learn more and book now

Into the Sticks, Pembrokeshire

Sometimes it takes a lot to beat the beach-bound crowds in West Wales but this tents only campsite hidden between the Preseli Mountains and the Pembrokeshire coast is as off-the-beaten-track as they come. Some 22 acres of wild flowers, woodland and long wetland grass cover this well-named, natural escape. There are rough nature trails and fishing is permitted if you bring your own rod. Campfires are, of course, allowed.
Tent pitch and 2 people from £30 per night. Extra adults £10 per night; children (under 16) £5; under-4's free.
Learn more and book now

Wild Camping Cornwall, Cornwall

Home to just two wild camping pitches, this pocket-sized campsite between the moors and the beaches of the Penwith Heritage Coast is a place where campfires, coastal walks and late night stargazing are all routine. Small though it may seem, every pitch still has its own, independent area – a whopping 50m by 50m, basically a field for each camper – while an adjacent 12-acre woodland, dimpled by small ponds, offers wildlife spotting supreme.
Tent pitch and up to 4 people from £38 per night.
Learn more and book now

Digeddi Wildlife Camping, Powys

Inside a wide, arching meander of the River Wye, this meadow campsite does have toilets and showers but for the best pitches its worth wandering right down to the riverside and getting back to basis. Campfires are permitted on the stony shoreline, where canoes are pulled up as the water slips slowly past, and swimming is a must. Walk north to Hay-on-Wye before hiring a canoe to paddle back or bring your own and drift idly downstream.
Adults from £12.50; children (under 12) from £7.50; under-3s free.
Learn more and book now

Ace Hideaways, Moray

Lighting a campfire among the bracken and trees that scatter this rugged Scottish campsite, you can’t help but feel utterly cut of from the outside world. There are composting loos, showers inside log huts and a rustic kitchen shelter, but wildlife still rules the roost – don’t be surprised to find deer wandering past the tent at dusk. For the most embracing interaction with nature, try gorge-walking or cliff jumping in the River Findhorn at the campsite’s neighbouring activity centre.
Adults from £6; children (under 17) from £3.50; under-2s free.
Learn more and book now

Cool Camping

Based on their leading guidebooks, the Cool Camping website now offers and online collection of the very best camping and glamping sites in the UK and Europe.
Search for campsites here...

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Welcome! Willkommen! Konnichiwa!
(whispering) Now lean in we're going to tell you a secret…
Sam is not actually an outdoorsman! ...yet.

In fact Sam is actually quite new to this whole outside doors business, is that how you say it?
Sam lived in London for 4 years and claims that the closest he got to green space was when he re-painted his flat.
However, after moving to Japan to live and work as an English teacher Sam had the opportunity (and the time) to explore the length and breadth of the southern most isles of sleepy, rural Kyushu. It was here where the obsession with the great outdoors started. Nothing propels you faster along a trail than the knowledge of a long hot soak in one of Japan’s many Natural hot springs. Sometimes buried deep in the mountains!

On his travels Sam visited the hiking island of Yakushima, skied in Blistering snow in Hokkaido and completed a 3 day trek through the Tu Lan cave system in Cambodia, but more on that later.

For now though, Sam is making up for lost time by spending more of it in the great British countryside and exploring the beautiful hikes and trails we have right here on our doorsteps. Sam will be writing for the more lightweight outdoorist, soaking up as much knowledge he can about Modern Bushcraft, Design and Function, Books and much more.

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