Get Back to Nature this Summer
As we head towards midsummer (24 June), Scandi lifestyle expert at Contura shares tips for enjoying wild camping.
We Brits love a camping holiday – the perfect excuse to enjoy a more outdoor existence. However, it can be tempting to fall back on tech to keep ourselves entertained rather than embracing the beauty of the natural world around us.
Here, Catharina Björkman, lifestyle expert at Swedish wood burning stove company, Contura, shares her Scandi-inspired tips in a guide to back-to-nature wild camping in the UK.
Catharina says: “Heading out into the wild, enjoying the beauty and solitude of nature, sleeping under the stars, letting our lungs fill with fresh air… These are the reasons Scandinavians are such fans of wild camping. Whether you’re travelling with friends, family or solo, wild camping offers a unique opportunity to disconnect from our tech-filled day-to-day and reconnect with nature, while enjoying the many physical and mental health benefits that come as part of the experience.
“And although wild camping is prohibited in much of the UK without the landowner’s prior permission, there are ample opportunities to enjoy a similar experience by visiting designated ‘backpack camping’ areas in a number of British National Parks.
“Wild camping is about reconnecting with the natural world, so it’s crucial that you leave the devices at home and embrace the beauty of the wild, ensuring you leave the landscape exactly as you found it when it comes to time to head home.”
Read on for Catharina’s Scandi-inspired guide to wild camping in the UK…
Where to go
Whilst wild camping is not allowed in England or Wales without the landowner’s permission, there are several English National Parks that permit campers. Some have designated areas – often known as ‘backpack camping’ – but you may need to park your car elsewhere and carry your kit to the designated wild camping area. It’s worth researching overnight parking using an app such as Park 4 Night prior to travel to ensure you’re able to park nearby.
If you’re hoping to camp in Wales, take a look at this list of local farms in the Brecon Beacons that allow wild camping. One of three national parks in Wales, the Brecon Beacons National Park includes the Black Mountains and Fforest Fawr – the perfect destination to enjoy some fresh air and wide-open spaces.
Scotland, unlike the rest of the UK, does allow wild camping. This means you can pitch up on open land and in National Parks such as the Cairngorms, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. However, do make sure to research the area you’re heading to prior to travelling as you may need a permit. This useful Outdoor Access Guide to Scotland includes advice on how to camp responsibly.
Aside from a mobile phone, which is important to have for safety and logistical reasons, leave the technology at home. Try to live in the moment, and whilst its always necessary to take a few photographs, keep your phone in your backpack so that you’re not tempted to check social media or emails. Instead, embrace the sights, sounds, smells and textures of the natural world around you. There’s nothing quite like sitting quietly and observing nature – you may even be joined by some local wildlife.
In fact, time away from tech and immersed in nature is a proven antidote for stress – it can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, boost the immune system, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood (1), so make the most of this valuable time away.
Minimise your footprint
If you’re camping in an area known for its wildlife, opt for a subtly coloured tent, pitch up just before dark, and ensure you keep noise to a minimum to be in with the best chance of spotting animals or birds.
Try to leave no trace on the landscape once you depart so that the area remains unspoiled. Whether you’re camping on private land, in a National Park, or in a designated campsite, clear all rubbish from the area, even if it’s not yours, and make sure not to leave anything behind.
Make sure you only take the essentials so that you’re not lugging around items you won’t use. Every wild camper should make sure to pack:
- Sleeping bag
- Waterproof jacket
- Warm jumper/fleece
- Walking boots
- Reusable water bottle (+water)
- Non-perishable snacks such as dried fruit and nuts
- Camping stove + fuel
- Local map
- First-aid kit
Embrace nature even if you’re not keen on camping
Wild camping isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean spending time in nature should be avoided. If you don’t want to camp, consider a fun daytime activity to enjoy instead. Walking, hiking, horse riding, bike riding, canoeing, wild swimming, bird watching, and alpaca walking are just a small number of the many activities available to enjoy in the British countryside.
The important thing is simply to find an outdoor activity you love, where you can reconnect with the natural world around you and enjoy the many physical and health benefits that inevitably follow.
Wild camping at home
If it’s tricky to get away this year, or you want to surprise the kids with a spontaneous adventure, consider trying wild camping at home. Put up a tent in the garden, string up fairy lights and try ‘wild’ activities such as foraging, counting wildlife, birdwatching, building dens in the garden, and cooking and dining al fresco. Kids will love the novelty of camping in the garden, so get into the spirit with camp beds, sleeping bags and bedtime stories.
For more information on Contura, please visit www.contura.eu.
Notes to editors:
- (1) https://e360.yale.edu/features/ecopsychology-how-immersion-in-nature-benefits-your-health
- Rooster PR will coordinate comment, interview and profile opportunities for Contura UK Country Manager, Phil Wood.
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Contura is Europe’s leading manufacturer of wood burning stoves, offering an extensive range of classic and contemporary wood burners; from traditional insert stoves suitable for existing fireplaces, to freestanding statement models made with innovative materials such as soapstone.
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