Wild camping is one of the activities that in an age of increasing health and safety and the privatisation of what was once common land, has been on the decline. But it can be one of the most rewarding ways to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life for a night or two and lose yourself in the landscape. Devon in particular has a couple of wild camping hotspots we would highly recommend, where you can really become one with your wild side this summer. Here we will show you the best places to camp in Devon.
For wild camping, Dartmoor is the Mecca of places to wild camp in the UK. Being the largest and ‘wildest’ area of land in England, Dartmoor has limitless choices when it comes to places to pitch, and also levels of rugged natural beauty that is almost brutalist in nature.
Bellever in particular, is a lovely spot located on the bubbling River Dart and just next to a Forestry Commission car park with toilets. The site acts as a great base, where you can start off an infinite number of walking routes, trek with wild ponies, watch upland birds and observe the river’s fascinating ecology.
When planning your trip, make sure you check-out the Dartmoor Wild Camping map. All wild campers must adhere to the Dartmoor Backpack Camping Code.
If you enjoy Dartmoor, Ugborough Moor can give you views out onto the spectacular area of Ivybridge and beyond, and it’s just a hike away from the Two Moors Way.
Here you will be able to watch peregrines and buzzards, as well as a bird lover’s favourite dunlin, golden plover and red grouse. If birds don’t interest you, on the river or in the crevices between rocks you might be able to see adders and grass snakes, who thrive in the Wetlands.
The moors will be covered in heather in full flower, which makes it look like one big purple carpet.
If you want to wild camp in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, why not pitch your tent in the secluded woodlands of Otter Vale. In these woodlands you will be welcomed by badgers, foxes, deer and rabbits; rather than lots of fellow campers.
Woolacombe Bay Holiday Resort
This one breaks the rules… but if you fancy a less wild camping experience in Devon, there is the all inclusive option of camping at Woolacombe bay holiday park. The famous holiday resort provides you with stunning views out onto the sea and Woolacombe’s famous golden sands just a walk away from the resort, it is one of North Devon’s gems. It’s more than just a place to stay, it can provide you with an adventure. There are water flumes, trails and climbing walls to enjoy. Or if you enjoy a slightly slower pace of life, there are incredible spa facilities you can make use of.
Sweet Meadows and Wild Woods Country Holidays
A halfway house between the comfort of Woolacombe Bay and the wilderness of the other campsites we have mentioned, Sweet Meadows is perfect for those who want to wild camp near Dartmoor whilst wanting to be able to be in a large tent with good facilities.
Located in a wildlife haven, the Teign Valley; Sweet Meadows was recently voted by BBC Countryfile as one of the top five ‘best tiny campsites in Britain’.
Home to stunning herons, kingfishers, dippers and mallards; this is a great location for river birds. But there are also otters out there, which are now returning to Devon’s riverbanks.