Give us back informal camping by removing licensing / H&S obstacles

When I were a lad it was easy to find an informal campsite in the countryside. Just a field, with a basic outside big or a shower (of variable temperature – mostly cool) if you were posh. Happy days! In every country village somebody in the pub would know somewhere you could camp, a farm, a large private garden. As recently as ten years ago round here there were still pubs that would let you camp in their back paddock for a couple of quid, or for free if you had your dinner in the pub. You could use the pub's outside loo and there was a tap to clean your teeth in a beer mug. In my late teens/early 20's such informal camping was easy to find and gave my mates and I some of our most memorable (and economical) experiences of the outdoors.

Now campsites are soul-less, over-regulated places, far too expensive and with unnecessarily lavish 'facilities' and when you ask why, it's always 'the licence' 'the health & safety'. Informal camping has virtually disappeared from the accommodation portfolio in the countryside, it's very sad not to mention disadvantageous for young people and those on moderate incomes.

GET OFF OUR BACKS and give us back our camping. Allow farmers, pubs, landowners to let peole camp informally without having to service a ridiculously onerous licensing regime. 

Why does this idea matter?

We desperately need to re-connect young people with the countryside through informal, unregulated interaction with it and letting them camp informally is a vital component. Currently campers are corralled into over-managed sites with facilties we do not want or need, and young people herded into boring, patronising 'outdoor activity centres' thet allow no freedom or initiative and do not enable them to develop the basic life skills that informal camping gives you, simple cooking, self-reliance, initiative, group dynamics. Farm and estate  incomes are under pressure, landowners need to diversify, informal camping should be one of the cheapest and simplest ways to add a revenue stream. Disposable incomes are under pressure generally and going back to cheaper, less regulated accommodation options would enable people even so to continue to visit the countryside, putting what money they have into the rural economy via meals, pubs, attractions,etc.

Why does camping have to be 'licensed' as if it were a highly dangerous, disruptive and degrading activity? Give us back our countryside and encourage informal camping by lifting such pointless over-regulation from landowners.

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1 Response

  1. Ian Marshall says:

    I totally agree. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find easy and informal camping, particularly if you want to be away from motorhomes, shops, play areas and electric hook ups.

    We have a nation that desperately needs to reconnect with nature, and as mentioned above this is particularly important for young people.

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