Thanks to all of you who have expressed a point of view about our wild camping pilot. It’s amazing to get such a deluge of comment and correspondence, from a wide range of opinions.
We have had more than 3,000 expressions of support from landowners and would-be campers, wanting to try a night in the wild. We believe there is a real demand for a service like ours, and we’d still love to launch a scheme that brings more people into the wild, without disrupting those that are there already.
The £20 fee (per pitch, not per person) was intended to incentivise landowners to participate. Part of what we were trying to establish in the pilot was the correct price, but wherever we ended up, half it would go to the owner of the land, 25% to the National Parks and the rest to run the platform.
Set against that support, and as one of you put it, we seem to have inadvertently kicked over a hornets' nest among the existing wild camping community.
We’re wild campers too and thought the idea of campaigning to remove the current restrictions would be welcome. We also thought that running a booking scheme for entry-level wild campers, one that would provide them with the security and legitimacy that currently causes them concerns about camping wild, would be understood and welcome by the wider group. We now see this is not the case!
With this is mind, we are going to suspend our service and have a re-think about how we might revise it. We won’t describe any future version of our service as “wild camping” because for many of you that specifically means free and unplanned camping. Nor are we likely to stray into a debate around relaxing the laws on wild camping, because we now understand this is a highly charged area.
We’ll continue to respond to all who are in touch and, as we rethink our plans, we will be back in contact to consult about how this service might evolve in the future. It’s also worth reminding readers that this is a private initiative rather than one initiated by DEFRA or any of the National Parks. We approached them, and they were good enough to encourage us in our pilot. DEFRA also provided a small amount of seed funding. All complaints to us please, rather than them.
Thanks for reading and please stay in touch.