Our first taste of “Wild Camping” – North Norfolk Feb 2012

One of the things we were rather excited about when we picked up our new pride and joy (Bluebell) was the prospect of having a go at “wild camping” – since our leisure battery seemed to hold its charge more we figured we could occasionally last a night or so parked up somewhere other than a campsite.

Unfortunately England isn’t quite as geared up for Wild Camping as Scotland or even the Continent.. in fact technically it’s classed as not legal, but of course, there are all sorts of loopholes and as far as we were/are aware it is tolerated as long as you are not breaching any public order notices/traffic orders or similar, or blocking anyone’s view, on their land etc etc.

For us the appeal was to be able to park up where we like and when we like. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy staying on campsites, but sometimes we leave them thinking “flipping heck, that was a bit noisy for our liking” or “25 quid to stay for a night?!” We found ourselves sometimes paying up to £30 per night and then begrudging spending any more in the local pub for a meal or whatever, cos we aren’t made of money and if we’ve paid £30 to stay a night in an area it cuts into our holiday spends budget so are more likely not to spend as much money in that local area…

So after A LOT of research on the internet we found this website called http://www.wildcamping.co.uk. WHAT A FIND. We quickly joined for £15 and in return downloaded over 4000 gps coordinates of spots where you can park overnight to our trusty sat nav. We decided to give it a go one night at the end of February, and decided to head towards the North of the county. We visited Walsingham Abby to see the glorious snowdrops (my favourite!) and then headed north towards Wells Next to Sea. There was a spot in a little car park near to Wells that we had read about so headed straight there. When we arrived it was a fantastic location, right on the sea and in a harbour carpark. We spent the afternoon walking up to the main beach, chilling out and enjoying the view. It was glorious. But there was something niggling me. We had seen a small sign saying “no camping” and although we were fairly sure we would get away with it, we both decided that we would rather not risk it as we didn’t think we would be able to relax. So, we watched the sun set over the sea and decided to head into Wells Next to Sea. We found a quiet secluded road and parked up, then went for a walk around the town. We had a meal in the local pub and a few drinks around the town. We wandered back to Bluebell about 9pm and settled in for the night. We set the alarm for 7am and after a great nights sleep we just got straight up and left. We went and had bacon butties back at our spot from the day before and were thoroughly chilled out by the time we headed home to work that afternoon!

From our first experience, we took the following things..

1) If you don’t feel comfortable in a spot, don’t stay

2) Have more than one option of a spot to stay for each area you go.

3) We really enjoyed our wander around the Wells pubs, even though I didn’t have a drink “JUST IN CASE” we were moved on

All in all, we had a great time, and couldn’t wait until the next time.

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2 thoughts on “Our first taste of “Wild Camping” – North Norfolk Feb 2012

  1. Hi. Loved your story re wells next to the sea. We’ve been wild camping with a campervan for a few years now and have a list of places to stopover in many places uk. Going up to wells next week and wondered if you would be willing to share the name of the quiet road you stayed in. We would obviously be willing to share information we have on other uk stopover places we know about. Look forward to hearing back from you. Alistair

    1. Hi Alistair
      Sorry -it was so long ago now (9 years ago) we can’t remember exactly where. We only did it once in that location but it just on a residential street. In recent years – especially this year and like a lot of coastal places- North Norfolk has become less tolerant of wild camping so I think you may find it hard. Many of the car parks on that stretch now have height barriers and are warden controlled. For daytime parking there is a large car park (with no height barriers) near Pinewoods campsite and Brancaster beach also has no height barrier. It
      Has become increasingly busy with motorhomes so I think you may struggle. The last few years we have preferred the small site experience so we can fully relax
      Regards

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