I've always loved going camping, from the age of about 6. I've also always loved watching Bear Grylls' various TV shows from a similar age. Already you can probably see where this is going!

I finished college/sixth form last year (UK College, not US), and now in the summer would like to go camping 'Bear Grylls Style'. What I mean is, I'd like to go camping, but taking only the absolute minimum equipment, like he does (Water bottle, pocket knife etc).

In terms of what to take, we have no issues with, we've all watched enough survival shows to know what is needed.

What we're after is knowing where to go.

The only real requirements would be

  • In England (Preferably East, but not too important)

  • Somewhere that isn't 'extreme', such as mountains, or the M25!

We live in East Anglia, England, so there is plenty of countryside around, but ideally we need somewhere with a source of food, plenty of materials to make shelter etc.

Has anybody in the UK done this before and is able to recommend places to do this? We're only looking to go for 3/4 days.

  • You need to consider access rights as well. Technically in that part of the UK should only be camping in designated camping spots. That said wild camping is mostly tollerated if your caerful. I'm on my way out but I'll try and get some ideas to you tomorrow unless someone beats me to it
    – user2766
    Jan 4, 2017 at 17:59
  • @Liam Yeah, that's true, I'd not even thought of that...
    – David
    Jan 5, 2017 at 9:10
  • 4
    For true Bear Grylls style camping, you don't even need a knife -- just a credit card ;-)
    – Pont
    Jan 5, 2017 at 10:08

1 Answer 1


First thing to point out is that wild camping is not legal in the England and Wales (It is in Scotland and Dartmoor). Now that said if you follow some basic rules it is possible. I cover these in a different answer here:

  1. Don't camp in enclosed fields, these will be owned by someone (farmer) and they will likely not take kindly to someone rocking up and camping.
  2. Leave no trace, don't spoil it for everyone else, if hoards of people start appearing in the mountain areas leaving rubbish everywhere, it's going to get clamped down on and you'll ruin it for everyone, take everything out with you!
  3. Be discreet, don't camp in the middle of a busy footpath at 1pm (though I have seen this done and no one really complained). Find a quiet remote area, pitch late and leave early (you'll enjoy it more anyway)
  4. Keep away from roads. You don't want your camp site to be visible from the road. This will likely result in a knock on your tent from the police or the local landowner who will move you on. Ideally you want to walk about 1/2 an hour away from the nearest road to be safe.

So back to your question, there are quite a few "wild" areas in the south east. One that particuarly springs to mind is the chilton hills. That said, nowhere is particuarly remote (I don't know the area well so I may be corrected here) your always going to be near a road or something. It's simply too populated.

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The best nearest place I can think of would be the New Forest, somewhere like here (note the difference in the maps here!):

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Should have the right mix of remoteness but not too extreme, no mountains, plenty of shelter, etc. This should allow you a good couple of days getting away from society!

I'd reccomend spending a bit of time scanning about on bing maps. Unlike Google maps they offer a "Ordanance Survey" option that allows you to check full res topographic maps to identify paths, features, etc. Means you can have a good reccy of an area and identify some good locations before making a decision.

enter image description here

  • 1
    I live in the Chilterns and most of that green on the map for it will come with fences and Private Property signs.
    – Aravona
    Jan 5, 2017 at 10:15
  • Yeah I didn't think it would be ideal. I struggled to find anywhere SE
    – user2766
    Jan 5, 2017 at 10:16
  • 1
    There isn't really, that's why we always go to Wales or further afield!
    – Aravona
    Jan 5, 2017 at 10:17
  • 3
    Now what you really want to go full "Bear" Grylls is where I've just come back from, Cairngorms. Hundreds of square miles without a road in sight...bliss! :)
    – user2766
    Jan 5, 2017 at 10:35
  • 2
    The other England option is Dartmoor, where it is legal, but has MOD practices so you have to get the right time of year.
    – Aravona
    Jan 5, 2017 at 10:58

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