I am planning a long hike in England which is part of E2 trail.

Apart from all the documentation and legal processes that I need to follow to be in England, are there any specific local procedures that I am supposed to follow during hiking/long distance walking?
How safe is it to trek alone in England?
I plan to carry my food, bedding, a tent and all the necessary things that I need in emergency and a medical kit.

  • 1
    Where will you be staying at night, B&B, camping etc.
    – QuentinUK
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 18:44

4 Answers 4


Safety is fine, so long as you are prepared and can read a map adequately.

The UK has something called the "Countryside code". This is not a legal requirement but a blueprint about how to behave in the wild in the UK. Full information is available from the ramblers association.

Some of the more important points here:

  • Respect the needs of local people and visitors alike – for example, don’t block gateways, driveways or other paths with your vehicle.
  • Co–operate with people at work in the countryside. For example, keep out of the way when farm animals are being gathered or moved and follow directions from the farmer.
  • A farmer will normally close gates to keep farm animals in, but may sometimes leave them open so the animals can reach food and water. Leave gates as you find them or follow instructions on signs. When in a group, make sure the last person knows how to leave the gates.
  • Follow paths unless wider access is available, such as on open country or registered common land (known as "Open Access" land).
  • Use gates, stiles or gaps in field boundaries if you can – climbing over walls, hedges and fences can damage them and increase the risk of farm animals escaping.
  • Litter and leftover food doesn’t just spoil the beauty of the countryside, it can be dangerous to wildlife and farm animals – so take your litter home with you. Dropping litter and dumping rubbish are criminal offences.

A few other points to note.

  • It is illegal to wild camp in much of the UK (Scotland have different rules)
  • Access to most areas is via public footpaths, if you fail to follow this rule expect a very irate farmer shouting at you.
  • Carry adequate clothing. The UK weather is very changeable, especially in the mountains, and exposure can kill. Always carry a water proof jacket.
  • The UK has a national government mapping agency, The Ordnance Survey. If your walking away from roads, I'd advise you to buy adequate maps from them.

The Uk has a large walking culture and you will hopefully meet lots of happy and enthusiastic people on your journey,



It is very safe to walk alone in England. The standard walks will have lots of others walking along them. Wild camping is frowned upon in many places.

Procedures: leaving gates as you find them. Carrying your rubbish to a dustbin. Look in the right direction when crossing a road. On roads, walk facing the traffic. In the countryside you should say "Hello" to everyone you meet, but not in the cities.


Great answer from QuentinUK. I would add that you should be aware that although you do have access rights on footpaths, many of them go through private land. Some land owners maintain routes and signs better than others, but if they have made the effort follow the path as best you can. Sometimes these routes are for getting you across safely (especially in working farms - yes you may find yourself in a field of cows!), some are to help maintain the land owners privacy.

Whilst it is safe to trek alone in England, just be wary if you want to cross areas like the Yorkshire Moors or Dartmoor. Weather in the UK can be cold and wet, and onset of fog can cause you to get lost. If you do want to disappear into these areas for a few days make sure you have proper supplies.

If you haven't seen it already, I'd recommend reading this web page from the Ramblers UK - lots of information about access rights, routes, and suggested equipment.

Have a great time!


In addition to the good advice already offered in other answers:

  • The national parks have websites offering you advice on safety - e.g. for Snowdonia, Dartmoor.

  • Military 'live firing ranges' exist in some more remote parts of the UK such as Dartmoor. This means that the military use them for firing live ammunition (not blanks, actual explosives). Such areas should be shown on your Ordnance Survey map. Double-check safe access dates on their website before you visit. Be cautious of metal objects you find anywhere in the area. (List of military live firing ranges in the UK).

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