Touring in the UK


New Member
In April I'm biking from Hull to Runswick Bay up the east coast, part of the trip is along the Cleveland Way. Between Bridlington and Whitby I'm struggling to find cheap campsites so I was thinking about wild/rough camping. I was wondering if anyone else has done this or has any advice on it?


You need to be careful with wild camping, I'll let others advise on that one. Have you considered the YHA at Boggle Hole in Robin Hoods Bay? It's not far off the old railway cycleway to Whitby and a bed for the night is pretty cheap.


In England and Wales, you technically have to have the landowners permission to wild camp (other than on Dartmoor where you can wild camp in selected common areas). In Scotland, you can freely wild camp. I found some helpful information on the BMC website:

I also found these guidlines on the National Parks website:

For wild camping:

  1. In England and Wales (other than Dartmoor Common areas) ask the landowner for permission first
  2. Care for the countryside by leaving no trace of your visit behind you
  3. If you pitch late and leave early, you'll cause less disturbance to wildlife and other people
  4. If there are no toilets, use a trowel to bury human waste at least 30 meters away from running water or lakes
    where to 'go' in the wild gives a useful guide
  5. Move your tent after 2 nights to avoid damaging the vegetation underneath it
  6. Keep to small groups of just one or two tents to keep noise and disturbance levels down
  7. Try not to camp immediately beside a lake or river to avoid disturbing birds and animals
Archeress x


Nr Cambridge
Pitch late and leave early is the best advice. If you want a good night's sleep then don't what ever you do take a bed at a YHA. Camp outside if they will let you.


Legendary Member
I have never worried about wild camping in any country. Just use common sense and be fastidious about cleaning the site .
My approach to wild camping in England is 'what the eye don't see, the heart don't grieve over' - if no-one knows you're there, and no-one will ever know you were there, how can anyone mind? Pitch late and leave early, or pitch in a truly out-of-the-way corner and leave no trace of your presence, and you'll be fine. In the worst instance where someone does find you, and objects, you can pack up and leave, offer to pay the going rate, and no harm is done.

Having said all that, finding a spot that's both good to camp on and discreet can be difficult or can take up a lot of time. And wild camping spots rarely come with showers or a tap or an electricity supply. So occasional campsites are useful. Try joining the Camping and Caravanning Club - they have a network of 'certified locations' - often gardens and farm fields - where five members at a time can camp. Sometimes all you get is a patch of grass and access to a tap; sometimes it's the back garden of a pub, sometimes it's part of a larger, commercial campsite. But being a member may get you access to certified locations in areas where there are few or no commercial sites. (The CCC don't shout much about those certified locations. They make their money from their much posher club sites).

It's worth being brass-necked about it too. If you see a spot where you'd like to camp, or if you're getting desperate, ask! Call at pubs and shops, knock on doors and ask if you can camp in a garden or borrow a corner of a field. Often you'll not only get what you wanted, you'll be invited for dinner/breakfast/a pint/all three. The worst that can happen is a blank look or a '**** off mate'.

Have to agree about hostels - they always seem to have those special dampers on the doors which, rather than closing them gently (as I thought dampers were meant to) actually make them bang closed more violently than ever.

Consider joining WarmShowers, although I seem to recall there aren't that many hosts up the east coast (I know there's at least one, though, and that might fill a gap for you).

Finally, I know it's close to the Whitby end of your blank stretch, but there's Beacon Farm just south of Whitby (important info: it's on the top of a hill - the clue is in the name...)
Discreet camping is a better name to use for wild camping in England, I camp discreetly often when I am backpacking or cycle packing, As already said by others the rule is to camp late and leave early. which in the summer can be very early.
My method, is about 1/2hour before I want to stop for the night I keep my eyes open for a suitable spot, when you are cycling you are limited to finding somewhere near to your route, I tend to look for areas that have lots of bushes with little clearings I can use, often if you spot a bridlepath/track if the track look like it is not used often, have a look a little way along it often you can find a suitable area a small tent does not take up much footprint.
Depending how long it is to Dark, I normally cook my evening meal etc, before putting up the tent, likewise if it not raining I tend to pack up everything other than my breakfast , and cook that sometimes not in the area I have camped in, often when I have camped on the north downs, I have done that as it get so many peeps out and about so early, and smell food being cooked does tend to attract people.
Sometimes if a Pub is handy i spend the evening there before returning to my chosen spot.
Between Bridlington and Whitby I'm struggling to find cheap campsites so I was thinking about wild/rough camping.

We stayed at Grouse Hill Caravan Park which is just off the A171 between Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay back in September when we were on tour. Facility's are excellent and it is far enough away from the main road that you don't know the toward is there. They are independent, take tents, have a dedicated area for tents and the toilet block will work on any flat key, not just the one you need to pay a deposit for.

My write up from the journal along with my strava link for that day which shows you where the campsite is can be found here on cc.

It was £15 for 2 of us. You are counted as a back packer.

Also if you use the caravans and camping association, you are a back packet and at listed sites you do not have to be a member of the club. We used those sites extensively on tour and never had issues.

They are also plenty of campsites at Robin Hood's Bay including some cheaper ones up to closer to the road. Of I remember I will try to refind the cheapest one for you. Again an independent one if you want to cycle that far that day.


Über Member
Personally at the end of a long day I like to just put up my tent and know that I can relax and not worry about anyone hassling me - oh and take a shower as well.

I spent some time touring in the UK this year and I was amazed at how many campsites there are. Google maps is a useful tool - just search for 'campsite' and the name of place you're interested in and then go to the map view (see the screenshot I've uploaded - each of the red dots is a potential campsite). You may need to look a bit inland to find the nicer cheaper places and avoid the mobile home parks (but that said, don't necessarily ignore somewhere simply because it calls itself a caravan park - it may also have some perfectly decent places to pitch your tent - see the previous post for an example).

As you're planning to follow the Cleveland Way there are also resources you can use eg:

has an interactive map that shows campsites. Some random clicking showed campsites starting at £5/night with 3 out of 4 less than a tenner.

There's also a pdf Accommodation Guide with loads of campsites and hostels. The first page has a site at £4.50 per person and another pub site that's free (although presumably they expect you to eat there or at least have a wee drink).

This place, 5 miles from Whitby and picked pretty much at random, looks OK - though maybe you're looking for somewhere nearer the mid-point:


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Whitby can be pretty wild and rough, especially on a Friday or Saturday night, I know, I grew up there.
Scarborough has a lot of caravan sites - might be worth investigating.


New Member
Thanks for all the info, its a big help I've found a cheap one in Sewerby so hopefully we can stop there. Thank you Andym for the nationaltrail link it looks like a pretty helpful site.
We're camping at hookshousefarm, I've heard you can just turn up without booking in advance does anyone know if this is true?
Thanks for all the info, its a big help I've found a cheap one in Sewerby so hopefully we can stop there. Thank you Andym for the nationaltrail link it looks like a pretty helpful site.
We're camping at hookshousefarm, I've heard you can just turn up without booking in advance does anyone know if this is true?
The only time I book campsites is when it's a bankholiday weekend.
Usually I just turn up on my bike, I've never been turned away from a place that takes tents (that had actually opened for the season!)
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