There’s room for responsible wild camping on some Welsh land

CLA Cymru responds to BBC Wales’ feature "'Open land for wild camping in Wales', say campaigners"

You can read BBC Wales’ feature 'Open land for wild camping in Wales', say campaigners, by James McCarthy & Rachel Flint here.

The piece quotes video-maker Lee Dainton, 47, from Pontypool, who said it was "super-important" land was made accessible to all. "What's the excuse for keeping it locked-down?" he said. "They should let it be open for people to use. You try and get on to a campsite now. Everything is fully booked".

Kitchen designer Kyle Howells, from Cwmbran, said there was no need to ban people who were just "sleeping and having a bit of food and going to bed".

"I've slept in so many spots and you wouldn't know anyone has been there," the 34-year-old said.

All types of camping should be short-term, recreational and zero-impact

Responsible wild camping can be accommodated on Welsh land where it is safe for visitors, livestock, crops and wildlife and importantly, has the permission of the landowners,” says Charles de Winton, Rural Surveyor from CLA Cymru the Country Land & Business Association which has around 30,000 members in Wales and England.

“Wild camping is illegal in Wales and England. What this means to visitors and land managers is that authorities have powers to act against ‘fly-camping’, which is associated with littering, damage and other anti-social behaviour. Today ‘wild camping’ has a new meaning in being entirely sustainable or ‘close-to-nature.’ It is important to recognise that it’s short-term, recreational and zero-impact, and has a role to play in social wellbeing and further improving the wider community’s relationship with our land and those who manage it. Some rural businesses are already taking steps to develop opportunities within the law.”

Charles continues, “It’s important to remember that most rural land in Wales is looked after and maintained by farmers. Here they may have vulnerable livestock and crops, and they play a vital part in bio-conservation and landscape care. This is their home and livelihood.

Charles adds, “In this so-called staycation summer landowners are pleased to be welcoming more visitors to the Welsh countryside, but we have seen an increase of incidents of unsociable behaviour and abuse of the countryside. Farms and rural businesses are vulnerable to damage by fire, contamination by human or dog excrement, livestock attack, litter and fly tipping. This year the Countryside Code has been reviewed and we have called on government in both Wales and England to include it in the national schools curricula. At the CLA, we’ve played a part in the creation of free teaching resources.”