Wales has many ideal destinations for wild camping with a stunning coastline and its many moors, mountains, streams, and waterfalls. This country, which is not very big, is quite rough in itself and claims three of the 15 national parks in the UK.
The Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire, and Snowdonia national parks actually make up as much as 20% of the country, more than twice the proportion that Scotland and England’s national parks cover. Wales also boasts some of the best long-distance walks in Britain.
You may therefore believe that wild camping will be tolerated in the more remote areas of the country, but the law is firm, as it is in England. Without a landowner’s permission, wild camping is not permitted, and exceptions to this rule are not tolerated, unlike in England.
That does however not mean that it’s not possible to go wild camping in Wales, it simply means that to stay legal, you first have to get the landowners’ permission before you may pitch your tent.
North Wales’ Best wild camping spots
Wales is an amazing country that has hundreds of idyllic settings that are ideal for camping, including the coast, countryside, valleys, and mountains. Below we list some of our favourites.
The Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons
Set in a national park mountain, the black mountains in southeast Wales stretches to England’s border.
This mountain range is home to several lakes, including Llyn Cowlyd and Llyn Eigiau, as well as some of the highest peaks in Wales.
Situated in northeast Wales Peaks, this mountain range contains abundant waterfalls, valleys, and moorland, spread across the counties of Powys, Gwynedd, and Clwyd.
This 30-mile stretch of gorgeous coast in northwest Wales contains many of remote spots suitable for wild camping. It lies to the highly recommended Isle of Anglesey’ southwest.
South West Wales’ Best Wild camping spots
The amazing South West Wales region includes the counties / local authority areas of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Neath Port Talbot, and Swansea.
The whole area around the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park has many scenic and remote locations suitable for wild camping. If you prefer to stay close to civilisation, wild camping by the coast at Saundersfoot and Tenby and close to Haverfordwest, Narberth is best.
Also known as the “Garden of Wales” this area has numerous scenic and remote locations for wild camping, like the Taf Estuary and the Tywi Valley, or within close proximity of towns like Kidwelly, Carmarthen, Newcastle Emlyn, and Llanelli.
Swansea’s countryside and coast are beautiful spots for wild camping. Stop around the Gower Peninsula overnight, which is the first area in the UK that was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or look at staying around Swansea Bay or the Lliw uplands.
Neath Port Talbot
The county of West Glamorgan, Neath Port Talbot, historically covers the area of South Wales that includes the dunes and coastal plain surrounding Port Talbot and the Upper Amman, Swansea, Afan, Dulais, and Neath valleys, stretching right up to the Brecon Beacons National Park. Glorious stays can be found close to Aberavon Beach on the edge of Swansea Bay, or around the River Dulais.
Is Wild Camping Allowed In Wales?
Apart from Dartmoor, wild camping in England and Wales isn’t allowed. It is a civil offence, and if requested to do so by a landowner, you must move on. In practice, however, it is possible to wild camp throughout the country providing you follow the principle of leaving no trace of you being there, and asking permission from the landowner.
Another good option is to find permitted wild camping sites in Wales’ three national parks – the Pembrokeshire coast, the Brecon Beacons, and Snowdonia. These are normally listed on websites run by the park authorities.
Advantages and disadvantages of a wild camp in Wales
As with England and Northern Ireland (Scotland has separate wild camping laws), there are pros and cons of wild camping in Wales:
Wales is a beautiful country that has plenty of scenic wild camping locations in every county.
It is easy to go off-grid and be fully self-sufficient and fully into nature.
You can design your holidays as you like. There are spots close to outdoor activities when you’re part of a group or remote spots for romantic breaks.
It allows you to enjoy locations that are genuinely remote without any campsites close by.
Wild campers have an opportunity to be spontaneous, and as long as you have permission, you can pitch up wherever you fancy.
You’ll have to obtain permission to park overnight unless you’ve arranged in advance for your stay. This can for example be done with a national park authority.
Late mornings and early evenings are not encouraged – wild camping etiquette specifies that you should leave early and arrive late.
Connection to campsite facilities and services won’t be possible.
What to Consider When Wild Camping In Wales
As stated above, just as it isn’t in England, wild campers aren’t permitted legally in Wales and is seen as trespass, which is a civil offense. If you don’t leave immediately when asked to do so, you may be arrested for a criminal offense.
● There will likely be limited access to restaurants and shops in rural areas.
● Decide on the pace before you start off – do you want to take things more slowly or see as much of Wales as possible.
● Have a first-aid kit with you and make a backup plan for if you don’t have a phone signal in an emergency.
● If you’re going off-grid, it may be a good idea to stay at a campsite every couple of days to connect to services.
● Share your location on social media or check in with someone at home each day.
● Make sure you have enough food, fuel, and water to last for at least a day or two.
● In case of being asked to move on, extreme weather, or an emergency, have a backup campsite planned out.