Environmentally Friendly Camping With Jamie Ramsay

Cotswold Outdoor ambassador Jamie Ramsay shares his top tips for environmentally-friendly camping.

"Camping is the perfect escape for people who want to get into the outdoors and enjoy the amazing countryside that Great Britain has to offer. But, with the beauty and serenity of the countryside in mind, we need to make sure that our forays into the wild don’t leave it damaged or littered. The basic rule is to leave it exactly as you found it - or would expect to find it. 

"It’s worth noting that camping rules in the UK are strict, and wild camping in England and Wales is illegal. However, if you seek the permission of the landowners then you may gain access to some great pitches. In Scotland, wild camping is legal but strictly speaking you shouldn’t camp too close to people’s homes. After such a difficult start to the year for many campsite owners,  it might be worth seeking out small, independent sites and supporting them – I’ve used many of these in the past and highly recommend."

If you are wild camping these are the steps I follow:


1) Set up your tent as close to dark as possible and take it down as close to sunrise as possible, so it doesn’t disturb anyone else’s enjoyment of the view. 


2) Think twice about campfires as there is no way of not leaving a burnt patch. I tend to use a gas camping stove. Try to steer clear of using disposable BBQs as it just creates extra waste; if you are staying in a campsite then they will have designated areas or firepits to borrow. Finally, if you're draining food like pasta, make sure you don’t leave any behind.


3) Always take a sealable rubbish bag with you so you can cleanly carry out all your litter. This includes natural waste such as fruit peels and skins - orange peel can take up to six months to decompose, and banana skins can take 2 years. They're also not natural to the UK countryside! 


4) Make sure you go to the toilet in a way that its not going to bother others. Make sure you are at least 100m from any water source,  dig a hole about 6 inches deep and then replace the soil. Either carry out your loo roll or burn it.


5) Make sure you use biodegradable soaps and non-toxic sunscreens and insect repellents - we don't want to pollute the water.


6) Don’t pick flowers, break branches or destroy anything where you are camping – just observe and enjoy the tranquillity.


7) Don’t leave food out or feed wild animals. 

General tips for sustainable camping

• Don’t take single-use plastic bottles

• Use organic food products

• Don’t use paper plates or plastic glasses

• Pick up any litter you find on the routes you're walking - even if it wasn’t you who put it there!


Most people are camping to get away from the noise and pace of everyday life, so respect each other, keep your distance and don’t make excessive noise. Enjoy your camping!

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