Where to build a campfire in the UK?
July 30, 2008 3:58 AM   Subscribe

Where can I go car camping close to London? Also would like to be able to make a campfire.

Haven't camped since moving to the UK from US but it seems like most campsites here are big open fields in which a bunch of families pitch tents and campfires are typically not allowed. What I'm looking for is something a bit more similar to the US car camping style I'm used to i.e you drive to a campsite, you're assigned a somewhat private area among the trees and you can have a campfire. Essentially, something that looks like this:

Are there any places I can do this within a two or three hours drive from London?
posted by gfrobe to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The short answer is probably no. You're looking for what we would call wild camping. Generally fires are not allowed anywhere. Other people are free to jump in and tell me otherwise. (admittedly I used to do it as a kid - though it was 'bike camping' not car camping, and it was illegal).
posted by sdevans at 4:01 AM on July 30, 2008

Your options are limited...

Find friendly farmers/land owners.

Volunteer with the Scouts (don't be put off with what you know about them back home, they're different here). They own lots of campsites, and they love campfires. Of course, you'll have to give up some of your spare time to help the kids, in fact you'll probably have to go camping with kids, but one of the perks of volunteering with them is access to some beautiful campsites in beautiful parts of the country.

Otherwise, most comerical campsites ban fires, I suspect on safety grounds. The Forestry Commission run some beautiful campsites, I've stayed on two, one in the New Forest and one in Wiltshire, and I hightly recommend them, but I doubt they allow fires.

I did also find this list which should help you.

Also, you should remember, we're a small, crowded island. There's not a lot of big open space where you can loose yourself.
posted by Helga-woo at 4:30 AM on July 30, 2008

gfrobe, my wife is North American and has been similarly disappointed with both the lack of campfires and the lack of privacy. Plus the fact that most British people equate camping with sleeping as close as possible to a pub.

The only campsite we have been to that allows campfires and has trees is Blackberry Wood. Terrible website, but great campsite. It's inbetween London and Brighton -- about three miles from Hassocks station, and is in the South Downs. You can buy firewood and it's a great for families (although one time we went there was an all-night rave in the next field). It's superb. Go.

Oh, and it gets booked up very quick -- good luck.
posted by randomination at 6:40 AM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

i read about blackberry wood in the telegraph a few weeks back (i believe). and ive been wanted to go ever since.
posted by dnc at 6:49 AM on July 30, 2008

Thanks all. Some good suggestions here.
posted by gfrobe at 7:55 AM on July 30, 2008

Here is a useful list of campsites which allow fires. You might want to look at a book called Cool Camping England. There is a site that allows fires within the M25 but options can be limited.
posted by laukf at 9:34 AM on July 30, 2008

I seee Helga-woo also has the list!
posted by laukf at 9:34 AM on July 30, 2008

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