Wild camping in Devon: 5 great places to pitch your tent
PUBLISHED: 11:06 16 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:07 16 October 2018
Wild camping can be one of the best ways to escape the crowds for a night or two and lose yourself in the landscape - SOPHIE PAVELLE chooses her five favourite places to 'wild-life' camp in Devon
1) Bellever, Dartmoor
When it comes to wild camping, Dartmoor is an absolute must. Still remaining the largest and ‘wildest’ area of land in England, it offers a near-infinite level of choice and rugged natural beauty that you’ll be spoilt for pitch choice!
Bellever is an especially lovely spot, hugging the bubbling River Dart and conveniently next to a Forestry Commission pay and display car park with toilets. With infinite walking routes, wild ponies, upland birds and river ecology, you’ll have a high chance of getting your nature-fix here.
Bellever is also near the delightful village of Postbridge and the famous Warren House Inn if you fancy a night away from the jet-boil to cosy up next to the fire which has been burning since 1845! When planning your trip, make sure you check-out the Dartmoor Wild Camping map. All wild campers must adhere to the Dartmoor Backpack Camping Code.
2) Peppercombe Beach, North Devon
If it’s some dramatic Devon coastline you’re after, Peppercombe Beach in North Devon offers a very wild but secluded shingle beach experience from which to watch the sunset.
Sitting at the foot of the National Trust’s Peppercombe Valley and often voted one of Britain’s best wild camping spots, it’s not hard to see why, when close proximity to the South West Coast Path and frequent seabird and seal sightings are your surroundings.
Keep a particularly keen eye out for the hunting peregrine falcon (the fastest animal on the planet!), which have made a spectacular comeback to our coastlines in recent years. The mosaic of coastal, woodland and grassland habitat makes for a very biodiverse and unique environment. Where else can you go to sleep to the sound of the waves and wake up to a spectacular dawn chorus?! Be sure to check the tides and cliff overhangs before you set up camp!
3) Ugborough Moor, Dartmoor
If you cannot get enough of Dartmoor and fancy something a bit more ‘wild’, Ugborough Moor offers a spectacular area of stunning views to Ivybridge and beyond. This spot is an accessible and popular hike from the nearby Two Moors Way.
Keep a keen eye out for peregrines and buzzards, as well as the rarer dunlin, golden plover and red grouse – which on Dartmoor, are at the northernmost point of their world range. Down towards the river you might spot adders and grass snakes wending their way through the wetlands.
With the moorland heather in full flower at this time of year, you will be surrounded by this late summer spectacle that is not one to miss! As with all wild-camping on Dartmoor, be sure to adhere to the backpacker’s code.
4) Otter Vale, East Devon
Pitch your tent in a secluded and tranquil woodland in the grounds of a family-run dairy farm near an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Surrounded by lush, deciduous woodland, you’ll likely have badgers, foxes, deer and rabbits as your neighbours.
You can also pitch near the wild flower meadow, where in late summer you can pick blackberries for a very ‘wild’ and delicious dessert.
5) Sweet Meadows and Wild Woods Country Holidays, Teign Valley
If you like the idea of wild camping near Dartmoor but have a large tent and fancy a little more comfort, Sweet Meadows is the place for an equally ‘wild’ experience.
Situated on the north-eastern edge of the moor in the Teign Valley and voted by BBC Countryfile as one of the top five ‘best tiny campsites in Britain’ – you’ll be camping amidst a gorgeous wildlife haven.
The Teign is home to herons, kingfishers, dippers and mallards – but keep a beady lookout for otters which are making a spectacular comeback to Devon’s rivers. Pitches are available either in the cottage garden or in the ‘wild woods’ near the stream.