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  • Writer's pictureCampsite Cornwall

Wild Camping in Cornwall

Embarking on a Wild Camping adventure in Cornwall enables you to immerse yourself in the region's natural splendour. Blessed with a breathtaking coastline, scenic beaches, and historical landmarks, Cornwall sets the ideal stage for a wild camping escapade. With this guide, you are equipped with vital insights on trip preparation, camping setup, exploration of Cornwall's natural attractions, outdoor food preparation and dining, wilderness safety, adherence to Leave No Trace principles, observance of wild camping decorum, and uncovering highly recommended wild camping locales spread throughout the county. Whether you are an accomplished camper or a novice in outdoor exploration, this guide guarantees a thrilling and unforgettable wild camping journey in Cornwall.

To ensure an unforgettable and delightful wilderness camping experience in Cornwall, attentive planning is paramount. Start by pinpointing an ideal location that caters to your specific desires and demands. Scrutinize local bylaws to comprehend any constraints or licenses necessary for camping in certain locations. Your packing list should include indispensable camping gear, like robust tents, sleeping bags, cooking apparatus, and suitable attire to brace for any weather surprises. Thorough preparation is the key to relishing every moment of your untamed camping escapade in Cornwall.

Choosing the Right Location

As you handpick the perfect spot for your wilderness camping adventure in Cornwall, bear in mind elements like ease of access, landscape, and available amenities. You have an array of choices at your disposal, spanning idyllic coastal points to lush forested areas and moorlands. If you covet a seaside experience, South Cornwall has mesmerizing coves and sandy beaches. North Cornwall is home to dramatic cliffs and charming coastal trails, ideal for those in pursuit of showstopping vistas. West Cornwall, on the contrary, is hailed for its captivating rural scenery and historical landmarks. Dedicating enough time to research and identify a site that mirrors your camping predilections will undoubtedly enhance your venture.

Checking Local Regulations

Before you set off for your wild camping journey in Cornwall, it's essential to get to grips with regional guidelines. Various regions might impose specific laws about camping, including restrictions, necessary licenses, and earmarked camping areas. Verify whether wild camping is permissible in your preferred spot and if there are any needed permits. It's also pivotal to honor any ecological or environmental safeguards designed to protect Cornwall's stunning natural assets. By fully understanding and adhering to local rules, you'll be able to foster a conscientious and gratifying camping experience.

Packing Essential Gear

In gearing up for your wilderness camping expedition in Cornwall, packing vital equipment is a must for safety and comfort. Begin with a hard-wearing and water-resistant tent to shield you from unpredictable weather. Have a cozy sleeping bag and a trustworthy camping mat for a restful night. Don't overlook kitchen gear like a lightweight stove and utensils for meal prep. Packing suitable clothing layers is also crucial, including impermeable outer layer and hardy footwear adjusted to different terrains. Other must-haves include a medical kit, a head torch, a map or GPS tool, along with sufficient water and food provisions. Well-equipped, you'll be all set for your exciting wild camping adventure in Cornwall.

Constructing a Camp

Constructing a camp ranks high on the to-do list of any wild camping expedition in Cornwall. The progression from finding the perfect spot to the establishment of your nomadic dwelling and installation of a fire pit is fundamental to the outdoors experience. By adhering to these steps, you'll ensure a cosy, and pleasure-filled sojourn amidst nature's splendour.

Finding a Suitable Spot

Locating an apt spot for your wild camping endeavour in Cornwall is paramount. Seek a patch that's level, dry, and shielded from hazards like unstable stones, precarious slopes, or bodies of water. Steer clear from establishing camp too near to pathways or tracks to ensure seclusion. Take a moment to familiarize with the locale, selecting a place that either proffers scenic vistas or is in close proximity to nature's alluring features. By securing the perfect spot, you're setting the stage for an agreeable and enriching camping journey.

Pitching Your Tent

Correctly assembling your tent is a critical task for an accomplished wild camping adventure in Cornwall. Start by clearing the chosen site of any intrusive elements or sharp items that might harm the tent. Spread out the tent underlay or ground cloth to shield the tent base from dampness. Put together the tent poles manufacturing a steady structure by tightly attaching them to the material. Gradually raise the tent, fasten it with stakes or pegs, ensuring it's tight and steady. Ascertain the rainfly is fittingly installed to offer refuge from the weather. By undertaking these steps, you can set up a resilient and safe haven for your wilderness camping experience.

Creating a Fire Pit

The creation of a fire pit is an indispensable step for creating warmth, preparing meals, and fostering a cosy atmosphere during your wild camping jaunt in Cornwall. Begin by choosing a spot for your fire pit, taking into account elements like the wind's direction and distance to items susceptible to ignition. Scatter away any dry foliage, leaves, or litter in a broad clearance around the pit. Excavate a shallow depression, line it with stones to enclose the fire. Round up some dry firewood and heap it in a cone or log house style. Use a lighter or fire starter to set the pile ablaze. Always have a water supply at hand to douse the fire completely when it's time to break camp. By adhering to these procedures, you can reap the rewards of a campfire while minimizing wildfire risks.

Coastal Walks and Hikes

The coastal treks of Cornwall are an essential experience for any nature lover. The South West Coast Path, traversing over 300 miles, offers a wealth of trails tailored to all abilities. Whether you fancy a serene amble or an arduous ascent, immerse yourself in the captivating panorama of rough cliffs, shimmering sea, and sun-kissed dunes. Well-trodden routes include the Bedruthan Steps, endowed with stunning views of towering rocky pillars, and the Lizard Peninsula, adorned with beautiful coastal flora and traditional fishing hamlets. During your exploration, stay vigilant for regional wildlife, such as marine birds, seals, and occasionally dolphins, playing in the surf. With its plethora of spectacular sights, the coastal ambles of Cornwall provide a truly memorable outdoor adventure.

Visiting Beaches and Coves

Known for its immaculate sands and secluded inlets, Cornwall is a haven for beachgoers. Ranging from the bustling stretches of Fistral Beach and Porthcawl to the hidden treasures of Kynance Cove and Porthcurno, there's a shoreline for every preference. Spend a day basking in the sun, bathing in the sea, or attempting to conquer the renowned Newquay waves. Seek out the less-charted inlets for a moment of peace, surrounded by serene settings. No journey to Cornwall's coastlines would be complete without a spot of beachcombing, unearthing seashells, and other oceanic trinkets. Between its magnificent coastline and stunning array of sands and coves, Cornwall delivers the essence of the beach experience.

Discovering Ancient Sites and Landmarks

Delving into Cornwall's past, the ancient landmarks provide an intriguing insight into its historical legacy. The numerous landmarks span from prehistoric stone structures to medieval fortresses, all offering a unique exploration opportunity. Traverse the enigmatic terrain of Bodmin Moor, abode of primordial burial sites and standing rocks, inclusive of the well-known Cheesewring. Venture to Tintagel Castle, entrenched in Arthurian folklore, and roam its ruins stationed on the sea-facing cliffs. Unearth the early village of Chysauster, home to well-conserved Iron Age dwellings. Cornwall's past also resonates within its quaint seafaring hamlets, like St Ives and Mousehole, with their narrow cobblestone lanes and traditional architecture encapsulating a bygone era. Delve into the deep historical roots of Cornwall as you discover its enthralling sites and landmarks.

Wildlife Spotting Opportunities

Cornwall provides a plethora of chances to spot local wildlife, drawing the attention of nature enthusiasts from all corners. The county hosts a plethora of species both on its shores and out at sea. Wander the cliff edges and you might stumble upon colonies of seabirds nesting on the terraces, including puffins, guillemots, and razorbill birds. Plan a boat trip along the shoreline and keep a watchful eye out for the playful antics of dolphins cavorting in the swell. With a bit of luck, you could even spot a bashful seal basking on the boulders. Inland, Cornwall's forests and marshes are home to various bird species, such as the elusive corn bunting and the distinctive chough. Packed with abundant wildlife, Cornwall allows continuous engagement with nature and the chance to witness some extraordinary wildlife moments.

Cooking and Eating Outdoors

An integral and exhilarating aspect of wilderness camping in Cornwall is the act of cooking and dining in the great outdoors. The simplicity and raw authenticity of outdoor living can be fully embraced, enhancing your connection to nature. Outdoor cooking techniques are varied, ranging from traditional campfire methods to the use of portable stoves, or even a mix of both. Meal planning and packing the necessary culinary tools - things like pots, pans, cutlery, and heat source - are vital tasks to undertake. Always adhere to safety instructions and guidelines when dealing with open fires and wild cooking.

Campfire Cooking Tips

Honing your campfire culinary skills can add significant value to your wild camping adventures in Cornwall. Selecting the ideal firewood is a good starting point - dry, seasoned hardwood like oak or birch is most effective at burning steadily and providing a consistent flame. Construct a fire pit using stones, or utilize an available fire ring, ensuring it's positioned safely away from any flammable materials. When preparing a meal over your campfire, bring along a grill grate or perhaps employ a tripod and a suspended pot for dishes like soups, stews, or grilled veggies. Never abandon fires unattended and make sure they are fully put out before leaving your camping spot.

Preparing Simple and Delicious Meals

Cooking during your wild camping escapades doesn't have to be an elaborate affair. Aim for simplicity by taking along easy-to-cook and lightweight food items. Dehydrated meals, which just need hot water to get ready, are a good choice. You may alternatively prepare meals beforehand and store them in lightweight, airtight containers. Simple yet tasty choices could be pasta served with a ready-made sauce, veggie couscous, or a piece of grilled meat or fish. Remember to pack spices and seasonings to elevate taste. Clean up post cooking, which involves proper disposal of food waste and scrubbing your cooking gear using eco-friendly soap and non-damaging water sources.

Enjoying Local Produce and Seafood

Embarking on a wild camping journey in Cornwall is also a chance to savor the region's plentiful crop of local produce and seafood. Nearby farm stores, local fishmongers, or farmers' markets are the places to visit for procuring fresh ingredients for your camping trip. The stunning coast provides fresh sea bounty such as mussels, crab, lobster or fish caught locally. Another local delicacy is the Cornish pasty, traditionally filled with steak, cheese, and veggies. Explore traditional Cornish cuisine and experience the region's unique taste palette, all while enjoying the freshness of the local produce.

Staying Safe

When engaging in wild camping in Cornwall, your safety should be paramount. This involves acknowledging potential hazards and taking the necessary preventive measures. Being aware of the erratic weather conditions is a primary step, as Cornwall is known for its rapid climate changes. Repeated downpours and robust coastal breezes are frequently experienced, so ensure to review the forecast beforehand, packing suitable clothing and equipment. It's also crucial to bear in mind the safety measures when dealing with the wildlife. Cornwall hosts an array of species, including adders and seals, that could potentially pose a danger if not treated with respect. Lastly, being ready for emergencies is key. Always have a fully fueled phone, a well-equipped first aid kit, and share your camping position and approximated return time with someone.

Understanding Weather Conditions

As you prepare for your wild camping journey in Cornwall, it's necessary to understand the prevailing weather conditions to ensure safety and readiness. The area is distinguished by a maritime climate, indicating that the weather may swing abruptly with little warning. It's suggested to review the weather updates before your trip and keep track of them during your camping time. Cornwall is often swept by rain, so be ready for potential downpours. The coastal areas might encounter vigorous winds, hence make sure your tent is firmly set up and reinforced with guy ropes if needed. Layer up your attire to adapt to the fluctuating temperatures, and carrying waterproof and windproof items will shield you from any harsh weather conditions.

Wildlife Safety Precautions

As you soak in the Cornish wilderness, it is critical to adhere to safety measures around the diverse wildlife. Cornwall hosts a range of animal species such as seals, dolphins and adders, making interactions likely. While experiencing the coastal marvels, keep enough distance and ensure you don't interrupt seals or dolphins in their natural habitat. In the particular case of seals, they can show aggression if threatened. When it comes to adders, the only venomous snake species in the UK, it is critical to maintain a respectful boundary and avoid any kind of contact. Be conscious of their habitats such as rocky terrains and heathlands. Observing from a distance and giving their space due respect will minimise any risks of unwarranted encounters.

Emergency Preparedness

If you plan on wild camping in Cornwall, being equipped for potential emergencies is crucial. Always ensure your mobile phone is fully charged and check the availability of network coverage in your chosen camping spot. It is advisable to share your camping itinerary, including details of your location and tentative return date, with someone you trust. Consequently, if any untoward incident happens or you face any difficulty, someone will be informed about your whereabouts to raise help, if needed. Also, you should carry a comprehensive first aid kit with necessary provisions such as bandages, antiseptic wipes and any personal medicines. Be up to speed with basic first aid practices, including treatments for minor injuries and necessary actions in the event of serious emergencies.

Leave No Trace Principles

When embarking on your wild camping adventure in Cornwall, adherence to the Leave No Trace principles is of utmost importance. These guidelines aim to curtail the impact on the environment, thus preserving the timeless beauty of the locale. Adhering to these principles ensures that the splendour of the untouched wilderness is available for future campers to revel in. The Leave No Trace ethos encapsulates notions revolving around lessening environmental impact, appropriate rubbish disposal, and holding wildlife and vegetation in reverence.

Minimizing Impact on the Environment

To diminish your environmental footprint while indulging in wild camping in Cornwall, it's crucial to be aware of your actions. Stay true to named trails and paths to prevent encroachment on delicate plant life. Resist creating new paths or shortcuts that could compromise the local habitat. Be thoughtful of where you pitch your camp, steering clear of sensitive locales, like wetlands or fragile ecosystems. By minimizing your mark, you play a part in preserving Cornwall's enthralling natural surroundings.

Proper Waste Disposal

Correct waste management is important when partaking in wild camping ventures in Cornwall. Always have a waste bag on hand and make sure to remove all your garbage - this includes food scraps. Do not leave any signs of your presence behind, as this could negatively impact both the environment and the resident wildlife. If designated bins are unavailable, it falls to you to carry your refuse and discard of it appropriately off-site. Through responsible waste management, you aid in maintaining the cleanliness and the inherent allure of the camping area.

Respecting Wildlife and Plants

Respecting the local wildlife and vegetation is a paramount consideration when wild camping in Cornwall. Refrain from disrupting or encroaching wildlife, as this can interfere with their natural behaviours and habitats. Maintain a safe distance and enjoy the spectacle from a distance. Please refrain from feeding or touching any animals you may come across. Likewise, show respect for the plants and vegetation - avoid causing harm or picking any plant life, they form an integral part of the ecosystem. By showing respect to both wildlife and vegetation, you assist in the wider conservation efforts and help uphold the natural symmetry of Cornwall's rich biodiversity.

Being Considerate of Others

Thoughtfulness is mandated while participating in wild camping within the pictorial landscapes of Cornwall. Control noise emissions, particularly during the serenity of nighttime, eschewing disturbances to fellow campers and neighbouring inhabitants. Fuse this with maintaining an appropriate distance from neighbouring sites, to respect their privacy and personal space. More so, ensure you leave nothing but footprints, as this helps safeguard the local environment.

Respecting Private Property

While immersing yourself in the wild camping scene in Cornwall, reverence for private property is crucial. Endeavor to set up camp in sanctioned areas or seek the consent of owners when using private lands. Evade unwarranted trespassing and be observant of signage marking off-limit areas. By observing property rights and territorial boundaries, you exhibit responsible camping behaviour, thereby preserving a cordial relationship between explorers and local landowners.

Engaging with Local Communities

Involvement with local communities has the potential to enrich your wild camping expedition in Cornwall. Allocate time to interact with the locals, captivating yourself with their rich culture, historical lore, and customs. Display respect for their way of life by fulfilling any camping related regulations they might uphold. Further, patronize local stores for supplies or local delicacies, aiding the local commerce. By productively interacting with local societies, you establish communal bonds while being recognized as a considerate camper.

The Best Spots

Wild camping enthusiasts will find an array of captivating spots scattered across Cornwall. These locations encompass everything from rugged cliffs in the north, serene beaches in the south, to picturesque landscapes out West, offering something for every adventurer. These locales offer a unique chance to submerge and experience Cornwall's nature in all its glory, with awe-inspiring vistas and tranquil environments. From seaside camping to rolling countryside escapades, Cornwall has an abundance of options to offer.

North Cornwall

Wild campers will consider North Cornwall an oasis with its striking coastline and robust landscapes. One recommended destination is the secluded Tregardock Beach, celebrated for its undisturbed beauty. St Nectan's Glen offers a different allure, a hidden valley that organises camping near magical cascades. For the adventurous, Bodmin Moor's vastness presents wild camping possibilities among its granite tors and open moorland. North Cornwall hosts these unique wild camping locations that form an escape route from the everyday chaos, reconnecting with nature.

South Cornwall

South Cornwall is home to tranquil shores and picturesque coastline landscapes, making it an ideal location for wild camping. Porthcurno Beach is a sought-after spot, famed for its flawless, azure waters and golden coastline. Whitsand Bay unveils a coastline strewn with hidden coves just waiting to host secluded camping. Those who yearn for camping within thriving woodlands can find solace in Luxulyan Valley with its centuries-old woods and enchanting river. From beach-facing camping spots to flourishing green spaces, South Cornwall provides numerous suggested wild camping spots waiting to be discovered.

West Cornwall

West Cornwall serves as a sanctuary for wild campers, featuring a diverse array of camping areas that highlight the region's impressive natural allure. A prime spot is Sennen Cove, replete with impressive ocean vistas and a charming beach. Land's End offers another notable spot where campers can set up amidst dramatic cliffs while marvelling at exquisite sunsets. The Penwith Peninsula, with its untamed and rugged terrains, allows for true immersion into the wild. The opportunities for wild camping in West Cornwall lend themselves to the creation of memories in an incredibly picturesque backdrop.


Wrapping up, embarking on a wild camping adventure in Cornwall promises an exhilarating and enriching escapade, surrounded by the sprawling natural landscapes so iconic to the region. It's essential to diligently plan your journey and select an ideal location in order to wholly absorb and appreciate the serene solitude of wilderness camping. Be sure to comply with local camping laws intended to safeguard the region's natural beauty. Arm yourself with the necessary gear to ensure a comfortable, safe camping experience. Accomplishing a successful camp setup involves a trio of core tasks – discovering a suitable site, the strategic raising of your tent, and responsibly crafting a fire pit. With your camp readied, you can commune with Cornwall's breathtaking vistas, taking to meandering coastal walks, venturing to hidden beaches and secluded coves, and unearthing ancient landmarks. Keep watch for native wildlife for exciting fauna sightseeing opportunities. The sheer joy of open-air cooking is unparalleled, so embrace essential campfire culinary skills and delight in the rustic charm of cooking local provisions and seafood. Prioritize safety – stay vigilant about weather patterns, exercise safe conduct around indigenous wildlife, and be ready for unexpected emergencies. Reinforce your commitment to conservation by leaving no trace, minimize your ecological footprint, and dispose of waste correctly. Always adhere to the unwritten rules of camping etiquette, showing respect for private land, fellow campers, and integrating with the local populace. By opting for the recommended sites in North, South, and West Cornwall, you're setting the stage for an epic exploration of this exquisite region, paving the way for treasured memories.

Have a wild time!

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