In last year’s wild camping review post I listed three wild camps and confidently predicted at least 6 for 2014.  However, I can only list two wild camps this year (and one ‘almost’ wild camp), which is a little disappointing.

Yes, I could give various reasons and excuses for this (weather, family commitments etc, etc) but still, it’s a pretty poor number.  Having said that, I did manage two very enjoyable nights out under the stars.

Both nights were in woods in Hertfordshire, a hugely underrated county with much tree cover and great opportunities for  crafty wild camps.

Spring wild camp in Badger Wood

In April I took half of a Polish Lavvu tent to Badger Wood.

It was a cold night and a little uncomfortable with just a couple of thin mats between myself and the floor of the wood.  I’ll be investing in a decent, comfy mat for 2015, so a good lesson learnt there.

In Badger Wood
In Badger Wood

I’m not sure now why I only took half of the Lavvu tent, a bit of a daft decision looking back at it now.

Wild camp in Barking Fox wood

A few months later I was in another Hertfordshire wood with my hammock.  A very comfortable and warm night this time, hammocks are just perfect for wild camping in the woods.

In Barking Fox wood
In Barking Fox wood

Sort of wild camp at Wicken Fen

Wicken Fen is large wetland nature reserve based near the Cambridgeshire fen village of Wicken.  Run by the National Trust, the reserve includes a ‘wild camping’ site that can be used by groups or individuals.  While not strictly wild camping (it costs £35 for the night, for a whole group) it’s a wonderful place  to spend the night.

In the summer, I went with twelve 12 year old boys and two other adults and a dog.  The boys had a fantastic time, as did the adults, though we could have done with more than the three hours sleep the youngsters allowed us.

Wild camping at Wicken Fen
Wild camping at Wicken Fen

The site is made up of four open huts like the one above.

The no sleep blues

Not sleeping for a full night is still my number one concern.  Even in the hammock, where I was snug and warm all night long, my mind refused to keep still and enjoy the experience.  At most I managed a couple of hours unbroken sleep which is just not enough, especially if I’m planning to hike a bit the following day.

By the River Great Ouse, a wild camp for 2015?
By the River Great Ouse, a wild camp for 2015?

I don’t have a problem with sleeping when in a tent. I guess the psychological feel of protection afforded by the walls of the tent makes the difference.  Tents are fine but I’m a bit of a romantic and really want to sleep out in the open, so I’ll just need more practice, more wild camps for 2015, it’s the only way!


So, I won’t make any predictions for 2015.  What I will be doing is investing in some new kit, particularly a comfy mat and a larger bivvy bag.  I might even start camping out in my back garden once a month, anything to sort out the sleep issue!

How about you? What was your 2014 wild camping year like?  And if you didn’t wild camp then, do you plan to in 2015?

12 thoughts on “My 2014 Wild Camping review

  1. Lovely! I managed two this year. First time in spring in a different Wicken – Wicken Woods, north Bucks, in an incredibly dense woodland. Not much chance of anyone coming by, though I went to sleep with the thunder of shotguns in nearby woods.

    Second was in lovely beech woodland near Bath. Both times in my Alpkit bivvi bag, both times the barking of foxes (or was it screech owls?) asserting their territory.

    Funnily, despite everything, I never have a problem sleeping, often sleeping better than at home!

    Really want to explore the Quantocks by bike this year so hoping to bivvi there for a night. I’ve no car so it seems like a good way to make the most of the place.

    1. Hi Kieron

      Thanks for commenting. Wicken Woods sounds good, I’d love to explore Buckinghamshire, it’s a lovely country.

      I like the idea of using a bike when out wild camping, getting all the gear off my back, is an appealing idea and the Quantocks are gorgeous.

      Sleep is my big thing for this year, I desperately want to crack this one and the best way to do this is get out and sleep in the open as much as possible : )

  2. Great article, I had the same issue with poor sleep when I first started wild camping. I now make sure where I plan to pitch is a bit of a hike and I don’t worry too much about the weight of my pack. Sounds backwards, i know but it ensures you arrive at camp shattered and you sleep like a baby. Also keeps you fit.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the article. Yes, being knackered and then getting down for a kip is a good idea but it hasn’t really helped me in the past, I’m pretty sure this is almost 100% psychology…need to work on that I think : )

  3. Hi Martin – I’ve enjoyed reading your blog – thanks for writing it, particularly the wild camps and walks in Norfolk. I’m planning my first ever wild camp/microadventure somewhere on the Norfolk coast this year. I expect your sleeping issue will ease with your planned regular garden-based practice. Good luck for 2015!

    1. Hi Rob, thanks for commenting, really pleased that you enjoy the posts. Where abouts are you planning to wild camp on the Norfolk coast?

      1. I’ve been thinking about the east coast, somewhere around Winterton, but not yet decided. Anywhere really quiet with the chance for some shelter, anywhere around the coast – not too fussy.

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