Under the Stars – Wild Camping in Devon
All content by Oliver Mahoney
Being able to go out and enjoy the outdoors is a breath of fresh air which I think many of us really need at the moment. Exeter is surrounded by a sea of opportunity when it comes to enjoying the natural world; mountains, coastline or forest, we have options for sure. There are some fantastic ways to enjoy this wilderness and wild camping is one of the best. Just west of Exeter, we all have free access to some of the UK’s most beautiful and diverse countryside, Dartmoor National Park. This National Park is also the only part of England where wild camping is legal.
Why should we wild camp? Why not just a day out? I say, give wild camping a go, just once! Camping really means a commitment, you have to stay the night. Suddenly, instead of just seeing beautiful moorland, you see a challenge; you have to find a place to pitch your tent. You get to interact with nature and exist alongside it rather than just observe it.
A trip like this usually involves being prepared. You’ll need a tent, sleeping mat & bag, cooker, food, first aid kit, map and good clothing. This kit has to help you get through the whole 24 hours and sleep out on the moors. It’s a good plan to spend the day hiking and plan a spot (or roughly find one on arrival) that would be suited for your overnight stay. Then, you’ll be more than ready to cook up some dinner – I recommend prepping food in a Tupperware and bringing it along. Finally, enjoy your sleep under the stars! (Remember: leave no trace when you leave).
In my case, I use a hammock. Truly the best way to get started; all you need is a good hammock and a tarpaulin to act as a protection from the elements. Hammock camping offers you a quirky and versatile setup that you can enjoy just about anywhere with two trees. I spent a night suspended above ferns on the forest floor where a tent would have been near impossible.
Getting out there and enjoying this pastime for yourself may seem difficult, but with the right kit and a bit of know-how, you can enjoy the outdoors like never before! There’s so much beauty out there and this is a truly excellent way of experiencing it.