Camping legally

The law is often complicated. Here is a basic outline of what the law says campers can and cannot do. Get more free help and advice when you join the Club.

In the UK camping is controlled by several pieces of legislation, including the Public Health Act of 1936 and the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 – both of which were drafted with the help of the Club.

In theory, any landowner is permitted to use his or her land as a tented camping site without a site licence, but there could still be planning permission and other health and safety issues. Schedule 2, Part 4, Class A of the General Permitted Development Order allows the use of land for various purposes – including the ‘stationing of tents’ for up to 28 days in any calendar year… Need we go on?

The most important thing for an ordinary camper to remember is that you always need permission from a landowner to pitch your tent on his or her land.

The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 gives the Camping and Caravanning Club (and a select band of other organisations) the right to allow landowners to establish small campsites on their land without the need for planning permission. The Club calls these Certificated Sites (CSs). A CS can accommodate up to five caravans and motorhomes and up to 10 tents, space permitting, unless express permission has been granted by the Club.

Continue for advice on camping safely

For more information about camping responsibly in Scotland you can read more information on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.