Back garden camping: New trend turns ‘unique’ private spaces into ‘wilderness’

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Camping may not be new but staying in back gardens may be. With the somewhat grey area of wild camping in the UK restricting Britons to official campsites, the rise of back garden camping should not be so surprising.

Many areas around the country have limited accommodation options, which is something that peer-to-peer outdoors renting is trying to fix.

Oliver Windle, founder and CEO of new platform Wildpoint said: “Around 40 percent of the stays on the platform you can’t book anywhere else.

“It’s the ability to stay in unique spaces that weren’t accessible before and have them exclusively to yourself. That’s the allure of the private camping.”

Private camping, as it shall now be called, has taken off lately.

Wildpoint is not the first company to offer a legal alternative to wild camping.

READ MORE: Best afternoon tea room in the UK named – ‘We came twice in one day’ spoke to two women who rent out their gardens in Liverpool and London respectively on another platform, and there are plenty of alternatives all over Europe.

But Wildpoint wasn’t’ created just to be another platform for an unusual stay in someone’s back garden.

The goal is to be “the go-to platform people think of when they think of the outdoors and when they think of camping”.

Having only recently launched, Wildpoint is far from being the go-to platform, but that doesn’t stop Oliver from wanting to “make the outdoors accessible again”.

The company is banking on people being attracted to the idea of exclusivity and uniqueness.

He said: “Rather than pitching next to 20 or 30 other pitches, I can have my own experience in a private meadow, or I can have an experience in a private woodland, where I can really get back to nature and reconnect.”

The idea came to Oliver when he was trying to plan a trip to the Outer Hebrides and realised there weren’t many camping options.

He said: “I wanted to hike and camp in the Outer Hebrides and I realised there were no real places to camp.”

He continued: “Wild camping is very much a grey area, there’s always muddy waters about whether wild camping is possible, whether it’s right, whether it’s wrong.”

Where most people would have just given up on their camping trip idea and called it a day, Oliver started a business instead.

He said: “Long story short, I was looking for places to camp, couldn’t find any but realised that all over the islands were these cottages that had gardens, which backed onto nature.

“And I thought ‘imagine if I could just knock on a door and offer them £10/ £20 to stay in their garden for the night but really I’m staying in the wilderness.’ 

“That’s where the idea spawned from: ‘Maybe there’s actually something to that’.”

And there sure was “something to that”.

However, whilst the idea very much came from the back garden camping mindset, the platform also offers “around 30 percent of official campsites”.

At the moment, Wildpoint, which launched this summer, is still pushing the private camping idea.

And it’s working, with even an engagement already happening on one of their sites.

Oliver sure knows how to sell private camping.

Of the couple that got engaged, he said: “They got engaged in a middle of an orchard, on their own, in a quiet, quaint little place rather than in a field with 30 other people camping next to you.”


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