In a quiet corner of Wiltshire, there is a small campsite with a big heart.

It goes by the name of Wild Camping Dark Lane and it offers visitors the chance to experience a combination of camping and rewilding.

Traditional countryside camping, taken back to its roots.

Things Helen Loves, Wild Camping Dark Lane, Wiltshire. Image of field with a tent and a campervan far apart. A path is mowed through long grass and green trees line the edges

Sustainable Camping

So, what makes Dark Lane different? Two things; a genuine commitment to sustainability and a nice back story. Let us start with the back story, it’s how this place came to be.

We were met upon arrival at the campsite by owner Louise who, along with her husband Chris, own and run Dark Lane Camping. Louise told me how they’d bought the plot of land when it went up for sale because they couldn’t bear the idea of the land being developed.

This plot was more than land to them. It was where they wild camped with their own children, walked their dogs, reaped the benefits of being outdoors. It brought them so much joy, they wanted to share it. As a family, they carefully nurtured the land into an off grid, low impact, dog friendly site.

Dark Line Wild Camp is currently the only campsite in Wiltshire to be Greener Camping Club certified.

The Wild Camp Experience

Family run, low impact, sustainable. You might be wondering how all of this translates into the camping experience.

It begins upon arrival. You can park the worries of modern life at the gate and you can park your car with them. The site is car free

Should you need them, wheel barrows are provided for ferrying kit to and fro. Doesn’t work for wolfy dogs, who just look puzzled by the whole thing and would far rather trot alongside.

Think open space but limited capacity. There are just ten pitches set over almost three acres, with a maximum of four campers per pitch. This not only allows each camper the space and peace to embrace a back-to-nature experience, but also prevents too much wear and tear on the land.

The mantra here is, ‘leave no trace’.

The facilities; off grid, so no electricity. Leave the straighteners at home, pack a power bank if needed. Toilets are of the composting variety. They are clean, you use them much like any other bar the fact they don’t flush. And they absolutely don’t smell.

Running water comes from a bore hole. It’s fine to shower with and rinse off pots and pans, but best not to drink. Chris or Louise will leave you a bottle of drinking water from their own supply.

Things Helen Loves, basic shower facilities in wooden shower cabin at Dark Lane Camping, Wiltshire

Showers are fantastic. A basic set up, but hot and powerful. Enclosed enough for privacy but semi- wild showering; I was able to look up and see green branches waving overhead. Rather lovely Faith in Nature toiletries provided by the campsite.

The wash hut, the hub of the facilities. A place to wash your pots and meet your fellow campers. There is hot water, a table and chairs if you’d like to sit for a while. You’d have time, the pace here is slow. Lovely rural views to boot.

You’ll notice an authentic wildness to the site. Rustic facilities are tucked away between trees and hedgerows. The grass between pitches is long, wildflowers unruly and abundant. There are no pesticides used here.

If not for a discreet sign on the gate, you wouldn’t even know this was a campsite.

Lack of light pollution makes this a great place for star gazing. The only light is likely to be from campfires or torches. Fire pits and wood can be provided at a small cost, or you are free to bring your own. Marshmallows and hot chocolate a definite bonus.

If you feel like a bit of a night out, the village of Wilton is just under a mile away. A picture postcard of a village and keeper of a working windmill, it’s also home to a lovely local pub, The Swan. Good food, great drinks selection and a warm welcome assured.

The Practical Stuff

Find Wild Camping Dark Lane at Dark Lane, Marlborough, SN8 3DL.

Alternatively, use what3words: candy.stun.revisits

You need to be a Greener Camping Club member to camp here, membership costs just £12 per year. Membership can be purchased at time of booking.

As mentioned, the site is car free so pack light. Essentials in my opinion: a good torch or head torch, power bank and matches or lighter if planning a fire. Camp stove and brew kit for morning coffee in the great outdoors.

Tether if camping with a dog, especially if you have a big and barky one.

The season is coming to a close for this year for all but the hardiest of campers, but if your exploring in Wiltshire in the coming year, I highly recommend this lovely little campsite.

Helen x

22 thoughts

  1. What a wonderful place to pitch your tent. We spent the whole summer wild camping around Ireland and also in Wales and found that to be very beneficial for our wellbeing. It certainly helps you build and strengthen relationships. Also waking up with nature rather than an alarm clock is an experience everyone should have regularly. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thanks Aiva, your trip sounds amazing! I did find a few nights away from technology and in the fresh air improved my sleep.

  2. This sounds utterly wonderful. I’m thinking my camping days are over, but if I ever get the urge again, this is definitely the sort of place I’d like to be.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      It was perfect, just what was needed.

  3. Geoff Le Pard says:

    That takes me back. I wonder if I can persuade the Textiliste to revisit those golden and not so golden camping memories?

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      I think you should. It will be an experience!

  4. This has left me with a warm feeling, Helen. I’m not a happy camper but I would give this a go.

  5. This looks wonderful Helen, I’m so glad you enjoyed the experience. I’ve used compostable toilets several times in Finland at lakeside cottages and agree that they are clean with no odour.

  6. Mari Nicholson says:

    I’ve never really got the camping bug but you make this place sound ideal that should I ever be temped (don’t hold your breath), this is the sort of place I’d go for – I think! I’m glad to see that Wolf seems to be enjoying the freedom of the area and I hope the entire family had a great time.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thanks Mari, I think we’ve just about tamed the Wolf! The camping was fab, good old fashioned family time. There’s a lot to be said for that!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thanks Anabel, staying somewhere back to basics and family run was a lot of fun.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      It was the perfect micro-adventure.

  7. The campsite looks and sounds lovely. I love the backstory and the very tangible personal connection to the land. The village of Wilton is magical.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Wilton is like something from the pages of a book, you couldn’t invent a more village-y village. Thanks for stopping by, Leighton.

  8. I’m not a camper these days – too much of the compulsory sort when I was in the RAF 🙂 – but that does look to be a lovely set-up. And I’m all for dog-friendly places.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Haha! It’s all a big adventure for me, although I must say putting the tent up and down reminded me of why we are building a camper. Park and kettle on will be much easier!

      1. Just think of the camper vans adventures you’ll be able to have in the future! 🙂

  9. Kit Dunsmore says:

    This place looks fabulous — a wonderful mix of wild and comfortable. Thanks for sharing!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thank you for taking an interest in my post- wild and comfortable is exactly it!

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