Parts & Accessories

Go Closer

14th April 2022 | Andy Torbet
One of the factors we have to consider when looking at the cost of our camping trip is fuel. Our caravans and motorhomes still remain a very economical way to transport ourselves around the world, especially for groups, as the fuel costs remain constant regardless of whether there is one or, as in the case of my family, four. However, none of us can be unaware of the recent rise in the price of petrol and diesel in the UK.
A week long break less than an hour from home

The best and most simple way to save on fuel is not to drive as far. Some may feel this curtails the expanse of options and creativity of possibilities, but I see it as giving us parameters to then generate much more imaginative ideas. And we are fortunate that Britain is a relatively small country. If we wish to take to the rounds over the Spring weekends and half-term week, we can spend most of that time camping and less driving and still see some spectacular places.

For example, the ‘Discover National Parks Fortnight’ runs from 2nd to 18th April 2022. We have 15 National Parks spread up and down the country from The Highlands to South Devon so you’re never that far from one of the spectacular sites. Living on the Southern English/Welsh border I’m less than a 90-minute drive from three (the Brecon Beacons, Exmoor and Dartmoor). And if we expand our search out to the next major designation, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) we open up another 46 incredible locations and even more options close to home. These AONBs cover Northern Ireland, England and Wales. In Scotland, the equivalent is National Scenic Areas, of which there are 40 covering 13% of the country. These offer the very best of British landscapes and it’s encouraging to see such a huge covering across the country. I have included a few useful links to get you started and find a location near you at the end.

If this doesn’t inspire you, how about considering your own local knowledge. We tend to take off on the open road, travel to far-flung corners and forget what’s on our doorstep. I’ve often found myself asked what the campsites are like in my local area, The Wye Valley. I used to have to admit I didn’t know. I don’t camp there- I live there. But we forget people travel far to our far-flung corner for good reason. I have now spent quite a bit of time camping near home. I’ve picked up some good tips and discovered some little-known campsites, and am a much better local guide than I once was. It also gave me a chance to visit some of those places that I have ignored simply because there were so close to home.

Our local campsite, 12 miles from home in the heart of the Forest of Dean

Short trips away can also be a useful tool to test out a new motorhome or caravan or to make sure you’re all set before embarking on a much longer and more committing project. You don’t want to head off on a three-month, cross-Europe road trip to find one of your lights doesn’t work as you enter France. Nor do you want to discover you’ve nowhere to store those third set of skis the night before you leave. A short, fact-finding and shake-out trip can be time well spent and can take the stress out of more ambitious designs.

A short trip also gives you the chance to practice your packing

I am certainly not trying to curtail ambition nor discourage you from a big trip to Shetland or Cornwall to The Arctic or The Sahara. In fact, these epic projects encourage and inspire others to go further, see more and expand the positive touch of the camping community. But if time is short, you need to test out your camping kit and drills, the cost of fuel is affecting you or you simply want to find out what’s on your doorstep, taking a short maybe the simple answer.

Sometimes one, local night away is all you need

Some useful websites:

National Parks – https://www.nationalparks.uk/parks/

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (England, Wales, Northern Ireland) – https://landscapesforlife.org.uk

National Scenic Areas (Scotland) – https://www.nature.scot/professional-advice/protected-areas-and-species/protected-areas/national-designations/national-scenic-areas

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