Bampton Cycle Shelter

A  cycle  tourer’s  dream

What’s a Bampton Cycle Shelter? Is it a new kind of cycling infrastructure? Well, yes, and no. Many cycle tourers, like me, prefer to wild camp when touring. Wild camping brings with it some challenges: for starters, in England and Wales, more often than not, wild camping is trespass. Though I obtained assurances that wild campers are very unlikely to be arrested, that threat is enough to put many people off, and understandably so. Wouldn’t it be great if there was somewhere you were explicitly allowed to wild camp, on private land? And wouldn’t it be even better if there was some sort of shelter already at that spot?

Introducing  the  Bampton  Cycle  Shelter!

The Bampton Cycle Shelter is a free-to-use, dedicated overnight spot for cycle tourers. There’s no need to book (but works on a first-come, first-served basis) and no fees to pay.

The Bampton Cycle Shelter being built
The Bampton Cycle Shelter being constructed

But  WHERE  is  it?

The Bampton Cycle Shelter is just outside Bampton, in Devon, near the border with Dorset. The map below shows the exact location:


The man behind it all (who prefers not to be named) has this to say:

Having spent over two years cycle touring (mostly wild-camping) I have a clear idea of what I – at least – look for in a wild campsite.
Devon’s wet so a roof is handy (plus with a fire pit it allows you to dry clothes). England is densely populated so seclusion is comforting.
Not needing to plan, but instead just rocking up takes the stress away. A town with facilities nearby is nice to have.

What is it:
A 6m*6m roof above a 3m*3m sleeping platform (that also doubles up as a table). Despite being on Nation Cycle Network 3 and only 2km from the town of Bampton (toilets/cafe/pubs/shops/chippy/laundry), it’s completely hidden from the road.
The dream:
Wild camping in England is not always easy. The truth is you’re very unlikely to get found when stealth camping between sundown and sunup (and if you were, most farmers wouldn’t give a toss). But somehow these facts don’t completely extinguish the anxiety. The shelter is situated in an old quarry we weren’t using. I built it over the Early May bank holiday almost entirely from repurposed materials which cost me very little. I hope it’s a useful resource for cycle-tourer (from near and afar) and can become widely known within the cycle-touring community (My hunch is frequent use will help preserve the shelter for the purpose it is intended).

The  Rules

Anyone can use the Bampton Cycle Shelter, but using it means you agree to, and will abide by the rules. That begins with not staying for more than two nights. Also, consider others who will use the shelter after you, and please leave it in the same state as you would have wanted it. Before leaving, please clear away any rubbish you can see – yes, even if it’s not your rubbish. Finally, it’s not a toilet. There are toilets available a short ride away. Summed up, it simply translates to being respectful.

See also  Wild Atlantic Way - Day 4

The  future

Wouldn’t is be fantastic if we could have many more facilities like this throughout the UK? If you own a piece of land on which you have build a similar structure (or even simply make a small patch available for cycle tourers to wild camp) then please do so? And if you do that, please let me know? Simply add a comment to this post.


3 thoughts on “Bampton Cycle Shelter”

  1. I’ve stayed there twice, it’s really nice, very quiet even though just off the road. Actually near the Somerset border not Dorset. If you need food don’t arrive in Bampton too late at night.


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