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Martin Dorey is a pro at escaping the crowds for a staycation. He spoke to Express.co.uk to share his best tips as he publishes his latest book, Off The Beaten Track England and Wales.
Martin set off on his campervan adventure in May 2021 as the UK was still in the midst of the pandemic.
Despite the UK teeming with staycation tourists, Martin said it was still possible to escape the crowds in England and Wales.
He said: “I try to use paper maps if I can, and then I found a list of the worst selling Ordnance Survey maps.
“And you know only a few people are going there because no one’s buying the map.
“So Snowden is the bestselling map and I just thought I’m not going to go there because everyone will be there.
“That’s why I went to West Wales instead of Snowdonia.”
While Martin had many incredible experiences writing the book from paddleboarding on the Thames to biking Devon, one destination stood out.
He said: “Northumberland is just brilliant. It’s so lovely and so quiet. I think people are afraid of the cold North sea and the weather but if you get it right, it’s stunning.
“It’s really beautiful. If you like beaches, it’s just heavenly. Cornish beaches, just slightly colder.”
He added: “But I think lots of places really surprised me because I was shocked at how far away I could get from people even in a year when the UK was really busy.”
As an expert camper Martin knows how to avoid common camping pitfalls. He shared his top tips with Express.co.uk.
He said: “People tend to take too much stuff. And if you’ve got too much stuff, things become a mess really quickly.
“And it becomes really frustrating. So like if you’ve got a bed and you’ve got to move loads of stuff to get the bed out, you’re going to get really annoyed by that after a couple of days.
“The less you take, the happier you will be. You don’t need loads of gadgets and gizmos and all that sort of stuff.
“You don’t need massive changes of clothes. Packing light is really important.”
He added: “Take rice and a couple of tins of tomatoes and onion. Then you can do really simple food, really really easily.
“I always have some tuna and rice to be used in emergencies. Or a stick of chorizo, that will last for ages.”
While it’s important to be prepared for any camping emergencies, Martin said he encourages people to buy local.
He said: “Then people can try and mitigate the impact of tourism and contribute to areas, rather than getting all their shopping at Waitrose or wherever.”
Martin’s book Off The Beaten Track England and Wales was published on May 26 by Bloomsbury and is available at major retailers.
It’s packed with inspiration and routes to escape the crowds and discover England and Wales at their wildest.
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