Storm brewing over Skiddaw copyright Michael Turner

Wild camping

The Lake District National Park has many campsites, often in fairly wild and very beautiful locations. You can see a list on our Camping and caravanning page.

Camping away from an organised campsite is called wild camping. Legally wherever you camp you must have the permission of a landowner to camp on their land, though there is a tradition of wild camping in the Lake District.

In the past, camping has often been tolerated as long as people:

  • camp above the highest fell wall, well away from towns and villages
  • leave no litter - this includes not burying any litter and removing other people's
  • don't light any fires, even if there is evidence that fires might have been lit
  • stay for only one night
  • keep groups very small - only one or two tents
  • camp as unobtrusively as possible with inconspicuous tents which blend in
  • leave the campsite as you would want to find it
  • carry out everything you carried in
  • carry out tampons and sanitary towels. Burying them doesn't work as animals dig them up again
  • choose a dry pitch rather than digging drainage ditches around a tent or moving boulders
  • perform toilet duties at least 30 metres - 100 feet - from water and bury the results with a trowel
  • at all times, help protect the environment

Sometimes groups, such as young people on awards schemes, have arranged permission for camping in advance. However this does not mean these sites are open to everyone. Please check. Camping in car parks or on roadside verges is not allowed.

As the National Park Authority we do not have the power to allow camping on private land and we do not permit camping on the land that we own.

Wherever you pitch, please remember that the landowners or their representatives have the legal right to order you to break camp and move on.

Useful links

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Cottage near Coniston - copyright Charlie Hedley

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