Campsite on a farmers field in the Lake District

Pop-up campsites - could this be an opportunity for you?

In 2020 and 2021 we saw an unprecedented number of visitors to the Lake District National Park, many of whom were looking for campsites. If we have more campsite spaces available we will hopefully reduce ‘fly camping’ and litter throughout the park. We are anticipating similar numbers of visitors this year, could this be an opportunity for you?

‘Pop-up’ campsites can open for up to 28 days a year

A pop-up campsite is a campsite that is temporary. Usually it is a flat, accessible field without any facilities.

You can operate a small campsite that takes tents only for 28 days of the year, if you do not physically change the field, without planning permission.

You need to consider the location of your site carefully. Sites are needed away from the busy centre of the Lake District. If you have a field in a quiet area, away from any neighbours or a local community, not near a SSSI or historic monument/listed building this may be a possible site. Check that your tenancy agreement if you are a tenant does not exclude camping, and that your environmental agreements on your land do not prohibit camping or that any natural environment features or wildlife habitats will be disturbed.

Caravans and motorhomes on pop-up campsites

Sites for caravans and motorhomes come under different rules. For a small site where you take less than 5 caravans or motorhomes you can apply to be a certificated site under various bodies including the Motor Caravanner’s Club and you would need to already have hard ground that would take these vehicles. If you are taking more than 5 or would need to make changes to your land such as putting in hard standing you will need to apply for planning permission.

You do not need a licence for tents for 28 days. Tents for a longer period of time do require a licence from your local authority and will also need planning permission.

Facilities needed

You would need to provide portable toilets, a handwashing station and a supply of water. If you have a private water supply that has not been certified for commercial use you should provide distilled water for your visitors. Most portable toilet companies can provide this for you. You may also need to put down some mats in gateways if the weather is wet, and remove them after the camp site closes. You will need to consider how the rubbish from the site will be disposed of and arrange for this to be taken away by a commercial rubbish company or your local authority.

Checking for historic sites on your land

Please check the Heritage Gateway and search by keyword or the map to find any recorded historic sites on your land. These may need protecting from campsite vistitors and vehicles. If you have an historic site please contact Eleanor Kingston, our Lead Strategy Advisor for the Historic Environment for advice

Risk assessment and insurance

You need to risk assess your site. You can find a risk assessment for  campsites on Eden District Council’s website. You will need to consider the risks on your farm and how you can help campers to stay safe. Think about any information that you can provide for them via email or on a temporary notice board.

Insurance can usually be provided by the insurer who insures your land for public liability. There is usually an additional charge for this.

Read our full planning guidance on pop up camping and car parks