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A bright orange tent wild camping on a dark mountainside

Wild camping

Before you head off on your Lake District wild camping experience, make sure that you do your research on the various top tips available on wild camping etiquette - we've provided a handy guide below. Being at one with nature can bring a few challenges but it can also be the perfect way to mix Lake District adventure, the great outdoors and an unforgettable stay in the National Park.

The starting point for the ultimate Lake District wild camping experience is to choose your pitch, if you are looking for a secret spot amongst the valleys or a riverside location make sure you are well equipped with a good Lake District map, the mobile phone signal can be pretty poor in the far corners of the park! Don’t let this put you off though, wild camping is an unforgettable experience and the Lake District is certainly a stunningly beautiful part of the country to pitch your tent.

Wild camping etiquette - dos and don't

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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There are lots of fairly 'wild' campsites across the Lake District, with views of lakes and mountains... but with a real toilet and fresh water on tap!

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