Wild camping in the Lake District

Wild camping at Wastwater

We can't allow wild camping in lowland areas on our land, especially on lake shores. We've cared for these special places for over 100 years. So it's our job as a conservation charity to keep them pristine and to look after the wildlife living here. We're sad to say that our rangers and National Park partners spend hundreds of hours each week clearing up litter and left over equipment. Here's some tips on a real wild camping trip, or if that's not for you, we have five campsites too.

If you plan to wild camp or backpack camp, please head onto the higher fells, and follow these simple guidelines. You’ll still have a great experience, but this will minimise your impact on the environment. Planning and preparation is essential for this type of activity. This includes having the right equipment and navigational skills to survive safely for a night away from civilisation. We'd also ask you to follow this guidance when visiting us in a campervan.

Travel light

A well prepared backpack contains enough equipment for a basic overnight stay. If this isn’t enough and you need more stuff, that’s an indication an official campsite will be better.

Stay out of sight

Away from any residences or other wild campers. Use a small and lightweight tent that blends into the landscape – part of the enjoyment really is experiencing unspoilt and vast landscapes. Maintain a safe distance from all water courses to prevent any contamination.

Stay for only one night, and tread lightly. Use a stove box instead of ground fires. 

Arrive late in the day (dusk) and move on early the next day (dawn). Need to keep warm? Please take in any wood you plan to burn, and take away any un-burnt wood.

Keep your group small

Staying inconspicuous means there should be no more than 2 small tents in any location. If you're back-packing with more than this, or you find there are already tents pitched in your chosen location, be prepared to change your plans. You may even have to consider abandonning your plan completely for a time when you can enjoy a wilderness experience.

Help us in looking after the Lakes – take all litter home with you.

This includes all human waste. If you need a bin or a toilet, this kind of camping isn’t for you.

An official campsite?

The other sustainable way to go camping in the Lake District is to stay at a campsite. We look after 5 campsites in the Lakes, offering amazing locations that are perfect bases for exploring the great outdoors. 

We’d go as far as saying the experience at our campsites is on a par with the wildest of campsites, without impacting any on the environment. You can find out more about our campsites below – if you don’t fancy sleeping under canvas; a pod, yurt, safari tent or tipi may be more your style.