Wild camping in the Lake District
There’s a long tradition of wild camping in the Lake District but it's important to know the difference between true wild camping and illegal fly camping. Please read these guidelines carefully to help you decide whether wild camping is right for you or whether an established campsite would be a better option.
Where you can wild camp
Stay out of sight and for only one night
A wild camp pitch should be above the highest fell wall (approximately 400m or 1200 feet high) and shouldn't be noticed by anybody else. This means staying away from any buildings or other wild campers. Don't camp next to streams or springs to avoid contaminating the water. Arrive late in the day (dusk) and move on at dawn.
Keep your group small and be prepared to change your plans
Many traditional wild camping locations are attracting unsustainable numbers of campers so we’re asking you to remain true to the wild camping ethos of being completely inconspicuous. If there are two tents already in your spot, you'll need to move on – these special places cannot sustain large numbers of campers.
Wild camp, don't fly camp
If your planned pitch is not above the highest fell wall this is illegal fly camping - not wild camping. We don't give permission for camping in valleys, by lakeshores or any lowland area unless it's on an official campsite.
A well prepared backpack should contain 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 a better option. Use a small and lightweight tent that blends into the landscape – part of the enjoyment really is experiencing unspoilt landscapes.
Don't light fires or BBQs
We all need to play our part in protecting this precious environment. Fires can cause a lot of damage and risk starting uncontrollable wild fires. The right equipment, and stoking up on good camp food warmed on a lightweight camping stove, is the way to keep toasty.
Be a champion of ‘Leave no trace’
Clearing up discarded rubbish and camping equipment takes us away from our vital work to care for the Lake District we all love. Help us look after the Lakes by leaving no trace at all. This includes all human waste. If you need a bin or a toilet, this kind of camping isn’t for you.
Enjoy the outdoors safely
Part of the fun of wild camping is finding your own route and spot for the night using your navigation skills. Planning and preparation is essential, including checking the weather, having the right equipment and being confident you have the skills and experience to safely spend a night away from civilisation. You must be able to look after yourself and your group in remote locations.
Visit Adventure Smart for more tips on how to keep yourself and others safe in the Lakes.
Follow the Countryside Code
Please follow the Countryside Code when you visit the Lake District. By taking your litter home with you, keeping your dog under control, keeping gates, driveways and roads clear and sticking to designated footpaths, you can help us care for the Lake District and the wildlife and people who call it home.
An official campsite?
The other responsible way to go camping in the Lake District is to stay at a recognised campsite. We look after four 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 the environment.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, there's so much to explore on a holiday in the Lake District. Discover craggy fells, wildflower-rich meadows, traditional sheep farms and crystal-clear lakes. We have a wide range of accommodation across the Lake District, from lakeside cottages to rustic bothies and campsites for you to browse and plan your stay.
Get the best out of your visit by planning ahead. From finding a car park and checking capacity, to following the countryside code and preparing for your outdoor adventure safely, we've pulled together the tools, tips and guidance to help you make the most out of your trip and help us look after the Lake District.
Explore the Lake District's majestic mountains – among them Scafell Pike, the tallest in England – ancient woodland, hidden waterfalls, rugged coastline and, of course, its many lakes. You might even spot a red squirrel, roe deer or bird of prey.
From gentle ambles to more challenging hikes, these are some of the best walks to explore the heart of the Lake District.
Discover what the Lake District has to offer if you love getting outside – from walking and cycling trails for all abilities, canoeing and sailing, to relaxing pleasure boat rides.