Wild Camping Peak District# Itineraries
The Peak District is a scenic upland area of the southern Pennines mainly in the county of Derbyshire in England, and it’s a top vacation destination for family road trips in the United Kingdom. The region is characterised by steep valleys, ridges, moorland plateaus, and rolling countryside and is perfect for a Campervan holiday! We’ve collected some tips and helpful information on wild camping in the Peak District.
Explore the wonders of the Peak District, England
While the scenery is the main draw, there are also many attractions and outdoor activities to pursue in the Peak District National Park and surrounding areas. If you’re a history buff, you’ll enjoy visiting Chatsworth House, Haddon Hall, Lyme Park, the National Tramway Museum, Tissington Hall, and the mining museum at Matlock Bath. At Eyam Hall, there’s a fascinating exhibit about the area during the Black Death.
For nature lovers, there are several caves to explore including Peak Cavern, Blue John, Speedwell, and Treak Cliff. There are more than 1800 miles of trails to explore in the region including the areas of Mam Tor and the Dovetail Nature Preserve.
Other popular attractions include Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, Peak Wildlife Park, and Brindley Water Mill and you can find beautiful waterfalls at Kinder Scout. If you’re travelling with children, you can’t miss Alton Towers and its amusement rides and water park. At Heights of Abraham, you can take a ride on a cable car to the top of a hill where you’ll find hiking trails, a cafe and fascinating exhibitions.
Festival time in the Peak District
Be sure to check the schedule of events during your visit as many festivals take place throughout the year including Dronfield Arts Festival, Rail Ale Festival, Gin and Rum Festival, Timber Festival, Buxton International Festival, Rosa Festival, and Signals Festival.
One of the best ways to get the most out of your adventure in the Peak District is to spend as much time outdoors as possible and the best way to do that is by camping instead of staying in hotels or bed and breakfasts. Wild camping Peak District is a great way to see the places that many people don’t get to see and to get up close and personal with the natural side of the region. It also saves you a ton of money and provides you with flexibility and freedom. However, there are some things you should know about wild camping Peak District.
All about wild camping in the Peak District
Wild camping is much different from camping at a designated campsite. You won’t have access to running water, flush toilets, or electricity. However, wild camping is the best way to explore a new place. The best thing about it is getting away from the crowds!
The most important thing you should know about Wild Camping Peak District is that wild camping in the region and in all of England is technically illegal. The reason for this is all land in England is private property that is either owned by a person or a company. That being said, there are some ways around this rule if you’re willing to follow some of the laws of the land.
Many rural areas around the Peak District region tolerate wild camping as long as campers are well-behaved. If you find a suitable spot, sometimes simply asking the owner is enough for them to allow you to camp there. Realistically, tracking down the owner could be difficult or even impossible so here are some tips when enjoying wild camping Peak District.
Wild camping Peak District: What to think of
First of all, when seeking a place to spend the night, seek a place that’s far from any roads, houses, other campers and farmland. If you find a place and decide to set up camp without asking permission first, be prepared to be asked to leave if the owner discovers you there and doesn’t want campers on their land. It’s best to arrive late in the day and leave as early as possible the next morning and only stay for one night at any wild camping area.
During your stay, be as quiet as possible. A sure way to be asked to move from a wild camping spot is to be loud and disruptive! The Peak District region is at high risk for fires so open fires are prohibited. Instead, cook with a portable camping stove and be sure to keep an eye on it at all times while using it. Finally, make sure the camp is left exactly how you found it.
There are many great places for wild camping in the Peak District but the Dark Peak area is said to be better due to its remoteness. The White Peak area is more open with more people around. Some of the best places to wild camp include Kinder Plateau, Burbage Valley, Bamford Edge, Dovedale, Chee Dale, Derwent, and Bleaklow.
Campsites in the Peak District
If you want to spend time immersed in nature but with some of the comfort amenities that full campsites have, perhaps semi-wild camping is a better option for you. Castleton Camping, Barkerfields Farm, Staden Grange, Lathkill Wild Campsite, Newlands Farm, Whitehouse Farm Campsite, and Benltonville Farm are just some of the semi-wild campsites around the Peak District.
Do’s and don’ts of wild camping Peak District
- Find a place away from roads, houses, businesses and other campers.
- Don’t make a lot of noise to disrupt nearby residents or campers.
- Arrive late, leave early and only stay for one night.
- Don’t start an open fire. When cooking with your portable stove, keep an eye on it at all times.
- Clean up after yourself and leave nothing behind.
Great tripping destinations around the Peak District and beyond
The Peak District is an amazing place for a family road trip, but there are other areas that aren’t too far away that are equally fun to explore. Here are some of our favourite scenic routes to explore while you’re in the area.
Peak District to Manchester – From rolling countryside to the big city
Manchester is a major city about an hour away from the Peak District and not only are there plenty of things to see and do in the city, but there are also many attractions along the way. As you drive this route, you’ll see the countryside, rolling hills and forest areas where you can enjoy beautiful hiking trails.
Some of the other attractions en route to Manchester include Science and Industry, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Trentham Gardens, Arley Hall, National Football Museum, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, and Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. Top Attractions in Manchester include the Manchester Opera House, Chinatown, Castlefield Urban Heritage Park, and Whitworth Art Gallery.
PaulCamper tip: Stop at Ladybower Reservoir and take a break from driving to enjoy some fresh air, a picnic and some nature walks.
Local Campsite Pick
Boundary Park is a campsite in Ollerton with many local attractions nearby.
- Open from April to October
- Dogs are welcome
- No electric hook-ups available
- Grass pitches
The A591 Central Lakes – A scenic journey through The Lakes National Park
The A591 that passes through The Lake District National Park is said to be one of the most scenic roads in the United Kingdom. As you make your way along this road, you’ll see mountains, forest areas, many lakes, and pretty little towns including Windermere, Ambleside, Grasmere, and Keswick. Some of the attractions you’ll find in the region include The World of Beatrix Potter, Windermere Jetty Museum, Holehird Gardens, and Cook House Gallery.
PaulCamper tip: If hiking is your thing, be sure to check out the trails at Helm Crag, Easedale Tarn, and Silver How.
Local Campsite Pick
BaysBrown Farm Campsite is a beautiful semi-wild camping spot in Ambleside.
- Open April 1 to October 31
- No set pitches
- Only Campervans are accepted, no Motorhomes
- No electric hook-ups
- Dogs are welcome
Forest of Bowland, Lancashire – History, scenery and nature
The Forest of Bowland is mostly known for the notorious witch trials that took place there in the 1600s, but it’s also a top destination to embark on a scenic drive from the Peak District. Make your way to the village of Pendle which is just over an hour away and head out to discover why this road and its surroundings have been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
There’s so much to see along the way including Whalley Abbey, Browsholme Hall, Sawley Abbey, Ingleborough Ruins, Bowland Wild Boar Park, and Clitheroe Castle. Beacon Fell is a great place to do some hiking and you can see beautiful waterfalls along the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail. You can also embark on a fascinating tour of a cave at White Scar Cave.
PaulCamper tip: In the historic village of Chipping, be sure to check out Brabin’s Shop, which is the oldest continuously running shop in the United Kingdom, and stick around for tea and sweets in the attached Tea Room.
Local Campsite Pick
Orcaber Farm Caravan & Camping Park is located in a beautiful setting with all-around views from your Campervan near Austwick.
- Hard-standing pitches available
- Pitches with electric hook-up
- Dogs are welcome
- On-site dog walk with river
Pennine Mountains – Drive through the countryside and into the past
As one of England’s top road tripping routes, you can bet you’ll see the stunning scenery and find an abundance of things to see and do on the drive through the Pennine Mountains. A drive through this rolling countryside really gives one a taste of rural living in England.
It actually hasn’t changed much over the years and the opportunity to toss modern living aside for a few hours is what draws so many to this area. As you drive along, watch out for the flocks of free-range sheep that often wander onto the roads!
PaulCamper tip: Check out some fantastic hiking trails at Catbells and The Old Man Coniston.
Local Campsite Pick
Calder Farm is a small family-run campsite in Bolton by Bowland.
- 12 hard-standing pitches
- Additional grass pitches
- Electric hook-ups available
- Dogs (and horses!) are welcome
And that’s it! Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed our tips and information on wild camping in the peak district as well as scenic routes and hidden gems. If you decide to spend the night in the wild, please make sure to be respectful and leave the area just as you found it! Other than that, enjoy the semi-wild camping campsites and rent a Campervan with PaulCamper for your next adventure. Happy camping!