How can I wild camp?
You can backpack camp on some parts of Dartmoor. This is by carrying your own equipment as part of your walk and staying one or two nights max. You can only do this in certain areas, check the camping map to find out where.
What is backpack or wild camping?
If you can carry everything you need in your backpack as part of a Dartmoor walking expedition, you can backpack camp for one or two nights in some areas of open moorland, well away from roads or settlements using a ‘no impact’ approach.
Planning and preparation is essential for this type of activity. This includes having the right equipment and navigational skills to survive safely ‘well away from civilisation’ for a couple of days, and crucially, knowing where you are allowed to camp. This is the only type of camping permitted, however it is not permitted everywhere in the National Park and so checking our camping map is essential to find out where you can go. The areas where you can backpack camp are shaded in purple.
When backpack camping:
Travel light - a well prepared backpack contains sufficient equipment for a basic overnight stay. If this is not enough and you need more stuff and facilities – use a campsite instead!
Stay out of sight – backpackers should use very small and lightweight tents which easily blend into the landscape. Part of the enjoyment of experiencing the National Park is its unspoilt and vast landscapes, so it is important that other people’s enjoyment of Dartmoor is not impaired by tents dotting the view.
Tread lightly – Dartmoor is beautiful, don’t spoil it by lighting fires or leaving waste behind. Put everything back in your backpack and take it home. If you worry about carrying your rubbish out, need a bin or a toilet – then this isn’t for you – use a campsite.
- Take all litter home.
- No open fires or BBQs.
- Ensure you do not pollute streams or rivers.
- Avoid disturbing wildlife particularly during the moorland lambing and bird breeding season, from 1 March to 31 July.
For more information see the National Park byelaws.
Camping in family sized tents, as a large group, in camper vans and motor homes
Designated campsites are a must for large tents, camper vans and motor homes.
There are friendly farm campsites, rustic camping barns, isolated bunk houses and fantastic hostels, together with huts and pods where you can view Dartmoor’s dark night skies and enjoy its peace and tranquillity.
Look out for small farm campsites if you want a remote, more intimate feel with basic facilities.
Motorhomes and camper vehicles
Please be aware that if you plan to visit in a motorhome the vehicle size may mean some roads are off limits. Please don’t rely on satellite navigation systems to get you to your destination, but use the helpful Coach Driver and Motorhome Guide for Dartmoor map (PDF) to plan your route.
Please remember its OK to pull into a layby to admire the view and have a cup of tea, but overnight sleeping in vehicles at the roadside or in car parks is not permitted under National Park byelaws.
Please use authorised sites which accept motorhomes for your overnight stay.