Pop-up Campsites

More people than ever are looking to experience Dartmoor and many are wanting to camp overnight. Last year, saw an unprecedented number of visitors to Dartmoor and we are expecting a similar number of visitors this year.

Pop-up campsites will provide additional camping options for visitors and play a role in helping to reduce ‘fly camping’

What are pop-up campsites?

  • A pop-up campsite is a campsite that is temporary. It is usually a flat, accessible field that would not normally have any facilities
  • Without planning permissions, you can operate a small campsite that takes tents for 28 days of the year if you do not physically change the field. Any facilities provided need to be temporary and removed at the end of the season
  • For 2021 this has been temporarily extended to 56 days.

I’m interested in providing a pop-up campsite, what do I need to think about?

Location

You need to consider the location of your campsite. The best sites are locations that are in quiet areas and away from local communities or neighbours. The locations should not be on or near a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSI) or Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or historic monument/listed building.

Please check the Heritage Gateway and search by keyword or the map to find any recorded historic sites on your land or use  Natural England Designated Site Search for SSSI/SAC locations. These may need protecting from campsite visitors and vehicles.

If you are a tenant, you will also need to check your tenancy agreement to check that your agreement does not exclude camping.

You should also check that any environmental agreements on your land do not prohibit camping and that any wildlife habitats or will not be disturbed by the campsite. You must also check that a change of use of land for more than 28 days does not a trigger a reduction in payments.

Facilities

You will need to provide

  • Portable toilets
  • Handwashing station
  • Supply of water - If you have a private water supply that has not been certified for commercial and /or public use you should provide distilled water for your visitors. Most portable toilet companies can provide this for you.
  • You may need to consider putting down mats in field gateways if the weather is wet
  • Rubbish collection and removal – you will need to consider how rubbish collected from the site is collected and disposed of. You will need to arrange for this to be taken away by a commercial rubbish company or your local authority.

Risk Assessments and Insurance

You need to risk assess your site. You will need to consider the risks on your farm and how you can help campers to stay safe. Think about any information that you can provide for them via email or on a temporary notice board.

Insurance can usually be provided by the insurer who insures your land for public liability. There is usually an additional charge for this and it is advised that you make your insurers aware that you will be offering a pop up campsite.

Additional planning guidance can be found on our planning advice page.

Consultation

Consultation is not required for your pop-up campsite. It is recommended that you discuss your plans with your nearest neighbours and local community, parish or town council.

It would also be useful to let the us know when you are establishing a pop-up campsite or car park and the dates that you intend to operate so that we can include this with our information for visitors.  You can do this by email to recreation@dartmoor.gov.uk

Caravans and motor homes on pop-up campsites

Sites for caravans and campsites come under different rules. For a small site that takes less than five caravans or motorhomes you can apply to be a certificated location under various bodies. Further information on becoming a certified location can be found on a number of websites, including the Motor Caravanners Club or the Caravan Club.

Further information

For more information and FAQs see our planning guidance for pop-up campsites and car parks.