Wild Camping Peak District…..Best spots and Top Tips

by | Last modified on Jan 23, 2024 | Advice, Camping & Outdoors

This wild camping Peak District post has everything you need to know about stealth camping in the Peak District National Park. Offering suggestions on the best places to pitch and some top tips. If you are new to wild camping, I’d suggest also reading my general wild camping UK guide first. It includes gear suggestions, toilet and camping etiquette.

The Peak District is a National Park conveniently located in central England. It is known for its rolling hills, plateaus and valleys rather than jagged peaks. The most popular hike in the region is Kinder Scout, the highest summit in the Peak District at 363m.

The Peak District is split into two areas: the Dark Peak and the White Peak.

Wild camping in the Peak District offers a fun way to connect with nature and enjoy this beautiful space. I would say the Peak District isn’t as easy to wild camp in compared to some of the larger National Parks like the Lake District or Snowdonia. Having said that, though, it is very possible and something I have done multiple times.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there has sadly been a rise in anti-social wild camping behaviour. PLEASE read this guide carefully and always follow the ‘leave no trace’ rules. This protects nature and ensures we can all continue to enjoy Wild Camping in the National Parks.

Due to wildfire risk, barbecues, disposable barbecues or any form of open fire and flame are not permitted in the open countryside anywhere in the Peak District. Read more here.

Wild camping Peak District

You might also want to check out my other blogs:

Before we start….

If you are new to this blog, I’m Bex Band – a full-time UK adventurer, author and founder of the women’s adventure community Love Her Wild. You can read more about me here. I share all my advice in this Peak District Wild Camping guide to help make your overnight adventure as smooth and easy as possible.

If you have any questions, please use the comments box below. And for ongoing tips and inspiration on camping and adventure, make sure you follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

Also, grab a copy of my best-selling adventure memoir – Three Stripes South.

Is wild camping in Peak District legal?

Legally, you are not permitted to wild camp in the Peak District. The National Park land is privately owned, and without permission from the landowner to camp overnight, you are technically breaking the law.

The only areas you can legally pitch a tent overnight in the wild are in Dartmoor (although there are some restrictions – more details here) and Scotland.

However, with the right care and approach, it is tolerated for the most part and is a practice that is undertaken regularly.

It is worth noting that the risk of moorland fires is very high in the Peak Districts. Fires have caused huge damage in the area in recent years, making authorities more alert of wild campers. It is absolutely vital, for the protection of our natural spaces, that you do not have an open fire if wild camping.

Make sure you’ve had a good read of all the Leave No Trace policies on this page before attempting a wild camp.

How to choose a Peak District wild camping spot

Having an OS map (see the ‘Resources’ section below) is an essential bit of kit you will need to work out potential wild camping spots.

Decide what hiking route you want to do. For first-time wild campers, a simple hike in and out with a wild camp overnight is ideal. A more advanced adventure could include a multi-day hike wild camping in a different spot each night.

Using the map, mark a few potential wild camping spots that are in the area your hike finishes. Aim for 2-4 spots you can check in person on the day.

For a good wild camping spot look for the following:

  • a spot a few km from the nearest road and preferably a bit away from any major paths
  • somewhere that doesn’t involve jumping a fence
  • flat spot (the closer the contour lines are together, the steeper the terrain) 
  • no too exposed (you don’t want to be high up on an exposed spot where you are open to the elements)
  • running water nearby for resupply

You’ll only know if they are definitely a good choice when you see the place in person. Check that you aren’t sitting in a bog or at the bottom of a ditch that might flood if it rains. Ensure there’s no danger of rockfall, and you don’t need to trample lots of wildflowers or vegetation to make a space.

Best wild camping spots Peak District

Best wild camping spots in the Peak District

This list of places to wild camp in the Peak District is just intended as a guide. See what these spots look like on a map. Then use that as a guide to try and find your own spaces.

The beauty of wild camping is that the place feels like it isn’t known, and part of the joy really does come from discovering your own hidden place!

Here are a few suggestions to get you started on where to pitch your camp:

Burbage Valley
One of the most beautiful areas in the Peak District National Park, this offers great stealth camping opportunities. I’d recommend finding a spot in the woodlands, where you’d be nestled away from on-lookers and have a good chance of spotting a wealth of wildlife.

Reynards Cave in Vovedale
The cave offers an unusual spot for wild camping (especially bivvy bag camping). But is also well-known, so it is not a good choice on a busy, sunny weekend. You’ll find the cave on the eastern banks of River Dove, which got its name from a local bandit who apparently used the spot as a hideaway.

Agden Rocher
A small tent will fit below Agden Rocher, but be wary of rockfall here and leave enough space so you aren’t right up against a wall. You’ll have a nice view and maybe also some sheep for company. The spot is a short drive from Sheffield. So it could be a good choice for first-time wild campers who want the security of a quick escape if needed.

Bleaklow and Derwent Moors
Some describe these moors as ‘bleak’, but they also hold their own special kind of beauty. These are easy places to wild camp as there is lots of flat open space to pitch a tent discretely.

Lawrence Field Quarry
The woodland around this artificial lake offers many potential spaces to pitch a tent. It can get busy as it’s one of the more popular spots with outdoor enthusiasts.

Can you wild camp on Kinder Scout?

Kinder Scout, standing at 636 meters, proudly claims its position as the highest peak in the Peak District.

There are multiple routes to climb the mountain – with Grindsbrook Clough and Jacob’s Ladder being popular choices. Grindsbrook Clough, a challenging scramble, is best suited for experienced hikers. It involves some rugged terrain unsuitable for campers carrying heavy backpacks. In contrast, Jacob’s Ladder offers a relatively straightforward path. Guiding hikers over an ancient bridge and along a gently sloped trail, ensures a manageable and scenic approach.

There are lots of wild camping opportunities in the Kinder Scout area. While camping atop the peak is an option, it’s wise to consider lower elevations. This way you aren’t exposed to the rapidly changing weather. Woolpacks, located just south of Kinder Scout, offers a sheltered camping spot. It’s surrounded by boulders that will offer good shelter.

For an extra touch of adventure, venture less than a mile northwest to Mermaid’s Pool. A hidden gem perfect for wild swimming and captivating views, adding an exciting element to your camping experience in this remarkable landscape.

Peak District Wild Camping

Getting to the Peak District

As with any adventure, I like to promote leaving the car behind and taking public transport. It’s an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint on your travels…..and is much more adventurous!

There are lots of stations that stop nearby where you can then easily catch a bus to take you more in the heart of the Peaks:

North of the Peak District – train lines stop at Derwent, Hope and Edale Valleys
South of the Peak District – train lines connect Derby to Matlock
West of the Peak District – train lines stop at Glossop and Buxton

During the summer months, there is also the Hope Valley Explorer. A hop-on-hop-off bus with commentary that will take you to all the best hiking spots.

Where to base yourself in the Peak District

My recommended place to base yourself for any adventures in the Peak District is Bakewell. The town has everything you need to stock up and is close to the Peaks. It is easy to reach from most places.

If you are travelling from the West, Buxton could be an easier alternative if you come by train.

If you are looking for somewhere nice to stay before and after your adventure, check out The Rutland Arms Hotel, with prices starting at £40 a night.

Wild camping uk

What’s the best tent for Wild Camping?

Among my collection of tents, there’s one that stands out as the ultimate choice for wild camping. It’s impressively lightweight, built to endure rain and winds, discreet yet surprisingly roomy, and incredibly simple and swift to set up.

Allow me to introduce you to the MSR Hubba Hubba (as pictured above). Owning one of these is a decision you won’t regret!

Can you Bivvy Bag in the Peak District?

Yes! Bivvy bag camping is an even more discrete way to wild camp as you are less visible than in a tent. Set up is easier as you require a smaller footprint and you are far more out in the open, only increasing that sense of adventure and connection to nature.

The downside is that you are more exposed to the elements. Because of this, I find that I can only bivvy bag camp for 2 nights in a row until I feel like I’m ready for shelter.

This video I made below isn’t from the Peak District but gives you a sense of how to find a suitable spot for the night and also proves that you can very much wild camp, even if you have a toddler with you!!!

Wild camping Peak District resources and books

For a full list of what to pack for your Peak District wild camping adventure, head to my Wild Camping guide. Beyond your general camping items, you are going to want to get an OS map for the Peak District to help you plan and navigate. There are two maps that cover the National Park depending on the area you are planning to head to:

For wider reading on the Peak District and mini-adventures, check out:

For reliable weather forecasts, check out the following. If you are expecting strong winds, make sure you are away from trees and not camping in an exposed place. In wet weather, you want to make sure you aren’t in a basin or low ground that may flood:

Other relevant posts to help you get ready:

For a bit of inspiration

If you want to get an idea of what wild camping might look like in the Peak District, take a look at these vlogs:

Tops Tips for stealth camping in the Peaks

  • The most popular climb in the Peak District is Kinder Scout, the highest peak. So choose a different mountain if you want a quieter experience.
  • Because the Peak District is smaller and less ‘wild’ than other National Parks, it’s especially key that you pitch late and leave early so you are discreet and unseen.
  • Any time you go wild camping, tell someone your general plan and direction. As well as what time they should expect you home.
  • It’s vital you understand and follow the ‘Leave No Trace’ rules so you protect the land you are camping on. You can find them on this page – Wild Camping UK.
  • Check the weather each day so you are up-to-date with any changes or warnings.

I hope you found this guide to wild camping Peak District helpful; if you’re new to the activity – remember that confidence is often the thing that holds most people back from trying it for the first time. So leap and go for it! Absolute worst-case scenario: you’ll need to pack down at night and head home.

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Happy camping adventurers!!!!

14 Comments

  1. Gregory Sayle

    Hi, please can you help me out. I am looking for a place to wild camp around the peak district area. I had in mind Bleaklow or Kinder Scout but not sure if i need to seek permission to it in these areas.
    or do i not need permission at all ? and any other spots that you know of for good wild camping.

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      I’m not able to give advice other than what I’ve put in this blog. This is everything I know 🙂

      Reply
      • Roger

        Any good laces to day camp and which allows campfires?

        Reply
  2. Dean Read

    Thanks for including my video in this post, great memories of a camp with my daughter.

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      No problem Dean! It’s a great bit of inspiration 🙂

      Reply
  3. S

    Hi, just found this on Google and liked your pages on Instagram. I love hiking but am new to wild camping, I really want to start doing it but still have ‘fear’ about it. How do you get over it/is there anything I can read? Thanks for all your info here!

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      Thank you for liking and reading! The first time wild camping is the most nerve-wracking. I always suggest going with a frined for the first time to make it less scary. Try joining some outdoor groups like Love Her Wild or Explores Connect to ask for tips or to find buddies. Good luck!

      Reply
  4. Shelley

    We are looking to wild camp at dovedale have you been there? Are you suggesting no open fires? Can we be fined if we camp?

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      I’ve not been there so can’t say specifically if it’ll be a good spot.
      Absolute no open fires are allowed. Yes, you can be fined….but really it comes down to protecting the wildlife and nature in the area so please do stick to this rule. It’s an important one!
      Enjoy your wild camp :_

      Reply
    • adrian

      you shouldnt be wild camping at Dovedale. That isn’t wild camping, its just pitching a tent in a busy tourist spot.

      Reply
    • andy

      Not a good place to wild camp _ very busy and steep sided valley but there are some nice campsites nearby

      Reply
  5. Eddie

    Hi! Love the blog, thank you very much for all the info. I was wondering if you had any advice for me – I’m hoping to find somewhere to pitch a tent nearby a river or pool of water to cool off… do you know of any area sin the peak district that may be best for that kind of thing? 🙂
    Thanks! Eddie

    Reply
    • Bex Band

      You’re welcome Eddie! I don’t have any specific recommendations. The tarns will likely be busy so it’ll probably be a case of finding a discrete wild camping spot nearby and then walking to the water when you want a swim.
      Enjoy!

      Reply

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