Camping on Farmland

There are plenty of places to camp in the UK. Campsites are dotted all over the countryside, some with so many facilities they’re almost a home away from home. But others prefer the more unspoilt beauty of open country and farm land.

Quite a few farmers welcome campers these days and have fields set aside for the purpose. Others will allow campers on their land as long as they’re out of sight. When you’re camping don’t assume that open land means open access, though; all too often that land belongs to a farmer. If you’ve needed to scale a fence or a wall to get into the field, the chances are that it’s private land.


If you’re on private land without permission, you’re trespassing; it’s as simple as that. If you want to camp on farmland, make sure you obtain the farmer’s permission first. Some will be willing, and will even suggest the best locations, where you’re away from livestock, on a flat area, and close to water. Others might refuse, but that’s their right.

There might be times when you camp on farmland without even realising it. If the farmer arrives to complain, don’t argue. Just apologise and move elsewhere. If you’re contrite and explain, he might even offer somewhere else on his property.

Farm Camping

Often farmers will want campers on their land. It’s a way to make use of an empty field in summer and gain a little extra income. There will generally be a sign at the farm gate, or you might hear about it from others.

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Different farms will offer different things. It could be as basic as somewhere to pitch your tent, or it could run to a full breakfast and use of the bathroom in the house. The prices, of course, will vary accordingly.

Don’t automatically assume the field will be ideal for camping just because it’s on a farm. Unless the place comes recommended, inspect it first to be sure it’s suitable. You need a fairly flat area for your tent, and access to water – and it helps if you won’t be woken too early by livestock.

The Countryside Code

When you’re camping on open land, which includes farmland, you need to remember to leave the land in the same condition as you found it. If you have a campfire (and you should always ask permission specifically for this), then make sure it’s fully dead before you move on and clean the area. Remember too, you’re representing all campers. The better the experience the farmer has, the more likely he is to continue allowing camping.

Don’t leave any rubbish, and bury all your toilet waste. As with everywhere in the countryside, make sure you always close all the gates behind you (failure to do that could see you get a rude awakening).

Respect the fact that you’re on someone else’s land. If you have a dog with you, keep it under close control. If you’re arriving by car, park where the farmer directs you, even if it’s not close to your campsite. Don’t make excessive noise, and if possible, leave early in the morning, when you’ll cause less disturbance to the farm routine.

If you need something, don’t be afraid to ask. In most instances the farmer will be happy to help.

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