Camping Barns and Bothies : Independent Hostels network

Self catering bunkhouses & hostels
Camping barn with log burner

Camping barns and bothies offer simple accommodation in stunning rural locations. There is a platform to lay your sleeping roll, a table and benches and a safe area for you to use your camping stove. Some barns and bothies also have a wood burning stove to gather around. Created to provided shelter for walkers but also ideal for family escapes. Many camping barns were started by the Youth Hostel Association but they have always been owned and run by local farms and community. These barns continue to provide simple accommodation as part of the Independent Hostels network.

Camping Barns and Bothies
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  • Profile picture of Badrallach Bothy and Campsite

    Badrallach Bothy and Campsite

    On the tranquil shores of Little Loch Broom overlooking one of Scotland’s finest mountain ranges, Badrallach Bothy and Campsite offer a fine base for walking and climbing. Fish in the rivers, hill lochs and sea or simply enjoy the flora and fauna. Hot showers, spotless accommodation, an unbelievable price and total peace make the Bothy and Campsite a firm favourite. There is also a holiday cottage for hire.

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  • Profile picture of Peppercombe Bothy

    Peppercombe Bothy

    Located in a quiet, tranquil, wooded valley with views across Bideford Bay towards Lundy, Peppercombe Bothy is effectively a stone tent. A perfect stopover on the South West Coast Path which passes through the valley close by or for those who really do want to get away from it all. With access to it’s own secluded beach you will not be disappointed. There is no light or heating so bring your own sleeping, cooking and eating equipment and a torch!

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  • Profile picture of Northcombe Camping Barns

    Northcombe Camping Barns

    A mile outside the town of Dulverton on Exmoor, Northcombe Camping Barns nestle in the Barle river valley with good canoeing, walking and bridleways. A perfect base for groups on Exmoor. The barns sleep 16 and 28 in partitioned dormitories. Smaller groups can be catered for. Heated by wood-burning stoves with a well equipped kitchen, you just need to bring your own pillows, sleeping bags or duvets.

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  • Profile picture of Trawden Camping Barn

    Trawden Camping Barn

    Trawden Camping Barn is a listed stone barn on Middle Beardshaw Farm. Surrounded by stunning landscape, the nearby village of Wycoller has been much used by film crews. The barn is large and open with an ancient timbered roof. There is accommodation for 20: 7 beds/bunks and 13 mattresses (BYO sleeping bags) with plenty of communal space, a table tennis and pool table and a well equipped kitchen (in a separate building just 15m away). Pub & café just a short walk away.

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  • Profile picture of Rookin House Camping Barn

    Rookin House Camping Barn

    Rookin House Farm Camping Barn sleeps up to 24 with central heating, fully equipped kitchen and inside toilets & showers (BYO bedding). The centre also has luxury self catering group accommodation and provides outdoor activities. At the heart of the Lake District surrounded by some of the best walking country and close to C2C cycle route.

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  • Profile picture of Edale Camping Barn Cotefield Farm

    Edale Camping Barn Cotefield Farm

    Overlooking Mam Tor, at the start of the Pennine Way, Edale Barn is a traditional camping barn or stone tent with a basic sleeping platform and a small communal living area. Within easy reach of the high moorland of Kinder and the wooded Derwent Valley. Adjoining the barn, but with external access, is a cooking area and separate toilet. There is no hot water or electricity. BYO sleeping & cooking equipment and torches. Pubs serving meals are within walking distance.

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  • Profile picture of Cragg Camping Barn

    Cragg Camping Barn

    Cragg Camping Barn, with stunning views of the Buttermere Fells, is a great base for all outdoor enthusiasts with great walking, climbing and mountain biking close by. Sleeps 8 with a kitchen and seating area, hot shower on a meter and toilet/ washbasin with hot and cold water. BYO sleeping bag and stove/eating utensils if you wish to self-cater. Under-5’s and dogs welcome (sole occupancy only). Cragg House Farm also has a holiday cottage sleeping two.

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  • Profile picture of Holme Wood Bothy

    Holme Wood Bothy

    Holme Wood Bothy offers basic accommodation in a spectacular secluded location, right on the shore of Loweswater. This stone tent provides a roof, kitchen area and sleeping platform. Visitors must bring all camping equipment including plates, matches, sleeping mats, sleeping bags, food and water. If you are looking for a remote and basic getaway with easy access to the lake, this bothy is your perfect choice. Great for accessing the lakes and canoeing on Loweswater.

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  • Profile picture of Dinah Hoggus Camping Barn

    Dinah Hoggus Camping Barn

    Dinah Hoggus Camping Barn lies on the old Packhorse route to Watendlath on the edge of the village of Rosthwaite in the Borrowdale valley. For walkers it is perfectly located right on the Cumbria Way and the Coast to Coast walk. It sleeps 12 on mattresses (BYO sleeping bag) & has a cooking/dining area. Basic cooking equipment is provided and there's an electric shower. The pub and village shop are just 300m away.

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  • Profile picture of Upper Booth Camping Barn

    Upper Booth Camping Barn

    Next to a small campsite alongside Crowden Clough in the Peak District. Hire the simple barn and additional pitches on the campsite. There is space for cooking (BYO equipment and beds) and tables for eating. Toilets, sinks & showers are shared with the campsite. On a working hill-farm, the Pennine Way passes through the farmyard and there is great mountain biking locally.

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  • Profile picture of Murt Barn Camping Barn

    Murt Barn Camping Barn

    Nestling in the wild and remote Wasdale valley, Murt Camping Barn is ideally situated for high fell walks in the Lake District including Scafell Pike, Mosedale Horseshoe and Great Gable. Converted from a hay loft and byre, it sleeps 8, with WC, shower & hot water in the same building. Pubs in the village of Nether Wasdale are just a 10 minute walk away and nearest shops are within 5 miles. Waswater & its YHA are half mile down road, towards the Scafell range of mountains.

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  • Profile picture of High Wallabarrow Camping Barn

    High Wallabarrow Camping Barn

    High Wallabarrow is a traditional hill farm in the Duddon Valley, the Lake District’s quiet corner. The well equipped camping barn, an old farmhouse, sleeps 10 upstairs. Downstairs there’s a large living area with woodburning stove and fully equipped kitchen. Mattresses provided BYO sleeping bags/pillows. Toilet just outside and shower nearby. 15 mins’ walk to pub, 10 mins to climbing crag. Not suitable for rowdy groups.

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  • Profile picture of Fisher-gill Camping Barn

    Fisher-gill Camping Barn

    Situated in Thirlmere at the foot of the Helvellyn mountains, close to Sticks Pass and the spectacular Fisher-Gill waterfall, the camping barn offers you direct access to numerous walks, hill and rock climbing. It is just off the A591 with local and national bus stops at the end of the lane. Accommodation consists of two rooms; a kitchen/diner with all the basic equipment and a 10 bed bunkroom (sleeping bags/liners are required). A pub serving meals is within walking distance. Perfect for quite country retreats, it is not suitable for late night drinking parties

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  • Profile picture of Mullacott Farm Camping Barn

    Mullacott Farm Camping Barn

    Set in 30 acres on the North Devon coast, the farm boasts sea views overlooking Woolacombe, Lundy Island, Lee Bay, Ilfracombe, and the Welsh coast. A former stable block with all accommodation on ground level with raised sleeping areas with mattresses.BYO sleeping bag/bedding and warm clothing. There is a dining area and well equipped kitchen. Toilets/coin operated showers are in a nearby block. No stag/hen parties. Dogs welcome with sole use bookings. B&B, camping and a static caravan are also available on site.

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  • Profile picture of Bank House Farm Hostel

    Bank House Farm Hostel

    Luxury bunkbarn, camping barn and B&B on an organic farm in beautiful Glaisdale Dale. Stunning views of the North York Moors and just 1 mile from the Coast to Coast route. The newly converted bunkbarn is warm & well appointed with one dorm of mostly single beds. The camping barn provides simple, single-night shelter for walkers and cyclists.

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  • Profile picture of Alstonefield Camping Barn

    Alstonefield Camping Barn

    Close to Dovedale, the Manifold Valley Cycle Trail, Carsington Water, AltonTowers and the Roaches Rocks (great for climbers). Ideal for quiet group get-togethers/parties, families, cyclists, walkers, DofE, Scouts, school groups and team building. Camping in the comfort of a remote cosy barn with log burning stove. No electric and no distractions, it is the perfect place to switch off from the hassles of a hectic life. BYO all camping equipment.

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  • Profile picture of Watendlath Bothy

    Watendlath Bothy

    Watendlath Bothy sits next to the tarn in the quiet, picturesque hamlet that shares its name. High in a beautiful valley, it offers superb access to the surrounding fells. Visitors should treat the Bothy as a stone tent, BYO equipment as for camping, such as cutlery, plates, sleeping bags & mats, matches, etc. The perfect choice for people looking to escape to one of the most remote-feeling places in the Lake District.

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  • Profile picture of Parc Elernion Camping Barn

    Parc Elernion Camping Barn

    Set within SSSI woodland, close to Trefor with its lovely sandy beach & harbour and with easy access to the Wales Coast Path, this little camping barn sleeps 2 on Westlake camp beds. BYO sleeping bags & towels. There is a well equipped kitchenette. The washing & toilet facilites are shared with the caravan site. A holiday cottage & tent pitches are also available. Perfect for the Welsh coast, castles & Snowdonia.

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  • Profile picture of Blakebeck Farm Camping Barn

    Blakebeck Farm Camping Barn

    At the foot of Souther Fell, within easy reach of Blencathra, Blakebeck Farm is set amidst the wildflower meadows of Mungrisdale. On the C2C cycle route and the Cumbrian Way. Perfect as a weekend break for walkers and families. The large upstairs room has bunk beds for 10 people (BYO sleeping bags) and a large farmhouse table. The kitchen has all you need to cook a simple meal. DIY breakfast & pack lunches can be pre-booked. One dog welcome with sole use. Not suitable for parties.

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  • Profile picture of Butterton Camping Barns Waterslacks and Wills Barns

    Butterton Camping Barns Waterslacks and Wills Barns

    Waterslacks Camping Barn is perched on the edge of the Manifold Valley with breathtaking views of the surrounding hills. BYO all camping gear including stove and sleep mats. Wills Barn is a fully equipped bunkhouse with stunning views of this unspoiled area of the Peak District National Park. A rustic log-burning stove provides heating and cooking facilities. Fenns Barn 4* self-catering holiday let and camping are also available

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  • Profile picture of Raydale Barn

    Raydale Barn

    Awaiting information

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  • Profile picture of Bents Camping Barn

    Bents Camping Barn

    Bents Camping Barn, formerly a 17th century shepherd’s cottage, is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. There are 2 bunkrooms sleeping 14 in total (BYO sleeping bags), a well equipped kitchen and a dining area. Please bring £1 coins for the electric metre. The Coast to Coast path is nearby and the Howgill Fells, Wild Boar Fell and Crosby Garrett Common offer great fell walking. Smardale Gill Nature Reserve and Sunbiggin Tarn are also easily accessible.

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  • Profile picture of Gumber Camping Barn (formerly Gumber Bothy)

    Gumber Camping Barn (formerly Gumber Bothy)

    A converted Sussex flint barn on a working sheep farm within the National Trust’s Slindon Estate, Gumber Camping Barn provides simple overnight accommodation & camping for walkers, horse riders and cyclists, just off the South Downs Way. A tranquil and remote location for you to get away from it all. Just five minutes’ walk from Stane Street, the Roman Road that crosses the South Downs Way at Bignor Hill. NO CARS. Not suitable for under fives.

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  • Profile picture of Swallow Barn Camping Barn

    Swallow Barn Camping Barn

    In the picturesque Loweswater Valley, Swallow Barn is part of a set of buildings dating back to 1670 on a working beef and sheep farm. Sleeping 18 on mattresses (BYO sleeping bags), there is a cooking and eating area, metered showers & plug socket and 2 toilets. Perfect for exploring the Western Fells on both high and low level walks with spectacular views, or enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the valley. On the C2C cycle route. The Kirkstyle pub (1 mi) serves food, Cockermouth (8 mi).

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  • Profile picture of St Johns in the Vale Camping Barn

    St Johns in the Vale Camping Barn

    St John’s-in-the-Vale Camping Barn, a renovated 18th century stable on a peaceful hill farm, has stunning views to Blencathra, Helvellyn and Castle Rock. The Barn has a sleeping area upstairs (mattresses provided) and a sitting/dining area below. A separate toilet, shower and cooking area (BYO equipment) are within the building. A wood-burning stove makes it nice and cosy. Outside there is a BBQ area. As there is no light pollution, the star-filled night skies are magical. Northern Lights have been seen too!

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  • Profile picture of Puttenham Eco Camping Barn

    Puttenham Eco Camping Barn

    This eco project on North Downs Way offers simple overnight accommodation in a beautifully converted historic barn. Self-catering (or local pubs for food within walking distance); three shared sleeping areas; garden with picnic bench and cycle shed. NO CARS ON SITE, even for off-loading. Nearest rail stations: Wanborough 3.5 km, Guildford 7 km.

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  • Profile picture of Fell End Camping Barn

    Fell End Camping Barn

    Fell End is a traditional 18th century Lakeland stone barn, located within its own grass courtyard approximately ½ mile from the farm. It is within easy distance of Coniston (6 miles) and the Duddon Valley (5 miles). Come and stay and witness the star filled skies, a truly breathtaking sight. Experience the magical sound of silence in the tranquil and calming Fell End Barn. Bring your own cooking equipment, torches, bedding and mat.

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  • Profile picture of The Reckoning House

    The Reckoning House

    Renovated to a high standard including double glazing and insulation, the Reckoning House is situated 3 miles from Bakewell. It is on the edge of the Lathkill Dale National Nature Reserve, full of interesting flora and fauna as well as outstanding geological features. Horse riding, fishing, golf and cycle hire are available locally. Local walks include the Limestone Way. Facilities include: cooking area, 4 calor gas rings (gas supplied), hot water for washing up & showers, storage heaters in all rooms.

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  • Profile picture of Foreland Bothy

    Foreland Bothy

    Foreland Bothy on the National Trust Foreland Point Estate on the Exmoor coast offers very basic accommodation, but rewards you with a fantastic location right on the South West Coast Path. Treat it like camping but without the tent, so you need to bring camping mats, sleeping bags and cooking equipment. There is a composting loo but no hot water. The perfect location for a night or two for those who want to explore the area on foot or want to escape technology in this wilderness under some stunning dark skies.

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  • Profile picture of Malham Tarn Bothies

    Malham Tarn Bothies

    Opening April 2019 on the National Trust Malham Tarn Estate in North Yorkshire, Ragged Robin Bothy and Meadowsweet Bothy will each sleeps 6 people on bunk bed platforms. Like camping but without the tent, you need to bring mats, sleeping bags and cooking equipment. There is one external toilet, cold water and no heating or lighting, so a perfect location for those who want to escape technology and enjoy dark skies. The bothys are right on the Pennine Way.

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  • Profile picture of Brompton on Swale Bunkbarn

    Brompton on Swale Bunkbarn

    Located on a small working farm, just 3 miles east of Richmond, Yorkshire. Brompton on Swale Bunkbarn offers a welcome break from walking or cycling the Coast to Coast. A pot of tea for weary walkers upon arrival and safe storage for bikes makes this bunkhouse especially welcoming. Close to the Yorkshire Dales, Swaledale, Wensleydale, Easby Abbey, Richmond Castle & Ellerton Lakes. Dogs are welcome to stay but must be kept on a lead around the yard as there are ducks, hens and geese.

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Is it a bothy  or a stone tent ?

These barns provides basic rural accommodation, converted from traditional stone barns once used to store hay and house livestock.  They  are sometimes called a stone tent.  There is no bedding and sometimes only a hard sleeping shelf.  There usually water and a toilet,  a table and benches, and a safe area for you to use your camping stove.  Some barns have mattresses to sleep on,  others just a sleeping shelf for you to lay your own camping mat on.  Some have  a wood burning stove to gather around in the evening.

Typical camping barn or bothy cooking area
Taddington camping barn (now closed).  A typical cooking area

A bothy is a Scottish camping barn or Stone Tent and the term Bothy has been taken up by the National Trust in England to describe their most basic accommodation. Traditionally bothies are rural accommodation in Scotland originally used to shelter shepherds or fishermen and adopted by mountaineers in more recent years.

Most barns are priced at around £10 a per person per night.  They offer a memorable way of staying within some stunning scenery and are  a great alternative to camping with a roof over your head if it rains.  The most developed bothies and camping barns have mattresses or bunks, showers and cooking facilities, but many do not.  They are very rural and sometime so remote they have no electricity. Aimed at the walker who might walk from barn to barn, these stone tents are often used by an outdoor groups and because they are small (from 4 beds) and away from traffic they can be fun for families.

Alstonefield Camping Barn
Alstonefield Camping Barn

Don’t forget if you plan to stay in a camping barn or bothy that you will definitely need to bring your own sleeping bag (sometimes sleeping mat) and usually your own cooking equipment including a camp stove, cutlery and plates.  Some barns and bothies don’t have running water so you may need a water container too.  You will always need  warm clothes, walking boots and a torch.

Our camping barns and bothies are in the most amazing, remote spots. They are a fantastic opportunity to stay in some of the UK’s most beautiful areas often under dark skies and far from the hustle and bustle of modern life!

YHA Camping Barns in England & Wales

Camping Barns  were originally the idea of the Youth Hostel Association, although they have always been owned and run independently.  They were created to provided shelter for walkers and cyclists and often filled the gaps left by the selling of rural  YHA  hostels.   The YHA has been shedding their supported camping barns for over ten years and in 2017 they stopped supporting all the barns, expect for the two properties they owned themselves.  This was part of a wider closure of rural accommodation which has been taking place over a number of years including  YHA  hostels and bunkhouses .   Taddington Camping barn has closed down but it is great to know that for most camping barns this is not the end of the story and they are continuing  to provide simple accommodation as part of the Independent Hostels network.

Lakeland Camping Barns

Around 10 years ago a group of YHA camping barns in the Lake District joined together to form a local marketing group, Lakeland Camping Barns. Moving away from the services provided by the YHA, Lakeland Barns produced their own marketing and online booking system.  It has been a story of great success.

Lakeland Barns have worked with the Independent Hostels network for many years, sometimes sharing stands at shows and festivals.  Their member  barns are all shown on the map above.

Fell End Camping Barn, one of 9 Lakeland Camping Barns.

YHA Barns open and welcoming guests

You may have heard that the YHA closed all their camping barns and some simple hostels in spring  2017. However the good news is that many of these privately owned barns and hostels remain open and welcoming guests as independent establishments.

In recent years the Youth Hostel Association have changed their century old charitable aim “To help all, especially young people of limited means, to a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside”  by adding the amendment “and appreciation of the cultural values of towns and cities”.   This has been reflected by the sale of many of the Youth Hostel Associations small rural hostels and their investment in large hostels in the cities.

YHA Simple Hostel Dolgoch Hostel
YHA Simple Hostel Dolgoch Hostel

Not to be deterred by the YHA’s latest shedding of their smallest and most rural accommodation, the farmers and charities who own these basic hostels and camping barns have made the decision to continue welcoming guests under the umbrella of the Independent Hostels network.   The Independent Hostels network is now more extensive than the YHA, with 403 hostels and bunkhouses in England, Wales and Scotland.  We will be working hard to let the public know that these camping barns and simple hostels are still open and will be welcoming guests far into the future.  A full list of the camping barns open and in the Independent Hostels network can be seen above.

YHA Camping Barn at Taddington
YHA Camping Barn at Taddington (closed in 2017 after removal of support from the YHA)

Included in the list of simple accommodation let-go by the YHA in 2017 is the Elenydd Hostels, Tyn Cornel and Dolgoch, both of which are remaining open. These were originally owned by the YHA and rescued form closure by a Trust set up to preserve these much loved simple hostels.   Puttenham Camping Barn is a also remaining open.  It was similarly set up by a local Trust wishing to provide economical access to the glorious Surrey countryside.   The farm barns: Northcombe Camping Barns, Edale Camping Barn, Alstonefield Camping Barn all continuing to remain open and welcoming guests.  Only Taddingon has decided to close after losing support from the YHA .

YHA Camping Barn at Brompton
YHA Camping Barn at Brompton

If you enjoy using simple rural accommodation and would like to see these barns flourish outside of the YHA, please spread the news that they remain open.  Look out for our posts on social media and share them with your friends.  If you post on outdoor sites or have a website of your own, please add the a link to this page to help others find these camping barns.

YHA Camping Barn at Puttenham
YHA Camping Barn at Puttenham