D of E’s rules have recently changed and they now allow participants doing the Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards to stay in camping barns or bunkhouses.
Independent Hostels have a network of camping barns and bunkhouses all over the UK that fit this new D of E condition perfectly.
Accommodation for the The Duke of Edinburgh's Award
Bank House Farm, Glaisdale, Whitby YO21 2QA
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.
Borth, Ceredigion, Wales, SY24 5JS
With 4 miles of stunning beach just 20 metres from the front door, Borth Youth Hostel is perfect for a beach holiday. This Edwardian house has 9 bedrooms with sea views and is a great base for visits to the Centre for Alternative Technology, Aberystwyth or the beautiful Dyfi Biosphere. Snowdonia National Park is just a short drive away making Borth perfect for both mountain biking & surfing. With two classrooms, Borth YHA is idea for school trips too. There's free WiFi, a games & TV room, bike storage & drying room. Breakfast, packed lunch & a licensed bar are available.
Ribblehead, Ingleton, Carnforth, LA6 3JF
In the heart of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks country right on the route between Pen-y-ghent & Whernside & close to the Dales Way, Dales High Way, Pennine Way & Pennine Bridleway. This warm comfortable bunk barn sleeps up to 13 in three bunk rooms. Living room with cosy wood burner, spacious well equipped kitchen & garden with stunning views. Group bookings only at w/ends. Book by the bed or room Sun-Thurs (not b/hols). Dogs & breakfast by arrangement. 4 bed annex also available.
Cerberus Spelaeological Society, Larkshall, Fosse Rd. Oakhill, Somerset, BA3 5HY
Larkshall (Mendip Bunkhouse) is the Cerberus Spelaeological Society’s headquarters and offers well appointed, modern and comfortable accommodation on The Mendips. It is an ideal base for caving, walking, cycling, climbing, diving at Vobster Quay and for exploring the Somerset countryside. Popular tourist attractions include Wells, Wookey Hole, Cheddar Gorge and the city of Bath. Camping available. Ample parking.
Bwthyn Bach, Trefeglwys, Caersws, Powys. SY17 5QE
Opening in May 2020 to the public as an independent hostel. This hidden gem of a building in rural Mid Wales will captivate the imagination of all who stay here. Groups of up to 17 can book sole use of this Grade II listed building and immerse themselves in the profound sense of history. Ideal for cyclists on the Lon Las Cymru.
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Upper Booth Farm, Edale, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S33 7ZJ
We are keen to promote sustainable use of the countryside and welcome the opportunity to explain our working rural environment. Farm walks can be arranged.
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Carrs Farm, Wolsingham, County Durham, DL13 3BQ
Carrs Farm Bunkhouse is a converted 17th century barn with stunning views over Weardale. It provides comfortable bunk bed accommodation for groups of up to 21 people, in three rooms.
There is a fully equipped self catering kitchen, games/lounge area and outdoor seating with BBQ. Situated on a working farm at the heart of the North Pennines. Guided walks and outdoor activities are available for groups and schools.
Ennerdale, Cleator, CA23 3AX
In the Ennerdale Valley, one of the most beautiful, least spoilt and quietest in the Lake District, Low GIllerthwaite Field Centre sits at the foot of Pillar and Red Pike. Well equipped for groups it is the perfect base for fell walking, rock climbing, bird & wildlife watching, mountain biking, orienteering, canoeing. The centre generates its own hydro-electricit. Vehicle access is by forest track and a BT payphone is on site as most mobiles do not work here.
Snowgoose Mountain Centre, Station Road, Corpach, Fort William, PH33 7JH
Enjoy our loch-side location overlooking the Caledonian Canal, with Ben Nevis & Fort William 4 miles away. Ideal for the outdoor enthusiast with advice & guiding available for walking/climbing, river, loch and sea kayaking, open canoeing, & dinghy sailing. Outdoor equipment hire available. After a busy day in the fresh air return to a welcome drying room & laundry, hot showers and a comfy private bunkroom ideal for families & groups.
Bron-y-Gader Outdoor Centre, Llanbedr-y-Cennin, Conwy, LL32 8UT
Perched at 290m (950ft) in the foothills of Snowdonia with direct access to the Carneddau mountains, Bron-y-Gader Bunkhouse offers comfortable & great value accommodation for up to 37.
Although remote and isolated it is just 8 miles to Conwy and 2 miles to the nearest pub. The many attractions and high adrenaline activities in Snowdonia are just a short drive away.
Princetown, Yelverton, Devon. PL20 6SL
Set in a beautiful secluded valley in Dartmoor National Park, Bachelors Hall offers groups of all kind the chance to experience the freedom of the moor and the vastness of the landscape. Formerly run by the YHA, it was completely refurbished in 2019. Sleeping 60 across 6 rooms and 2 pods it is centrally heated with a commercial kitchen and large separate dining room/classroom. Outdoor activities can be organised if required.
Watergate Farm, Loweswater, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0RU
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 canoeing on Loweswater.
Greencarts Farm, Humshaugh, Northumberland. NE46 4BW
Greencarts Bunkhouses & Camping are on a working farm in Northumberland National Park. Right next to Hadrian’s Wall, they are perfect for walkers or cyclists. There are two accommodation units; The Bunkhouse sleeps 10 in two rooms, while the Barn sleeps 13 in one open plan room. All bedding is provided and continental breakfast is available. There is also a campsite.
Cotefield Farm Olllerbrook Edale Hope Valley Derbyshire S33 7ZG
Overlooking Mam Tor, at the start of the Pennine Way, Edale Barn is a traditional camping barn, a stone tent with a wooden sleeping platform. Close to Kinder Scout, Jacobs Ladder, Kinder Downfall & Hollins Cross. Adjoining the barn, but with external access, is a cooking area with a mains water tap and a chemical toilet. There is no heating or electricity. BYO sleeping mats/bags, cooking equipment and torches. Pubs serving meals are as easy walk away.
Dalehead Bunkhouse, Upper Booth, Edale, Hope Valley, S33 7ZJ
Dalehead Bunkhouse is on a working hill farm at the remote head of Edale Valley. Providing basic but comfortable accommodation heated by log burner & infrared radiant heat. There is a kitchen with fridge/freezer, a lounge, dining room and plenty of parking. Please bring sleeping bags, pillows and towels. Edale is a very popular destination for walkers, climbers, mountain bikers, hang-gliders or for enjoying the magnificent scenery.
Blakebeck, Mungrisdale, Penrith, CA11 0SZ
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 & the Cumbrian Way. Perfect as a weekend break for walkers. The large upstairs room has bunk beds for 10 people (BYO sleeping bags) & a large farmhouse table. The kitchen has all you need to cook a simple meal, electric hob, microwave, toaster, fridge & kettle. One dog with sole use only by prior arrangement. Not suitable for parties.
Market Street, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, CA17 4QQ
Pelham Road, Claxby, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire LN8 3YR
Situated in the village of Claxby in the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this low cost hostel has a well equipped kitchen and good sized communal area. Within easy reach of Lincoln, Gainsborough, Scunthorpe and Grimsby. The perfect location for: walking, cycling, field studies, outdoor pursuits, educational activities and conservation projects. Popular with family groups, schools, scouts, guides, walkers, cycling groups and other organisations. Ideal for groups wanting a break in beautiful rural surroundings.
Cragg House Farm, Buttermere, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9XA
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.
Church Lane, Privett, Hampshire, GU34 3PE
In glorious East Hampshire countryside (AONB), The Privett Centre offers low cost, comfortable, short-stay accommodation in a unique rural setting. It has been designed to accommodate small to medium-sized groups who like to have the place to themselves. Outside a large paddock and asphalt playground provide secure and spacious recreational and parking space. It is available for weekday, weekend and day use all year. The Privett Centre is an ideal residential setting for family & friends’ get-togethers.
Snake Pass, Bamford, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S33 0BJ
Lockerbrook Farm provides remote accommodation for groups of 15 to 38 people with with stunning views across Snakes Pass to the Peak District Edges.
Sleeping is in three large dorms and five smaller rooms. There is a large kitchen and dining area, ideal for groups to self cater and an enormous activity room with lounge area and a splendid wood burning stove. Catering can be provided.
Peppercombe, Bideford, Devon, EX39 5QD
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 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!
Lighthouse Road, Countisbury, Lynton, Devon, EX35 6NE
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 escape technology in this wilderness under some stunning dark skies.
Pont-y-Pant, Dolwyddelan, North Wales, LL25 0DQ
Lledr House nestles in Snowdonia National Park. Once YHA and now newly refurbished, guests delight in the luxury mattresses, modern bathrooms, well equipped kitchen and extended car park. Individuals, groups and families enjoy the clean, comfortable accommodation.
Betws-y-Coed, Llyn Elsi and Zip World high rope course close by.
The Street, Puttenham, Nr Guildford, Surrey, GU3 1AR
Eco project on North Downs Way offering simple overnight accommodation for walkers and cyclists in the Surrey Hills AONB. A converted historic barn with self catering and shared sleeping platforms (possibility of bunkrooms being added in 2020). Pub food in the village. Garden, picnic bench & cycle shed. NO CARS even for off-loading. Stations at Wanborough (3.5 km) & Guildford (7km).
118-120 Highgate, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4HE
Here at Kendal we are perfect for groups, schools and even people that are achieving their D of E award.
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Grange, Keswick, CA12 5XA
Bowderstone Bunkhouse is situated along the Borrowdale Valley by the famous Bowderstone – a massive boulder that has lain precariously on one side for the last 10,000 years! It has a kitchen, accessible shower room and communal area, plus running water, electricity and drainage, but linen and mattresses not provided. Please note, Bowderstone Bunkhouse is only for use by clubs, educational groups or other organisations such as the Scouts, as it is on National Trust land and has certain restrictions to its use.
Llyndy Isaf - National Trust, Llyndy, Nantgwynant LL55 4NH
Owned by the Llyndy Isaf National Trust Estate, Llyndy Bothy is a simple stone tent providing rustic accommodation.
It is just 15 minutes’ walk from the famous Watkin path leading up to the top of Snowdon and 4 miles from Beddgelert.
The bothy has a cold-water tap, sleeping platforms for 6 and an outside toilet. Bring your own camping kit for an off-grid adventure.
The Stanegate, Newbrough, Hexham, Northumberland, NE47 5AR
In the centre of the village of Newbrough, this community run bunkhouse sleeps 22 across 3 dorms. Facilities include
2 shower/WC rooms, 2 sink areas & a small equipped kitchen. A large communal area is available to groups by arrangement. With footpaths leading directly to Hadrian’s Wall, approx 3 miles away, it is popular with walkers. While for cyclists the Sandstone Way & Hadrian’s Cycleway pass right by.
Lower Penderleath Farm, Towednack, St.Ives, Cornwall, TR26 3AF
Our hostel at lower Penderleath Farm near St.Ives is great for school groups.
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The Old Playhouse, Great Hucklow, Derbyshire, SK17 8RF
The Foundry Activity Centre in the Peak District offers easy access to the countryside for self-lead adventures and the option to have instructors for groups such as scouts of Duke of Edinburgh's award candidates.
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Stybeck Farm, Thirlmere, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 4TN
Situated in Thirlmere at the foot of the Helvellyn mountains, close to Sticks Pass & the spectacular Fisher-Gill waterfall, the barn has direct access to numerous walks, hill & rock climbing. It is just off the A591 with local & national bus stops at the end of the lane. Accommodation consists of two rooms; a kitchen/diner with all the basic equipment & a 10 bed bunkroom (BYO sleeping bag). A pub serving meals is a short walk away. Perfect for quiet country retreats, but not suitable for noisy groups. No mobile phone signal or WiFi.
Upper Hulme Mill, Roach Road, Upper Hulme, Nr Leek, Staffordshire, ST13 8TY
The Roaches Bunkhouse is at the foot of The Roaches gritstone edge in the Peak District. The area has some of the best climbing in the country plus walks & cycling in stunning scenery.
The communal area has tables & chairs, log fire, DVDs & board games. Self-catering facilities are available in a small kitchen. Outside BBQ area. On site parking. Walking distance of Ye Old Rock Inn & the Roaches Tearooms. 3 miles to the bustling market town of Leek.
Watendlath, Borrowdale, Cumbria, CA12 5UW
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.
The perfect choice for people looking to escape to one of the most remote-feeling places in the Lake District.
Staylittle, nr Llanidloes, Powys, SY19 7DB
This former weather station has been converted into a comfortable bunkhouse on the edge of the Hafren Forest. It is close to Plumlimon, in a quiet rural location between Llanidloes & Machynlleth in the Cambrian Mountains. A great base for Glyndwrs Way, The Sustrans 8, Trans Cambrian Way, kayaking, mountain biking, fly fishing, family groups & parties. Fully central heated with a large dining room, well equipped kitchen & comfortable lounge. Private bedrooms. Breakfast & evening meal available if pre booked.
Twiston Lane, Downham, Clitheroe, Lancs. BB7 4DF
With unrivalled views of Pendle Hill Downham Camping Barn is a short walk from Downham village with its pub & cafes. Popular with walkers, cyclists & DofE groups the recently refurbished the barn sleeps 12 (BYO camp beds or roll mats). There’s a basic kitchen, sitting area, hot shower & WC. Photovoltaic cells provide power for limited LED lighting (but not for phone charging) and there is a wood-burning stove with fuel available to purchase. Outside there is space for tents, a gas BBQ & fire pit.
Portinscale, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5UE
Hawse End Centre sits at the head of the magnificent Borrowdale Valley on the shores of Derwentwater with easy access to Keswick via launch or lakeside walk. The house is a large, comfortable, country mansion, ideal for large groups, while the Cottage is more suited to smaller group, families and individuals. For the more adventurous there are two yurts with stunning views and transparent domes for star gazing. Catering & outdoor activities with instruction can be booked in advance.
Low Bridge End Farm, St John's-in-the-Vale, Keswick, CA12 4TS
St John’s-in-the-Vale Camping Barn is an 18th century stable on a peaceful hill farm, with 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.
Mandale Farm, Haddon Grove, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1JF
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.
Letcombe Regis, Wantage, OX12 9NE
The Court Hill Centre on the Ridgeway long distance path provides ideal camping and hostel accommodation for individuals, small groups and larger groups. The rural location, simple campsite, teachers accommodation and class room make it ideal for DofE expeditions and training.
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Gumber Campsite and Camping Barn, Gumber Farm, Slindon, West Sussex, BN18 0RN
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.
Tern Hill Road, Market Drayton, Shropshire, TF9 3PS
Fordhall Organic Farm, near Market Drayton, is England’s first community owned farm. The Straw Bale Bunkhouse is ideal for schools, retreats & groups.
This unique property has exceptional environmental credentials & is designed to encourage people to get immersed in nature & enjoy the wonderful landscape. Educational sessions, linked to elements of the National Curriculum, can be arranged or you can host your own retreat or event.
Busk Lane, Marsett Lane, Stalling Busk, Leyburn, North Yorks DL8 3DH
As part of our ethos we offer free nights and reduced rates to charities, youth and community groups.
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Ffridd Llwyn Gwerfyl, Harlech, Gwynedd, LL46 2TW
Remote & peaceful, surrounded by the rugged splendour of Snowdonia, Ffridd Bunkhouse offers budget accommodation. Harlech with its beach, pubs, cafes & castle is just 2.5 miles away. This basic accommodation is in 2 units, one sleeps 12 & the other 4/5. Both have kitchen/dining areas & some heating. Each has a separate outside WC, but the shower is shared.
Walkers, climbers & mountain bikers alike return annually to this hidden gem of a bunkhouse. BYO bedding.
Austwick, Nr Settle, LA2 8AZ
In the Three Peaks area of the Yorkshire Dales, The Dalesbridge has 8 stylish B&B rooms, 8 cabins with bunks, 4 glamping pods & over 100 camping pitches. There’s a cosy bar with log burner & wood fired pizzas at weekends. Two large conference rooms, catering services & a unique event tent makes Dalesbridge ideal for many events and conferences. The stunning local area is perfect for walking, caving & climbing.
Near Blue Row Cottages, Carrshield, Hexham, NE47 8AR
Surrounded by the fells & valleys of the North Pennines, Carrshield Camping Barn offers basic accommodation for 18 across 3 rooms, each with a wood-burner and a wooden sleeping platform. There’s a separate cooking area & a composting WC. BYO stove, utensils & sleeping bag/mat. Perfectly located it’s on the Isaac’s Tea Trail, C2C cycle route and close to a number of mountain bike routes. Camping may be available.
High Wallabarrow, Ulpha, Broughton-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA20 6EA
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.
Gateham Grange, Alstonefield, Ashbourne, Derbys. DE6 2FT
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, fully plumbed in toilet and hand wash basin. No electric and no distractions, it is the perfect place to switch off from the hassles of a hectic life. BYO all camping equipment.
The Hall, Milden, Lavenham, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 9NY
Comfy, farm self-catering in rural Suffolk. Sleeps 22 in five bedrooms, including a restored Shepherd’s Hut. Mix of oak bunks/conventional beds. Relax in cosy sitting room; BBQ, ping-pong, croquet & badminton; explore the farm, picnic in a meadow. 20 bikes included in hire or kayak down the River Stour. Go Ape, visit castles, coast, historic towns & houses. Larger groups can also book the Tudor Barn (also in this guide).
Pindale Road, Hope, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S33 6RN
A mile from Castleton in the Peak District, Pindale Farm offers a range of accommodation: B&B in the farmhouse. The Barn has 6 self-catering units. The Engine House is a self-catering unit & The Powder House is a small camping barn. Plus a campsite. Perfect for many outdoor activities. Instruction is available.
Woodhouse Farm, St Harmon, Rhayader, LD6 5LY
Mid Wales Bunkhouse is perfect for school groups and especially D of E groups.
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Great Longstone, Bakewell, DE45 1NY
...comfortable accommodation and a whole range of activities ..
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Ilfracombe, Devon, EX34 8NA
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.
Penrith Road, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 4JW
Denton House is a purpose built hostel and outdoor centre in the Lake District offering bunkhouse accommodation. Warm and well equipped for self-catering, the centre was designed for groups with parking for 40 cars. A variety of outdoor activities can be arranged on site. There is equipment storage and access to the River Greta across the road.
Bluebell Farm Caravan Park, Belford, Northumberland, NE70 7QE
Bluebell Farm Bunkbarn is within walking distance of shops and pubs. It is ideally located for exploring Nothumberland's Heritage Coast, the Cheviot Hills and the Scottish Borders. The Bunkbarn sleeps 14, the Studio 4. Plus 2 studio apartments and 5 self-catering cottages. There is a shared modern toilet block. BYO sleeping bags/towels or hire. Studio apartments & cottages have bed linen.
Hagg Farm OEC, Snake Rd, Bamford, Hope Valley, S33 0BJ
Situated in the Peak District’s Woodlands Valley, Hagg Farm offers comfortable accommodation for up to 44 people with an additional 18 beds in the John Hunt Base next door (also in this Guide). Part of Nottinghamshire C.C’s Environmental & Outdoor Education Service, Hagg Farm is available for private hire by groups, families, clubs & charitable organisations. It can be booked on a self-catering or catered basis.
Garrigill Village Hall, Garrigill, Alston, Cumbria, CA9 3DS
Perfect for the Pennine Way or C2C cycle route. In the lovely village of Garrigill, the bunkroom above the village hall sleeps 8 with bedding hire available. Larger groups can BYO bedding and use the hall itself where 12 camp beds are available. There is free WiFi, a well equipped kitchen, showers and drying room. It makes the ideal long distance walk/C2C stop over.
Netherside, Bradwell, Hope Valley, Derbyshire S33 9HJ
Bradwell War Memorial Hall, situated in the village of Bradwell in the Hope Valley in the Peak District, is now available to DofE groups at weekends during term time and all week during the holidays.
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Malham Tarn Estate, Waterhouses, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9PT
On the National Trust Malham Tarn Estate in North Yorkshire, Ragged Robin Bothy & Meadowsweet Bothy each sleep 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.
A perfect location for those who want to escape technology, enjoy dark skies or walk the Pennine Way.
Hollam, Dulverton, Somerset, TA22 9JH
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.
Fenns Farm, Wetton Road, Butterton, Leek, Staffordshire, ST13 7ST
Fenns Farm Accommodation can offer guests accommodation to suit all budgets. It consists of four properties, Waterslacks Camping barn sleeping 15, Wills ‘Glamping’ Barn sleeping 6 and two holiday cottages, Fenns & Foggs’ Barn both sleeping 7.
All the accommodation is situated on the edge of the Peak District village of Butterton, in walking distance of the local pub and the Manifold Valley.
D of E’s rules have recently changed and they now allow participants doing the Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards to stay in camping barns or bunkhouses. Their website now states as one of
‘The 20 Conditions of Expeditions’ that ‘Accommodation must be by camping or other simple self-catering accommodation (e.g. camping barns or bunkhouses)’. Independent Hostels have a network of camping barns and bunkhouses all over the UK that fit this new DofE condition perfectly. With prices starting at £11 per person per night they won’t break the bank.
Puttenham Eco Camping Barn on the North Downs Way passed by many D of E walkers every summer
Situated in the typical areas for D of E expeditions, these independent camping barns and bunkhouse are often close to footpaths and quiet roads. They have traditionally been used mainly by walkers, cyclists and mountain bikers because of their unique locations. Generally small and compact, your DofE group could book the either the whole place or a dormitory for their sole use.
Fisher Gill Camping Barn in Thirlmere at the foot of the Helvellyn range of mountains in the Lake District. Another great place for D of E groups to stay.
Camping barns are generally more basic than bunkhouses. Some are little more than a stone tent with sleeping platforms and a cooking area. The D of E participants would need to bring their own mats, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, food etc. In fact pretty much everything except their tent. Quite a few of the camping barns listed below belong to the
National Trust and are on National Trust estates. If you are wanting your DofE group to have an overnight experience as close to camping as possible, then a stay in a camping barn (sometimes also called a bothy) would be the best option. Many don’t have electricity or heating other than a fire or log burner.
Sleeping platforms at Carrshield Camping Barn in Northumberland.
Bunkhouses come in all shapes and sizes and generally offer a better standard of accommodation than a camping barns. There will be bunk beds in dormitories, a self catering kitchen with crockery and cooking equipment, hot water and showers. The bunkhouses listed below do not provide bedding, so your D of E group will still need to carry a sleeping bag.
Bunks at Hagg Farm Outdoor Centre in the Peak District ensure a dry night’s sleep
There are many more bunkhouses in the Independent Hostel Network that do provide bedding as a standard, these are not listed below but it may well be worth looking at them too as they may be in just the right location for an overnight stay. If you search by the location you are looking to stay in on any of Independent Hostel’s website pages all the possible accommodation in that area will come up.
DofE campers enjoying an evening at Pindale Farm in the Peak District
You might also be interested in a group of
hostels and bunkhouses that have campsites on the same site. Good examples of this are Pindale Farm in the heart of The Peak District or Garrigill Village Hall just off the Pennine Way (and many other footpaths) in Cumbria. These hostels with campsites are very popular with with D of E groups, traditionally the leaders have tended to stay in the hostel while the participants have camped. With the rule change of course everyone can now stay within four stone walls.
Don’t let the British weather ruin your next D of E expedition. Book into an independent camping barn or bunkhouse to guarantee a dry night’s sleep. The participants will be in much better spirits to face the challenges of the next day.