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 D of E condition perfectly. With prices starting at £11 per person per night they won’t break the bank.
Alstonefield Camping Barn in the heart of The Peak District. Simple accommodation for D of E groups.
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 D of E 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 D of E 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.
Kitchen and dining area at Puttenham Camping Barn on the North Downs Way
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.
Don’t let the British weather ruin your next D of E expedition. Book into an independent camping barn or bunkhouse to guarantee a more comfortable night’s sleep. The participants will be in much better spirits to face the challenges of the next day.
Accommodation for the The Duke of Edinburgh's Award
Ennerdale, Cleator, CA23 3AX
Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre is in the Ennerdale valley, one of the most beautiful and least spoilt valleys in the Lake District. At the foot of Pillar and Red Pike. Well equipped for groups but welcoming all, it is the perfect base for walking, climbing, wildlife, mountain biking and canoeing.
Blakebeck, Mungrisdale, Penrith, CA11 0SZ
At the foot of Souther Fell, close to Blencathra, Blakebeck Farm Camping is set amidst the wildflower meadows of Mungrisdale. On the C2C cycle route and the Cumbrian Way. Perfect as an overnight stop for cyclists or weekend break for walkers and families. Basic kitchen, BYO sleeping bags.
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 has an equipped kitchen, showers, efficient drying room and covered cycle store. There is a pub in the village which serves food and a post office shop. In the North Pennines.
Hagg Farm OEC, Snake Rd, Bamford, Hope Valley, S33 0BJ
Hagg Farm Outdoor Education Centre on Snake Road in the Peak District offers comfortable accommodation for large and small groups. Ideal self-catering or catered accommodation for groups of friends, families and clubs. Woodland walks from the door and Ladybower reservoir just over the hill.
Malham Tarn Estate, Waterhouses, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9PT
Camping Barn accommodation on the Pennine Way, run by National Trust at Malham Tarn.
Newbiggin-on-Lune, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, CA17 4NX
Bents Camping Barn, formerly a 17 century shepherd's cottage, is in Newbiggin-on-Lune close to Kirkby Stephen 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. The Coast to Coast path is nearby.
Croft No 9, Badrallach, Dundonnell, Ross-shire, IV23 2QP
Badrallach Bothy & Campsite on the tranquil shores of Little Loch Broom, overlooks one of Scotland's finest mountain ranges, A fine base for walking, climbing, fishing in the rivers, hill lochs and sea or simply to enjoy the flora and fauna. Great value spotless accommodation and total peace.
Cragg House Farm, Buttermere, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9XA
Cragg Camping Barn, with its stunning views of Buttermere fell is a simple base for outdoor enthusiasts in the Lake District, with great walking, climbing and mountain biking close by. The simple accommodation has mattresses for 8. BYO sleeping bag and camping stove.
Twiston Lane, Downham, Clitheroe, Lancs. BB7 4DF
Recently refurbished, Downham Camping Barn sleeps 12 (BYO camp bed or roll mats). There’s a basic kitchen with gas cooker, a sitting area, hot shower, WC & limited LED lighting. A wood burner provides heating. Outside space for camping & BBQs.
Snowgoose Mountain Centre, Station Road, Corpach, Fort William, PH33 7JH
Smiddy Bunkhouse at the Snowgoose Mountain Centre in Corpach is 4 miles from Fort William & Ben Nevis with the meeting of the West Highland Way and Great Glen Way on the doorstep. Perfect for the outdoor enthusiast, groups or families with advice, instruction & guiding from resident instructors.
Near Blue Row Cottages, Carrshield, Hexham, NE47 8AR, OS map ref NY803467
Carrshield Camping Barn in the newly renovated 18th Century Barney Craig Mine Shop, is outside the village of Carrshield in SW Northumberland. Sleeping 18 people in 3 rooms, each with a wood-burning stove and a raised wooden sleeping platform.
Pindale Road, Hope, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S33 6RN
Pindale Farm Outdoor Centre is a mile from Castleton in the heart of the Peak District. The ideal base for walking, climbing, caving, horse riding etc. Instruction is available if required. With a range of accommodation including B&B, self-catering units and camping barn.
High Wallabarrow, Ulpha, Broughton-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA20 6EA
High Wallabarrow Camping Barn is a 17th century Lakeland farmhouse restored to provide a well equipped camping barn for walkers, climbers, mountain bikers and those who enjoy tranquility and wildlife. Set on a traditional hill farm in the Duddon Valley, an unspoilt corner of the Lake District.
The Street, Puttenham, Nr Guildford, Surrey, GU3 1AR
Puttenham Eco Camping Barn, Surrey is an eco project on North Downs Way and NCN route 22. Offering simple overnight accommodation in a beautifully converted historic barn. Visitors are encouraged to walk or cycle and no cars are allowed on site.
Forest Lane, Tideswell Moor, Tideswell, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 8JE
Bushey Heath Farm on Tideswell Moor offers a summer campsite and two bunkbarns for small and large groups at the heart of the Peak District. The farm has been developed with ground source heating, a wind turbine, and rainwater harvesting, so visitors can experience practical sustainable ideas.
Thornthwaite Farm, Woodland, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria, LA20 6DF
Come and witness the star filled skies, a truly breathtaking sight, and experience tranquil and calm at Fell End Camping Barn. This 18th century Lakeland stone barn has no electricity and is set within its own grass courtyard approximately ½ mile from the Thornthwaite Farm in the Lake District.
Gumber Campsite and Camping Barn, Gumber Farm, Slindon, West Sussex, BN18 0RN
Gumber Bothy , the National Trusts Gumber Camping Barn is a converted Sussex flint barn on Slindon Estate, providing simple overnight accommodation or camping for walkers, horse riders and cyclists, on the South Downs Way close to Stane Street. A tranquil and remote location with no access by car.
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 hayloft, in an idyllic setting near Keswick in the Lake District. Overlooking St John's Beck, on peaceful Low Bridge End Farm with stunning views to Blencathra & Helvellyn. There is no light pollution & the star-filled night skies are magical.
Watergate Farm, Loweswater, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0RU
The National Trusts Holme Wood Bothy offers basic accommodation in a spectacular secluded location, right on the shore of Loweswater in the Lake District. It is a simple stone tent where you can bring your camping equipment. Great for accessing the lakes and canoeing on Loweswater.
Lighthouse Road, Countisbury, Lynton, Devon, EX35 6NE
The National Trusts Foreland Bothy, Lighthouse Road, Countisbury, is on Foreland Point estate on the Exmoor coast. Basic accommodation with a fantastic location right on the South West Coast Path. Treat it like camping but without the tent. Escape technology in this wilderness under the dark skies.
Hollam, Dulverton, Somerset, TA22 9JH
Located a mile outside the town of Dulverton on Exmoor, Northcombe Camping Barns nestle in the Barle river valley with good canoeing, walking and bridleways. These ancient barns are tastefully converted with partitioned dormitories and a well equipped kitchen. Heated by wood-burning stoves.
Stonecroft, Borrowdale, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5XB
Dinah Hoggus Camping Barn lies on the old packhorse route to Watendlath on the edge of the village of Rosthwaite in the Borrowdale valley of the Lake District. Ideal for walkers and families it is located right on the Cumbria Way and the Coast to Coast walk. Pub and village shop just 300m away.
Bank House Farm, Glaisdale, Whitby YO21 2QA
Bank House Farm Hostel is a luxury bunkbarn, a camping barn and B&B on an organic farm in beautiful Glaisdale Dale on the North York Moors. 1 mile from Wainwrights Coast to Coast walk. The Bunkbarn is ideal for groups & the camping barn provides simple, single-night shelter for walkers or cyclists.
Upper Booth Farm, Edale, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S33 7ZJ
Upper Booth Camping Barn, Edale, is on a working hill farm next to a small campsite alongside Crowden Clough. Perfect for a first/last night on the Pennine Way which passes through the farmyard. Great for walking and mountain biking right from the door as well as Peak District attractions.
Ffridd Llwyn Gwerfyl, Harlech, Gwynedd, LL46 2TW
Remote and isolated, hidden away beneath the mountains of Snowdonia yet just 2.5 miles from the seaside resort of Harlech, Ffridd Bunkhouse offers budget accommodation for walkers, mountain bikers, climbers and all outdoor enthusiasts.
Schoolhouse, Hardraw, near Hawes, Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, DL8 3LZ
Hardraw Old School Bunkhouse, Wensleydale, Yorkshire Dales, is next to the Pennine Way in the village of Hardraw. Friendly instruction in outdoor activities and practical accommodation with table tennis, piano, log burner & sofas. Close to the famous Hardraw Force waterfall and local pub.
Bluebell Farm Caravan Park, Belford, Northumberland, NE70 7QE
Bluebell Farm Bunkbarn is within walking distance of shops and pubs in the village of Belford. Ideal for exploring Nothumberland's Heritage Coast, the Cheviot Hills and the Scottish Borders. Studio apartments, camping and cottages also available. Dogs welcome.
Peppercombe, Bideford, Devon, EX39 5QD
Peppercombe Bothy, Bideford, Devon, is in a quiet, tranquil, wooded valley with views across Bideford Bay towards Lundy. This “stone tent” (BYO camping equipment) is a perfect stopover on the South West Coast Path which passes through the valley close by just to get away from it all.
Mandale Farm, Haddon Grove, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1JF
The Reckoning House, Mandale Farm, Haddon Grove, is on the edge of the Lathkill Dale National Nature Reserve in the Peak District near Bakewell.Set in a meadow within a walled courtyard.The Reckoning House was built by lead miners & now provides simple self catering accommodation for up to 12 people
Snake Pass, Bamford, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S33 0BJ
Lockerbrook Farm Outdoor Centre provides accommodation for groups of 15 to 38 with with stunning views across the North Peak District near Snakes Pass. There is a large kitchen and dining area, ideal for groups to self cater. Catering can also be provided.
Cotefield Farm Olllerbrook Edale Hope Valley Derbyshire S33 7ZG
Overlooking Mam Tor and at the start of the Pennine Ways, Edale Barn is a traditional camping barn with no hot water or electricity. Cotefield Farm also has self catering cottages and is an easy walk from Edale village. Close to the high moorland of Kinder and the wooded Derwent Valley.
Fenns Farm, Wetton Road, Butterton, Leek, Staffordshire, ST13 7ST
Butterton Camping Barns are a camping barn and a fully equipped bunkhouse on the edge of the Manifold Valley with stunning views of this unspoiled area of the Peak District National Park. Camping and a four star holiday cottage are also available.
Grange, Keswick, CA12 5XA
Bowderstone Bunkhouse in the Borrowdale Valley provides basic self catering accommodation for educational groups, clubs and organisations like Scouts. There is an assessable shower room. Bring your own camping mattresses and sleeping bags.
Waterend Farm, Loweswater, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0SU
Swallow Barn Camping Barn provides basic stone tent accommodation for exploring the Lake District Western Fells on both high and low level walks. Enjoy spectacular views or the peace and tranquillity of the Loweswater valley. On the C2C Cycle Route. The Kirkstyle pub, 1 mile away, serves food.
Pont-y-Pant, Dolwyddelan, North Wales, LL25 0DQ
Lledr House near Betws-y-Coed, once a YHA, is refurbished and welcoming individuals, groups & families to the pretty village of Dolwyddelan in the heart of Snowdonia. The hostel is surrounded by its own woodlands in the beautiful Lledr Valley with cycle trails and forest tracks from the door.
Murt, Nether Wasdale, Seascale, Cumbria, CA20 1ET
Nestled 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. Pubs in the village of Nether Wasdale are just a 10 minute walk away and Waswater YHA is half a mile away.
Stybeck Farm, Thirlmere, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 4TN
Fisher Gill Camping Barn, Thirlmere, at the foot of the Lake Districts Helvellyn mountains. Close to Sticks Pass and the spectacular Fisher-Gill waterfall, the barn has direct access to walks, hills and rock climbs. Basic self catering kitchen/diner & within walking distance of a pub serving meals.
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 Lake District fells. The perfect choice for an escape to one of the most remote-feeling places in the Lakes. BYO camping equipment.
Ilfracombe, Devon, EX34 8NA
Mullacott Camping Barn on the North Devon coast near Ilfracombe, provides basic self catering accommodation on a 30 acre farm with sea views overlooking Woolacombe and Lundy Island. The barns has a dining area and well equipped kitchen. B&B, camping and static caravan also available.
Busk Lane, Marsett Lane, Stalling Busk, Leyburn, North Yorks DL8 3DH
Raydale Barn, nr Lake Semerwater, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park is an off grid camping barn situated 0.3 miles from the nearest road. It has a gas cooker, a wood burning stove, toilets and showers, but no electricity. BYO bedding, matches and torch.
Gateham Grange, Alstonefield, Ashbourne, Derbys. DE6 2FT
Alstonefield Camping Barn on Gateham Grange Farm near Ashbourne is in the Peak District National Park close to Dovedale, the Manifold Valley Cycle Trail, Carsington Water, AltonTowers and the Roaches Rocks. Camp in a remote cosy barn, with log burning stove & no electricity and switch off.