What precautions should you take when camping near sheep farms in Yorkshire?

As outdoor enthusiasts, you may be pondering a camping expedition to enjoy the wild beauty of Yorkshire. With its stunning views, expansive national parks, and charming sheep farms, it's no wonder Yorkshire has become a sought-after camping site. However, camping near sheep farms requires specific precautions to ensure the safety of both the campers and the livestock. This article will guide you through the essential precautions to be taken when camping near sheep farms in Yorkshire.

Choosing the Perfect Campsite

Before setting up tents, it’s important to find a suitable campsite. This decision will impact not only your enjoyment but also the welfare of the surrounding environment and its inhabitants.

Firstly, aim to camp at designated sites. These are typically located in areas that minimize disturbance to nearby farms. However, in Yorkshire, wild camping is permissible in some areas, provided you adhere to a concept known as the "Right to Roam".

When choosing a site, keep a reasonable distance from the farms. Avoid camping close to sheep units during lambing season, as this can cause unnecessary stress to the animals. At the same time, ensure that your chosen site has access to potable water sources and offers protection from North winds, which can be particularly chilly in this region.

Nevertheless, be aware that you aren't permitted to light fires or barbecues in some sites. Always check beforehand to avoid penalties.

Keeping Dogs under Control

If you're camping with your furry companions, you need to be extra vigilant. Dogs can not only scare sheep but also cause them to harm themselves in panic or even abort their lambs.

When camping near sheep farms, always keep your dogs on a leash. Make sure they're well-trained and can respond to your commands instantly. It's crucial not to let them chase or play with the sheep. Even if your dog is friendly and means no harm, sheep don't see it that way.

Remember, in rare cases, farmers have the right to protect their livestock, which can mean injuring or even killing a dog that's threatening their animals. Therefore, it's best to keep your dog under control at all times.

Maintaining Proper Hygiene

Camping is often associated with roughing it in the wild, but that doesn't mean you should compromise on hygiene. Dirty hands, contaminated water, and improper waste disposal can cause diseases.

Ensure that the water at your campsite is potable, or bring along a water purifier. Avoid washing dishes or clothes in rivers or streams as it might pollute them.

Use designated toilet facilities if available. If not, make sure to dig a small hole at least 50 meters away from water sources, campsites, and trails. Never leave toilet paper or other waste behind. Pack it out in a sealed bag.

Respecting the Environment

Yorkshire's natural beauty is its finest asset. As visitors, it's our responsibility to preserve this beauty for future generations.

Adhere to the principles of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. Essentially, this means leaving your campsite as you found it. Be extra careful not to disturb wildlife or damage vegetation.

Avoid feeding the farm animals. Not only can human food be harmful to them, but it can also teach them to associate humans with food, causing them to become aggressive or dependent.

Embracing the Local Farming Culture

Interacting with local farmers can enhance your camping experience. They are a wealth of information about the local area and can provide useful tips about the best views and attractions in Yorkshire.

You might be able to buy fresh produce from them or even participate in farm activities. However, always ask for permission before entering a farm or touching the animals.

While glamping in Yorkshire, remember to respect the local farming culture. It's an integral part of the region's identity and charm. Enjoy your camping experience, but always bear in mind the wellbeing of the environment and the animals.

Lastly, inform yourself about local customs and regulations. Each region, and indeed each farm, may have specific guidelines for visitors. Following these rules will ensure you have a safe and enjoyable camping experience, contributing positively to the local community and its environment.

Adhering to Campfire Rules

Camping becomes more enjoyable with a good old-fashioned campfire. However, while wild camping in areas like North Yorkshire or the Yorkshire Dales, it is necessary to remember specific guidelines.

Wildfires pose a significant risk, especially during the hotter months, and it is crucial to be mindful and prevent any potential harm. For starters, ensure campfires are never left unattended. An unattended campfire can quickly get out of control, causing considerable damage to acres of greenery and potentially harming livestock.

Not all sites permit campfires, so always check the rules before lighting one. Many sites provide designated areas for campfires and barbecues. Using these facilities minimises the risk of fires spreading. If you're camping in places where campfires are prohibited, consider alternatives like portable camping stoves - they're safe, easy to use, and leave no trace.

Remember, embers can remain hot for many hours. So, ensure you put out your fire thoroughly before retiring for the night. Use plenty of water, and check the ashes to confirm they're cold.

In essence, while campfires make for a quintessential camping experience, they should be handled responsibly. By following the rules, you can enjoy your camping or glamping trip without causing harm to the environment or nearby farm units.

Proper Waste Management

Another factor that can have a significant impact on the environment and local farms is waste management. Be it food waste, packaging, or even waste water from showers - if not disposed of correctly, it can cause severe harm to the local ecosystem.

While camping, always remember to carry a trash bag. Collect all your waste (including small items like bottle caps, cigarette butts, wrappers) and dispose of it responsibly in designated trash cans. If you're wild camping and can't find a bin, carry your trash till you find one. Don't leave anything behind - the motto is "Pack in, pack out".

For waste water from showers or dishwashing, use biodegradable soap and ensure you're at least 200 feet away from water bodies when disposing of the water. This prevents the contamination of potable water sources and protects aquatic life.

Toilet waste should be handled carefully too. If there are no toilet facilities, dig a cat hole 6-8 inches deep at least 200 feet away from water sources, trails, and campsites. Use a trowel for digging and cover the hole after use. Carry out toilet paper and hygiene products in a sealed bag.

In the end, the goal is to leave the campsite just as you found it, if not cleaner. By managing your waste properly, you're helping preserve Yorkshire's natural beauty while also ensuring the wellbeing of farm units in the vicinity.


Camping in the beautiful landscapes of Yorkshire, be it in the North East, the Yorkshire Dales or the Lake District, is a wonderful experience. Its blend of natural beauty and sheep farming culture offers campers a unique opportunity to escape the hustle-bustle of daily life and reconnect with nature.

While it is important to enjoy the camping or glamping experience, equally crucial is being considerate towards the environment and the local farming units. By adhering to the guidelines, whether related to potable water, campfires, waste management, or pets, you not only ensure your safety but also contribute to preserving the environment and protecting local sheep farms.

Yorkshire's welcoming farming community, with their fresh produce and dog-friendly farms, adds to the richness of the camping experience. So, pack your tents or motorhomes, plan your adventure, and embark on a memorable journey, leaving nothing but footprints behind.

Remember, when you respect nature and local norms, camping near sheep farms in Yorkshire can be an unforgettable experience, bringing you closer to nature and the local farming culture.