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Campsite licensing

If you want to use your land as camp site for tents you may require planning permission and to hold a license. This page explains when you will require a licence and the circumstances under which a licence is not needed.

On this page:

Temporary campsites

If you want to operate a temporary campsite, please note that whether you need planning permission and a licence depends on where you are based in the District - i.e., in the New Forest District or in the New Forest National Park planning area.

New Forest District:

Temporary 'pop up' campsites for tents only can operate for up to 28 days without planning permission and without the need for a licence.

In addition, land can be used for up to 60 days as a campsite for tents (and campervans under certain circumstances, but not for caravans) for no more than 50 pitches. The planning department must first be notified in writing. Such activity may require a caravan site licence.

For more detailed information please see Pop Up Campsites in the Forest

New Forest National Park:

Existing or new temporary 'pop up' campsites will require planning permission if either

  • they were established prior to March 2020, and there are more than 50 pitches; or,
  • they were established since 1 March 2020, irrespective of size

Please contact us to discuss whether you require a licence. For more detailed information please see Temporary Campsites in the National Park

Long-term campsites

If you wish to operate a campsite for more than 60 days in any calendar year you are likely to require planning permission, although sites occupied by a recreational organisation do not require planning permission, see below. 

Find out more about planning in the District Council area or  National Park area by following the relevant link.

In addition to any planning permission which may be required, a site will require a licence from us if it is operating either for:

  • more than 42 days consecutively
  • 60 days in total in any 12 consecutive months

If you already have planning permission to operate as a tented camping site, you can apply for a licence at the GOV.UK website using the link below.

There is no fee for this application.

Camping site licences are normally issued with conditions, including:

  • how the site should be laid out
  • how many tents are allowed
  • what toilet and washing facilities should be provided

Recreational organisation exemptions

Under Section 269 of the Public Health Act 1936, members of recreational organisations which hold a camping exemption certificate can camp on land without a site licence and without the need to apply for planning permission. Camping exemption certificates are for recreational organisations that organise camping for their members on sites belonging to them, or on other sites with the landowner's permission.

You can apply for a camping exemption certificate using the link below. You can also renew an existing certificate.

Although camping exemption certificates do not permit caravans, which are covered by separate legislation, you can also apply for a touring caravan exemption certificate using the link above. Further information on touring caravan exemptions are available by following the link. 

Contact details

If you have any questions about a licence application, or need to transfer or amend an existing licence, email or call 023 8028 5411.

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