Before we bought our static caravan, I had long ago ( back in early Spring I believe) booked four nights away in a Tree Dome near Ludlow in Shropshire. A Tree Dome you ask? It’s a luxury glamping experience with all mod cons. Under canvas you might be, but there’s still the most comfiest bed I have ever slept in, a plush sofa, a delightful dining table and a toasty wood burner. Not that we needed to light a roaring fire in July, but still….
Tree Dome is situated in the heart of Bowkets Wood near Clee Hill, right on the Shropshire/ Herefordshire border. It is also very near Worcestershire. I am not very good with my counties! We particularly loved the decking area , where I must admit , we spent most of our time. The weather was warm so lounging about on the outdoor furniture with a good book and a glass of wine under the cool woodland canopy was perfection after a day out exploring.
Our woodland hideaway also featured a wood fueled hot tub ( available at extra charge), gas BBQ, fire pit, pizza oven ( added extra), and separate kitchenette & shower. A perfect base for getting to know so many English ( and Welsh too!) Counties. That is if you can ever bring yourself to leave. That hot tub was so enticing!
So I have a 25 Before 45 Bucket List , which I have been neglecting recently. Still lots to do on there and not very much time left to do it ! Oh well C’est la Vie. Something I listed was ‘ Watch a film outdoors’ and the other weekend I did manage to cross this off my Bucket list, when I dragged Wil up to Lowther Castle in Cumbria, for an open-air cinema event.
Picnic Cinema specialises in bringing ‘cinema parties’ to some of the most scenic and iconic locations in the North, including castles, forests and in the case of cult classic ‘Withnail & I’ , a remote farmhouse that was used as a location in the movie.
It turned out that a favourite film of both mine and Wils ‘ Sightseers’ was showing at Lowther Castle, a once grand residence now in ruins, but still majestic all the same. Even though Lowther is only a couple of miles from where my Mum lives, I decided to book us camping tickets, as the lovely weather was perfect for an evening under canvas.
The weekend before,the Lowther estate had played host to the ‘Kendal Calling’ music festival, but this was the first time anyone had been allowed to camp so close to the castle , so we felt quite privileged. The fairy tale turrets certainly made for a magical backdrop.
It also happened that a Crafty Vintage fair was underway in the castle courtyard, so there was plenty to keep us entertained after we had pitched the tent.
Being the rubbish picnickers that we were, we actually forgot to pack a picnic! Couldn’t get enough of this delicious pizza though. 😁
The Picnic Cinema entertainment commenced at around 8pm. We wrapped up warm and took camping chairs, blankets, wine, snacks, and a torch up to where the film screen was situated.
We were each given a cute goodie bag containing love-heart sweets, a sherbert dib dab, a pencil, a badge and a jigsaw puzzle piece! While we were waiting for the sun to go down, the Picnic Cinema team entertained us with a sightseeing themed quiz, filmed interviews with some obliging campers and various fun and games.
At around 10.15pm it was dark enough for the movie to begin!
If you have never seen Sightseers, then you have missed a treat. Its a British Black Horror Comedy about a couple who go on a touring caravan holiday, visiting various tourist attractions on the way….and leaving a few dead bodies in their wake….. Filmed in the North ( Derbyshire, Yorkshire & The Lake District) , Sightseers is pretty macabre and totally bonkers! It was great to see it on The Big Screen. 😁
I think I would definitely go again to a Picnic Cinema event. I love that the films are screened in such gorgeous settings, the staff were enthusiastic, helpful and friendly and the movies shown are usually quirky and different.
Still to show this Summer.
Saturday 11th August ~ The Big Lebowski at Muncaster Castle, Cumbria.
Saturday 18th August ~ 24 Hour Party People at Kirklinton Hall, Carlisle.
Saturday 22nd September ~ Moulin Rouge at The Festival of Thrift, Redcar.
Whilst in the Lowther area we decided to do our own spot of sightseeing. ‘Long Meg and Her Daughters’ at Hunsonby is a druid stone circle that was used as one of the locations in the film.
Have you ever watched a film outdoors? Are you tempted?
The 30,000 acre Bolton Abbey estate encapsulates all that is typical of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales countryside. Rugged moorland, colourful wildflower meadows, shady woodland and meandering riverside walks. As well as the ruins of a magnificent old Priory.
From 1154 to 1539 Augustinian canons lived and worked here until the dissolution of the monasteries. Fortunately the accompanying church was left intact after Prior Moone negotiated with Oliver Cromwell, to keep it as a place of worship for the local community .
I have stayed on nearby campsites in the village of Appletreewick, but never at Catgill Campsite , which is on the Bolton Abbey Estate itself, just a few minutes walk from Bolton Abbey Village.
Wil, Hugo ( our labrador) and I arrived at the site early on a Friday afternoon . The campsite accepts tents and camper vans and has a relaxed check-in and departure policy . You can roll up or depart at any time during the day before 9pm. Dogs are welcome too at no extra charge. We payed £40 for 2 nights camping in a tent.
After checking in at reception we were told to pitch up anywhere we wished in either of the two fields. We chose the lower field and set up camp by the stream. Catgill campsite is part of a working farm and has been open since 2014. The facilities still feeling fresh and new, include separate ladies and gents shower blocks, a pot washing room with two fridge freezers, kettle, microwave and plug sockets and a small shop that sells the basics. We were soon ready to explore.
Bolton Abbey village is a small picturesque parish adjacent to the Abbey grounds. It boasts a couple of tea rooms, book shop, village shop/post office and a large car park. We entered the grounds through a small archway called the ‘ Hole in the wall.’ 🙂
Instead of turning left towards the Priory ruins , we headed right along the river Wharfe, in search of the Devonshire Arms pub, which is also a rather posh hotel and spa. Sure enough after a pleasant 15 minute walk , we arrived at the pub and enjoyed a couple of drinks in the beer garden. Named for the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire , the hostelry is part of their Chatsworth Estate. After a while it got a bit chilly, so I asked the young bar staff if we could move into the ‘Dog Lounge’ which I had previously read about here. Unfortunately I was told that the entire hotel had been booked out for a two day wedding! But he kindly agreed to let me take a peek at the cosy dog – themed salon, where guests can relax with a drink and their pampered pooch.
We spent most of the weekend at Catgill either walking on the estate or chilling by the tent, but there is plenty more to entertain anyone who visits. A stones throw from the site ( well literally next door!) is Hesketh Farm Park , which is a popular family day out. If you fancy a ride on a steam train, The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway runs between both villages. And there are miles of walks including a kids adventure trail Welly Walk.
The estate is popular with dog walkers and Hugo had plenty of off-lead time, racing through the woodland and paddling in the river.
Catgill Campsite is a relaxed family-friendly site with helpful amiable hosts and attractive modern facilities.
Shower blocks have family wash rooms.
Pot wash room with two large communal Fridge freezers, Microwave & Kettle.
Small shop selling the basics.
Fire Pit and BBQ hire.
Morning Coffee Shop serving fresh coffee, hot drinks, juice, croissants and other pastries. We especially liked this idea. 🙂
The only downside is trying to find a level pitch as the site is quite sloping in places. Otherwise this is a cracking little find , in the beautiful Wharfedale countryside. 😊
Hope you enjoyed this campsite review. Our next camping trip is to a family-friendly festival in Gisburn Forest next weekend!
I must admit I am prone to taking for granted the fact that I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. If England is a ‘green and pleasant land’ then the gorgeous ‘Ribble Valley’ encapsulates this. Tucked away in the Forest of Bowland AONB , it’s lush meadows, picture-postcard villages and the historic market town of Clitheroe are all lorded over by the scenic slopes of Pendle Hill. Meandering brooks and rivers criss-cross the valley, including it’s namesake ‘the River Ribble’. Hailing from the nearby Yorkshire Dales ,the river makes its merry way through Lancashire and towards the sea, lending it’s name to an often overlooked area of the county. But with it’s thriving foodie scene, cosy watering holes, quirky independent retailers, stunning countryside and fascinating history, the Ribble Valley is the perfect destination for a break away.
With this in mind , I thought I would look into the glamping scene here. Over the last twelve months several glamping options have sprung up in the Ribble valley. And what better way to enjoy an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 😊
Camping Podsat Bowland Wild Boar Animal Park.
No tent needed for this back to basics style of glamping. Bring with you everything you’d need whilst camping, except for the tent. The pods are fully insulated and all usual campsite facilities can be found on site. The real charm of these camping pods is the fab location, inside the grounds of Bowland Wild Boar Park near Chipping, which is a very popular visitors attraction, especially with families. With wild animals and farm animals on your doorstep, a large kids adventure playground, tractor rides, riverside walks and a lovely café, this glamping option sounds like a fun family favourite. Pods from £65 per night. Dogs may stay too for an extra £5 per night. wildboarpark.co.uk
Ribble Valley Wigwams.
Set on a family run farm near Langho, these six luxury heated en-suite wigwams have views towards Pendle Hill and Longridge Fell. All cabins have an integrated shower room with walk-in shower, hand basin & toilet, electric hob, toaster, kettle, microwave, fridge and television. A home away from home! You might prefer to bring your own bedding, however you can hire a bedding pack as an additional extra. A picnic bench and fire-pit outside completes the cosy camp. There is a small shop on site in reception and a riverside walk will take you into the charming village of Ribchester, with it’s Roman Museum, art gallery and selection of eateries. Wigwam prices from £75 per night. Three of the cabins are dog friendly. wigwamholidays.com
Yurts at the Red Pump Inn.
I have long coveted a stay in a yurt and these beauties are only up the road from where I live in Clitheroe, in the tiny village of Bashall Eaves. Owned by the Red Pump Inn, there are four fabulous Yurts, set in a private garden area adjacent to the Inn. Each yurt has a king size bed with fur throws, a cosy wood burning stove, fairy lights, electric lamps and sockets and it’s own ensuite bathroom. Breakfast is included in the price and is taken inside the Red Pump , which is also a popular steakhouse and real ale pub. Nearby attractions include Bashall Barn Food Visitor Centre and the historic town of Clitheroe with its many pubs, independent shops and Norman Castle Keep. Yurts prices for a two night stay from £250. Dogs are welcome for an additional charge of £12.50 per night. theredpumpinn.co.uk
Hobbit Hill Glamping Cabins.
Did you know that the lush green Ribble Valley inspired the writings of Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien? His son boarded at Stonyhurst College near Hurst Green and Tolkien often visited and penned much of his beloved novel here,perhaps taking inspiration from the surrounding countryside for Middle Earth and the Shire. The glamping cabins at Hobbit Hill are set on the Tolkien Trail….and look cosy enough for any discerning Hobbit. Two of the five cabins have king size beds and all have sockets, fridges, toaster and microwave plus a firepit/bbq area outside. There are toilets and shower facilities on site and some very good country pubs and cafes in the nearby villages of Mitton and Hurst Green. Glamping Cabin prices from £70 per night. hobbithill.co.uk
As it is now a yearly tradition of mine to post a quick photo round-up of the year, I thought I had better get cracking with this 2017 post. I definitely have no regrets about 2017. It has been pretty fantastic with lots of short trips away, days out and fun times with family and friends. 🙂
January. We celebrated Wil’s Birthday with a weekend break in his favourite Lake District town Keswick.
Mostly this consisted of walks by beautiful Derwent Water and of course frequenting Keswick’s many watering holes. 🙂
April. It was my little sister’s 40th Birthday this month and we celebrated with a mini break in the Big City ( London) with our younger brother and other halves. Our trip included The Natural History Museum, Afternoon Tea at Claridges and watching The Lion King. You can read all about it here.
June. This month I participated in The Wildlife Trust’s #30dayswild challenge , where I attempted ( though that’s no hardship!) to appreciate the beauty in nature every day in June, whether that meant noticing the different wildlife I would see on my daily walks with Hugo, or using natural ingredients in recipes such as Rose Petal Jelly. The challenge also coincided with my first ever visit to Norfolk, which I shall always remember for it’s many many beach huts, beautiful wildflowers and those yummy Dutch Pancakes in Wells-Next-The-Sea. 🙂
Beach Huts Galore in Norfolk.
Dutch Pancake on The Albatross.
July. Already well into Summer now. We spent a couple of nights camping in the Dales and walked this tiny stretch of The Dales Way and we took Hugo on his first ever trip on The Ullswater Steamer . I think this is my fave ever photo of my two boys. 🙂
August. Anyone for Afternoon Tea? I can certainly recommend a fun, quirky and delicious one at The Cake ‘Ole in Skipton. And August is a great time to go camping with the kids, as we found out when we accompanied friends to Meadow Falls near Ingleton.
September. We had a bit of an Indian Summer this month, which made up for a damp squibby August. Luckily we got to make the most of the sunshine on a day out with my niece and nephew in Morecambe and we spent a week in the The Lake District , bagging my first wainwright fell and enjoying the incredible views over Wastwater.
October. Days out in October included A family friendly bike ride on the Lancashire Cycleway from Lancaster to Morecambe and back. It was my first time on a bicycle for many a year, so I was pretty happy that I made it!
November. My Birthday month was made so special when Wil booked us two nights in the Yorkshire Spa town of Harrogate.
I have always wanted to visit the Turkish Baths there so I checked us in for a morning, which was really enjoyable. We also visited nearby Knaresborough with its ancient castle and railway viaduct.
December. And its nearing the end of 2017 now after a fairly quiet but lovely December. Highlights included Hugo opening his Christmas presents ( he is very good at unwrapping, just need to train him to wrap up 😉 ), The traditional Christmas Morning Walk, Willow Angel Weaving and a Festive Afternoon Tea at Alexanders in Skipton.
I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who drops in on my little blog every now and again. It really has made my year. 😁
All the best for 2018. I hope its a great one for everyone. Xx
Oh British Summertime where are you? Oh wait, this is British Summer Time!! We have just returned from a camping weekend with friends ,in the Yorkshire Dales. We donned our wellies and waterproofs and didn’t let the continuous downpours spoil our fun. 🙂 Happily we found a really good campsite just outside of Ingleton village, which definitely catered to all our needs.
Meadow Falls is a proper family friendly campsite. Along with the usual campsite facilities, Meadow Falls has the additional benefits of a small shop selling essentials, a children’s play area, fire pit hire, a games room converted from an old barn (great for rainy days ~ there is also a fridge freezer and microwave in there) and a fairy trail , which proved popular with the youngsters in our group. 🙂
The site also welcomes dogs and has an enclosed dog exercise area ,plus there is even a warm water dog shower! A recently refurbished family and dog-friendly pub, The Marton Arms, is only a 5 minute walk away. And Ingleton with it’s host of shops, cafes and pubs is about 15 minutes walk. Pretty much the perfect campsite then for our band of five adults, two kids and two dogs.
Ingeborough is one of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks.
The girls wanting to test out the ‘dog shower’.
The weather did not play ball on this trip, for a splash around in Ingleton’s Open-air swimming pool , so we decided to have a splash around the Waterfall Trail instead! The Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is a four and a half mile waterfall wonderland and is well signposted in the village. There is a charge for the upkeep of the trail. Adults £6, Children £3 and a family ticket costs £15.
The trail winds its way through woodland , following the River Twiss and the River Doe. It also covers rugged moorland and as a geological site, much of the trail has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Here are a few pictures from our walk.
Our walk was interlaced with sunshine and showers, but we all agreed it was great fun. It almost looked like the sun was here to stay…….then a sudden downpour sent us scurrying to a pub in Ingleton, for refreshments and card games. 🙂
Luckily later on it stayed dry enough for a barbecue and the kids showed us how to make marshmallow toasting sticks, with the aid of potato peelers and gardening gloves!
Have you ever done the Ingleton Waterfall Trail? I thoroughly recommend it, even in the rain. 🙂
Dog friendly hikes and exploring, mostly around New England. Our Adventures includes: waterfalls, the beach, conservation land, lighthouses, state parks, the woods, the mountains, statues, and castles.
This is my diary of the wildlife where I live in Oxfordshire, and sometimes the places I visit. I am a 15 year old young naturalist with a passion for British wildlife, especially Badgers and Hares. I have been blogging since May 2013 and you can read my old blog posts at www.appletonwildlifediary.blogspot.co.uk