A stroll up the road from ruined Bolton Abbey, Catgill Campsite is a gloriously green, rolling meadow space that perfectly mixes the old with the new. Less than a mile along the Wharfe Valley from the 19th-century structure, the campsite snuggles among the grass with little flare or audacity, complete with modern ablutions but otherwise very much a rustic farm affair – expect the odd lump and bump in the field. Campfire smoke wafts through the air with the same lazy ease as the river that runs through the valley and children run in the open space beyond the tents. It’s a proper family camping scene.
In total there are around 50 grassy pitches, with the slopes of the meadow causing tents to bunch together in flat groups, while children capitalise on the open spaces to play. Each spot offers spectacular views across this open landscape, dotted with sheep and criss-crossed by dry stone walls. A newly built sanitary block sits in the farmyard area, a short stroll away, and there's a tiny shop selling essentials in the farmhouse porch. Though plans for a playground are also afoot, most kids love tracing the small stream that trickles through the field to the River Wharfe. It heads via the ruins of the abbey or, to be correct, Bolton Priory, the real name of the ruined Augustinian monastery founded in 1154.
After stopping amid the stone walls to admire the Gothic architecture or attend one of the services (which still run to this day), you can wander down to the riverside picnic area or beyond to Bolton Abbey village. This delightful little settlement is well tucked away amongst the greens and browns of the landscape and boasts a couple of restaurants and tea rooms despite its modest size. While it's a worthy place to enjoy some traditional grub, children and adults alike should continue to the village railway station. This preserved, volunteer-run line plays host to some magnificent steam trains, including everyone's favourite, Thomas the Tank Engine.
For most, however, the draw of this campsite is its doorstep access to miles upon miles of all-weather walking routes. The tents-only policy makes it perfect for those on the hoof looking for fellow back-packers, or cyclists on the quiet country lanes hoping to avoid the caravan crowd and, if the local paths aren’t enough for you, a short trip north will take you smack bang into the middle of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, renowned for its outstanding scenery and diverse wildlife. Don’t scamper off into the hills too quickly though. The real gateway to the Dales is via the lively market town of Skipton, home to a castle dating back to 1090 and Yorkshire’s finest fish & chips at Bizzie Lizzies! It seems with so much to do, you could be at Catgill for several weeks!
The campsite owner saysWe are a small family run campsite in an idyllic location with spectacular views across the Wharfe valley. Offering a unique overnight experience on the Chatsworth Estate in the heart of Bolton Abbey within easy reach of local amenities and picturesque towns and villages. Offering a central location with plenty to do for all ages and in any weather. The campsite, close to Bolton Abbey, is the perfect base from which to explore the Yorkshire Dales National Park. A fantastic site for either an action packed family holiday or a tranquil relaxing break.
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