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Campfires by the river in stunning Swaledale

Swaledale was pronounced by walking guru Alfred Wainwright as the most beautiful of the Yorkshire Dales. With this in mind, a better setting couldn’t be wished for at this riverside campsite.

The river and waterfalls may be the main attraction for kids on this site, making the riverside pitches in the long narrow field at the bottom of the farm the most popular. But the views from the higher fields over the moors are spectacular. And even if you don’t get to pitch on the riverbank, Keld (meaning ‘running water’) has no fewer than five waterfalls surrounding the village, so you can always pack up a picnic or set off to find a perfect waterside patch for a great afternoon of splashing around and paddling (Wain Wath Falls is a top spot).

As well as the long narrow field by the river, with the most sought-after pitches, there is a large sloping field, and owner John can open up other fields as overflow. These actually have better views and more space for games than those by the river. Campfires are allowed here, too. John and his wife Barbara, who farm the land in a way that’s sensitive to the environment, were concerned
 that fires were contributing to the erosion of the riverbank. But John has come up with his own solution: four-legged fire boxes. These keep the fires off the ground: happy farmers and happy campers.

And if anyone’s still awake when the campfire’s embers finally fade, it’s time to turn to the night sky for a truly awesome star display before tucking the kids into their sleeping bags.


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