Swaledale Camping

UK England North East England North Yorkshire Hawes

  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Short walk to pub
  • Good walks nearby
Straightforward, secluded camping amongst the brooding scenery of the Yorkshire DalesNational Park
Protected as a National Park since the 1950’s, the Yorkshire Dales covers 680 square miles, with every inch crammed full with outdoor opportunities. And just in case you needed another excuse to visit – beyond its flower-rich hay meadows and picture-postcard villages where sheep and cattle still graze – Cool Camping has discovered a new contender for England’s finest back-to-basics campsite. It’s quite a claim, we know, but that’s how confident we are that you will fall in love with Swaledale Camping and its peaceful, idyllic surroundings.

So what makes England’s finest back-to-basics campsite? Quiet farmland location? A nearby wandering river? Friendly owners who like campfires, children and dogs? Well, Swaledale has all of the above and a lot more to boot. Nestled right next to the River Swale (and only half a mile from it’s source), you’ll find nothing fancy here, nothing flash, and nothing gimmicky – just a simple, rural campsite in a lovely location. With little campfires dotting the riverside, the hustle and bustle of urban life seems a long way away; so much so that it’d be all too easy to spend several days here without feeling the need to leave.

But that might be a shame, as there’s a torrent of things to do. We all know the Dales is a paradise for walkers and cyclists, but there's plenty for non-walkers too, from exploring the legacy of literary veterinarian James Herriot (of All Creatures Great and Small fame), to sampling the favourite teatime snack of Wallace and Gromit at the Wensleydale Creamery. Richmond is also a tasty destination (sorry!), largely thanks to its imposing castle, whose walls and colossal keep cling to a precipice above the River Swale. Indeed, the entire town is a delight to discover, centred on a large cobbled market square backed by Georgian buildings, gardens and hidden alleys.

Swaledale Camping can be found at Hoggarths; a working Yorkshire farm, which breed’s pedigree Swaledale sheep. April and May are special months to visit, as this is when the lambs are born. A springtime visit will see the fields and buildings bursting with new-borns and their mothers – ask and you may get the chance to bottle feed a few! In July and August the sheep are gathered for shearing. The fleeces are sheared off in one piece, then expertly folded and packed ready to be sent to the Wool Board. Some finds its way to the Swaledale Woollen Shop in Muker, but the majority is made into carpets. 

It's worth mentioning that facilities at Swaledale are extremely basic as Raymond and Alison (who own the place) are firm believers that less is, in fact, more. For example, rather than building a view-obscuring shower block, campers are encouraged to take a morning dip in the refreshing River Swale. Of course, such a stimulating shampoo won’t suit all Cool Campers, but for those who enjoy camping on the wild side, long walks and river side campfires, Swaledale is simply a must visit.

Details

Facilities

There are no formal washing facilities, but the River Swale is a lovely and refreshing place for a dip! Toilet facilities (portable loos) are provided till the end of September, and you are also welcome to use your own toilet tent. Drinking water from the site's own natural spring is available from a tap outside the farmhouse. Campfires are allowed with permission only, so please check with Raymond and Alison before lighting fires. Where permitted, they ask campers to protect the grass by lighting fires on the riverside. There’s a limited supply of logs for sale at £5 per bag. Recycling boxes and rubbish bins are provided. Campers may leave rubbish from your stay, but bear in mind sheep may wander onto the field, so do not leave any sharp objects or broken glass.

Suitable For

Tents, caravans, campervans, motorhomes, and well-behaved dogs – yes.

Nearby

The brainchild of Alfred Wainwright, the Coast to Coast walk is nearby, crossing three National Parks and undoubtedly some of England's finest scenery. Starting beside the Irish Sea, you have wonderful walking through the mountains of the Lake District, across the Pennines and down to Swaledale. Around 11 miles away is the the Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre (01969 667664) where you can explore the museum or see talented cheese-makers in action from the viewing gallery. Or, pop into the Cheese & Gift Shop to sample the cheese before heading to the 1897 Coffee Shop for a light bite. Housed in the former Hawes Railway station, the Dales Countryside Museum (01969 666210) is well worth a visit. Climb aboard the static train and find out how family life has changed in the Dales, or take a walk down the 'lead mine' and discover how the region's industries, together with farming, have helped shape this treasured landscape.

Food & Drink

Fresh free-range eggs are available for sale when the site's resident hens are laying. Keld Lodge Hotel & Restaurant (01748 886259) boasts lovely views across Swaledale and is open to both residents and non-residents. Head Chef Tom Carlisle we have gained a reputation for high quality dishes using the best seasonal and local produce. At lunchtime they serve a range of tasty hot or cold dishes such as beef and ale pie, bangers and mash or fisherman's pie. Or, if you are looking for something lighter, they also provide a range of sandwiches and homemade soup. At the bottom of the village, Muker Tearoom (01748 886409) welcomes walkers with homemade cakes, cream teas and light lunches. The china cups are a nice touch, and the sandwiches are always beautifully prepared; the gammon and Wenslydale cheese sandwich is especially popular with walkers.

Open

March - October.

Location

Contact Swaledale Camping, Swaledale Camping, Hoggarths Farm, Keld, Richmond, Yorkshire DL11 6LT

Show Map

Getting There

Swaledale is located just off the B6270, around 1.5 miles west of Keld in Upper Swaledale. From the West: 19 miles from M6 junction 38; allow 40 minutes. From the East: 28 miles from the A1 Scotch Corner or Catterick exits; allow about 60 minutes. As you travel up Swaledale you will pass several campsites but don't be distracted, the journey is well worth it!

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