For sheer dramatic wild beauty, the Northumberland coast takes some topping. The wind-buffetted beaches along this unspoilt stretch of the North East seem to go on forever. With plenty of wildlife, dune fauna and the boundless, shimmering blue of the perma-choppy North Sea, there couldn't be a more fitting setting for a spot of back-to-basics camping.
Introducing Hemscott Hill Farm – a pop-up campsite nestled in the undulating dunes that rise and fall along the fringe of seven-mile-long Druridge Bay. Combining the thrill of totally off-grid camping with epic coastal views and a few basic facilities to smooth out the rough of the wild camping experience, this marram-dotted landscape is an utter joy. What meagre facilities exist for campers are basic but perfectly clean and functional – there are compost loos, a washing-up and kitchen shelter – while the eco-friendly, gas-powered showers are hot only if you're lucky, and free of charge.
The walk to the nearby farmyard takes you through the evolution of the dunes; from the sand, sea sponge and spiky marram grass near the beach, through to thicker vegetation and then onto the meadows of the farm (geography students take note!). Affable host Alison runs the farm alongside the campsite and also offers a shepherd's hut in one of the meadows (pre-pitched and furnished bell tents can also be hired ready for your arrival). And while, across Hemscott's many acres, there is ample open space for guests to savour the great outdoors, there's also an intimacy here that belies the farm's proximity to the sprawling peaks and valleys of the Northumberland National Park.
If anywhere deserves the accolade 'a walker's paradise', it's not the national park, but right here on the Northumberland coast. Venture in any direction from Hemscott for countless spectacular strolls; from the fossil-strewn beach at Hauxley, to the many ancient castles that dot the northern stretch (Northumberland has more than any other county in England). Hemscott is also on a number of national and tourist cycle routes. And as dusk descends, stoke up the campfire and enjoy the dazzling sunsets as they yield to the twinkling light of infinite stars under the UK's darkest night skies.
The campsite owner says
Hemscott Hill Farm is a unique opportunity to get away from modern life in an open meadow and dune space on a Northumbrian farm. We operate a pop-up site that is open from the end of July to the end of August only. We aren't offering fancy glamping experience with posh facilities. Our camping area is made up of beautiful furnished Bells & Whistles tents, a small cosy Shepherd's Hut and basic facilities for regular campers, a combination of a cooking & washing up shed, compost loos and hot showers available at the farm. There are no electric hook ups and we unashamedly steer clear of that 'fancy stuff' we want to stay as 'wild' as possible. Our farm is on a lovely quiet and sandy beach at Druridge Bay that you can easily wander over to and enjoy a barbeque or a dip in the clean water. Watch the sun rise on the beach and set over the ponds and into the distance.
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