Wyresdale Park Feather Down Farms
Situated on the western slopes of the Forest of Bowland, Wyresdale Park is a tranquil pocket of mixed woodland, grazed pasture, upland fell and lakes. At its heart lies a patchwork of beautiful gardens and old farm buildings, dotted amongst overgrown paths, giant redwoods and hidden lakes. Wild deer roam free and inquisitive peacocks wander the pathways. It feels like a truly forgotten land, and yet it's nestled conveniently between the M6 and the A1.
The estate was bought by the Whewell family in the late '60s, and they have painstakingly worked on restoring the buildings ever since, although the land has remained relatively untouched for 200 years. The area is still studded with the archaeology of the past, with hunting, farming, fishing and walking all still very much a part of life today.
The Whewells now welcome their land to campers and have turned an unspoilt corner of this land into a boutique camping destination, bringing a slice of alfresco glamour to the village of Scorton.
Curious campers can stay in one of five spacious encampments, all well positioned on a beautiful, secluded spot close to the lake, where the Whewell children spent their days paddling in streams and building dens in the woods.
Each tent comes fully equipped with everything you'll need for a comfortable stay, including real beds with thick duvets, a wood-burning stove (which doubles as a cooking hob), a hot shower and flushing toilet, as well as over 45 squared metres of tastefully-decorated living space. But the highlight sits outside – your very own wood-fired hot tub, for complete relaxation after a day spent deer spotting.
At the bottom of your garden is a 500-acre fell with magnificent views stretching from the tip of Wales to the Cumbrian Fells. The sunsets in this part of England are of national fame, and from the top of Grizedale Fell they are even more magnificent.
Once darkness begins to cloak the campsite, head back to your tent, fire up the stove, settle down with a warming mug of hot chocolate and see how many stars you can spot in the constellation of Orion.
FacilitiesThere are five encampments in total (each sleeps 6–8), each with its own wood-burning stove, hot shower and hot tub. A starter basic essentials is included upon arrival, but additional supplies can be bought from the on-site honesty shop, which also stocks a small range of convenience foods. Wyresdale Park is a great base for boating, walking and cycling. The lake is stocked with brown trout and rods can be hired for a small fee from the campsite.
Suitable ForKids, families, well-behaved dogs on leads –yes. Campervans, caravans, tents – no.
NearbyMountain bikes can be hired from the campsite (must be pre-booked to ensure availability), and there are a range of cycle routes for all abilities. A more gentle pace can be followed on two feet – several walks (of between one and four miles) which require a little battling with the undergrowth. But the file-mile circular walk that takes in Nicky Nook Fell and Grizedale Valley is worth it for the views to the Irish Sea and the Lake District. And if that all sounds a little too taxing, you can hire a wooden rowing boat and spending your day floating lazily on the estate's 15-acre lake. Venturing out of the estate, the Forest of Bowland is 312 square miles of wild, magnificent landscape spanning rural Lancashire and adjacent Yorkshire. It's also home to the Wild Boar Park (01995 61554), where children can feed deer, llamas, goats and lambs. The bustling market town of Garstang offers plenty of shopping opportunities, including a weekly market every Thursday selling an abundance of local cheeses and fresh organic produce.
Food & Drink
The owners recently opened The Apple Store Café, which can be found in the shelter of the walled garden, is surrounded by tulip trees, magnolias and ginko and makes a perfect spot for afternoon tea. The best local produce can be picked up from Booths, in nearby Garstang. Stouts bar (01524 791255) is a charming, family-run inn serving local ales and hearty mains. The 'Priory Hotpot' is the best way to replenish after a day cycling through the Forest of Bowland. Award-winning, quality local food can be found at the Inn at Whitewell (01200 448222), on the banks of the River Hodder – an eccentric stone inn reputed to have inspired Tolkein.
Start of April–end October.
Wyresdale Park, Wyresdale Park Estate, Scorton, Lancashire PR3 1BA
From the north:
Take the M6 heading south and exit at junction 33. Join the A6 south, and turn left after 4 miles towards Scorton. In the centre of Scorton turn right and then left, driving through the village centre, and up Snowhill Lane. Follow the lane for one mile then follow the signs to the Country House Hideout at the crossroads.
From the south:
Take the M6 heading north and exit at junction 32, leading onto the M55. Exit the M55 at junction 1 and take the A6 north for 8 miles, through Billsborrow and Garstang. Once past Garstang, take the right turn signposted for Scorton. At Scorton village, take a right turn up Snowhill Lane and follow the lane for one mile then follow the signs to the Country House Hideout at the crossroads.
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