Abbey Home Farm

UK England South West England Gloucestershire Cirencester

  • Campfires allowed
  • Groups welcome
  • Short walk to pub
  • Good walks nearby
Eco-camping for real. Cooking on an open fire. Unspoilt natural beauty.

The Chester-Master family don’t always do things the easy way. “To make a farm pay nowadays, most farmers concentrate on one venture,” Hilary explains. “We are doing the opposite”. And she’s not just talking about the way 1,500-acre Abbey Home Farm seems to produce every food you can grow in the UK on site, from honey to halloumi. It’s also a reference to the award-winning farm shop, the educational courses and the vegetarian café with a menu that changes daily as it follows the progress of the surrounding garden. This is not just a farm. It’s an entire organic enterprise.

In addition to this agricultural activity is Abbey Home’s thoroughly low-key and off-grid campsite. Or rather, campsites. After all, why challenge yourself with running one when you have the space to manage several? The main ‘Green Field’ site is popular with families, who love the space – only accentuated by sweeping views of the surrounding pastures – and the car-free safety afforded to children. It's rustic to say the least but that's certainly part of the charm. To wash, for example, you can heat water over the campfire then use their quirky bucket mechanism to take a shower in their wooden shower huts.

Alongside the Green Field is a smaller meadow for campervans and those desperate to pitch accompanied by their vehicles, while, elsewhere, you’ll find a shepherd’s hut, a yurt and a four-yurt camp for groups. Perhaps our favourite site is the aptly named ‘Magical Glade’, an exclusive hire spot in the woods a whole mile away with space for about three small tents. Since the wood was only planted in 1991, the trees are still relatively small, giving campers the best of both worlds: sheltered seclusion and sunlight.

Wherever you’re lucky enough to pitch, you’ll have to start by checking in at the farm shop, the hub of all things at Abbey Home. Head grower Andy chalks notes on a blackboard inside, so that guests know what’s going on in the 15-acre vegetable garden that surrounds the building, and you’re welcome to wander through it all on weekends. There are also tours of the wider farm on their summer open day, though, at other times of the year, you can follow the well-signed farm trail yourself, heading to a beautiful totem pole by the campsite and on past fields of short-horned cattle, sheep and chickens before entering the woods and returning down an old railway line to the shop.

The diversity and seasonality of the farm means there is always something new and changing. ‘Sprouting Broccoli and Spring Greens cropping well’, reads one of Andy’s chalk-board notes in April. ‘Good year for soft fruit and Strawberries,’ in July. This propensity for change seems to have seeped into the varied courses and activities offered and, more recently, even into the running of the campsite. Almost 20 years after the farm first became certified organic, the next generation of the Chester-Master family are beginning to take the reigns of the site. While the camping will still be an off-grid, campfire-friendly and eco-friendly affair, plans are apparently in the pipeline for a few new welcome additions. Whatever happens you can be sure it won’t be done the easy way. But no doubt it will be set about with the same laudable aim of making the countryside and the environment a better place.

Details

Facilities

Main site with room for around 20 pitches (10 minutes’ walk from the shop/café), ‘magical glade’ for two or three tents only (25 minutes from the shop/café), plus a shepherd’s hut, a yurt and a four-yurt camp. Composting loos, timed water taps, firepits for hire (limited number) and logs for sale. Only one proper shower (gas powered, £1 per use), though you can heat water in a kettle over a campfire and wash using the shower buckets in the cubicles provided! A variety of courses are available (see website for full details).

Suitable For

Tents, small campervans – yes. Caravans, dogs – no.

Nearby

You are in Roman-remains territory, so it’s mosaics-a-go-go: Chedworth Villa (01242 890256) is less than 10 minutes away by car and has some of the best examples. If it rains, Cirencester is only 5 minutes away by car: For creative kids, the Pick a Pot and Paint ceramic studio in Blackjack Street (01285 650405) is worth a punt, while younger ones love the indoor soft play area at MagicLand (01285 885570). The Corinium Museum is also in Cirencester (01285 655611) – one of the nation’s largest collections of Romano-British bits and bobs in what was the empire’s second largest British town. It has been recently renovated, with interactive displays and the opportunity to dress up as a Roman soldier. You’re also on the edge of the Cotswolds, with Cheltenham and Stow-on-the-Wold within half an hour’s drive.

Food & Drink

You’ll regret bringing any food with you. Buy it here. The farm shop and café produce deliciousness: milk and meat, fruit and veg, cakes and even ready-meals. All organic, of course. There’s also a good selection of restaurants in Cirencester. The Hare and Hounds pub at Foss Cross (01285 720288), 4 miles away, has an upmarket dining room, where children’s meals aren’t your bog-standard deep-fried offerings.

The Village Pub (free house), Barnsley (3 miles) – yes, the pub is actually called that; it’s very pretty and a swish gastro affair to boot (01285 740421).

Opening Times

The yurts are open Easter–October. Green Field camping available all year (book online or turn up in shop hours).

Family Friendly

It's organic, free-range, homemade, raw, healthy camping on the farm. The place to come for a whole lot of natural goodness. You'll almost feel guilty for driving here the place is so green. Why not cycle? Walk? Or glide in a solar powered plane?

The Owner Says

We have several options for staying here at Abbey Home Farm and hope that you'll find something that suits your fancy. Our 4 Yurt Eco Camp is great for groups of 18 or less, while our Single Yurt is perfect for couples and small families. The Magical Glade is for groups if 8 or less and is nestled in a young coppice which allows for both privacy and sunlight! Our Green Field campsite is a large field hugged on two sides by dry stone walls and is our main public campsite. We think that all of the options are particularly excellent for getting up close and personal with nature and in keeping, the amenities are rustic. We also have a Hut by the Pond and Shepherds Hut, both off grid and perfect romantic retreats for two.

If you find yourself needing a bit of luxury, The Organic Farm Shop and Cafe are just a 5 minute walk from the main campsite, (a longer walk across the fields from the Huts, Single Yurt and Magical Glade). And since we are a farm- we take food very seriously here. The shop sells 100% organic veg, soft fruit, dairy, bread and meat all produced on the farm, as well as everything else the conscientious shopper could ever need. The cafe is inspired daily by the large kitchen garden surrounding it, serving very seasonal food. It also happily caters for people with diverse food needs (vegan, gluten free etc). Why not join us for Lunch on Sunday when we have our farm-raised meat as a treat?

If you are interested in getting involved with some farming activities we have several ways in which the whole family can do that too! Kid's Farm Days (in the Easter and Summer holidays) are a chance for 8-12 year olds to learn about organic farming and food production whilst really getting their hands dirty on the farm. Or if you are after tailor made activities for the whole family, we can definitely come up with something interesting.

Here at Abbey Home Farm, we are committed to re-establishing the connections between nature, farming, and meeting human needs and believe that, as farmers and land stewards, we have a responsibility to efficiently produce food for the local community while protecting our soil and creating and maintaining biodiversity. We love to share what we do and hope to see you on the farm in the near future.

Location

Abbey Home Farm, The Organic Farm Shop, Burford Road, Cirencester GL7 5HF

Show Map

Getting There

From Cirencester, head east for the A417. At the A417 roundabout go straight ahead towards the B4225. After the next roundabout pass the turning for the A429, then take the next left, signposted ’The Organic Farm Shop’.

Train station: Kemble (7 miles) – London to Gloucester line. Bus no. 855 runs from the station to Cirencester, stopping at Stow Lodge, from where it’s a 20-minute walk to the site.

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