Bleasdale Glamping Lantern & Larks
Bleasdale is a perfect case in point. It’s a good half-mile of private driveway that leads you away from the backwater B-road you took from the M6. The vast country estate is fronted by old workmen’s cottages, perched at the entrance to the grounds that date back several centuries. In the background flanks of dark, crowded trees give way to gently rising ridges, climbing up to Fair Snape Fell – one of the largest hills in the Forest of Bowland – before curling round a crescent-shaped valley to Parlick Pike. It’s British beauty that’s difficult to beat, no matter where you go.
The site itself is of the high-end glamping kind. This is a place where, regardless of how muddy you get stalking wildlife or splashing in the river, you can return to the utmost of canvas comforts. Five spacious, well-furnished safari tents are pitched with their backs to a strip of den-friendly woodland and overlooking a private section of the languid River Brock. Inside they’re divided into three separate bedrooms and a large open plan living area with a kitchen in the corner. A central woodburner adds to the cosy feel, accompanied by furnishings that wouldn’t look out of place in the elegant outhouses of the estate. Attached to the back is a private bathroom and toilet with a piping gas-powered shower and thoughtfully provided toiletries in cute minature bottles.
While inside campers can positively hideaway from all the clamours of daily life, outside the tranquil surroundings provide just the same dose of calm and relaxation. The campsite has immediate access to several fantastic local trails and if you head from the river banks in the direction of Parlick Pike – a heather-topped cone of a hill – there’s a Stone Age circle around ten minutes away. Most days you’ll be the only one here, so you can stand around holding hands and pray to the ancient fire gods. When you get back to camp check if it’s worked by laying out the campfire, then pray to the god of marshmallows… or just buy them from Bleasdale's honesty shop.
FacilitiesThe safari tents sleep up to 6 people and all the bedrooms are separated for privacy and comfort. The tent has one double; one twin; and a bunk bed (bedding and linen provided). Furnished throughout with everything you will need, they feature the likes of sofas, dining furniture, a log burning stove, a kitchen with gas hobs and all the cooking utensils, and an en-suite bathroom with a shower and toilet.
Glamping only, so no tents, campervans or caravans. Dogs, families, large groups, couples – yes.
NearbyThe main attraction in the Forest of Bowland is the space to explore on foot or by bike, with an excellent cycle network and plenty of footpaths. There is information onsite about where to go. For something different, though, Cobble Hey Farm & Gardens (01995 602643) is worth a visit; a working farm and gardens a few miles away. It's perhaps a little upstaged by Bowland Wild Boar Park (01995 61554), a rightfully popular spot where you can meet squealing wild boar piglets. There's plenty of other wildlife there too, including deer, llamas and goats. History buffs should try 16th-Century Browsholme Hall (01254 826719) or Samlesbury Hall (01254 812010), with almost 700 years of fascinating history, from the battle of Bannockburn to its purchase in the 1920s, together with the claim it is one of Lancashire's most haunted buildings!
Food & Drink
Optional extras can be added when booking. These include a 'large' or 'basic' breakfast hamper, a BBQ pack, a campfire kit, a soup pack or a stew pack. In terms of pubs, though, there are loads in Chipping Norton. Try medieval The Chequers (01608 644717) or, for the best beer gardens on a sunny day, sit outside The Blue Boar (01608 643525) or The Red Lion (01608 684221). Elsewhere, the Inn at Whitewell (01200 448222) is a spectacular, old fashioned, rural pub. Seasonal grouse from Lancashire Moor, pheasant and partridge from Dunsop shoot, Bowland beef and Lonk lamb from Burholme Farm are staples on the menu – well worth the detour.
March – October.
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