I am always slightly apprehensive when I arrive at campsites. Despite enjoying adventures alone for over 10 years I still feel self conscious that travelling, camping and holidaying alone is a bit weird. Surely you have to be a bit odd to crave the amount of solitude I do? But arriving at Heber Farm I needn’t have been concerned. I was warmly welcomed and made to feel right at home.
I stumbled upon a new venture being set up here. I last visited two years ago, and wrote about it here – but then it was just a field and little else. Now, 2 years on, and with planning permission from the Yorkshire Dales National Park, two camping pods have been erected. Lucky for me when I emailed on the off chance that one might be available over Easter it turned out they had only just been set up and were not officially open. ‘But’, said Gill, the owner, ‘You are welcome to come and stay in one’…….I couldn’t believe my luck. How special do I feel to be the first to try out a fancy camping pod?! I wild camp, running water is a luxury to me, and here, as Gill showed me round were hot showers, a hairdryer (well once the electricity is turned on) mirrors and hooks – an under-rated necessity when sleeping in the great outdoors.
So, on to the camping, but not really, camping review.
Buckden is in Upper Wharfedale, a typical U shaped valley dotted with old barns, dry stone walls and pretty wild flower meadows. It’s perhaps most well known for being at the foot of Buckden Pike, where a Polish war plane crashed in World War II. It is also on the Dalesway footpath and houses an outdoor residential centre for children. There are two cafes and a small shop. At the time of writing the pub has closed. There are lovely walks along the River Wharfe to Kettlewell or Yockenthwaite, or high levels walks to Arncliffe, Litton, or as previously mentioned Buckden Pike and Great Whernside. You can enjoy day trips to Hawes, Grassington, or Malham by car. To use a cliche, its a walker’s paradise.
A really warm welcome from the host, and her two dogs. I was shown around the two new pods, the additional campsite and given an amenities sheet with useful information about the local area.
Well, it’s not just a pitch. I got the whole site to myself. But I suppose this is a unique situation in that it isn’t even open yet. The field has lovely views towards the river, and up and down the dale. You can park your car on the hardcore surface not far from the pod. The pod has a great little shelter for ‘dining al fresco’, whilst enjoying the views.
Sheep baaaaing. Birds tweeting. A Cuckoo. Really not a lot more, perfect. The ‘main’ road towards Hawes passes through the village but you wouldn’t know it. The field is well back off the road and behind the farm building.
What normally puts me off camping pods is the price. Typically you pay up of £75 for one night, and when it is just yourself staying that’s extortionate. But for me, for one night, it was just £20 – what a bargain.
I’ll comment on this as if I were to visit once everything was up and running. So lets list the great facilities on offer…
- Electricity in the pod.
- A fridge!
- Comfortable memory foam mattresses (enough room for four people).
- Hot power shower.
- And then the other obvious things, like toilets, water tap etc…
Definitely up there with some of the best facilities at a campsite.
I suppose if you have children there is no play park but you are only moments from the river, and there is a playground in nearby Kettlewell. Bring your own ball games, or tire them out on a decent walk!
There is no Wi-Fi, TV signal or phone signal (there is if you walk 5 minutes to the bridge and stick you hand in the right direction) but this is what appeals to me the most. The self induced down time where you can truly turn off and forget about the big wide world.
It is a shame the pub is no longer open, but there are two cafes in the village. However I recommend you walk to Hubberholme (1 mile) and eat at the George Inn (booking advisable). It is one of the nicest pubs I have been too – whilst there pop inside the church. Stunning.
The little shop opposite the site is good enough for emergencies. The more comprehensive shop is in Kettlewell, 4 miles, and stocks the basics, and more. Three more pubs, cafes and a garage are also here.
After a long and bracing walk in the cool April weather it was so nice to retreat to a cosy camping pod, surrounded by ewes and their lambs. In high seasons I love camping, and nothing beats it, but when the weather still isn’t very warm and the nights draw in before 8pm a camping pod is definitely more favorable. The walks from the door sell it for me. Lots of paths in all directions, and all differing in gradient. Safe to say I have already booked my next stay at Heber Farm!