Bungdale Head, Scrawton near Thirsk

I feel a bit mean saying this but I don’t really like the North York Moors for walking. Its scenery is lovely in parts and there are a lot of interesting historical house and estates to visit. And I love the sound of the steam railway as it chugs its way through the moorland to the coast. But the walks just don’t hit the right spot for me. Its long, undulating hills can’t match the high peaks of the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales. The heritage coastline at Whitby is busy, and the beach isn’t dog friendly. But the cliff top walks in fine weather are picturesque and make a welcome change to endless moorland. So the North York Moors and coast have their appeal, they just don’t appeal to me. Having said that I camped near Thirsk for two nights to avoid heavy thunderstorms in the west (not exactly the Indian summer I’d hoped for!) so here is my review of Bungdale Head!


Bungdale Head Campsite sits on a hill on the outskirts of the tiny hamlet of Scrawton, about 9 miles from Thirsk. It is accessed via a private track, adding to its secluded feel. Rielaux Abbey is a pleasant 2 mile walk away and from the farm you can join the Cleveland Way which starts at Helmsley and goes all the way to Filey. Helmsley, 5 miles, has a great variety of shops (both for provisions and for pleasant browsing), ancient castle remains (managed by English Heritage), a church and a market. Thirsk is a little further in the other direction and has a larger number of amenities including three supermarkets and a petrol station. At Pickering you can board the stream train all the way to Whitby, stopping off at many pretty villages, widely recognised as ‘Heartbeat Country’. The coast is a good hours drive, but you can get to most of the North York Moors within an hour too so both country and coast can be visited.


Sheila was a friendly host, as was Bess the border collie. I was allowed to choose a spot to pitch and left to it.


This couldn’t be anymore ideal. Flat, well kept lawn with two separate fields offering shelter by way of a hedgerow. A picnic bench is located in the second field. Pegs went in no problem and although it rained a lot the fields seemed to drain reasonably well.


Depending on where you pitched there were far reaching views of moorland. You could not see any other buildings – it feels very isolated.


Just sheep and birds! Although at night a distressed owl kept me awake! I think it was hungry. When it’s deadly silent you can hear the quite hum of the main road, but it is so quiet I feel mean to even mention it.


£6pppn, no other charges. Can’t say fairer than that.


These are basic. There are two toilets in an outbuilding in the owner’s garden. They were clean but there are no showers which, if you are staying more than a couple of days, is a bit of a nuisance. There is a cold water tap in the field and they encourage recycling where possible.


This site is just up my street. Basic, cheap, not well known and away from villages, towns and roads. It is also quite small, I’d estimate room for about 10 tents in each field, but they take caravans too. The only negative is there is no shower. If this campsite was in the Lakes it would be my favourite. I’m just not sold on the North York Moors and coast. But this is nothing to do with this lovely campsite. I liked my fellow campers too – they were camping geeks like me, a totally contrast to my last camping trip in Dent….Below are a few photos of the campsite along with some I took on my walks to Helmsley, Grosmont and Whitby.

Oh and stay tuned for my first ‘Champing’ (that’s camping in a church!) review next week.

The campsite

Day 1 – in and around Helmsley

Day 2 – Grosmont to Whitby

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