The days are beginning to stretch out once again, hell, the temperature gauge is even on the up (if only a little) and summer is just around the corner. If we couldn’t tempt you out to camp over winter, then let us show you why spring is where it’s at!
We’re chomping at the bit to get back out sleeping under the stars, trying out the latest gear we’ve wangled for Christmas, and generally walking off all that winter hibernating and snacking. Spring is an ideal time to get yourself back outdoors and into the swing of things – green buds are appearing on trees everywhere, garden birds are nest building and lambs are being cute and woolly in pastures across the country.
To that end, we’ve been checking out some of the campsites that we think will make for the best options this Easter break – some sites offer a wild camping experience while also providing washing facilities, etc; most offer you the option of a campfire, which is a hugely important part of having a good time when camping; while all of them represent good value for money and some pretty inspiring locations.
Located on the rugged West coast of the Isle of Skye at the foot of the Black Cuillin mountain range and the shore of Loch Brittle, Glenbrittle Campsite, is as wild as you like. The campsite features pitches spread liberally across the field and down towards the shore at Loch Brittle.
Shower and toilet facilities are located nearby and Glenbrittle has a campsite shop offering everything from fresh food to camping and climbing equipment. And did we mention that it’s in the grounds of the jaw-dropping Dunvegan Castle, which is home to a real, live Scottish chief? Well it is!
One of the best campsites you’ll ever happen upon – the best things in life do come in small packages! There are just 20 camping pitches at Blackberry Wood, all nestled separately in woodland glades. So, as well as getting all the fun of wild camping, you also get all the facilities of a real site – perfect!
The Blackberry Wood campsite is surrounded by great walks and top-notch country pubs for grub after a day on your feet, and the team at the site are nicely laidback. Facilities available here include parking, toilets, washing facilities and even WiFi. There’s an on-site shop, too, that sells essentials like logs, barbecue coal and bike hire (erm, maybe not so essential).
Stowford Manor is a family run farm situated in the Frome valley, and is home to everything from traditional Jersey milking cows to a community of workshops used by local craftsmen. The small, relaxed and picturesque campsite is situated with the River Frome on one side, just next to the medieval buildings of Stowford Farm.
You can fish, paddle or swim in the river, while the city of Bath is a 15-minute drive away. Again, this spot is an ideal base for walks and cycling on the Kennet and Avon Canal. Facilities include toilets, showers, sinks, and washing-up facilities.
The most famous campsite in our round-up, but not for the reason you might expect! Eastnor Castle is actually home to the annual Big Chill music festival, surrounded by a beautiful deer park and sitting in the dramatic Malvern Hills. The campsite here can be found in the Eastnor Deer Park and has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The season runs a little differently to your average campsite and visitors are welcome from April until June and again from August until October. There are fresh water points in the park, plus cesspit emptying points, but there are no showers, toilets or electrical hook ups here. You can also fish on the park’s lake – that’s supper sorted, then.
This is definitely one for real nature lovers, the campsite is in the very heart of Snowdonia making it an ideal base for walking, swimming and other adventure activities – you can even walk directly up Snowdon from the site.
There’s a stone toilet block, with toilets, hot and cold running water in basins and showers, as well as dishwashing sinks at each end of the building. A nice handy tip is that weather information is posted outside reception on the toilet notice boards every morning, helping you to plan the day ahead.
Possibly the most picturesque of our picks! The closest pub, the Bull’s Head, is one of Brecon’s oldest, with real ales and good food. The Taff Trail long distance cycle route is one mile away and the start of the walk up Pen y Fan (Southern Britain’s highest mountain) is two miles out of town.
Now, if you’re looking for somewhere truly unique to camp, this riverside meadow is ideal and the level, grassy field meanders alongside the river offering plenty of privacy and space. Locally produced charcoal and firewood is provided, plus metal trays, so you can get the campfire going. There are also hot showers, washrooms and toilets that are housed in a bow-roofed, cedar-boarded cabin.
The owners request no noise after 10.30pm, which is also when the cabin lights go off so that there’s no light pollution disturbing your star-gazing.
Forestside Farm is actually an organic dairy farm set in 156 acres of countryside, with views of such rural beauty as Dove Valley and Weaver Hills. And, because there are acres and acres of countryside right outside your tent, there are plenty of local walks on the farm and in the surrounding countryside.
Facilities include toilets, showers, washing up area with fridge, kettle and microwave, handy if you can’t face setting up the camping stove for a hot cup of tea as you head off for a spot of coarse fishing, which is available in a small (half acre) pool. Nearby you’ll find Lichfield, with a beautiful cathedral, plus Cannock Chase, which bridges the border between southern Staffordshire and the West Midlands.
Meanwhile, for families and big kids, all the fun of Alton Towers is just a 25-minute drive away (as is the Peak District, for a different kind of fun).
Words: Rachel Devlin