Play Hard

Retreat in review: Camp Hill Estate

Rosie shares the highs and, well, highs of a proper break away at the Camp Hill Estate in Bedale

Written by Rosie Harrison
Published 12.05.2021

In Partnership with Camp Hill Estate

So, I’m sat here on the deck that surrounds the front of my geodome, enjoying the sunshine that has followed a few days of almost constant rain and watching the sheep go about their business.

All I can think is: ‘I wish this wasn’t my last morning’. Obviously, I was also simultaneously cursing the bad luck of the sun beaming down just in time for our drive back to Newcastle…

 

 

I was lucky enough to visit Camp Hill’s new Hill Farm Geodomes, which they have been working hard to build and prepare during lockdown, in time to welcome guests from 3rd May. My boyfriend, Michael, and I were honoured to have been among the guests booked in to stay on the first day, where everything was brand spanking new.

You may be familiar with Camp Kátur, which is an off-grid getaway situated within the beautiful Camp Hill Estate. After successfully working to host many happy guests in 2020, the teams of the Camp Hill and Camp Katur sites united under one ownership and have continued to offer varied and well-executed chances for us to get away from society and have a proper break.

The site itself boasts many types of accommodation – from bell tents, lodges, and domes to safari tents, a hobbit pod and even the gorgeous little Romeo and Juliet pod. Spread across fields and among trees, each unique place to stay makes the most of the countryside that surrounds it, and truly has a magical feel. But more than just offering a (rather gorgeous) place to lay our heads, Camp Hill also offer activities, workshops, specially-designed spaces to explore and enjoy, and even have a restaurant on site too.

Having read this you’ll see that I had plenty to look forward to. We hit the road on Monday for the 3pm check-in; straight down either the A19 or A1, it’s a really easy journey to get there. Predictably, the downpour that marred our voyage down refused to cease when we arrived, but we were greeted cheerfully by Tam at reception, who directed us to where our domes were located and where her sister Stephanie was waiting to let us into our dome. In just a hop, step and a jump, we were inside and able to take off our wet coats and shoes, ready to properly check out our dome and its beautiful surroundings.

The dome was wide enough to contain a double bed (made up of two singles), a lovely brown leather sofa(bed), a wood-burning stove and stocked wood basket, as well as a shower and toilet block, which doubled as the backboard of the bed. We didn’t feel at all short of space, and with the wide window of transparent plastic, the beautiful view of happy sheep drew the eye immediately. City-dwelling folk as we are, we attempted to light the fire and sat back to enioy the sound of the rain on our roof. We’d been planning to go for a drink at The Hebridean Bar & Grill, explore a bit and then cook some Geordie Banger sausages on our fire pit. But with the rain not on our side, we decided to eat at the Hebridean that night instead, and were pleased to have booked in advance to secure one of their little beach huts to protect us from the elements.

 

It was great having the restaurant so close: we were able to head over and get cosy in our little beach hut and enjoy some local gins and beers, followed by our wood-fired pizza. The menu was simple, but focused on local produce. We both went for pizza, as we could see the pizzas other patrons had ordered and they looked too good to resist! But we did also spot some burgers and wings on their way to another hungry party and may have suffered some slight food envy. That being said, when our pizzas came we weren’t disappointed.

We spent the evening roaming the estate, peeking in at the accommodation not yet open – the safari tents, hobbit pods, etc – and exploring the woods and meadows that make up the Estate. We discovered the outdoor gym, woodland chapel, playground, and also a mysterious crashed plane, which we believe would be part of other activities on the site.

Appropriately worn out, we headed back to the dome to re-light the fire and curl up. It was a good night’s sleep – partially marred by our inability to light a good fire, and our idiocy in not closing the curtains, meaning we were mostly frozen when we woke up. This would easily have been avoided if we weren’t quite so silly. We did have a cosy night the next evening…

Camp Hill provides plenty to keep you occupied in the daytime – from the 17th May especially, when all the activities reopen. This means that during your stay, you could learn bushcraft, den building or fire making. You’ve also plenty of options for great places to visit with Camp Hill as your base – taking advantage of the cessation of the rain, we headed to visit Thorp Perrow Arboretum, which is only 15 minutes away and is a fantastic place to lose yourself for a few hours in the exquisite plants, trees and flowers. We then headed out to explore the lovely villages of Bedale and Masham.

 

After another long day, we were happy to retreat back to our dome, light the fire pit outside and finally grill our sausages. The staff at Camp Hill provide all the kit we needed to cook out on our firepit, and there was plenty of wood and kindling available to purchase from the wardens. We were so happy to sit out on our deck chairs, watch the sheep and listen to all the different sounds of the area – glad not to be hearing the constant hum of cars and city life for a change.

 

Setting off the next day was bittersweet; we were still on a high after such a good few days away and didn’t want to leave. Even the rain didn’t dampen our spirits – and Camp Hill was able to provide a great time, regardless of the weather. I genuinely can’t recommend it enough.

Spaces are going fast, but there’s still availability for your own Geodome experience for mid-week stays! Remember to check these guys out on social too.

For more information about the Camp Hill Estate or to book your stay, visit their website, Facebook page or Instagram 

And you can find the estate itself here: Camp Hill Estate, Kirklington, Bedale, North Yorkshire DL8 2LS

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