For this camping trip we had some family visiting from Australia and wanted to show them some of our favourite places in the Yorkshire Dales. We settled on Woodend Campsite which is located on a working farm of the same name just past the village of Austwick.
We arrived on a rainy afternoon and pulled up at the farm house. We met the farmer who explained that his wife runs the site and wasn’t at home, but we could pull in to our pitch and sort out payment in the morning. Two of us were sleeping in the campervan, and 2 on an airbed in a tent which we decided to pitch inside our awning for a bit more weather protection (and decided to buy a dual-powered electric pump for the airbed as a result!). Between the four of us we just managed to get everything pitched before the rain intensified. We reverted to our original larger awning for this trip as we had 2 guests staying with us and we were grateful for the extra space as it barely stopped raining all weekend. On our first night we cooked a veg curry with rice for four in the van, and toasted naan breads on the portable gas hob which we’d set up in the awning.
The site itself is quite small, making use of one of the fields at the bottom of the farm. You definitely get the impression that the owners have diversified and tried to bring in another source of income from their farmland, and why not, if they can provide a lovely campsite in a great location, then everybody wins!
There’s an old brick barn across the yard opposite the farmhouse that has been converted for use as a toilet block for the campsite with two unisex cubicles and a separate urinal. Two showers are located in a room at the end of the main farmhouse building and the washing up area is next to that under cover of a lean-to, so all of the facilities are located around the yard in front of the farm house.
We camped at the end of the camping field closest to the toilets and showers but it was still a reasonable walk through the field down a track which is unlit until you trigger the security light outside the owners’ house – torches are a must! The pitches are arranged on both sides of a road that runs through the field and all seemed to be hardstanding. Most, if not all had electric hook-up available. The pitches are well spaced out with plenty of grass in between for awnings or tents. We didn’t see any statics, but there were several large caravans that were unoccupied and looked like they are there all year round.
The centre of Austwick is a 10 minute walk away and has a newsagent, post office and the local pub – the Game Cock. We tried to eat at the pub on our second night, but when we arrived the restaurant was already full, there were several people sat eating in the bar and already a long waiting list for tables. I suspect that alone speaks volumes for the quality of the food but we were unable to sample it for ourselves. We had a drink, and admired the food being brought out to the tables around us but didn’t get to see a menu and decided to cut our losses and find food elsewhere. We ended up in the Craven Heifer in Stainforth, a 5 to 10 minute drive away. This pub was much quieter, and despite the chef having gone AWOL leaving the landlady to take the reins all four of us were very happy with our meals and most were beaten by the large portions!
Settle is nearby, with plenty of shops, pubs, cafés and supermarkets. The Ribblehead Viaduct is also close to the site, with plenty of walks through the countryside that can be made to start or finish at the Station Inn which seemed popular with walkers, cyclists and bikers. The viaduct is one of those “favourite places” that I mentioned we wanted to show off to our guests although I’m not sure that the Aussies were impressed by our inclement weather!
The village of Hawes is about 40 minutes away from the campsite and should definitely be on your “places to visit” list, if for no other reason than the Wensleydale Creamery and their mountains of cheese! (It also has a decent café).
Ingleton Waterfalls are less than an hour’s drive away and well worth a visit (although parking is pricey!) for a relatively easy walk and some impressive waterfalls.
We enjoyed our stay at Woodend Campsite, and we all agreed that we would like to visit again, perhaps later in the season with better weather when we could explore more of the local area on foot.