Website: buckdencamping.co.uk/ | Phone: 01756 760304 | Postcode: BD23 5JA
At the end of the July heatwave we headed to the small village of Buckden near Skipton and the relatively small Buckden Camping site on a working farm. Joining us were 4 other families totalling 10 adults and 10 children for our largest group camping trip yet. We loaded up the car and hitched up the trailer in scorching heat, and set off for the drive of just over an hour to Buckden. On arrival we setup camp in stifling humidity just before the heavens opened and we spent the rest of the weekend dressed from head to toe in waterproofs. Read on to find out whether our spirits were dampened!
Buckden is a tiny village with 1 pub, (The Buck Inn, which we didn’t try but were told they have a “fine dining” menu), and 1 basic grocery shop (cash-only as the mobile signal isn’t strong enough to support card readers). Entrance to the site is via a (fairly tight) turn from the main road through the village into the farmer’s yard. We were met by the campsite staff who explained where our pitch was. The campsite is a simple long thin strip of land on a slight incline. An equal sized neighbouring field is open for the children to play games in. The top of the camping field is gravel and set aside for car parking as cars aren’t allowed alongside the pitches. At the top of the carpark are a couple of outdoor sinks for washing up and a converted camping pod housing 2 toilets and a shower. There are more sinks, toilets and showers in outbuildings around the farmer’s yard. Beyond the carpark are 3 camping pods and then 4 marked pitches with electric hookup on one side of the field, with the rest of the field open for people to pitch wherever they like providing they observe the safety rules about leaving enough space between tents. Our pitch was the last of the electric hookup pitches at the bottom of this stretch of field just before it drops down to a lower level (which wouldn’t have been accessible with our trailer-tent). This is where the rest of our group were pitched. This lower area doesn’t have electric hookup. Several wheelbarrows are provided for transporting all your gear from the carpark to your pitch (although we were allowed to take the car to our pitch as we had to tow the trailer into position). If you have booked ahead and are camping with a tent you are advised to go straight into the field and find an area to pitch. Caravans and motorhomes are asked to wait by the farmhouse to be shown to their pitch.
After setting up our pitches we all huddled together in what little shelter we had, shared some food and had a couple of drinks. The sheer amount and force of rain (and the volume of the thunder) was on a scale I’ve rarely witnessed before and watching the weather close in on us from the hills, and the menacing clouds speed across the sky was an impressive sight. Fortunately the temperature didn’t really drop too much overnight and we all got a decent night’s sleep, only woken a couple of times by the sound of the rain against canvas. One of our group found that their new tent wasn’t quite resilient to the force of the storm though and had to deal with a leak, but some adjustments in the morning were an improvement for the second night.
We spent some of Saturday morning sheltering in the barn before a break in the weather when we decided to walk down the river to Starbotton. A left-turn from the campsite and a 2minute walk gets you to the river. Starbotton is the next village and 3km away by road (right-turn from the campsite), but our route took us about 5km. In better weather the river would have entertained the children for a few hours of paddling and hunting for fish. The campsite had some fishing nets for the children to borrow. The Fox & Hounds pub in Starbotton is a nice traditional pub with a decent range of beers.
Kettlewell is beyond Starbotton and about a 5 km drive away from the campsite and is the nearest place for a cash machine or petrol station. Grassington is not much further.
On Saturday evening the group managed to cook on a couple of barbecues under the shelter of a gazebo. We had the first use of our new tripod barbecue and were impressed at the amount we were able to cook on it and at the adjustable grill height. The whole thing comes apart and packs fairly flat for easy transportation. We’d suitably exhausted the children so they all went to sleep a bit earlier leaving the adults to catch up over a couple more beers.
There was no let up in the weather on Sunday morning so after breakfast we all got on with the job of dismantling our tents and loading the cars ready for home – this is when not being able to bring your car onto your pitch is a bit of a pain as everyone had to haul their gear up the field to their cars. We managed to get our trailer-tent packed away without getting too much water inside but we were wary of bringing the car onto soaked grass and trying to tow the trailer back up the hill in case the car slid or got stuck so we managed to push the trailer back up to the car.
Two days of camping resulting in a week of trying to dry everything out – it sounds like our trip was ruined by the weather but in fact we all agreed that we’d had a fantastic time and one that we’ll remember for a long time to come because of the rain. Buckden Camping is set in beautiful surroundings and offers a nice quiet, relaxed atmosphere. It would be a good base for trips to Grassington and Skipton. We’ve already recommended it to friends looking for a weekend getaway in a few week’s time.