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Our first camping trip of the year was three nights at Wood Nook campsite in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, a few miles from Skipton. We arrived on Friday evening with our trailer tent in tow, excited to kick-start our camping season – our first as a family of four. The approach to the campsite through Threshfields and Skirethorns is down a winding single track road with few passing places which could be tricky in a large motorhome, but is very picturesque and set our expectations high for the campsite.

2018 update

Our original review below is from our first visit in April 2017. We returned to Wood Nook in June 2018 with two other families. This time we found a 5km circular walk starting at the top of the campsite through farmers’ fields and back along a small winding road. The children all enjoyed the on-site play equipment (slide, climbing frame and swings). We also noted that a Spar shop has opened recently at the petrol station in Threshfield where you turn off the main road to approach the campsite – perfect for barbecue supplies! The only downside this year was that even though we had experienced a couple of weeks of hot dry weather, every night there were swarms of midges from around 7pm until we admitted defeat and went to bed. There was just no way to escape them and we all came away covered in bites. Speaking with the owners of the site they told us that this was fairly normal and that this weekend wasn’t the worst that they experience. It was bad enough that we would seriously think twice about returning. We also booked into a local pub, The Old Hall Inn in Threshfield,  for a meal on Saturday night and were very happy with the food and service (and extensive gin menu!). The rest of our original review continues below…

Layout of the site

Our pitch in the tent field

Our pitch in the tent field

The layout of the site is a central reception (incorporating a small but well-stocked – if a little pricey – shop), toilets and shower block which are shared between a large upper field for caravans, and a lower field dedicated to tents and campers. Although a relatively large site, the fields are separate and out of view of each other so it manages to maintain a small cosy feeling. We were pitched in the tent field along with a couple of campervans and one small motorhome. The entrance to this field is down a narrow lane between two old farm buildings after a tight ninety degree turn so anything bigger wouldn’t make it in. The walk to the toilets might be a little too far for some in the middle of the night (especially if you’re pitched at the far end of the site) but both the toilets and showers are heated and the toilet block had Dales Radio playing throughout the night. Brushing my teeth to the sound of Jon Bon Jovi was a new experience on the first night (as was Michael Bolton on our last night)! The ladies toilets is equipped with a pull-down baby change table, and the ladies showers have a family cubicle with double shower. The showers are of the push-button swimming pool style that need to be restarted every 30 seconds.

It’s possible to check availability and book your pitch online – a convenience which we’re seeing much more regularly than when we started our camping adventure a few years ago, and one we very much approve of. The pricing structure is quite complicated with a fee for the pitch (the amount varies depending on the season) plus an amount per occupant (with adult, senior citizen and child prices), and then a supplement for any dogs or awnings, but at least being able to book online means you can confirm the total price up front. There is very little mobile phone signal, but the site has good quality free wifi that’s accessible throughout the site – not just from the main buildings. As much as we like to get away from civilisation on our camping trips, we have to admit that we are somewhat reliant on Internet access for planning our days, checking opening times, or streaming some music in the evenings (not to mention for writing campsite reviews!).

A good destination for families and groups

The site is well equipped for families with a separate field for ball games, a small playground with slide, swing and climbing frame, and plenty of signage reminding drivers to beware of children. Our two-and-a-half year old loved being able to wander around the tent and practice on his new bike – and we felt the location was safe and secure enough to let him roam. There are recycling facilities for card, paper and glass at the entrance to the tent field and a couple of taps to collect drinking water. There’s also an old barn at one end of the field that is full of garden chairs and picnic benches, ideal for groups to congregate and to shelter together from the rain (or sun!) if there are too many people for one tent.

The river at The Red Lion

The river at The Red Lion

Grimwith Reservoir

Grimwith Reservoir

On Saturday morning after a fairly cold night we took a trip into Grassington – we’ve been before but only during the extremely busy Dickensian Festival at Christmas so it was nice to be able to explore in a more relaxed atmosphere. We stopped for lunch at The Corner House  where we found friendly staff and great food, including a delicious selection of homemade cakes. We sat inside, but they also have a few tables outside for when the weather is warmer. Later we stopped for a beer at The Red Lion in Burnsall. A traditional country pub in a fantastic location with large beer garden right next to the river with amazing views. Even at this time of year there were plenty of children playing in the river. We definitely want to go back here in the summer. We finished our day at Grimwith Reservoir. We had planned to do the  4.5mile circular walk around the water, but it had started to get late and as the temperature dropped the wind was picking up, so after a short walk and a few photos we decided to head back to the campsite.

On Sunday we headed in to Skipton for the Waterways Festival. There was plenty going on around the canal basin, with market stalls, an owl sanctuary display and boat rides. We spent a lazy afternoon wandering through the town, and had far too much pizza for lunch at Brody’s Bistro (highly recommended) while the Tour de Yorkshire raced past outside (we aren’t big cycling fans).

Sunday and Monday were both forecast to be cold wet days earlier in the week so we were grateful not to see a drop of rain the entire weekend, and the second two nights considerably warmer than the first. Monday was spent lazing around the campsite and packing away the trailer ready to head home. The checkout time is 12 noon, which is later than we’ve seen at many campsites.

In summing up the campsite on the drive home we agreed that we would like to return to Wood Nook for another stay as it is ideally placed for exploring the Yorkshire Dales, and is a well equipped family friendly site that is well run and not too expensive.

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Wood Nook, Skirethorns, Skipton, Yorkshire4.32018-08-02T21:58:18+00:00Tom