This pastoral slice of West Lancashire is one of the oldest agricultural areas in the UK. You only have to look to the local town of Ormskirk – home to a farmer’s market since medieval times – to see it’s bounteous produce. Vegetables, jams and homegrown goodies spill from the varied stalls, with traders capitalising on the area's convenient and accessible location.
A few miles out of town, 120-acre Watkinsons Farm has been working the land for almost as long and has been in the hands of its current owners since the 1930s. Stretches of woodland and a patchwork of ponds dot the surroundings while vegetables are still grown in the more fertile areas. It’s a perfectly picturesque scene.
And it is here, backed against the woods, that Watkinsons Farm have started their newest venture – a petite bell tent glamping site, with four pre-pitched, pre-furnished beauties ideal for those looking for a quiet escape. Each tent is pitched on a flat, wooden platform, with outdoor seating and a campfire pit, while inside there are proper double beds, lanterns, bean bags and a box of cooking utensils with everything you could possibly need.
The all-you-need comforts go hand in hand with a traditional camping set-up. The site is completely off-grid and has a genuine camping atmosphere – think compost toilets, gas-powered showers, late night campfires and starry nights – but for those in need of a good pillow and a sound night's sleep, the farm is ideal. Small-scale and low key, this is a place where you can chat to the owners rather than members of campsite staff and get first hand recommendations on the local area.
Whether it’s heading east into the hills, west to the beach or out to one of the surrounding cities, there’s certainly plenty to do. A walk along the Leeds to Liverpool canal is a fantastic place to start. There are several good pubs on the waterside and the tow path has loads of space if you want to bring a bike along for a family cycle. Pedal back towards Ormskirk, meanwhile, and you can reward yourself with a cool drink and some freshly baked gingerbread. The town is, apparently, the birth place of the quintessential English biscuit and there are plenty of bakeries where you can find the tasty treat. More than one are also home to the ‘very first original recipe’. You'll need your detective skills to work out who's telling the truth. And a good appetite.