Swaledale was pronounced by walking guru
Alfred Wainwright as the most beautiful of the Yorkshire Dales. With this in
mind, a better setting couldn’t be wished for at this riverside campsite.
The river and waterfalls may be the main
attraction for kids on this site, making the riverside pitches in the long
narrow field at the bottom of the farm the most popular. But the views from the
higher fields over the moors are spectacular. And even if you don’t get to pitch
on the riverbank, Keld (meaning ‘running water’) has no fewer than five
waterfalls surrounding the village, so you can always pack up a picnic or set
off to find a perfect waterside patch for a great afternoon of splashing around
and paddling (Wain Wath Falls is a top spot).
As well as the long narrow field by the
river, with the most sought-after pitches, there is a large sloping field, and
owner John can open up other fields as overflow. These actually have better
views and more space for games than those by the river. Campfires are allowed here, too. John and
his wife Barbara, who farm the land in a way that’s sensitive to the
environment, were concerned
that fires were contributing to the erosion of the
riverbank. But John has come up with his own solution: four-legged fire
boxes. These keep the fires off the ground: happy farmers and happy campers.
And if anyone’s still awake when the
campfire’s embers finally fade, it’s time to turn to the night sky for a truly
awesome star display before tucking the kids into their sleeping bags.