Beautifully restored 1960s horsebox with gorgeous designer touches, set in a private Northumberland meadow
The British-made Bedford TK was an iconic vehicle of the 1960s. It was used for everything from Post Office trucks and horseboxes to fire engines and military vehicles. And, today, its versatility shines again in the Northumberland countryside, where Ashton Symm has painstakingly restored a 1964 model and crafted it from a horsebox into a ‘housebox’ for the 21st century glamper.
Parked in a peaceful, private, five-acre meadow enclosed by trees, the horsebox is clearly a labour of love. The attention to detail is second to none. The shower, for example, with tiled green walls to match the van exterior, has a beautiful, hand-crafted copper head creating a rain-style effect, with Faith in Nature toiletries and a bunch of freshly picked mint to create an authentic herbal shower. The leather-hung towel rails, meanwhile, match the neat leather straps on the window blinds and could be straight from the pages of the very best interior design magazine.
While the finer details show Ashton’s light touch – from the welcome hamper with marshmallows and ground coffee, to the freshly cut wild flowers – the horsebox is superbly functional too. The kitchen is well equipped, there’s electricity for charging devices and there’s ample space (and room for two children if you use the sofa bed and a pull-out mattress), while the main bed, snuggled away above the cab, still feels supremely cosy. The original, port-hole-style window alongside the enclave is wonderful on frosty or dewy mornings, when you can roll up the gorgeous homemade blind and peep out at rabbits nibbling in the meadow from your bed.
Set in the Wansbeck Valley and beside the ancient Borough Woods, there’s plenty of wildlife to be found. The area immediately around the horsebox is great for sitting out, with a canopy, campfire pit and tables that fold down from the side of the horsebox. But beyond, there’s acres of wild space to explore and, through a gate, a footpath leading into the market town of Morpeth, a mile away. For many people, the serenity of the meadow itself is enough to consume their time, enjoying lazy mornings in, strolls down to the nearby River Wansbeck or long evenings cooking on the grill that hangs over the campfire. When you do head out for the day, however, it’s a 20-minute drive to the Northumberland coast and the sweeping beach of Druridge Bay and 30 minutes to the wilds of Northumberland National Park. Sadly, you’re not allowed to take the horsebox with you.
Morpeth, England, United KingdomTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Ashton S.Joined in August 2020
From the host
Our luxury converted Bedford TK horsebox is sited in the meadow of Little Low Haugh in Mitford, just 0.9 miles from Morpeth. With stunning panoramic views of the ancient Borough Woods enveloping the quiet little spot it sits in. This classic TK has been described as a cottage on wheels, with handmade furnishings, hot shower, wood burning stove, gas hob, outdoor dining and decking area, and LED lighting throughout. The sleeping area is a double bed with luxury bedding, with additional sleeping space for a small adult or child on a single sofa day-bed.The toilet facilities are portable eco-friendly dry toilets that are located adjacent to the Horsebox in a converted railway luggage carrier. Hand washing facilities, toilet roll, soap, and hand sanitiser are all provided within the unit.
The peace and quiet of the meadow lends the place to lazy mornings where you don’t rush away. There’s access through a gate to a public footpath, which you can follow into Morpeth or out into the countryside. It’s also just a short stroll to the River Wansbeck, the perfect depth for a little paddle and splash if the weather is hot. It really is great walking country and there are plenty of options in the immediate surroundings. If you don’t mind a short drive, though, it’s a half-hour drive to Northumberland National Park and around 50 minutes to Kielder Water and Kielder Forest Park, which is ideal not just for walking but all sorts of outdoors activities, including sailing, canoeing and mountain biking. It’s a 20-minute drive to the coast (a vast stretch of it is all within a half-hour drive), with Druridge Bay Country Park the pick of the best walking spots (though the whole length of the coastal path is at your disposal) and Alnmouth and Warkworth both well worth the drive further north.
For alternative activities, it’s 15 minutes up the A1 to Northumberland Country Zoo (01670 787778), 15 minutes to Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens (01670 841235; an impressive menagerie with exotic animals and a petting barn, plus wooded trails and a tea room) and a little less to Whalton Manor Gardens (01670 775205), designed by Gertrude Jekyll (book ahead to visit). The National Trust’s Wallington estate (01670 773606) and English Heritage's Belsay Castle (0370 333 1181) are also nearby. It’s a 25-minute drive into Newcastle city centre.
Food and drink
It's a mile into the centre of Morpeth. For a light bite visit The Chantry Tea Rooms (01670 514414) or the Healthy Prep Kitchen (01670 631425), with excellent vegan and vegetarian dishes and some sweet deserts that are perhaps less healthy than the cafés name suggests if you choose to over indulge. For an evening meal, meanwhile, try the Mediterranian food at Socrates @ No 5 (01670 514666).