In fact, despite its most historic of locations, this campsite is far from ancient and, while well-equipped and soundly run, it started out as just 20 grass pitches in 2012 before flourishing to its current size. Friendly owners, Anne and Steve, had always loved camping in Northumberland and exploring the Kielder Forest National Park. So when they stumbled across this 55-acre farm, a stone's throw from Hadrian’s Wall, they couldn’t help but take on the challenge. Word of mouth spread, people kept coming and the family gradually built ever more features and facilities to accommodate their growing line of guests.
The resulting campsite is a well-located, family friendly mix of traditional camping with extra luxury options. At the far end of the campsite is a grassy two acre field without electric hook-ups for those who want a basic pitch and the best views in the house. While, at the bottom of this plot you’ll also find the Tentipi village – four pre-pitched Nordic tipis complete inside with a log-burning stove. Stepping closer to the amenities block, you'll find further luxury options – eight wooden wigwams with comfy futon-style beds, fridge, microwave, heaters and tea making facilities. In a range of different sizes, the wigwams offer a hideaway for small families or couples. Those wanting to indulge like caesar can have their very own Roman bath – a bubbling private hot-tub next to the wigwam! The rest of the site is a combination of hard standings and open grassland with all pitches a short walk from the amenities block, an immaculate facility with under-floor heating, disabled access and yes, we weren’t telling porkies, an eight-person sauna that can be booked out for private use.
When you drag the kids from the fort playground and venture beyond the campsite walls (just ordinary walls I’m afraid) there’s a plethora of attractions close at hand. Voted England’s favourite market town by Country Life Magazine, Hexham is a short drive away. Its streets weaving out from the famous abbey at its centre. The old gaol there (built in 1333) is England’s first purpose-built prison and invites you to learn about the dramatic Border Reiver raids and the tragic consequences for those who were captured. For history, however, nothing really matches a clamber up to Hadrian’s Wall with the magnificent Roman forts of Housesteads, Chesters and Birdoswald all nearby. Housteads is well worth a visit – you can wander the remains of the barrack blocks and the commandant’s house before enjoying the brand new museum which uses film footage, 3D models and a staggering collection of Roman finds to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site and the lives of the soldiers who lived there almost 2,000 years ago.
Whether it’s this rich history that draws you in, or the mountain biking on offer around Europe’s largest man-made lake in Kielder Forest, or simply walking with the alpacas that live in Herding Hill Farm, this campsite is difficult to match for location. It’s a paradise for those who love the outdoors: a national park on the doorstep, miles upon miles of footpaths that take in the best of Hadrian’s wall and water sports in nearby reservoirs. At the end of it all you can slope back to the campsite and have a cold beer in the tiny onsite bar, you’re on holiday after all, it would be rude not to.
There is a fully licensed bar on site which sells bottles for takeaway only. You can also get takeaway food and homemade pizzas, plus during certain periods, breakfast rolls to takeaway (to be pre-ordered the night before). The village of Haltwhistle is a mile away with a Sainsbury's on the main street and Billy Bell (01434 320253), the local butcher with local fish, game and poultry. The Black Bull (01434 320463) is a decent village pub, though if you walk the other direction from the campsite, The Milecastle Inn (01434 321 372) is a family pub that serves great food and real ales - plus a beer garden if the sun comes out. Haltwhistle also boasts a cluster of nice tea rooms: La Toot (07721 697157), The Fort Tea Room and Restaurant (01434 322037) and Pillarbox Cafe (01434 321780), as well as Beano's Sandwiches (01434 321321) for something on the go.