Farmer Shaun and vet Alison have always had a passion for looking after animals. So to many it was no suprise when, in 2015, they moved to the pretty north Wiltshire village of Brinkworth to start a livestock farm all of their own. The disuesd barns on 90-acre Rouselands Farm are today filled with the noises of agriculture back in action. There are herds of cattle, sheep and horses. And, since 2018, a small, informal campsite too.
Comprising just 10 pitches spread across a lush, gently undulating meadow, this family-friendly site brings everything back to camping basics. There’s plenty of room to roam, so kids can embark on their own adventures, and no electric hook-ups or hard-standings, meaning no rows of caravans to blight the idyllic Wiltshire scenes. Facilities are more than ample, especially given the minimal number of pitches on the site, with a newly-refurbished block offering proper shower and toilet facilities, plus some basic kitchen provisions.
In some respects, the place is still a work in progress. Plans are afoot to add a shepherd’s hut and the couple buzz with their ideas in the pipeline. Farming, however, doesn’t offer free time gladly. Lambing, calving and the daily hum of farmyard life keep things busy at Rouselands. But it’s a fantastic spectacle for kids and, with the farm’s very own reared meat available to buy, parents have the perfect excuse to gather the whole family around the campfire for a hearty barbecue.
Away from the campsite, the local area is rich in things to see and do. Rouselands Farm lies on the eastern edge of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, whose quintessential chocolate-box towns and villages like Bourton-on-the-Water, Cirencester and Stow-on-the-Wold are all within easy reach. The North Wessex Downs (another AONB) lie a little further to the east, too – see if you can spot Wiltshire’s ubiquitous white horse hill figures.
It’s six miles (10-minute drive) to The Cotswolds, entered via the market town of Malmesbury, home to partially ruined Malmesbury Abbey (01666 826666). The abbey hosts the tomb of King Athelstan and a 15th-century Bible, and is renowned for its breathtaking Norman porch. The exquisite Abbey House Gardens, just next door, are worth a visit too. The first King of England is said to be buried somewhere in the garden, and 2 saints have been thrown down its well. Some of the most popular Cotswolds market towns are within a half-hour drive – Cirencester, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold – as is Westonbirt Arboretum with 15,000 species of tree Historic sites like Bowood House & Gardens (01249 812102), Stonehenge and Castle Combe village are within an hour’s reach. The Wiltshire cycle path is just five minutes from Rouselands Farm and there are numerous small country lanes to explore. On a hot summer’s day, cool off at Cotswold Water Park (01285 868096) with its lakeside beach and boats for hire.