Heather Glen – Between the Moors and the Dales, Yorkshire
- Cabin for 7
The shacks CAN sleep 7 adults, but it will be very tight and they are best for families. There is a three-tier bed layout with one double on the top, three singles in the middle and a double on the bottom. There’s not much clearance on the bottom bed, so take care!
The Bivouac is a huge project, constantly changing and always exciting. Geographically, the hub of the site is a great big café barn which hosts activities from crafts to music and wine-tasting and is fully licensed to make the gigs (but maybe not the woodcrafts) go with a bang. In another sense, the heart of The Bivouac is the family. There is so much to do and see that you could stay for a month and still not want to leave, whatever age you are. Activities as diverse as foraging, musical workshops, craft skills and story tellings are all available, plus there's miles of hiking, cycling and even a stone circle to keep you and any little ones occupied all day.
The shacks themselves are beautifully constructed using natural timber framing techniques which vastly reduce wastage and also make for a lovely rounded feel to the woodwork. They are off grid but creature comforts have been replicated with ingenuity and style. The custom made terracotta cold store is a marvel (just add water!), there are gas hobs and a wood-burning range which also heats the shower (there are more modern showers a short walk away, but you've just got to try the wood-fired version). Each shack has a ‘giant bunk bed’ arrangement, with a king-size bed on the top bunk under the velux window, three single beds in the middle bunk and a double bed on the lowest bunk (with low clearance). FOR FULL details of the bed layout and sizes, take a look at the essentials tab on the right.
Sam & Beth have used the full size of their site to maintain privacy but allow everyone to get involved whenever they want. The two shacks listed here (there are other accommodation options, so if you have a bigger group, please get in touch) are tucked away in dense woodland allowing privacy or a more communal feel to your stay as you wish. You can lose yourself in the rambling beauty of North Yorkshire, head down to the barn for courses and classes, or just laze in the peaceful shack.
- Children welcome
Kids are most welcome but pets cannot be accommodated
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Special Offer: Short midweek breaks in May and June - Now £263 for two nights or £300 for three nights, normally 4 night minimum at £375!
Valid from 30/04/2013 till 30/06/2013
Price discounts have been automatically applied unless otherwise stated
Everything you need to know about Heather Glen
The important stuff
- Check in is 3pm (but there is the cafe and all sorts to keep you busy if you arrive early)
- Check out is 10am
- You might want to bring a torch and wellies, plus a waterproof coat and a few extra layers it IS Yorkshire and it’s 800ft up a hill!
BED SIZES: Upper mezzanine - one double bed accessed via a ladder. Definitely one for the more romantic, adventurous and limber! You can also gaze at the stars through the skylight set into each shack ceiling.
Middle mezzanine - Three, 3 x 2ft.6in single beds are nestled in the middle mezzanine, it is about 1.5 metres (5ft) off the ground and feels like the cosiest of places to settle down for the night. Perfect for kids, or big kids alike.
Under the middle mezzanine is a secret hideaway containing a double bed. Don’t expect a full height ceiling under here, think of it like a luxury ‘bottom bunk’. A curtain can be drawn for a little extra privacy.
- There is seasonal access to open moorlands. Summer and autumn months are sensitive due to ground nesting birds and the estate kindly ask that people keep to the footpaths and permitted tracks.
- The Shacks are lockable
- There is no mains power in the shacks, but there is in the barn
Sleeping arrangementsThe shacks CAN sleep 7 adults, but it will be very tight and they are best for families. There is a three-tier bed layout with one double on the top, three singles in the middle and a double on the bottom. There’s not much clearance on the bottom bed, so take care!
Kids & PetsKids are most welcome but pets cannot be accommodated
- Wood burning range with side oven
- Calor gas unit with two rings and grill also provided inside the shack
- Custom built terracotta cold store. Just add water to the unit and it evaporates and draws heat away
- Shower in the shack which takes hot water from the wood burning range. There is also a luxury shower block on site (approx 200m from shacks) with under floor heating, four single showers, and two family sized showers. These have an abundance of instant hot water
- Flushing toilet in the shacks. Additional toilets at the barns
- Kitchen sink in shack with hot water supplied by wood burning stove or kettle on the gas ring.
Heating, lighting & bedding
- Wood burning stove. This is also ‘wet-backed’ so it heats a cylinder of water at the same time. The hot water cylinder then supplies the kitchen sink, bathroom sink and the shower
- Tea-light lanterns provided. No electric lighting
- All top quality hotel linen professionally washed and steam pressed, provided on every bed all made and ready on arrival.
- Loads in the cafe that forms the hub of The Bivouac: book library, stacks of board games, piano, guitar & Banjo.
The Bivouac, High Knowle, Masham, North Yorkshire, HG4 4JZ
By public transport
The nearest train station is Northallerton, 18 miles away. It's on the east coast mainline with good connections from King's Cross. The nearest bus station is Ripon, 11 miles away. There's a good Leeds-Ripon service if you're coming from that way. Collection is possible by arrangement and with plenty of prior notice. Any charge will depend on time and distance.
By car - parking is 80m or so from the shacks and staff can load heavy gear onto a quad bike to help you check in
The Bivouac is 30 minutes drive from the A1 and 8 miles north of Ripon.
From the A1
Coming up from the south on the A1: Come off the A1 at Junction 50, after the slip road, at the roundabout take the turning for Masham. The road you will travel along runs parallel to the A1 for a short while. At the next roundabout take a left turn onto the B6267. Carry along that road for about 7 miles before taking a sharp right onto the A6108 at a T-Junction keep going until you reach Masham.
Coming down from the north on the A1: Come off the A1 at the A684 exit toward Bedale/Northallerton, turn left onto the Bedale road A684. When you reach Bedale, take a dog leg onto the B6285 (turn left and then right) and carry along for about 4 miles. At the T-Junction turn right onto the B6267- at the next T-Junction take a sharp right onto the A6108, keep going until you reach Masham.
Once you reach Masham:
- Keep going until you reach the outskirts of Masham and follow the road round up the hill and past the Wensleydale Garage.
- Take a left toward the village of Fearby (Fearby Road) and pass through the village.
- Take the first left just before the primary school.
- Travel along that road until you reach a T-Junction and turn right up the hill.
- Follow that road round and when you come to a big sign with Bivouac on it turn right.
- Drive up the hill and take your first left along a drive that leads to the car park.
Eating & drinking
At The Bivouac
The cafe serves homemade hearty Yorkshire food from 9.00am through to 6pm Sunday – Thursday and 8pm Friday & Saturday. The cafe is licensed and stocks plenty of locally sourced beers and a few local wines & spirits as well as a few from a little further afield!
There is a shop on site which sells the basics and that is open from 8.30am to 7.00pm. There is also a co-op in Masham which is 3 miles away; this is a new store and stocks all the essentials and more.
Before you arrive can book a table in the cafe or they can forward order a take-away or a hot-pot for reheating on the stove once they’ve settled into their accommodation.
Pubs & Restaurants
The Black Swan in Fearby is about 2 miles away on foot with a choice of footpaths to get you there so you could take one route there and another route back.
Things to do
At The Bivouac site itself
Druid’s Temple is situated in woodland on the edge of the moors a short walk away from Bivouac. The site is steeped in history and intrigue; not a great deal is known about the construction of the folly, but it is believed to have been built in the late 1700’s by William Danby (owner of Swinton) at a time when there was a great deal of interest in Druidism as part of the emerging Romantic period. There is a central temple in the middle of the woods, with other features in the surrounding trees.
The Hot Tub Soak up the steam in the alfresco tub, set in the fringes of the trees near the Woodland Shacks and with panoramic views over the surrounding Dales.
With morning, afternoon and evening sessions available to book, you can relax and enjoy being at one with the elements in soothing warmth and comfort. £30 per session, maximum 4 guests.
You know, for kids!
There are loads of activities to keep the kids happy at The Bivouac. Pottery painting, Funky Junk drumming, Mini beast hunts, baking, story corner, arts & crafts, forest schools and of course the ever popular kids game, "running round and round".
Foraging - a half day foraging course with Chris Bax, will give you a fascinating insight into the best wild-foods of the season. You will spend 3 hours in the woods learning to find and identify edible plants, seeds, nuts, flowers and fungi that grow wild in the British countryside. Limited dates:
- Weds 22nd August 10am - 1pm
- Weds 31st October 10am - 1pm
Active & adventure
How Stean Gorge is a spectacular limestone gorge in Nidderdale, up to 20 metres in depth with caves and tunnels. This is suitable for both a gentle walk to admire the scenery, or to take part in the Via Ferrata course with gorge walking, rock scrambling and abseiling. Distance from Bivouac 10 miles.
The Studfold “Explore, Discover and Learn” Trail is set in beautiful Dales countryside with 1 ½ miles of interactive fun, packed full of challenging and delightful activities. Distance from Bivouac 10 miles.
Riding & trekking
The Swinton Estate offers pony trekking and lessons at the Trekking Centre adjacent to the Swinton Park hotel 2 miles from Bivouac.
For the more experienced rider there is the Cross Country course and also permit riding on the Estate. Riding permits are available from Swinton Estate Office (01765 689224) for riding on the tracks in Nutwith Common. These can be purchased at a cost of £60 per annum, covering two horses ridden separately.
The Masham Riding and Treking Centre is adjacent to Swinton Park and at the heart of the Estate. The centre provides trekking and basic riding lessons in an outdoor arena. There are 18 horses and ponies of which most are pure bred highlands, but we also have Welsh mountain ponies and a Shire horse, all of which have a friendly disposition. The riding centre deals with all levels of riding skill and all ages of rider. It is also home to the Dykes Hill Highland Pony Stud with a prize winning lineage of over 30 years.
Fly Fishing on Leighton Reservoir
Leighton Reservoir is a 105 acre, 90ft deep fly-only bank fished reservoir, stocked with rainbow trout from the nearby trout farm on the Swinton Estate. It is a few miles from Masham and a short drive/lovely walk from Bivouac.The reservoir is surrounded by the moorland Dales and enjoys fabulous views.
Facilities include a lodge, toilets, parking and disabled facilities. Leighton is included in the Trout Fisherman Magazine’s “Troutmaster’s Water” competition. 80 of the fish caught in 2011 were 10lb or over, with 11,865 caught in total at a rod average of 2.97.
The reservoir is open for fishing mid March – mid November. Day rates are £25 (4 fish limit), with concessions of £20 (senior citizens/disabled – 3 fish limit); £15 (evening & junior – 2 fish limit). 10 day pass tickets are available at £210 (full day) and £180 (concession). You can also save 5 tickets and get £5 off your next visit (not applicable to block tickets).
For more information please contact Andrew Goodacre on 01765 689204.
Climbing Enjoy a half day of climbing and abseiling with an experienced climbing instructor in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. We’ll provide all the climbing equipment you need to enjoy climbing on some local natural crags, set within an amazing backdrop. This session is aimed at the novice or beginner.
For experienced climbers and groups, we can set up extra climbing sessions. £40 per person
Courses & classes
Bread making workshops
Bivouac are really excited to introduce Susannah Vickers, a local artisanal bread-maker. Come up and indulge in one of her bread-making courses; forage for ingredients and cook on a home made camp-fire! Gain an insight into bread-making from start to finish, using local and seasonal ingredients and cooking on an open fire!
Susannah’s philosophy is based on a fun, shared experience and getting people enjoying bread-making by learning the skills in a friendly environment. Her passion for sustainable living runs alongside this, using locally-sourced ingredients to flavour the breads and eco-friendly cooking techniques.
A 3-hour session includes: making the dough, building a camp fire, kneading and shaping the dough, topping with anything from wild garlic to nettle and chive oil, then baking on a stone on the open fire
Artisan bread course
Kneaded offer indoor courses that give a unique, affordable way to learn real bread making skills in the comfort of Bivouac's beautiful cafe. Alongside friends you will learn the basic skills needed for making real bread at home. From kneading techniques to different types of bread. We can tailor your session to your interest.
Visit Susannah’s website for further details: www.thekneadedexperience.co.uk.
Come and enjoy an evening of wine tasting at Bivouac. Tasting a range of wines, you will get to experience them at their best with the help of Yorkshire Vintners.
Sessions can be arranged for your family or group whilst you are staying with us. Tasting up to 10 different wines, you’ll get to learn what the different grapes taste like, how wine is made, and what kind of wines you like the best, whilst enjoying an evening with friends, new and old.
If you are interested in coming to a wine tasting evening during your stay, then please get in touch with Bivouac after booking. Prices start from £15 per person (for groups of more than 10 people). A lavish cheese board (£5pp) is an optional extra.
Massage at Bivouac
There are a range of treatments available, from an hour-long intensive back blitz, to the popular signature treatment, a luxurious two-hour full body massage that will have you floating away.
A massage therapist is available to guests and visitors on Wednesdays and Saturdays with 24hours notice. To check availability and book your appointment please speak to our reception team either in person or by calling 01765 53 50 20. For more about information please go to www.lomimassageleeds.com.
Bivouac Therapies Menu
Attention lavished on your head, neck, back, arms and hands. You’ll leave the massage table standing taller and feeling calmer. A great place to start if you’re new to massage.
Essential Body Maintenance
A blitz on all the back of your body. For all those areas that crave a little TLC: back, neck, arms, hips, legs and feet. Wonderfully restoring.
Bivouac’s most popular treatment. A blissfully relaxing full-body massage to soothe minds and muscles.
Places to visit
Aysgarth Falls are one of the most popular and scenic spots in Wensleydale. They are a triple flight of waterfalls over a series of broad limestone steps, running for almost a mile, with walks along the river bank. The Yorkshire Dales National Park Centre is also nearby (DL8 3TH). Distance from Bivouac 12 miles
Hackfall Woods are a Grade 1 listed garden, which was planted in the 1700s and enjoyed particular popularity with the Victorians. There are a number of follies in the woods, including Fishers Hall on the banks of the River Ure and Mowbray Castle high on the cliff edge, and there is also a spring fed fountain. The woods later fell in decline, but in recent years have been restored. Distance from Bivouac 5 miles
Newby Hall Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, with some of Britain’s finest Robert Adam interiors, Newby Hall is home to a wonderful collection of Chippendale furniture, Gobelins tapestries and classical statuary. With 25 acres of award winning gardens including one of Europe’s largest double herbaceous borders, an enchanting woodland walk and a miniature railway, younger visitors will also enjoy the exciting adventure gardens. Distance from Bivouac 16 miles
Fountains Abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage site which recognises it as “a masterpiece of human creative genius” and “an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history”. It dates from 1132, and during the following 400 years various additions and alterations were carried out to the site; by the time of the Dissolution it was the richest Cistercian abbey in the country. Whilst a ruin, the scale of the building is still very impressive. As well as the abbey, The National Trust also own Fountains Hall and Studley Royal Park, which form part of the same site. Distance from Bivouac 11 miles
Jervaulx Abbey, A ruined Cistercian monastery dating from 1156. This is not on as grand a scale as Fountains Abbey, but enjoys a lovely setting and is quite enchanting. Distance from Bivouac 9 miles
Meet your hosts
Beth from Bivouac on her and Sam's journey which has resulted in the amazing site they now have. This blog post was originally published on Ethical Traveller:
Sam and I worked long hours during our dating period. I had my own business and he worked in the city. We decided that when we got married we’d quit our jobs and go traveling together for some proper revaluation time. We backpacked around the world talking the whole time about what we believed in; what made us who we are; what inspired us; how we wanted to live; what we were good at and no so good at. Some key themes came from this such as community, faith, family, sustainability, simplicity and nature. There was a lot more talking … and then Bivouac fell out.
So we came home, rented out our house and converted a garden shed to live in whilst we began building the dream. It was a very long up and down journey through finding land, gaining planning permission, getting a government grant and raising a family all at once. The initial plan was that this Bivouac adventure would add massive value to our family, but at times we felt we had lost that ability as our family life got more disjointed as we got further in. But now, even though we have to work really hard, this was the best thing for family life.
Family life means a great deal to us. Bivouac is a place where we want family life and spending quality time together to be inspired again and time and space is given to just being together, in the outdoors, in our activities or cozy by the fire.
We have had our own family torn in bits with the death of our third daughter Florie Briah. She caught a nasty virus and was not old enough to fight it and she died from the damage to her heart that it caused. This happened just as the thirty or forty guys arrived on site to build the project with us. It was like living in a nightmare which couldn’t stop or slow down. We had folk living with us, needing us each day, when all you want to do is hide and catch breath. But, the flip side of this is that everything we believed we were building, community, and ethos of family and friendship, transparency, creativity – it all came into play in that season and I knew then, no matter how hard things were – Bivouac had been birthed. In Florence’s memory we are raising money to build a natural play park here on site. Free to use and designed for families to play, laugh, relax and reconnect.
We have Martha Willow 4, Elsie Myla coming up 3, full of life, creative and amazing company. We are a long way off where we hope to be, but this place is something special and I am so very privileged to have time here with my family, building something for other folk and us to all enjoy and take a part in. Bringing back something about life which might get missed far too often.
About the site
Bivouac's location is stunning; at the top of a high hill at the gateway to the Yorkshire dales. There are long sweeping views over the dales in one direction, views onto the open moorland in another and over 40 mile views to the coast in another!
The site is big; 30 acres of open farm land and over 40 acres of woodland... all free to be enjoyed. It is in the heart of a 20,000 acre privately owned estate (the Swinton Estate) which includes many public footpaths, bridleways and masses of open access moorland with private tracks made available to bivouac guests by permission.
The woodland has a Grade II listed monument at the heart of it; ‘The Druid’s Temple’ which is a surprisingly substantial stone circle and cave set into the hillside. It is quickly becoming a popular wedding location with a festival style celebration in one of the open spaces.
The site has a hub that carries a real buzz... the barns attached to the farmhouse have been converted to a shop, licensed cafe/restaurant, toilets and showers (all with under floor heating throughout). The cafe serves cooked hearty meals using fresh local ingredients (as much as possible) and is open from breakfast through to early evening for dinner. The shop sells convenience items (such as bread, milk, toothbrushes, wine etc) as well as experience goods like maps and the works of locals artists such as photographs and glassware etc. There is a reception desk in the shop and always someone on hand to help with anything from info about local activities and attractions through to booking your next stay!
The site is within the Nidderdale AONB and enjoys massive views of the Yorkshire dales. It is immediately alongside the open moorland which carries three further classifications; European Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protected Area (SPA).
There are dozens of special bird species on and around the site including birds of prey. It is an incredible and very common sight to see birds hovering over the moors and diving to the ground.
The water for the site comes from an on-site natural spring which is purified, pressurised and acid-neutralised before then being pumped across the site to the various destinations. The waste water is then treated on site through a three-stage vertical flow reedbed.
The barns are heated by a woodchip boiler and the woodchip is supplied by the Swinton estate which manages over 2,000 acres of sustainably managed woodland. The boiler provides hot water and heating (via under floor heating) throughout the barns and communal areas.