A huge country estate dotted with glamping and self-catering accommodation that feels like the middle of nowhere!
Garnons Estate, Byford, Hereford HR4 7JX 01981 590 235
Situated on a private family estate not far from Hereford, Byfords Glamping is a glamping site like no other, with no fewer than 2,000 acres to play with and just one safari tent, an off-grid woodland lodge and a gypsy wagon as your choice of accommodation. Clearly, they like to keep things from getting too crowded, and you couldn't hope for a more bucolic or more private place to stay, with no neighbours other than badgers, deer, owls and sheep, and a host of outdoorsy things to do. These include miles of walks around the estate and the Wye Valley path network, access to the river for fishing or canoeing and, during the summer, some excellent mountain-biking in the woods.
The safari tent is situated by a babbling tributary of the Wye, and is big enough for four people, with a double bed and two bunk beds made up with crisp sheets and also fresh towels and toiletries. There is a solar-powered fridge, and the solar provides some electric power for a couple of lights and to charge a mobile phone; the rest of the lighting is from paraffin lamps, giving a real sense of atmosphere around the camp. The tent has its own picnic area and there is a fire-pit by the
stream (and another by the river), along with a gas stove inside the tent. There is parking off road available close to the tent (5 min walk) but if you have a four-wheel drive (or when it is very dry) you can drive up to the little bridge that takes you to the safari tent. There is plenty to do locally and and in particular a good pub a ten-minute walk away over the farm's orchards. But we wouldn't blame you if you just wanted to stay put – you have no-one to disturb apart from the owls!
Among the estate's other accommodation is a stone Woodland Lodge – quite luxurious in its way, although completely off-grid, with solar power for light and to power the fridge, and three wood-burners for warmth. Built in 1835 as a hunting lodge and situated entirely on its own in the middle of a 350-acre woodland about a mile up a track, it has running water from its own well, houses a gas-powered shower and flushing loo, so is perhaps more of a trip back in time than a glamping experience. It has a double bedroom and one bedroom with two single beds, a gas stove for cooking, and also a huge fire pit outside, along with its own wood-fired hot tub.
Finally Wootens Wagon is a lovingly restored gypsy wagon situated in an orchard next to the river that has been completely renovated to house a 5-foot bed and a Queenie stove – making it a romantic and an ideal hideout for couples wishing to get away from it all. It has a firepit for barbecues and a wonderful 'field kitchen' that is perfect for cooking in all weathers, plus your own flushing loo and hot shower. The wagon also has its own access to the river, where there is a further firepit and double sun lounger to watch the swans and geese from: very private – and, like all the accommodation on the estate, quite special.
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The Safari Tent and Woodland Lodge each sleep four people; the Wagon sleeps two.
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