Rustic, off-grid, luxury-budget accommodation at the eco-chic BivouacRustic, off-grid, luxury-budget accommodation – it's the Good Life all right at the eco-chic Bivouac, nestled in the panoramic woods and fields of the Swinton Estate, five miles outside Masham. There's a choice of accommodation here. Half a dozen hand-built, sheeps' wool-insulated timber 'tree lodges' shelter in the woodland – they sleep up to seven in a unique triple-tier bunk-and-bed arrangement, and come with running spring water, flushing toilet and wood-fired range (so you can pop in your casserole before you head out for the day). Fixtures and fittings are fun and funky, from sculpted wild wood railings to mirror frames recycled from tree-trunk off-cuts – basically, you get to stay in a pretty cool cabin in the woods with a minimal carbon footprint. Or there are seven yurts in the meadow (sleeping up to five people), all with super views and all rather beautifully fitted out – again, handmade furniture to the fore, plus wood-burners, rugs, rocking chairs, running cold water and a terracotta 'fridge'. You can book a woodland hot tub session to soothe aches and pains (they have their own eco-toiletry range for sale, naturally); otherwise for power, wifi, toilets and showers, guests walk across to the main reception area, where there's also a great cafe, and – the final piece of the jigsaw – a twelve-bed bunkhouse, built in the same sustainable vein and available either for sole-use groups or individuals. Built around an old farmhouse, the entire project is a classy advert for – in their words – "all things luxurious and rustic, sustainable and thoughtful", and is set in a beautiful part of the Dales. There's plenty to explore locally, but don't miss the short walk up from the site to the estate's Druid's Temple, an atmospheric and historic folly hidden in the trees. Bivouac also offer all sorts of courses, from wild-food foraging sessions to art and craft workshops.
PriceLodges from £225 for 2 midweek nights, low season, up to £995 for 1 week, high season. Yurts £160–£795. Bunkhouse £22.50 per person per night.
Opening TimesOpen all year.
Accommodation8 yurts (sleep up to 5 in 1 double bed and 3 singles), 6 lodges (sleeps up to 7 in 2 doubles, 3 singles), and an 8-bed bunk-barn.
Swinton Bivouac, Bivouac, High Knowle Farm, Knowle Lane, Masham, Ripon, HG4 4JZ
Bivouac Swinton is about 5 miles west from Masham, a charming Wensleydale market town renowned for its breweries (Black Sheep and Theakstons) and annual Sheep Fair. The villages of Ilton, Fearby and Healey are all a short drive/half hour walk away. The Bivouac is 30 minutes drive from the A1 and 8 miles north of Ripon. The nearest train stations are in Thirsk and Northallerton. If you would like to coninue on public transport from there than you will need to get a bus to Ripon, where you can hop onto a bus to Masham. It is also possible to get a bus from Richmond and Leyburn to Masham.
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