I love being outdoors but until I met Adam, camping was never really something I did. My mum loves a clean bathroom, comfortable bed and warm shower, so growing up the closest I ever got to ‘roughing it’ was staying in a self contained cabin in a national park!
When Adam suggested we camp over the Easter long weekend with a group of friends I was excited for the experience but also a little worried about how I would handle it all. Adam’s family have a long history of camping holidays and when we arrived back in England there were boxes of his own equipment, plus countless other relatives we could call on for a loan of gear. We took advantage of their generosity and on Good Friday packed up and drove to Thistledown Farm, a camping ground in the neighbouring county of Gloucestershire.
We were the last to arrive in our party and quickly got to setting up the tent in an Elderflower orchard. The young trees had fresh spring growth on them and port-a-loos and a tap to access drinking water were only a short stroll away.
On the Saturday morning, after brewing coffee on our campfire, we took a stroll into the nearby village of Nympsfield. We walked down a lovely winding country lane where we watched cows munch on an old turnip crop and spring lambs trot about. Nympsfield itself was just gorgeous – a typical Cotswold village filled with butter coloured stone cottages and rambling gardens full of flowers. With blue skies overhead and birds twittering in nearby trees, it truly felt like I’d stepped into the scene of a movie (or a BBC period drama)!
Sunday we awoke to a sunny morning and decided to explore the farm itself. Thisteldown backs on to land owned by the National Trust, so there are dozens of walking paths allowing you to explore the area. We took a wrong turn at one stage, which led us into the most beautiful little woodland carpeted in bluebells. It was the first time I’d seen bluebells en masse and it got Adam and I excited for the arrival of the bluebells on the Malvern Hills.
Thistledown has an onsite cafe – which we took advantage of a few times for treats like locally made ice-cream and Easter Sunday lunch. It’s got a wonderful open kitchen where you can watch the on-site chefs do their thing and is a nice addition when you’re new to the camping experience ;).
We cooked our meals on our camp fire (Adam, who loves baking bread, even managed to make a fresh loaf for us all), played board games, told stories and kept our bedtimes in tune with the sunrise and sunset. Although it was rather cold (I spent the majority of the weekend in thermals and multiple layers of clothes) and we had some rain, the weather didn’t really stop us from doing anything. Adam and I took advantage of on-site showers once over the weekend, and I was surprised at how ok I was with lowering my personal hygiene standards for few days!
It was an Easter I’m sure I’ll remember for years to come and Adam’s even convinced me of taking a few more camping trips over the summer. If you’ve got any suggestions for good camping sites in England, Wales or Scotland, I’d love you to share them with me!