School’s out for summer, so it’s time to relax – time to unwind, unplug, go off-grid and truly get away from it all.
To do that you need to be far from the madding crowds and we found the perfect spot for some end of term R&R. No queues, just hedgerows, no traffic, just the hum of tractors in the distance, no rush, just hedgehogs for company, no hubbub, just the babble of the River Brock flowing nearby.
If you recognise the River Brock then you know exactly where we’ve just returned from – if not, then like us the incredible area around the Bleasdale Estate is waiting to be discovered.
Enveloped by the most majestic scenery, it’s a part of Britain you have to go looking for … not one you are likely to stumble upon. We’re certainly glad we did, having been invited to enjoy a fantastic week at the Lantern and Larks site at Bleasdale.
We posted last year about our trip to the Rutland site and having been well and truly bitten by the glamping bug, booked up again in an area new to us but with the familiar L&L home comforts. Cosy beds, even cosier log burner as well as a kitchen and shower room that helps strike the perfect balance between adventure under canvas and grown-up practicality.
We’d read all about the area before booking – tempted by the location on the edge of the Forest of Bowland, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – but hadn’t quite appreciated how natural and how beautiful it really is.
Reached via a criss-crossing network of picture postcard country lanes, it feels as though you are in glorious isolation. The contradiction is actually the real world is just a hop, skip and a jump away – with the market town of Garstang six-miles away and the likes of Lancaster, Preston, Blackpool and Lancashire’s other towns and cities all within easy reach.
We spent four days getting acquainted with the area and could quite easily have spent another week without running out of things to do. In truth, you could probably spend a lifetime off the beaten track around Bleasdale and still find new things to enchant you at every turn.
The Lantern and Larks site itself is ripe for exploring. With grazing fields neighbouring our tent (we missed ‘our’ flock of sheep when we left), woodland on the other side and the River Brock valley at the foot of this small but perfectly formed glamping retreat.
Through the gate, down the hill, past the barbecue area (complete with tree trunks for seats) and you arrive at the footbridge over the water – while away some time playing pooh-sticks or clamber down to the river’s edge to paddle, summer fun’s on the doorstep. If you follow the Brock upstream there’s a natural pool perfect for swimming (we’re told … we didn’t brave it!) and that’s just the start. There are even fields of wheat to run through, if that’s your thing.
Our youngest in particular was delighted with the pack that was provided to ensure that we made the most of exploring the site. A fishing net, bug catchers, magnifying glass and lots of suggested fun activities made for hours of fun.
All around the Bleasdale Estate there are footpaths and cycleways that take in the best the area has to offer (including the historic Bleasdale Circle, with a fascinating history). A little further afield is the Beacon Fell Country Park, covering 185 acres, and for refuelling in between walks there are village pubs around each corner. Chipping, just a few miles from the Bleasdale estate, is the archetypal English village, the very definition of quaint, whilst cruises on the Lancaster Canal offer something a little different.
In truth though, you don’t need to go too far from the site itself to enjoy the Lantern and Larks experience. It’s all about getting away from it all and enjoying the simple pleasures, creating memories at the end of another school year that has flown by all too fast.
We played, we walked, we ate, we talked – the perfect start to what could just be the perfect summer.