Big Bear Lodge
Hendre Villa, Melverley, Nr Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 8PH
Perfectly poised between the Welsh Border towns of Oswestry and Shrewsbury, Big Bear Lodge offers a secluded camping and glamping retreat in one England's true regional treasures. With the rivers Vyrnwy and Severn close by and the Shropshire Hills alluringly visible on the horizon, guests have no end of scenic walks to enjoy (over 3,500 miles-worth to be precise). Climbing the local slopes from this four acre base in the village of Melverely, affable host Cassie reckons the breathtaking views might just be the best in Shropshire. It's tough to disagree.
Comprising a scattering of grass camping pitches, hardstandings for the campervan contingent, pre-pitched tents for any guyrope greenhorns and a quartet of cute Canadian-style glamping pods, there's something for everyone at Big Bear Lodge, including a bed and breakfast onsite too. The latter, a titular wooden lodge, has a luxury ski chalet feel complete with roaring log fire and sun terrace for soaking up the hillside views. Keep your eyes peeled for red kites and buzzards circling in the thermals overhead.
Facilities-wise, this place boasts all the... ahem... bare necessities you're likely to need. There's fresh water adjacent to the camping pitches, a new amenities block with three showers including one for disabled guests and modern features like heated towel rails and rainfall shower heads. Motorhomes and caravans, meanwhile, are well catered for with hook-ups and chemical disposal provided. But it's the four pods that steal the show. Naturally insulated with local sheep's wool, these cosy cocoons make a great wintertime cabin for couples or an equally lovely summer getaway with the french windows flung open to let the sunshine in.
With its prime location, Big Bear Lodge offers opportunities in abundance for exploring this, arguably, less well known region. Despite being the 'gateway to Wales' and no secret to the rambling world, Shropshire boasts one of the lowest populations per square mile in England, making it a peaceful pocket of bucolic bliss, yet brimming with historical intrigue. There are more than 20 Iron Age hill forts, some 30 castles and numerous abbeys dotted throughout the county, not to mention bohemian towns like Bishops Castle and medieval Shrewsbury to explore. For an ultimate escape within easy reach of cities such as Manchester and Birmingham, South Shropshire is low in traffic and high in spiritually enriching nature. It’s an enviable paradise for locals and an ideal camping climate for the rest of us.
The Owner Says
You will hear the local owls hooting at night, and if it's a cloud-free evening you can settle down under the skies for a spot of peaceful stargazing: no light pollution or traffic noise here.
The Big Bear facilities include fresh water adjacent to pitches, a new amenities block with three showers including one for disabled guests, heated towel rails, rainfall shower heads and washing-up facilities with hot and cold water. Dogs are welcome on site but must be kept on leads.
Big Bear Lodge is also near where the Vyrnwy and Severn rivers meet so has a wealth of walks very close by – and Shropshire has over 3500 miles' worth of hikes if you want to take things a bit further.