The south-west has its Moors; Norfolk has The Broads; Yorkshire has its Dales – iconic landscapes that evoke the wild beauty of England's green and pleasant land. Add to this esteemed list, the Fens of East Anglia.
The Northamptonshire 'Peasant Poet' John Clare envisioned his beloved landscape with '...the horizon stooping smiles/ O'er treeless fens of many miles'. But when this expanse of low-lying marshland and meres, once home to just a scattering of isolated flood-battered settlements, was drained in the 1700s this nutrient rich land saw an explosion in agriculture. Now known as 'England's breadbasket', the Fens are dotted with sweeping golden wheat-fields, dazzling rapeseed, and green fields of marrowfat peas, sugar beet and mustard (the latter supplying the neighbouring Norfolk condiment king Coleman's).
And while many farming might be at the more industrial end of the scale, the Kelso family's Fen End Farm has been wholly organic since April 2003. Besides an array of delicious GM-free crops, a resurrected apple orchard, and native Red Poll cattle grazed on herb-rich pastures, they've also got quite a nice little glamping site we think you might like to hear about...
Fen End Farm sits just nine miles from Cambridge on the edge of the Fens. Deep within the 117-acre farm's organic apple orchard lies a wholly self-contained campsite. For the canvas contingent there are just four, well-spaced tent pitches dotted around the orchard, while those looking for something a little more fuss-free can opt for either the brand new bell tent, a 16ft traditional tipi, or a 16ft canvas yurt (both sleeping up to 4 adults). There is also a beautifully authentic gypsy wagon stationed amongst the wind-fallen English Cox.
It goes without saying, this organic farm boasts an exemplary environmental ethos. This refreshingly undeveloped site features an eco-friendly shower and compost loo, while electricity comes courtesy of a renewable on-site wind turbine and solar panels. 'The Apple Hut' log cabin is the communal facilities area which houses an outdoor kitchen boasting a wood-burning stove, fridge, sink, hot water and cooking utensils – everything you'll need for rustling up some campfire cuisine.
The long grass, hedgerows and native broadleaf woodlands that border the ample, football-friendly-fields, are a haven for a menagerie of curious critters. Keep your eyes peeled for grey partridge, lapwings and hares, not to mention the odd buzzard circling overhead. When twilight descends, see who can spot the most barn owls and bats fluttering from the barn by the entrance... that's if you're not too captivated by some of the clearest night skies in all the land.
The Owner SaysFen End Farm is a small organic farm just six miles north of Cambridge (UK) on the edge of the Fens. You can come and stay in our beautiful orchard campsite. We have four grass pitches as well as a yurt, bell tent, tipi and gypsy wagon. We cut the pitches and pathways but leave the rest of the orchard as a meadow, which provides a sense of privacy and seclusion. On the farm we have horses, cows and hens, lots of wildlife including roe deer, muntjac deer, badgers, hares, buzzards, barn owls and kestrels. We have 117 acres of land to explore including a woodland. We look forward to seeing you on the farm!
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An enchanted and magical place
A wonderful camping weekend among the apple blossom - Fen End Farm
We stayed at Fen End Farm for a birthday celebration with family and friends. The site is well laid out and accommodated our campervans and tents. The less adventurous campers stayed in the farm’s tipi. Each pitch has its own fire pit dug out and there was a larger fire pit for us to use as a group. The pitches are well spaced and would ensure some privacy if you were camping alone.
The toilets and showers were clean and well maintained. The owners are environmentally conscious and asked that only biodegradable shampoos and soaps were used; they had some available for sale. The owners were very attentive to checking the composing toilet – we stayed as a large group and the cleanliness could not have been better.
Our parents stayed in the tipi, had a great night’s sleep and were very comfortable. They loved it, despite never wanting to come camping with us before. They were tickled to be glamping and are up for doing so again! Having the wood hut and log burner meant that our hot water bottles were easily filled up before the chilly night. The hut was a great place to sit, eat, play and just hang out. It is a real bonus to have on the site – particularly if you are unsure whether you’ll be warm enough and it allows you the option to eat around a dinner table if the weather doesn’t look great.
The farm itself is beautiful and a great place to walk around. Friends enjoyed the farm's produce. The grass airfield provided entertainment when planes were heading out or returning. It is a short walk to the village and we went to the small supermarket, pubs and restaurants over the weekend.
This review is unacceptably overdue. We stayed at Fen End Farm in May 2015 and cannot recommend it highly enough! Thank you for having us.
Tranquil Site - loved it
I booked a couple of nights in the yurt with some friends. A very tranquil and beautiful setting. The kitchen and shower facilities were excellent. The owners were very friendly and helpful. We had a really nice time. Thank you Amy
Absolute smasher. Wonderful campsite, the orchard is beautiful, lovely owners, could not be better if it tried. My new favourite place.
We will be back
We only stayed one night, having planned a couple of days in Cambridge. The campsite is especially handy for Cambridge if you are parking at the Milton park and ride. It is also perfectly flat , as you would expect in Cambridgeshire. We had a very friendly welcome and were very pleased with the pricing, which was perhaps reduced as the shower hadn't been fitted yet (they warned us of this). The cabin, with games to borrow , a stove , and sink and kettle, was very comfortable and handy for an evening's entertainment. We had a very peaceful and enjoyable stay. Thank you
Stayed just the one night at this campsite, I have to say that it was well organised and It suited my needs to T. The site was in a great location within an orchard and boasted a cabin to socialise in with a log burining stove... Which i though was a great touch. Owners were friendly and accomodating. As it was on a farm, it was great fussing the horses. Recomended.
Beautiful location, great site - we'll be back!
My fiancé and I spen Eastr weekend 2015 at Fen End Farm and were really happy with our short break. From the friendly welcome we felt at home. The set up is fairly basic, with a composting loo, no shower as yet, but hot water in both the bathroom hut and the Apple Hut for washing up etc. However, we knew about the shower and we were fine to go without for a few days! What is really well set up is the fact that there was soap, toilet roll, washing up liquid etc available - we always forget simething, and it was brilliant to have supplies on hand.
We loved walking around the farm spotting hares, deer, the barn owl and so on, and also the farm animals. In the evenings we spotted bats as well.
We bought some wonderful mince from the farm to make a big pot of chilli, and it was so good we picked up a meat box when we left as well.
All in all, we felt very welcome, we had a lovely time, and we plan to come back!
Win a £100 Blacks Voucher!
If you've stayed at The Orchard at Fen End Farm campsite, please take a minute to tell us about your experience. Every month, one lucky reviewer will be picked at random to win a £100 voucher, courtesy of our recommended retailer Blacks. Each review counts as one entry, so get writing!