Sometimes the best sites are the one’s without any single, stand out feature. No converted London taxi with a king sized bed in the boot; no boutique glamping tree house made from scientifically modified satin; no £20 ‘rainbow breakfast’ delivered to your tent. Sometimes, keeping it simple is precisely what keeps it special and when the whole thing comes together just the usual camping offerings can be all it takes to create a sociable and friendly atmosphere.
Riddings Wood is exactly this sort of place. It’s 11 acres of open space and woodland offer nothing far from the ordinary, yet somehow the site retains a wonderfully traditional campsite feel, making it stand out as a real gem in Central England. Campervans and tents mingle on the grassy stretches, kids playing in the ample space between, and caravans park around the top of the site, where serviced hard standings offer a convenient space to pitch. All have easy access to the large washroom facility – a wooden clad building with a slightly alpine, mountain lodge look about it. Within the block everything has a wooden, Swiss-like finish and under floor heating is a welcome luxury touch.
Location-wise, Riddings Wood also offers a handy middle ground. The mighty slopes of the Peak District National Park are a 20-minute drive away – too far to form a dramatic campsite backdrop – yet its proximity to the key roads of the area make the campsite handily accessible from all directions. As a result there’s a pleasant mix of campers. Outdoorsy types, use the campsite as a convenient basecamp for heading north into the hills, while stop-off visitors looking to visit Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield also fill the crowd. Rallies and organised groups are all welcome and there's a smattering of picnic benches around the site that make for pleasant evening focal points when dinner time rolls around. Campfire smoke smudges the air and there's a general atmosphere of inclusion.
By day campers scatter, each heading off in their own direction with an itinerary to suit, yet by the end they all return. Adults briefly tap on the WiFi, kids briefly play on the playground and everyone slowly drifts off to bed. It's the simple circle of camping life and precisely what makes this easy-going site a winner.
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