There’s no better name for this small organic farm, set alongside the River Chater and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The local birdlife, further encouraged by nearby Rutland Water Nature Reserve, sings a terrific morning alarm clock. Kingfishers can sometimes be seen in the lower branches of an ash tree that overhangs the river and cuckoos arrive here to officially welcome spring. It’s as if their call is the signal to open the campsite, which promptly welcomes campers from the middle of April each year. Cuck-ooo, Cuck-ooo, they call. The camping season has arrived.
Set in an open, very slightly sloping meadow, Cuckoo Farm Campsite has space for around 50 camping pitches, with a laid back, pitch-where-you-like attitude (though 20 specific spots are provided with electrical hook-ups). Campfires are permitted in the firepits provided and farm-owners Roland and Rebecca are thoroughly encouraging of campfire cooking, with grills, tripods and metal kettles you can use. The real treat is the on-site farm shop, where you can buy their fresh organic produce. Paired with bread and other goods from the farmers market in Stamford, a 10-minute drive away, it’s as wholesome as you could wish for.
For six months of the year the grassland of the campsite is grazed by the farm’s gorgeous black nosed Valais sheep, who move into the neighbouring meadows come camping season. Before being shorn, they look like a cross between sheep, shaggy Highland cows and giant teddy bears. Campers are welcome to book tours of the farm, which may involve the chance to feed lambs in spring and to collect fresh eggs from the chickens for your breakfast. There are pigs and turkeys too and Rebecca and Rowland give some great insight in to organic farming.
For families, the seclusion of the farm is particularly special. It’s over half a mile back to the main road, while the river, which curls its way directly past the campsite, is shallow enough for sploshing, splashing and building dams with sticks and rocks. Rutland Water, meanwhile, is a seven-minute drive away, with a sailing school, fishing lodge and boat hire. You can also rent bikes next to the car park to cycle the family-friendly, 23-mile route around the entire reservoir – great to do with a picnic. When the sun’s out, the place is the very picture of summer.
The Owner Says
- Family-run grassland site on a working organic farm
- Within 10 minutes of Rutland Water Nature Reserve and activity centre
- Farm shop selling organic meat; a five-minute drive from pub and shop