In the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, by the banks of the Wharfe, down the road from two good pubs – Masons is so good that even the owners still camp here. When their favourite campsite in the Yorkshire Dales came up for sale, Georgie and Grant bought Masons and set about scrubbing up an already popular site. Today it’s about as good as they come.
You no longer have to walk a mile to the nearest shop, since their onsite 1968 Airstream office sells essential food and camping items and the Coffee & Bread Shed serves barista coffee, fresh croissants, baguettes and more. When it comes to the actual camping, there is heaps of space to pitch in the two main fields; plus they have a handful of yurts and safari tents you can rent and a couple of classic VW campervans to hire, with pre-pitched awnings outside.
The flat camping fields have plenty of space for kite-flying and ball games, and lots of families bring lilos and dinghies. Both fields are backed by the wide and mainly shallow River Wharfe that runs south-east out of the national park. Try your hand at fly-fishing from the large, flat stones while the kids happily pass the time paddling around and jumping in and out of the water. The onsite chickens and ducks are popular with younger children too, while the neighboring, hilly fields are all speckled with sheep.
Although the site has beautiful views of its own, Grant says that most campers make straight for the steep slope over the road for an even better vista. Footpaths lead directly out into the hills and, from the bottom of the site, along the river to Burnsall, which is a popular picnicking and swimming spot. Appletreewick and Barden Bridge, are just a short jaunt away too, both with excellent, family-friendly country pubs housed in typical, old, Yorkshire-stone buildings.
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FacilitiesThe main camping field caters for tents, campervans and tourers, with 40 hook-ups. In the second field, which is open most summer weekends, tents pitch up along the river bank, leaving plenty of space for ball games in the rest of the field. The washing-up room has 8 sinks. There are 10 showers (including one family/disabled room) and the toilet blocks each have 10 toilets and 10 hand basins. The campsite’s well stocked onsite shop, housed in their vintage Airstream office, sells bacon, eggs, milk, sweets, toys, food and camping essentials. Their Coffee & Bread Shed sells top quality hot drinks and freshly-baked bread and pastries.
Tents, campervans, motorhomes, caravans, dogs – yes.
NearbyFootpaths lead directly from the bottom of the site along the river to Burnsall, which is a popular picnicking and swimming spot, as well as to Appletreewick and Barden Bridge. Bolton Abbey (01751 432758), with stepping stones over the river, walks, tea shops, cafés and the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam railway station (01756 710614) is just up the road.
Food & Drink
The 2 pubs in Appletreewick both serve food and are family-friendly. The New Inn (01751 720252) has a selection of quirky beers, while the 16th century Craven Arms (01756 720270) has log fires, gas lamps and stone-flagged floors. It is the shortest of strolls away. The Red Lion (01756 720204) at Burnsall is also a pleasant 1 mile walk along the river.
Opening TimesMid March – end of October.
What a treat! A campsite that's actually run by campers who know all about choosing a great site. The river provides plenty of opportunitiy for wading and fishing, and you can make a dramatic river-entry via a rope swing, handily located on the bank.
The Owner Says
Two grassy, pitch-where-you-like meadows with 40 spaces that have electrical hook-ups. 6 yurts, 2 safari tents and 2 VW campervans with awnings also available.
Dales buses run between Skipton/ Ilkley (both of which have train stations) and Grassington and between Grassington and Appletreewick. There is also a local taxi driver in the village.
ReviewsAdd Your Review
Rated ★★★★☆ over 12 reviews
Lovely Location shame about the overpricing
Fantastic family site
The location of this site couldn't be more perfect. You could get out of your car and not need to get back in it for an entire week if you were so inclined. Excellent foodie pubs nearby (Red Lion in Burnsall and Craven Arms in Appletreewick), a smal shop on site with the essentials and fresh bread and croissants to order. Little kids will LOVE the very shallow river for paddling, rope swinging and catching fish, older kids (ahem) will love the rapids (not too crazy) and the rope swings over the deeper parts a little further down. GORGEOUS walks of the surrounding dales and loads of stuff a short drive away if it rains and you do want to get out and explore.
Things it has that others don't? Location - waterside, flat paths and hills, heated floors and piped birdsong in the bathrooms, lovely caring owners who really look after the site, hairdryer and straighteners in the bathroom.
Two TINY improvements could be made - slightly bigger pitches or opening up the other field for campers (there must be a reason they don't do this though) and a canopy over the washing up area. Maybe a play/ climbing area so the kids have somewhere to meet others when the water is too cold, but then all this would just make it too perfect and then we'd never get in.
I'd prefer it if you didn't go... I wish it were our own little secret.
Super location, site and facilities. We picked Masons for its riverside location and we were not disappointed. The tree swing over the riverside was the hi-light for our two children. The riverside walk to Burnsall was lovely and the site is not too far from Grassington, Pately Bridge and Skipton. Facilities were good and we didn't have to queue for the loos, showers or wash-up areas once. Overall a very busy, friendly site. Only one niggle; the site shop was vastly over priced.
Just got back from a weekend at Masons Campsite. We were in the camping field, which was very, very busy and whilst we had plenty of space around us, it meant that the facilities were definitely under strain. Quite often we were in queues for the toilets and gave up waiting for a shower. I would recommend taking toilet roll with you as the ladies very often was out. Also due to a freshly mown field and wet weather, the toilets/showers were not very clean. Beware, the washing up facilities are good and plentiful , but not under cover (there were queues here too).
That said, the site is in a beautiful spot, the river location gorgeous and great for fly fishing. The field is flat and well drained and staff were helpful and always on hand.
I would recommend going, but try and pick a quiet weekend
The campsite was good although there were too many tents on site and this meant It was very cramped. For the amount of people on site there were only 4 showers for men & 6 for women. With over a couple of hundred people on site this is nowhere near enough.
The site's quiet time is from 11.30pm-7.30am. At around 11.05 we were approached and told to quiet down and get ready to sleep, even though the quiet time wasn't for another 25 minutes- the tents were too close together therefore the neighbouring tents are able to hear noise from others.
The staff came across very strict – with 18 of us camping together we were accused of being too loud but with that many of us surely it is hard to keep quiet as we were only talking amongst ourselves.
Apart from that, the toilets were kept clean at all times, I liked the way the campsite sold general things such as logs, toiletries and sweets/chocolate/drinks which was a big help (although very overpriced).
The campsite is in a great location although with some very loud farm animals all through the night!! Lovely views and walks along the river to nearby pubs. Although we won't be visiting again.
This is a great little campsite, next to a fantastic river with riverside walks and general splashing about fun for children. The owners are very friendly, and the site is close to two great pubs which both serve a range of good local beers and good food. There is a huge amount to keep you occupied in the Dales nearby, and you can feel quite comfortable letting your children run about the site. Make sure you have insect repellent as midges can be a problem as with any riverside location. The toilets and shower facilities are good, and you can rent fire boxes, as well as buy eggs, and there is a well stocked mobile shop that arrives each morning. Stongly recommended for families.
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