A stroll up the road from ruined Bolton Abbey, Catgill Campsite is a gloriously green, rolling meadow space that perfectly mixes the old with the new. Less than a mile along the Wharfe Valley from the 19th-century structure, the campsite snuggles among the grass with little flare or audacity, complete with modern ablutions but otherwise very much a rustic farm affair – expect the odd lump and bump in the field. Campfire smoke wafts through the air with the same lazy ease as the river that runs through the valley and children run in the open space beyond the tents. It’s a proper family camping scene.
In total there are around 50 grassy pitches, with the slopes of the meadow causing tents to bunch together in flat groups, while children capitalise on the open spaces to play. Each spot offers spectacular views across this open landscape, dotted with sheep and criss-crossed by dry stone walls. A newly built sanitary block sits in the farmyard area, a short stroll away, and there's a tiny shop selling essentials in the farmhouse porch. Though plans for a playground are also afoot, most kids love tracing the small stream that trickles through the field to the River Wharfe. It heads via the ruins of the abbey or, to be correct, Bolton Priory, the real name of the ruined Augustinian monastery founded in 1154.
After stopping amid the stone walls to admire the Gothic architecture or attend one of the services (which still run to this day), you can wander down to the riverside picnic area or beyond to Bolton Abbey village. This delightful little settlement is well tucked away amongst the greens and browns of the landscape and boasts a couple of restaurants and tea rooms despite its modest size. While it's a worthy place to enjoy some traditional grub, children and adults alike should continue to the village railway station. This preserved, volunteer-run line plays host to some magnificent steam trains, including everyone's favourite, Thomas the Tank Engine.
For most, however, the draw of this campsite is its doorstep access to miles upon miles of all-weather walking routes. The tents-only policy makes it perfect for those on the hoof looking for fellow back-packers, or cyclists on the quiet country lanes hoping to avoid the caravan crowd and, if the local paths aren’t enough for you, a short trip north will take you smack bang into the middle of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, renowned for its outstanding scenery and diverse wildlife. Don’t scamper off into the hills too quickly though. The real gateway to the Dales is via the lively market town of Skipton, home to a castle dating back to 1090 and Yorkshire’s finest fish & chips at Bizzie Lizzies! It seems with so much to do, you could be at Catgill for several weeks!
The Owner SaysWe are a small family run campsite in an idyllic location with spectacular views across the Wharfe valley. Offering a unique overnight experience on the Chatsworth Estate in the heart of Bolton Abbey within easy reach of local amenities and picturesque towns and villages. Offering a central location with plenty to do for all ages and in any weather. The campsite, close to Bolton Abbey, is the perfect base from which to explore the Yorkshire Dales National Park. A fantastic site for either an action packed family holiday or a tranquil relaxing break.
Featured in Cool Camping Kids
This expanded and fully updated third edition of Cool Camping: Kids reveals Britain’s 80 best family sites in full-colour glory, each carefully selected to guarantee happy kids.Buy Now
ReviewsAdd Your Review
Fab family site
Fantastic family camp
What a beautiful place to stay
Fantastic little family campsite
Quiet and peaceful in glorious Dales scenery. Nice and agricultural. Excellent facilities. Very friendly staff.
Relaxed and friendly site
Lovely location, beautiful campsite
Bringing back my childhood
A great amount of space for all to set up
Location, friendly, clean
Quiet countryside campsite
Great on-site facilities, lovely views
Great views, lovely clean facilities, helpful staff.
Fantastic views, family friendly and lovely owners
Beautiful Views & Facilities
Beautiful views, great facilities.
Location and facilities
Perfect long weekend
Excellent campsite :)
Brilliant campsite and great owners - One not to miss
Not quite what was expected
We stayed at Catgill at the beginning of June and chose the site on the basis of the Cool Camping listing, which talks about 30-50 pitches and it being a walker's haven. The reality was over 100 tents across two fields, the majority occupied by families with young children. The site itself reflects the review - clean modern facilities, great views, friendly owners, firepit loan - but the sheer numbers mean this is a very noisy, squashed in, cramped and busy space and there was a lot of pressure on the facilities. If you are looking for quiet and peaceful, it may be worth checking with the owners how many are expected when you'll be there. Or alternatively, if you've a young family, you may find it ideal. As part of a couple looking for a chilled out walking break in the beautiful Dales, it really wasn't what we were hoping for.
Response from Catgill Campsite
Thank you for taking the time to post a review of our site, we are sorry that you were disappointed by your stay at Catgill. The site is very popular with families and couples alike so can quite busy during school holidays as there is so much to do in the local area for families with children. We try to create a balance by controlling the number of tents we allow whilst trying not to disappoint anyone who wants to stay with us. In contrast the site is usually very peaceful during term time especially during the week. We hope you will return to give us another try and take advantage of our fabulous local walks and our beautiful countryside.
Good site poorly managed
Went for a 3 day break with my son, told upon arrival I could pitch up anywhere. The camping field is on a slope with the main level area at the bottom of the field (opposite end to the facilities which were clean and tidy). First night was ok, second day/night more campers arrived and the bottom of the field became congested, some campers were very noisy, playing football around tents and hitting some cars and drinking alcohol. Partying and arguing went on until after midnight, with some children in adjacent tent laughing and giggling until 11.30pm. A vehicle drove across the field behind our tent at 1.00am. We were awoken again at 04.30 am by the children in the next tent. We packed up 1 day early and left for home to peace and quiet. All of this was against a backdrop of 3 large noisy tractors in the adjacent field gathering hay and creating dust until 10pm. The site is accessible down a single track road about half a mile long with passing places, this lane was also used by these tractors to offload their hay as quickly as possible. The site rules are on a board at right at the entrance gate which no one stops to read or follow. The site owner says he gives everyone a yellow card upon arrival with the rules which should be displayed in the vehicle windscreen. We were not given anything when we checked in neither did we see any vehicle with yellow cards, he also said we were lucky that the tractors stopped at 10pm as some farmers carry on through the night. We offered a complimentary stay as compensation for the trouble caused, I declined.
Response from Catgill Campsite
We are very sorry to hear that you have not had a good experience at Catgill, we aim to provide a relaxed atmosphere and we have put a lot of thought into our rules and regulations. A yellow card should be given to every camper upon arrival to display in their windscreen and we encourage our guests to read the rules on the back. We check the site at regular intervals during busy periods to make sure guests pitch their tents sensibly and we regulate the number of tents we allow. We also patrol the site at night during the quiet time to address any excessive noise and to remind people to be considerate. Catgill is situated in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales and the stunning location and outstanding views are all part of that rural setting. We are surrounded by working farms and our local farmers have to work extremely hard. We are very sorry that you were disturbed by the adjacent farmer but we hope that you will appreciate that there is usually a limited window for collecting and baling hay due to our unpredictable weather conditions. Our offer of a complementary stay remains and we hope you will come and give us another try.
Overcrowded and slopey
We recently stayed at Catgill and found it to be far too busy. It is advertised on this and other sites as having 30 pitches...the weekend we were there there were over 120 tents all crammed into two fields that simply aren't big enough. This left no room for children to play safely and the campers had to speak to each other to ensure cars could get off site safely as there is no marked track. I would guess there are about 30 flat pitches, all the others are on such big slopes that you slide down the tent in your sleep. The grass is also very rough in some areas with the roots of small shrubs sticking out which led to splinters. Due to the number of people, there were almost constant queues for the showers, toilets and washing up area and they ran out of hot water for most of Sunday morning. Camping here felt like being at a busy music festival - fine if that's what you are expecting, but not if you are used to camping in sites where a sensible capacity is set and adhered to.
Such a shame as this could be a lovely site - the views are great, the facilities are new and were kept spotlessly clean despite the volume of people and Bolton abbey is wonderful.
Comment from the campsite owner:
Thanks for your review. Catgill is a relatively new site and we have been overwhelmed by its popularity. We tried to accommodate everyone over the bank holiday weekend but we agree with you the site was too busy. Although we have a relatively large number of flat pitches there are some on a slight slope, however, in our experience people often prefer the slightly sloping pitches to the
flat ones. We do not allocate pitches because we usually find that campers like to choose their own although we do ask that people pitch and park considerately.
We monitor the site regularly to check that exit routes are clear and that everyone can get in and out safely. We have a fantastic area at the bottom of the site where there is a small stream surrounded by trees providing a natural and safe environment where children can play. Our staff were on site all weekend and spent a considerable time talking to guests ensuring they were happy and having a good time. We are aware that there was a short time on Sunday morning when the showers ran out of hot water due to a technical fault with the new upgraded water system. Although we have decided to decrease the capacity next year most people had a fabulous time and many came to thank us for a great weekend, as you say the showers are new and were kept spotless, the views are breath-taking and Bolton Abbey is amazing.
We have just returned from a long weekend at Catgill- what a fantastic location. The campsite is family friendly, and the views are amazing. The facilities are well maintained, and clean. There are some great village pubs nearby, and The Fleece at Addingham is fantastic- thanks for the recommendation Oliver! We took our dog with us, and this was no problem.
Found the site to have the air of welcome, facilities were kept clean and tidy, fellow campers were pleasant and considerate, impressed as to the design and lay out, the location was perfect.... then the sun came out!
Just returned from 2 nights stay at Catgill site. The setting is lovely, with great views, and very good new washing up facilities and toilet blocks. However, none of the facilities were cleaned at all, for the whole of our stay. By the final morning the showers (2 in each block) were quite unpleasant to use, and the washbasins very dirty. This was after only 9 tents on the first night we were there, and 15 on the second night. This weekend according to the owner, there will be 87 tents! This site has a lot going for it but cleanliness is vital. I have seen other reviews regarding lack of cleanliness and the site has only been in operation for a couple of months.
Response from Catgill Campsite
Kaz, Thank you for posting this review, we are a new site and are still learning so we welcome constructive criticism. We have been overwhelmed by the success of the campsite, which has been more or less fully booked every weekend, in fact many campers have been so impressed that they have already returned.
We are very sorry you were disappointed with the standard of cleanliness in our shower block; we believe your experience may have been due to additional work being carried out ironically to improve ease of cleanliness! Our facilities have been built to a high standard and designed with ease of cleaning in mind. They are checked on a regular basis and we employ a professional cleaning service in order to maintain the high standards we expect to provide for our campers.
On arrival we always try to encourage guests to talk about their experiences and to report any problems, as there is always someone on site. If you had come to us during your stay we would have been able to rectify the problem immediately.
We are confident that our shower block is maintained to a high standard and both comments we have received: to provide a mop and bucket and to check the toilet rolls more often have now been addressed. We intend to keep a much closer eye on the condition of the shower block following your comments and we hope you will be prepared to return to our beautiful site in the future.
Tip top customer service.
We are seasoned campers of 25 yrs plus, this a great site and given its only been open 7 weeks the owner is doing a great job. Lovely shower block, to make it perfect it needs a little attention to detail on cleaning but the owner was happy to take the feedback. Sockets for haidryers /phones etc and plenty of hot water and great showers! Washing up room is light and airy with a fridge freezer for campers, plenty of sinks.
Camping field is large with a slope leading to a level section with no formal pitches so you can set up wherever you like, soft ground for pegs, very relaxed atmosphere in stunning scenery.
Would recommend highly and will be visiting again this summer
Loved this campsite, peaceful relaxing and family orientated.
But... The toilet block could do with being checked on a little more often as twice on different days , I went in and there was no loo paper in any of the loos - which I think is pretty bad, there is only 2 showers so expect a bit of a queue on a morning unless you are early birds which we are.
On the whole apart form the shoer block definitely to be recommended , also loved the fire pits too.
Lovely views, quiet site with good facilites. Near Hesketh farm, Bolton Abbey and the Yorkshire Dales ice cream farm so great for children. Once checked in we didn't see anyone working there but knew they were there. We'll definitely be going back. I stayed here with my children (2 and 4) for one night.
Campsites are simple things. A field, some toilets and a standpipe at it’s most basic. Some places, however, go the extra steps to make weekends memorable. The latter can be said of Catgill campsite. From the warm welcome on arrival to the arranging the beautiful weather on the day we left, the owners really went out of their way to make our weekend. Joking aside; as seasoned campers, we totally recommend this place. Set in amazing countryside with stunning views from the camping field, this place has everything you’d need for a perfect weekend. The fire pits to hire are a brilliant touch. The environs have loads to offer for all the family, plus some incredible restaurants if you fancied a more sophisticated evening. It’s worth checking out the Farm Shop in Crackoe, which although it a bit of a drive is worth the journey. We’re definitely going back and urge you to try this place too.
Win a £100 Blacks Voucher!
If you've stayed at Catgill Campsite 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!
Book campsites near Catgill Campsite
Little Seed FieldRipon, North Yorkshire, North East England, England
Glamping in Ripon
Glamping in North Yorkshire
Glamping in North East England
Glamping in England