Ahhh, the Yorkshire Dales – "God's Own Country", as any stout-headed, dyed in the wool Yorkshireman will tell you. For those of us not privileged enough to have visited this fabled corner of the country, such ardent civic pride can seem a little hifalutin. That is until you've laid eyes upon the acres of lush, undulating fields, patchworked by miles of drystone walls, and gently flowing brooks – then you'll see they really do have a point.
Deep in the heart of this pastoral paradise lies the chocolate-box Swaledale village of Muker, home of Usha Gap. The Metcalfe family have been farming these lands for centuries, with today's farm having been acquired by present owner Philip's father in the 1930s. More than 70 years later, the 260 hectares now host a prize herd of Swaledale sheep, Limousin Cross sucklers cattle, and some of the UK's luckiest campers.
For those seeking a traditional Dales camping experience, Usha Gap is pitch-up perfection. Philip, along with wife Louise and their two sons Ben and James, are hospitality personified. Facilities are basic, but then you haven't come here for a ayvuredic therapy tent and wood-fired saunas. In fact, you won't even get a phone signal. And as for Wi-Fi... ha! But who needs the fripperies of modern media when you've got the tranquil River Swale flowing gently beside your tent?
It has to be said, Usha Gap really is one of the most picturesque campsites in the country. This being the northernmost of Dales, the views are stunning; with the vista from Upper Swaledale, over bucolic hay meadows, 18th century barns, and animals grazing lazily in the pastures below, utterly idyllic. The site is also fantastically located to some of northern England's greatest walks – the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast being the most well-known (not to mention, epic). For something a little more achievable (if vertical), the heather-scattered summit of Kisdon Hill offers wonderfully expansive views over Swinner Gill and the Buttertubs Pass. Enjoy the silence.
Basic toilets and showers (20p for 3-4 minutes), drinking water tap plus a washing up area and a dryer. No open campfires or barbecues permitted (this is a National Park remember). Fire pits for rent and logs for sale (£5.00 a bag) and a bucket of kindling and newspaper for £1.00.
Tents, campervans, caravans, dogs – yes. Large groups by prior arrangement.
In case you haven't guessed from all the sheep, the region is renowned for it's wool prooduction. Swaledale Woolens (01748 886 251) in Muker is your one-stop-shop for fleeces and sweaters. Over the hill in Hawes, the Wensleydale Creamery (01969 667 664) has a visitors centre and restaurant for all you cheese connoisseurs. For the litt'luns, The Forbidden Corner (01969 640 638) in Middleham is an eccentric labyrinth of tunnels, follies, sculptures and secret gardens. Further afield near Leyburn, Bolton Castle (01969 623 981) is one of England's best preserved fortresses, with regular entertainment and re-enactment battles hosted. North Yorks biggest town, Richmond, also boasts it's own magnificent medieval ruin (01748 822 493). In a region with no shortage of natural wonders, Aysgarth Falls and White Scar Caves take some beating.
Food & Drink
The Farmers Arms (01748 886 297) in Muker is a cracking little traditional dales pub, complete with stone-flagged floor and roaring fireplace. With a selection of local cask ales and mammoth, filled Yorkshire puddings, it's perfect for drying out after a rainy day's rambling on the fells. The Muker Village Teashop and Stores (01748 886 409) is the spot to go to for afternoon tea (with the obligatory scone, naturally). On Friday evenings, the famous Ramsey's Mobile Fish and Chip Van arrives in Muker just after 7.30pm. Be there prompt to beat the queues. Further afield, the Kearton Country Hotel (01748 886277) in Thwaite serves up imaginative cuisine and boasts a lovely beer garden. No visit to the northern Dales would be complete without a visit to the Tan Hill Inn (01833 628 246) – Britain's highest inn. At 1,732ft above sea level, the photo opportunity alone is worth the visit. Be sure to sample some of Swaledale's eponymous cheese before you leave. See the Swaledale Cheese Company (01748 824 932) in Richmond for all your dairy-based souvenirs.
The Owner Says
A warm welcome is assured to you on this tranquil, clean, family run campsite...
The campsite is situated half a mile between the village's of Muker and Thwaite in the beautiful valley of Swaledale.
The campsite is run by Philip and Louise Metcalfe and their two sons; Ben and James. The campsite is set on Usha Gap Farm, which is a working farm, specialising in Sheep and Beef.
The campsite is divided into two, our small field is next to a running beck, and the larger field is situated next to the farm with a view of Kisdon hill.
The campsite is surrounded by magnificent views of the valleys and hills. The Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast walk pass near by, and there are plenty more walks for you to enjoy.In April 2015 we finished our new Toilet and Shower block. Including 8 Showers, 7 Toilets, 3 Urinals, 12 wash basins, Hair dryer, shaving point. Washing up area with 4 sinks and drainers and a Fridge Freezer. Small Drying room and washing machine is available. Information area with seating, board games, books and magazines that you can borrow.
ReviewsAdd Your Review
Rated ★★★★★ over 13 reviews
Delightful proper camping
Wonderful camp site
Very nice site
Spent May bank holiday weekend here and had a lovely stay.
On arrival I was greeted by the very lovely owner who was very warm and welcoming. I arrived quite early so was able to pitch up at the best spot in front of the river. There are 2 additional fields closer to the facilities if you so need and they are clean and suitably equipped for your basic camping needs.
Location is superb and I took advantage of exploring on Sunday and walked a very pleasant 12mile circuit taking in all the fabulous scenery, through Keld and up on to the peak of Ivelet moor and finishing off for a deserved pint at the farmers arms.
The ability to have fires is a real plus since for me cooking your dinner over real flames is what camping is all about. Overall I have no complaints and would highly recommend staying here to anyone and everyone.
This campsite is located in a beautiful part of North Yorkshire. Some excellent walks straight from the campsite and a gorgeous drive over Buttertubs pass into Hawes. Even though it rained for most of our stay we had an excellent time. Campsite facilities are good and clean. Would definitely return.
So this was our first camping trip (apart from many years ago on DofE) and we were lucky to pick Usha Gap last week.
We camped near the river (as shown in the picture on Cool Camping with the VW campervan). It's a relatively narrow strip between the road and the river. Downsides are being next to the road and probably additional midges. The road is probably the quietest dale road (and you're towards the quieter end here also) in the Dales and is silent overnight. The pub in the village sells Smidge if you've forgotten to bring anything. We loved having the sound of the river.
If you're not bothered about that, then they have one (and additional if needed) larger fields on the farmhouse side of the road which are worth checking out. Probably easier to get a bit more space around you over there (although we were not crowded at all).
We'd been to Muker (say Mooker, not Mucker we learned!) once before on a day trip so new it was nice, but staying there made this even better.
The site is so well placed for a quick walk through the fields to Muker - the pub does distinctly non-gastropub pub food, but what we had was great. It's a fantastic community pub in addition to visitors and you shouldn't miss out on stopping by.
The village shop and tea room is open 7 months of the year (sorry not sure which), closes earlier on Mondays and is closed on Tuesdays - there's nowhere else close to buy supplies so bear this in mind.
Facilities were excellent. The showers are cubicles without changing space inside the cubicle (the only slight downside). Friendly, helpful owners are the icing on the cake.
Loved this place and proximity to a great pub!
Stayed here this last weekend. Usha gap has two main camping areas, one next to the river, one field over the road. They (very brilliantly) open up a very large second field when busy, therefore never worry about not booking here, they can easily cope. The showers, toilets and washing up block is rather new I understand and frankly excellent. They don't have a drying room but having inadvertantly met Louise while helping a fellow walker, she informs me they are on the case. Fire pits can be used for a deposit. They have plenty of flyers/books/magazines to help yourselves to. Personally I love this campsite, the area is lovely and has great facilities. Only downside (which they can do nothing about) are the midges. No bites but bloody annoying. I'd recommend further from the river being better when midges are in season. And finally, we loved Muker. Great pub, tea room and village shop (has maps). We did the Pennine way walk to Keld and would also recommend that - though with the exception of a lovely force, not much in Keld. About 3hours round trip. Lovely views.
A connoisseur's campsite!
My old scoutmaster, who learned his camping skills from Lord Robert Baden Powell himself, used to say that a good campsite is flat, well drained and sheltered. My wife, who is not all that keen on camping, insists that a good camp site has, brilliant clean showers, a place to wash up properly and somewhere to keep food chilled or frozen. I am delighted to say that Usha Gap hist the spot both for my wife and my old scout master.
What a brilliant place!
Wonderful paths all 'round - go for a walk or a run straight from your tent - beautiful trails going in all directions
Amenities - 5 minute walk to the pub across a couple of fields
Well situated - hop over to Kirby Stephen in the Eden Valley or to Hawes in Wensleydale in very quick time
In a nutshell - proper traditional camping, with proper modern facilities in a wild but sheltered location
Fantastic space in Swaledale
Have stayed here a few times now and can highly recommend it.
Although pretty basic (two loos and two showers when we stayed last time) it's in one of the most amazing spots in Yorkshire and is a real refuge from the distractions of busy town life. The owners leave you well alone and for the price, it's a steal. Muker is a beautiful village that can be walked to pretty quickly either along the road or through the fields - the farmers arms pub is an absolute delight (good food and ale and a roaring fire when it's cold and wet - but don't sit too close or you'll be politely asked to stop hogging it). The site is safe, and although the sheep can be a bit noisy, it's very peaceful.
Will be heading back as soon as we can.
Great little place
I stayed at the this campsite in the first week of September 2013 with my boyfriend. We are a couple in our early and late 20's and thought this campsite was lovely. It is only small but surrounded by lovely views. The owners are lovely and friendly and made us feel very welcome. Although it is situated in a quiet area, bring ear plugs as there are sheep about and can be noisy at 5am! Basic facilities are provided i.e. toilets, showers, washing machine and washing up area.
Would definitely return.
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