Heron's Rural Retreat

UK England South East England Bedfordshire Leighton Buzzard

  • 10+ metres between camping pitches
  • Staggered showering times
  • Deep cleaning of shared facilities
  • Deep clean between glamping guests
  • Campfires allowed
  • Campfires Allowed
  • Good walks nearby
  • Walking
A wild-feeling campsite on the farm, with ponds and hens and quirky glamping options

When Rachel and Julian first started Heron’s Rural Retreat on their Bedfordshire farm in 2020 there were just a handful of camping pitches and a couple of bell tents you could hire. But the reaction to the wild-feeling space, with individual pitches spread about, views over Aylesbury Vale and a couple of ponds fed by a natural spring, was instant. Campers and glampers loved the place and it set the wheels in motion.

It’s a short walk from the couple’s old farmhouse and its outbuildings (where there are toilets, showers and parking) to the meadowy pockets and spaces of the campsite. Today, the farm remains just as spacious and wild but there’s even more intrigue, with an ex-army truck for couples, a pair of 1960s horse boxes and an old showman’s wagon with a circus-themed interior. All of the quirky new glamping options are off gird and suit the hidden feel of the place. The secluded cedar-wood glamping pod, for example, has port-hole windows to overlook the pond and the shepherd’s hut, on the edge of an old hay meadow, is situated quietly away from other guests in the shade of willow trees. The result is a homespun site with the same secluded atmosphere but, now, a host of exciting places to return to each year, as well as the grass tent camping pitches.

The farmland itself slopes westwards towards the River Ouzel, with a footpath running along the bottom of the site that you can follow, in one direction, to Rushmere Country Park, a 400-acre forest with footpaths and cycle trails, or, in the other direction, to the Grand Union Canal, where there’s a good pub beside a lock. Bring bikes to cycle the towpath further afield or hop in the car to visit the likes of Bletchley Park (five miles) or the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate (15 miles). Not that attractions are really what you stay for. The campsite is an attraction in itself, with birds to watch, bugs for youngsters to find and hens and sheep to meet. It feels odd that such escapism can be found so close to Milton Keynes and the M1. But then that’s the magic of what Julian and Rachel have created here. And, indeed, what they continue to create on this ever evolving landscape.



Three flushing loos and one gas-powered shower in the shared washblock but some of the glamping accommodation also featured private toilets and showers (check individual accommodation for details). Washing up sink and drinking water tap for campers. Campfires must be raised well off the grass (firepits available for hire or you can bring your own; disposable barbecues are not permitted).

Suitable For

Campers, glampers, tents, small campervans – yes. Trailer tents, motorhomes, caravans, dogs – no.


A footpath heads east out of the farm, across the road and shortly joins you up with Rushmere Country Park, about a mile away, where more paths and trails cut through the forest and there's a visitor centre and café. If you're a runner, they also host a ParkRun here every Saturday morning. The park is huge (it recently featured on BBC One's Countryfile) and adjoins Stockgrove Country Park, too. It's also less than a mile to Alders Farm shooting range. Most people visiting the area, however, will no doubt have Bletchley Park (01908 640404; five miles) on their list, a magnificent country estate best known as the centre for Allied code-breaking during the Second World War. Other popular attractions within half an hour's drive include Whipsnade Zoo (0344 225 1826; 13 miles), good walks around Ivinghoe Beacon on the Ridgeway (12 miles) and the National Trust's Ashridge Estate (01442 851227; 15 miles).

Food & Drink

There are a couple of good pubs nearby. Follow the footpath north west out of the campsite and continue down the road to The Three Locks (0152 5270214; around a mile; 20 minutes' walk) set along the canal side. And, if you like the canal, you can also cycle south along the tow path to The Globe (01525 373338) also with waterside seating and three miles by road from the campsite. Other good options include the Old Red Lion (01525 261715) in Great Brickhill, with good views and a particularly well-angled garden for sunsets, and the family-run George (01525 261298) in Little Brickhill with a sizeable garden and play area. For local produce, try T.H.E. Best Butcher (01908 375275) in Great Brickhill or pop to Hunters Farm Shop (01908 377537; five miles).


Some of the glamping accommodation is open all year but the bell tents and camping pitches are seasonal.

Why book with Cool Camping?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

The Owner Says

Heron's Rural Retreat is on a working farm between Leighton Buzzard and Milton Keynes and overlooks the Aylesbury Vale. The land slopes down to the River Ouzel and is quite wild in parts with two ponds that are fed by a natural spring. We offer a limited number of seasonal camping pitches, and a choice of glamping units, all off-grid and fitted out with upcycled and handmade items.


A little bit of everything! A quirky wooden pod, an ex-military lorry, a shepherd's hut, a showman's wagon, a 'glamping cube', converted Bedford horseboxes, a couple of pre-pitched bell tents and around 10 grass camping pitches for tents and small campervans.

Mezzanine Eco Glamping Pod

Pod Sleeps 2
Situated in a tranquil waterside location overlooking open a pond and open farmland with no other units close by. Clad in cedar wood it enjoys plenty of natural daylight thanks to the large glazed doors and porthole windows.

Connie - ex-Military Living Van

Quirky Sleeps 2
Connie is an ex-military trailer that we have converted for a unique off-grid glamping experience.

Shepherds hut

Shepherd’s hut Sleeps 2
An original shepherds hut beautifully restored and updated for guest accommodation

Showman's Wagon

Quirky Sleeps 2
A vintage showman's wagon with an unique interior

Non-electric grass tent pitch

Grass pitch Sleeps 6 7 Available
Pitch for one tent for up to 6 people max, with 2 people included in the rate. Charged per pitch per night (sorry no trailer tents)

Bell tent

Bell tent Sleeps 4 3 Available
This year we have our 5 metre bell tents for hire, pre-pitched with matting, beds, lighting and outdoor chairs. Sleeps up to 4

Non-electric grass campervan pitch

Grass pitch Sleeps 4 4 Available
Grass pitch suitable for VW-type campervans (no motorhomes). Two people included in the rate, charged per pitch per night

Check Availability


Contact Heron's Rural Retreat, Bragenham Farm, Bragenham Lane, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire LU7 0EE

Show Map

Getting There

Due to the small nature of this campsite, precise directions are only provided after your booking has been confirmed.

If arriving by train, the closest mainline stations (in order) are Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley and Milton Keynes Central. All are about 30 minutes journey time from London and then a 10–20-minute tax ride from the campsite (£10–£25).


Add Your Review

Rated ★★★★★ over 6 reviews


Beautiful and peaceful spot with stunning views

Very friendly and helpful hosts. We camped with our own tent and there were loads of different areas to camp away from others which was lovely and private. We recommend at the top of the hill where the views are stunning and at night the stars!! We highly recommend this lovely place. Alex and Jess
Sep 14, 2021 by Jess Albert Verified Review

Welcome overnight spot

Stayed over as part of a journey down to London. Good spot, and very quiet. Made welcome by the owners and given a good introduction to the place. Toilets and shower simple and clean. Two decent pubs nearby - we went to the Old Red Lion. Handy for Rushmere parkrun - 20 minutes walk away.

Wonderful Stay to introduce the kids to camping

The Location, friendliness of the hosts and facilities really made our stay. We took the kids camping for the first time and it could not have been smother. The pre-pitched tent really worked and allowed for more space in the car and more time to play around the campsite.

Beautiful, spacious place with a warm welcome.

Stayed with my 3 young lads who absolutely loved having the space and freedom to roam around and explore. Received a warm welcome from Julian who gave us some good information about the local area. The site itself has lovely views, is well kept and has good amenities. We camped in our own tent but there were some great, more quirky sleeping options like the canvas tents or the military vehicle cabin. There are nice walks in the immediate vicinity and a lovely country park within walking distance which was great for the kids. All in all a superb gem which is perfect for anyone wanting a quiet, relaxed stay.
Aug 19, 2021 by Nathan Carr Verified Review

Beautiful place, lovely people

Girlfriend and I had an amazing stay here, it's beautiful and expansive, very peaceful, and the hosts are lovely.
Aug 16, 2021 by Joseph Hobbs Verified Review

Relaxed back to basics camping

We had a fabulous few days camping here. The site is in a stunning location and the hosts are friendly and helpful. Clean facilities, hot shower and lovely little kitchen area with electric. Plenty of space. We will definitely stay here again if we are in the area. Thanks Rachel and Julian for a lovely few days

Why book with Cool Camping?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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