Abbey Home Farm
The Organic Farm Shop, Burford Road, Cirencester GL7 5HF
Eco-camping for real. Cooking on an open fire. Unspoilt natural beauty.
One of the many joys of owning an immense organic farm is that you can put two campsites on it and neither of them need know of the other’s existence. The 1,500 acres of Soil Association-certified land, Abbey Home Farm is home to the main public Green Field campsite, a 4 Yurt Eco Camp and, a whole mile away, an amazing hideaway of a site, and more. The Magical Glade has space for about three small tents or two family-sized ones. Since the wood was only planted in 1991, the trees are still relatively small, giving campers the best of both worlds: sheltered seclusion and sunlight. To keep it secret and magical, the site has to be booked out in its entirety. The Special Occasion Campsite for family gatherings takes a maximum of 50 people and again is booked in its entirety along with the Shepherd's Hut.
The woodland yurt sites are quite magical and they camouflage perfectly into the surrounding landscape. If the kids do get lost in the greenery of it all, remind them to just look to the skyline and search for the brightly painted totem pole near by. And the signs for the composting loos. And the recycling station. And the sculpture in the tree.
In the Magical Glade a tractor wheel serves as a brazier, and bags of coppiced ash firewood are available to buy at the farm shop, although you are encouraged to scavenge your own (‘bring your own bow saw’). A discreet compost loo and a water tap complete the fixtures and fittings. From your base you are at liberty to roam the tracks and paths around the farm, taking in the nearby circle of standing stones (a modern creation, but none the poorer for it) or follow the signposted 30-minute farm walk. Just about the only thing you won’t want to do, given that the farm shop and café can cater for your every need and then some, is leave.
Abbey Home Farm is not just a beautiful place – it is a living expression of one family’s passion. There are quite definitely no food miles here. The organic label is far from being a gimmick or token gesture; this is a farm that has always been at the forefront of the organic farming movement. Organic living isn’t just a dream here; it has actually become a reality.
Due to popular demand, you'll need to book in advance for all camping and farm activities – particularly on sunny weekends and Bank Holidays. The fee for the Green Field site includes access to the farm trail. All enquiries including availability for the Magical Open Glade, the Private Campsite and the 4 Yurt Eco Camp should be made via Abbey Home Farm's website
The Owner SaysWe have several options for staying here at Abbey Home Farm and hope that you'll find something that suits your fancy. Our 4 Yurt Eco Camp is great for groups of 18 or less, while our Single Yurt is perfect for couples and small families. The Magical Glade is for groups if 8 or less and is nestled in a young coppice which allows for both privacy and sunlight! Our Green Field campsite is a large field hugged on two sides by dry stone walls and is our main public campsite. We think that all of the options are particularly excellent for getting up close and personal with nature and in keeping, the amenities are rustic. We also have a Hut by the Pond and Shepherds Hut, both off grid and perfect romantic retreats for two.
If you find yourself needing a bit of luxury, The Organic Farm Shop and Cafe are just a 5 minute walk from the main campsite, (a longer walk across the fields from the Huts, Single Yurt and Magical Glade). And since we are a farm- we take food very seriously here. The shop sells 100% organic veg, soft fruit, dairy, bread and meat all produced on the farm, as well as everything else the conscientious shopper could ever need. The cafe is inspired daily by the large kitchen garden surrounding it, serving very seasonal food. It also happily caters for people with diverse food needs (vegan, gluten free etc). Why not join us for Lunch on Sunday when we have our farm-raised meat as a treat?
If you are interested in getting involved with some farming activities we have several ways in which the whole family can do that too! Kid's Farm Days (in the Easter and Summer holidays) are a chance for 8-12 year olds to learn about organic farming and food production whilst really getting their hands dirty on the farm. Or if you are after tailor made activities for the whole family, we can definitely come up with something interesting.
Here at Abbey Home Farm, we are committed to re-establishing the connections between nature, farming, and meeting human needs and believe that, as farmers and land stewards, we have a responsibility to efficiently produce food for the local community while protecting our soil and creating and maintaining biodiversity. We love to share what we do and hope to see you on the farm in the near future.
Lovely place and amazing organic shop!
We stayed last weekend and via email the owners couldn't be more helpful and happy to provide plenty of information. At first glance, on arrival, the site looks very simple and down to earth but there are great facilities and a wonderful view across the fields on the main site. Although many people would prefer toilet/shower blocks with hot, running water, this isn't why we like to go camping and frankly I prefer to use a composting loo as it's a much more friendly option than flushing gallons of fresh water down the sewerage system!
The site itself is a large main field overlooking a beautiful bucolic valley, some very well managed woodland with some lovely sculptures, yurts and a woodland path through to the very well provisioned organic farm shop with loads of wonderful food, drink and supplies; more than you could expect for a 'camp shop' and definitely a departure from the classic camp shops offering freezer blocks, 'meat packs' and cheap tat for the kids.
Two of our group have live-in vehicles so we were all able to stay together in the vehicle field which was lovely although we didn't get to enjoy the view over the valley directly from our tent doors, but the view of the rooks over the woodland and the sounds of the owls at night was beautiful and the ground was pretty good for pitching tents. Add to this that you can hire fire-bowls and you can spend a lovely evening chatting while the sun goes down before a restful night's sleep. There is, occasionally, some distant vehicle noise but the night is peaceful and while we were there we were treated to scores of shooting stars and the view of the Milky Way stretching across the night sky.
Maybe this site isn't for you if you want hot, running water, childrens playgrounds and loads of facilities but for us, this is what camping is about. If you want a cup of tea, you can boil a kettle and the kids on site seemed to be having a load of fun exploring and playing games on the huge field which seems like it can house huge numbers of tents without people being on top of each other. If you want somewhere peaceful, rustic, with soul and an amazing farm shop; this one's for you!
What a fantastic campsite!
Just what an amazing place this is!
We booked for the weekend of 9/10 August and signed up for the Family Camp option. The Campsite alone, which is a great site, would have been worth this positive review, but it was the Family Camp which really blew us away.
The Family Camp is basically an all-inclusive version of the incredible range of activities organised on the farm by the Education Officer, Hope. Activities included, collecting eggs from the big flock of chickens, grading them and packing into boxes for the shop (our kids were most chuffed at collecting 247 eggs on one day!); digging up carrots from the field; watching the miliking of the cows (and meeting the day old calf!); playing with the pigs in the free-range pens; nature games in the woods; stories round the campfire; a dusk walk to see wild badgers; and a fantastic trip round the back of the farm in the back of the farmer's pickup (which apparently was specially for us as (unbelieveably!) numbers were low that weekend - normally it's a trailer ride pulled by tractor!).
The activities would have kept our kids entertained on their own for the entire weekend, but Hope who ran all the activities, was just incredible. Despite being pregnant she was fantastic - full or energy and ideas for things for the kids to do. The kids enjoyed every minute of it and they were so sad to say goodbye at the end. All the people who worked on the farm (and we met lots with all the activities!) were really friendly, and it just made it a very special stay.
As they make clear on their website, the campsite is basic. The standard camping area is two fields, one for campers and those who want to keep thieir cars with them, and one for tents only. The tents-only field has by far the better views but everywhere is quiet and tranquil with plenty of space to pitch.The composting loos were really well managed and worked really well (no smells!). And it all ties in to a genuine and whole hearted organic approach to farming and camping - this is not a campsite where organic is plastered everywhere just to attract visitors - it is clear that looking after the environment and the animals on the farm means everything to people who are involved with the farm and the campsite. And to top it all, without all the glaring lights from any "oh-so-clean" toilets blocks you get at other campsites, we managed to see a sky full of stars (complete with shooting stars!) that you just don't get in the South East! There is slight road noise from a nearby road at night, but this does not affect the peace and tranquility of the place.
The farm shop is excellent, and you realise when you are doing the actiivites that this truly is a farm shop - all the things in the shop, the milk, cheese, meat, vegetables etc. are all produced on the farm! The restaurant is also good - and open early!
So overall, this was a great place to go to, and easily the best camping trip our family has been on so far. Everyone worked really hard to make sure we had a good stay, and we'd like to thank Hope especially for all her hard work over the weekend.
We would defintiely recommened the campsite to anyone, and we would particularly recommend any of the activities on the farm, particularly the Family Camp - they are all excellent, and when we booked pretty reasonable for what you get. When we went there was loads of space on the site and on the Camp, so get in quick before everybody works out what a real treasure this place is!
We stayed at Abbey Home Farm over this last weekend (the one when Murray won Wimbledon!) and the weather was perfect. We pitched our tent in the car camping site where we had masses of space even when a few more tents turned up, but the main field is just stunning with so much space that it just eats up families with loads of space left between tents. The sun setting over a field of clover was a sight to remember.
The water tastes wonderful from the spring. Don't be put off by talk of compost loos, we were there in July and they were fine and there were certainly doors on both of the ladies' loos.
It is a few minutes walk through the wood to the beautifully quirky shop and cafe where you can buy all kinds of organic fruit, veg and delicious bread and the best lamb chops! It is such a treat to have a campfire to cook on and sit by as the sun sets and the sense of wellbeing that comes with being in fresh air all day settles all around you.
Definitely going back...
We turned up just in time to book a spot for last minute, car-free camping this past Friday night. The shop was amazing, with tonnes of fresh produce (BEST rocket and cherry tomatoes!), and the staff were very patient and friendly.
We rented a brazier and some firewood and cooked up a nice meal that evening, against a sunset sky over the sheep meadow valley adjacent to the camping field. There were lots of families there with kids running around; the campsite feels very safe being cut off from the B4425 by a padlocked gate. We stayed for two nights and didn't take showers the whole time, mainly because we didn't bring a container to use for heating and supplying water for the pump showers, but next time I'm sure we'll give those a go. The compost toilets are totally fine - especially the one with the makeshift handrail so you don't have to sit on the seat - and the drinking/washing water from their bore hole is great.
If you eat in the cafe, choose a table on the back veranda; it's amazing how much that space blocks the wind but traps the sun - really lovely place to have some tea and yoghurt with fresh fruit and honey. Be sure to take note of the shop's opening times as you won't want to have to drive into Cirencester to buy groceries...we did one night and were disappointed not to have another chance to try some food from the farm. It was a fantastic experience and we will definitely go back again and again!
A walk on the wild side with added good karma.
If you're coming to Abbey Home Farm, prepare to go with the flow and take it free and easy for an unforgettable green camping experience.
Bookings? No, they don't take them. 'Just turn up when the shop's open, we've got plenty of room' is the theory. As a habitually organised teacher-type, this filled me with trepidation as we hooked up the trailer and set off for the farm. Qualms were, of course, unfounded. We booked in with no trouble and had oodles of space. The laid-back, friendly approach really set the tone for our May Bank Holiday break. Abbey Farm is run by good people. It's all about a more ethical, organic, eco way of living. Inspiring stuff!
Camping is in two fields: one flat (for vehicles) and one sloped (no cars, use a wheelbarrow to lug your gear). Bordering the fields are woods, housing not only trees but carved chairs, sculptures, little nooks for den making, compost toilets, and a little shrine. Little paths weave through the trees. It's quieter than you'd think of a campsite on a working farm. There aren't any pitches - choose wherever you like. Lovely.
Don't pack any food! Seriously, don't, you'll regret it if you do. The farm shop is full to bursting with incredible produce from the fields and gardens around Abbey Home Farm. The cafe is home to all that is local and good - veggie in the week, with 'meat as a treat' on Sunday for a top-notch traditional roast. The beef we had was delicious, with perfectly cooked trimmings including cheesy leeks that my daughter has sinced begged me to recreate at home. We finished with a superlatively sticky toffee pudding and thick cream.
The highlight of our break was the 'Dusk Walk' we booked with farmer Will. New-born lambs skipped around us as we headed to a slope overlooking a particular patch of hedgerow, keeping downwind and keeping silent. Well, silent-ish. Silence is a big ask of my 7-year-old! As night fell, we sat passing the binoculars to and fro, eyes fixed on a gap in the hedge. Eventually, little black-and-white stripy faces began to emerge from their sett. I'd never seen badgers in the wild before; I honestly felt like a kid again. Walking back towards the camping field, there's a wonderful view of other campers' braziers glowing on the slopes.
The farm is built on a site that's been used for thousands of years. A neolithic circle was found in one of the fields, which might account for the magical vibe of the place. We asked our new farmer friend about the history of the place, and he kindly invited us to join him on his walk round the farm in the morning to look for Roman finds. So, bright and early the next morning in the cereal fields, there was fierce competition among children of all ages as we hunted for Roman artefacts. Alas, no coins - but we found lots of pieces of pottery, and were delighted to play at 'Time Team' for the morning!
Downside? Not everyone's a fan of compost toilets, which are tucked cleverly away and blend into the woods. The showers are seriously hard work! Heat your own water, pump frantically, rig up the length of hose provided with the little shower head... ok, I confess. We didn't use them. There are steamy hot showers available with a free swim if you go into Cirencester! Also: challenging to wash up without a sink and hot water. There are taps, but nothing else. This may make it a little too basic for some visitors!
We were a little sad to pack up the tents. But, as there's no need to book, there were many interesting conversations on the way home. "If we left work a bit early, could we make it in time before the shop closed? Could we?"
I think we could!
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Abbey Home Farm
We stayed at Abbey Home Farm in July 2011 and hired out the private field (including Shepherd’s Hut) for a birthday celebration over a weekend and had a fantastic time! There were 20 of us but the field could have accommodated a lot more than that as we had a lot of room to run around and play football/rounders etc. Plus lovely woods to explore next to the field. We took along a large gazebo and we could have had a few more which would have been handy in the rain! The field felt very private so we did not have to worry about noise and the owners Hilary and Wills were very friendly and accommodating but without being intrusive! The private field includes a ’fire pit’ and some logs to sit on around the fire which was a great touch and gave the large field a central point for us to gather. The Shepherd’s Hut was lovely and cosy - I think next time we will all be fighting to stay in there as it was so nice!! The actual farm with shop and cafe was lovely and a great addition to a camping weekend - lovely to walk there for breakfast / lunch / cuppa tea and cake or a little browse round their shop. Plus helpful to get essentials for last minute campsite bbqs! The only downside (but not enough to keep us all from returning!) was the toilet - there was only one compost loo built in the woods which for that many people is a bit tricky and even with sawdust, gets a bit nasty towards the end of the weekend. Plus the door is only half a door, so you can look out - and be seen - while sitting down! Not very pleasant so we pinned a bin bag to the entrance which worked ok. A proper door with a lock and a solar light in there would make it a lot nicer. I’d highly recommend this campsite (despite the compost loo!) and we’d love to visit again!
Abbey Home Farm
We loved this ultra-basic campsite with its oak wood and compost toilets. When we arrived, the field was empty; by bedtime it was full! Food at the shop is fabulous, and you can rent fire buckets.
Abbey Home Farm
If you want know more about where your food comes from, wake up to a stunning view, eat really amazing fresh organic food, hear the owls hooting at night, take a trip on a trailer ride up to see the pigs oinking about in the mud, live the good life, then this place is for you. If you can meet the people than work there and hear about their passion for farming the organic way then do. They have chickens, cows, sheep and pigs. They grow vegatables galore and make their own flour. They sell it all in their brilliant shop and you can sit in and have it all wisked up into a tasty meal for you if you desire. Otherwise you can buy your goods and cook up a feast over a fire by hiring one of their braziers. This is an inspirational place that I will definatly be returning to. They have tons of space for camping in beautiful fields and two new showers which will certainly give revitalise you and get you ready for the day! Fabulous.
Abbey Home Farm
A lovely lovely place!