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Hesleyside Huts

UK England North East England Northumberland Bellingham

  • Campfires allowed
  • Groups welcome
  • Good walks nearby
Hi-spec shepherd's huts in the grounds of an historic Northumberland manor house

The Charlton family have lived at Hesleyside since 1343 when Edward Charlton first cobbled together a rough pele tower of stone and turf. Over time it grew both in physical size and political stature. First, to a large square tower with a cluster of dwellings at its foot, then to a two storey fortified house until, by the 18th century, Hesleyside Hall was one of the grandest mansions in Northumberland with sweeping, manicured grounds, avenues of ageing trees and an elegant palladian façade. Today, in the greenery that lies beyond, the Hesleyside estate offers modern day glamping as similarly distant from the wattle and daub days of old. Though rustic and simple from the outside, inside these reclaimed oak huts are a real treat for any camper who likes their comforts; a proper luxury hideaway in the grounds of a Northumbrian manor.

Stepping through the door in one of Hesleyside Hall’s oversized shepherd’s huts you are greeted with a scene far beyond the reality of any humble sheepherder. Almost a cottage on wheels, these abodes are more like cosy groundsmen’s lodges in the gardens of the mansion than the rickety work cabins of 19th century shepherds. All have electricity, a fully-furnished kitchen and a toasty log-burning stove, while the ‘all you need’ collection of matching crockery, kitchen utensils, toiletries, lanterns and logs means guests are impeccably well catered for. The layout, too, is luxurious with a plush en-suite bathroom, whopping king-sized bed and a cosy twin bunk in each. The newest (and largest) of the huts, in the style of a petite wooden chapel, even has a second storey mezzanine as its 'bedroom', giving extra space for a huge bronze bathtub downstairs.

Despite the beautiful interior, Hesleyside Huts owes much to its surroundings, which is the true winning feature of this campsite. Not only do we mean the romantic estate grounds, but also the expansive national park in which they are enclosed. Seemingly endless forest stretches west towards glistening Keilder Water where sailing, canoeing and kayaking offer a chance to explore the reservoir in good weather, while the surrounding valley is famed for its excellent mountain biking and walking trails. The famous North Tyne river slithers gradually into the lake and is renowned for its excellent fishing, something that can be enjoyed just a stone’s throw from the huts.

When dusk falls into night and the campfire is dowsed, Hesleyside Huts sits beneath some of the darkest skies in the UK. Within the 'Northumberland Dark Sky Reserve' this is an excellent spot for stargazing, and beneath your bed there is a hidden stash to be found. Pull out a draw and grab the binoculars, telescope and informative books for a night enjoying the benefits of this remote part of the country. When you’re done picking out constellations you can slip back into the warmth of your hut, a cocoon of comfort beneath the starry Northumberland skies.



‘Bracken’ hut has a higher bed with a pull out child’s bed and pull out table of a generous size. A monks seat bench provides a seating area and storage, while further storage lies behind oak cabinetry under the bed. ‘Heather’ has a drop down bunk suitable for a child and an enclosed bed area with a king sized bed. A fold-down table optimises space in the living area and the large pull-out drawer houses everything guests need for a night of stargazing: books, guides, binoculars and telescopes. Here you will also find maps, adventure books and playing cards. 'Bramble' boasts a king size four poster bed and a separate bunk room, while 'Holly' hut is in the style of a wooden chapel and sleeps two in the double, mezzanine bedroom upstairs. Downstairs there is a large, bronze bathtub, with shower head, and decking outside overlooks the open field. Huts have electric plugs and lighting; pots, pans, and cooking equipment; and a dresser and mini Belfast sink with crockery and cutlery for four people (2 in Holly). Bedding is included. Campfires are permitted and an initial supply of logs, kindling and fire lighters are provided. Inside a wood-burning stove is accompanied by an oven and hotplate. There is an en-suite bathroom in each hut with eco-friendly loo, hand basin and hot power shower.

Suitable For

Glamping only but an additional tent can be pitched if you want to accommodate a few more people. Couples, families and groups are welcome. Dogs are not.


Within the grounds, the prestigious North Tyne has excellent fishing that can be arranged by talking to Anna Charlton, the owner. Beyond, the rest of Northumberland offers plenty to do, particularly for those who enjoy exploring the great outdoors. The Kileder reservoir (0845 155 0236) and surrounding forest are becoming the new Mecca for those seeking adventure, with the largest man-made dam in western Europe, endless walking trails and world renowned off-road mountain biking. Sailing, water-skiing, kayaking and a visit to the Calvert Trust Adventure Centre (01434 250232) are among other popular options. Furthermore, those hoping to take advantage of the quiet country roads can chat to Anna about suggested cycle routes and arrange bike hire onsite. Those on the hunt for history and culture should take a trip to Hadrian’s Wall (0191 440 5720), a short drive south, and visit the historic Vindolanda (01434 344277). While lovers of gardens and grand stately homes will have heard of Alnwick Garden (01665 511350), the finest contemporary garden in the UK, but will find equally delightful spots at Howick Gardens and Arboretum (01665 577285) and Cragside Estate (01669 620333).

Food & Drink

Optional breakfast baskets and locally-produced suppers can be organised in advance. There are no pubs or restaurants within walking distance. Cooking facilities in the huts are excellent, however, along with a wide variety of options when it comes to cooking on the campfire: There is a tripod, trivet, cauldron, griddle and skillet all for use. A 5 minute drive takes you to Bellingham, the local village, where the Black Bull Hotel (01434 220226) and The Rose and Crown (01434 220202) serve traditional fare.


All year.

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Contact Hesleyside Huts, Hesleyside Bellingham, Hexham, Northumberland, NE48 2LA

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