Home to one of Britain’s finest and most eclectic arboretums, Walcot Hall is the very site in question. It was back in the early 1800s that the first trees were purposefully planted here, in the sweeping grounds of a grand stately home, and since then both the trees and the collection have continued to grow. Different species and varieties are always being added and today the vast range makes for an impressive visit at any time of the year. The old ones, though, are still the best – in particular a towering Douglas Fir planted by Lord Powis in 1842 and once the tallest tree of it’s kind in the entire country.
The campsite itself is tucked in a more open, grassy space directly to the rear of the Powis Arms, an ivy clad inn at the gateway to the estate. There are 30 pitches in total, half with electrical hook-ups, and excellent ablutions available in a heated amenities block. The site is ideal for those who want to spread themselves around, with ample room for large tents and fold out tables where you can sit and admire the view.
The real joys here, though, are for those who really want to delve amongst the bows, camping beneath the arboretum canopy in one of Walcot Halls hidden treasures. The campsite now boasts no fewer than ten different glamping hideouts spread around the 30-acre site and the majority are tucked up amongst the trees providing a true sense of woodland seclusion. Sticking with the spirit of diversity these too are a varied bunch, from a traditional wooden shepherd’s hut and creamy canvassed yurt to an old-school gypsy wagon and a vintage fire-truck surrounded by rhododendrons. All are exquisitely fitted out in a rustic but luxury style with huge beds and nearby ablutions facilities.
Whether you chose the indulgence of glamping or the space of the campsite, guests are still welcome to all the privileges of a night at Walcot Hall. There are water pools for fishermen, two large lakes with rowing boats to dabble around in and stables for those inclined – head out for a hack with Stuart Murray who’ll show you the local bridleways. For more independent travelers there’s a wealth of other activities on the doorstep (no, beyond the pub!) not least the fabulous walking opportunities in the Shropshire Hills. Try the scenic three-mile route to Bishops Castle, a thoroughly welcoming little market town accessed along a beautiful tree-lined pathway – not that you haven’t seen them before!
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A bit of a surprise....
Midweek break in the sun
We decided to head to this unfamiliar area to us with our hound and took a gamble on this site, it was midweek and when we booked the lady was friendly and helpful but that was the only interaction we had with anyone during are stay, I liked that. The site is behind a bit of a run down pub which was next to the shower / toilet building which was clean although a bit tired and dated and the showers were pretty cool which meant we were in and out.
We were the only ones on the site but it is really pleasant surrounded by mature trees and hedges and just an atmospheric place especially when the sun set. The approach lane to the estate borders one side and leads to the hall which has a very uncommercial timeless feel which when booking the lady urged us to explore, a beautiful place.
We used the site as a base to go walking and hiked through the village of Lydbury North which was nice and headed over the hills to Bishops Castle, a lovely historic village with good pubs, the Three Tuns highly popular and friendly but we sat and got slowly mellow in the Castle Hotel's beautiful garden, locals did not have anything positive to say about the Powis Arms next to the camp site and said the landlord was unfriendly which put us off a bit. Walked back walking through the grounds of Walcot hall as light faded which as a lovely lake running through its centre and worth seeing for the nature alone.
In summary we were pleased we gambled on this cheap, hassle free site in a pretty spot, don't know how busy it'll be a weekends but I was surprised it hadn't been reviewed, definitely worth a stay.
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