Date: Saturday 30th April – Monday 2nd May 2016
Location: Cut Thorn Farm, Gibside, Burnopfield, Newcastle upon Tyne NE16 6AA
Prices: £15 per unit per night
Total cost for our stay: £30
Our Stay: Cut Thorn Farm lies on the edge of the National Trust’s Gibside estate and is also home to West Wood Yurts which are situated a little further along the farm track from the campsite. The campsite is small and as a Camping and Caravan Club Five van site you must be a member of the club to stay there. Access to the campsite is via a rather steep and bumpy farm track which then opens up to views across the countryside. When I was younger we used to stay on the farm quite regularly and I have fond memories of playing in the hay bales and helping the farmer with his jobs. The farmer’s wife still remembers us!
Gibside is within walking distance of the campsite through a field of cows and emerging from the woods to pick up the track to The Stables where there is a small coffee shop (opening hours seem to be flexible and we just missed out on a cup of coffee and an icecream after our walk there) and regular minibuses to the main buildings at Gibside.
When we returned from our walk we were just in time to meet my sister, her husband and baby Lily who had come to visit and stopped for a cuppa and some ginger cake. This was our first trip away in Willamina and we were soon compiling a list of things we’d forgotten to take like a tin opener and a chopping board. Having no gas or running water and only a petrol stove to cook outside on we opted for a Chinese takeaway on the first night which we picked up from Rosie’s in Rowlands Gill (tel 01207 272672). We’d anticipated tucking Pookie into bed and enjoying the last bottle of Champagne from our wedding outside together as the sun went down. But the refusal of an almost three year old to fall asleep and miserable drizzly rain stopped that plan in its tracks and instead we all had an early night snuggled up in our little van. Two adults, one child and two dogs.
The second night ended in a similar fashion but we did manage to finish the bubbly and raise a glass to everyone who had given us money or vouchers as a wedding gift which we’d put towards renovating Willamina.
Monday morning arrived and after bacon sandwiches cooked by our son we celebrated his 3rd birthday (a day early!) in Willamina with his grandparents.
After opening his presents he kindly informed us that he wasn’t a little boy anymore, he was a man!
What we loved:
- Being away for the first time ever in our fantastic little van
- Revisiting childhood memories at a special little friendly site
- Being so far away from everything yet so close to home
What could’ve made it even better:
- Having an awning so we didn’t have to take off our muddy shoes (it is a working farm) in the rain and a little more room for the dogs when we needed them out of the way
- Pookie having his own bed so we didn’t all have to go to bed so early
- Electrics and gas would’ve been nice but then you can’t have it all!
In summary: a busy first weekend away with lots of visitors. A lovely little site with sufficient amenities to make our stay comfortable. A great base for exploring Gibside.