Mill Farm Glamping is a luxury camping site set on a family-run, organic farm, run and owned by farmers Joe and Izzy couple Joe and Izzy and their family near Poulshot village in Wiltshire.
Mill Farm Glamping is a luxury camping (also known as glamping) site set on a family-run, organic farm, run and owned by farmers Joe and Izzy Dyke and their family. Mill Farm and neighbouring Belle Vue Farm are surrounded by acres of classic English green pastures near Poulshot village in the Wiltshire countryside.
They’ve introduced several new activities for 2013. Guests now have exclusive access to the Five Lanes network of footpaths and bridal ways – some trails follow the route taken by notorious ‘Wiltshire Highwayman’ Thomas Boulter. Other additions include the badger-watching hide.
This is definitely not camping. The four canvas lodges, positioned around Top and Bottom Water Meadows and surrounded by fields, streams and oak trees, are certainly high-spec.
Each one sleeps up to six people (four adults and two children) in a double room, twin room and children's bunk room which is inside its own 'wendy house' - an instant source of delight for the two children on our holiday. And no traipsing across muddy meadows to go to the toilet either - there's a separate toilet and bathroom (with hot shower no less) on the rear deck of the lodge.
The oven, hob and wood-burning fire is perfect for trying out all those slow cooking recipes you never have time to make at home - there's plenty of wood to keep it going. There's no electricity inside the lodge but there is a gas camping stove for quicker cooking.
Apart from the dining area inside (lit by lanterns and fairy lights at night), there's a covered veranda outside so you can enjoy the countryside views. Mill Farm is self-catering and they provide cool boxes and ice packs. The honesty shop sells a variety of (often locally sourced) food, such as milk, bread and cheese to bacon, quiche and jams. Free eggs are included in your stay - just walk down to the chicken coop to see what's been laid...
When we could bring ourselves to leave the cosy lodge and its verandah, there was a farmload of activities to enjoy. Very popular with the kids are the John Deere Baby Gators tractors which you can hire.
New for 2013 is the farm's King Gator, a 4-seater tractor which you can hire as a 'taxi' to take you to the local pub, to tour around the farm or even learn to drive yourself with farmer Chris.
One of the most memorable activities on our trip was the farm tour, always pop. The family love showing guests what's involved in running an organic farm and season-depending, this can include feeding, digging for worms and harvesting.
Other activities include donkey rides on Moto for kids aged 10 and under and outdoor laser clay pigeon shooting for anyone aged 5-plus which Mill Farm describes as a 'an open-air game of space invaders'. There's also a new hay bale straw arena (for kids 3 and over) - the farm's answer to a bouncy castle - and very popular with the two little ones on our holiday. Guests can also borrow toys and games from the honesty shop.
The paddock around Bottom Water Meadow is where you'll find the farm's chickens, ducks and rabbits and if you go for a walk or hire bicycles, you could see deer and foxes too.
For the 2013 season, Mill Farm are offering badger watching from a dedicated badger-watching hide. Moonlit nights are ideal for seeing badgers along the stream, so if your stay combines with a full moon (or close enough), you could be in for a treat.
The farm have thermos flasks for guests and night vision goggles to hire as well.
There was plenty to do nearby if you wanted to explore the Wiltshire countryside. Local attractions include Bowood House, Longleat Safari Park, The Wadworth Brewery and Caen Hill Locks. You can also go horse-riding at a nearby farm.
And if you need a break from cooking as we did, the local pubs come to the rescue such as the Raven Inn pub in Poulshot, the Barge Inn on the Kennet & Avon Canal. Particularly popular with children is the Rowdey Cow Cafe and ice cream parlour. For more information, visit visitwiltshire.co.uk.
Mill Farm's 2013 season runs from 15th March - 10th November. Canvas lodges cost from £550-£880 per week, from £374 for a mid-week break and from £451 for a weekend stay, subject to availability. This includes wood supply, free farm tour, free wi-fi, eggs and use of the farm paddock.
If you don't want to be under canvas, Mill Farm also has Mill Farm House, a renovated farm house by the water meadow with four bedrooms sleeping up to eight. The house is available to book from £850 - £1550 per week.