Thursday, 16 April 2015

A wood cabin stay at Church Farm Ardeley, Hertfordshire

Church Farm is absolutely my new favourite place and we've been here a fair few times over the past year or so.  It's so close that in all honesty there's not really the need for us to stay over, but we never want to leave at the end of the day so I'll usually book for us to camp.

We've stayed in our tent a few times, but with the weather being a little cooler it's great to have the option of their wooden lodges.  They're also perfect if you're not a hardened camper, don't have all the gear, want to stay with a group of friends who are not campers or just want to get a flavour of camping for the first time.


Given that they have toilet and shower facilities on site, an absolutely superb cafe serving breakfast and lunch and an exquisite pub - The Jolly Waggoner - over the road serving excellent meals, you really can just chuck your clothes and bedding in the car and be done with it.  No extra camping paraphernalia is required, making it ideal for a last minute getaway.

There's a number of cabins dotted around the farm in various different woods, but both times we've stayed in a lodge we've booked into Beard's Oak which is a young wooded area with small and sapling trees.  There's a number of cabins in this location so perfect if there's a group of you staying, although both times so far we've had the whole area to ourselves.  Other cabins are more secluded in other woodland areas of the farm but be aware that access by car is not alway possible to the remoter ones, depending on how wet and muddy the ground is.

The cabins themselves are very basic.  Each one comprises of a comfy double bed (bring your own pillows, sleeping bags or duvet and sheets.  Some are large enough for families and have single camp beds too - check online.  There's a wood burner in each lodge, a blind on the window for privacy - not that there's generally anyone around, but it keeps the morning sun out too.



If you want to take your own gear, there's room for it - we've had 3 of us, a camp bed, the dog's bed, our portable toilet and our camping stove as well as all our overnight bags in one comfortably.

The first time we stayed in a lodge it was February and bitterly cold with snow on the ground.  We snuggled up under duvets in our onesies with hot water bottles, but after 20 minutes of the wood burner pumping out heat, we were all stripping off layers it was that toasty.

From Beard's Oak you can hear the owls hooting, you might catch the sound of the sheep in the fields and in the morning you're likely to glimpse a pheasant or two strutting around.

An overnight stay will cost you £8.50 per adult and £5.50 per child (under 5s free) in camping fees, plus between £20-30 extra for a cabin.  Camp fires outside your cabin are allowed although you do need to pay £10 for permission and logs and kindling are on sale in the farm shop.

We love our cosy nights in the cabins, perfect for a romantic night away, a family adventure or a group trip.  Head over the road to the Jolly Waggoner for a great meal, local ales, vodka made on the farm and a cosy fireside welcome.



In the morning, head over to the Farm Cafe for a hearty breakfast (including vegetarian and gluten free fry ups) before visiting the animals on the farm.




What to take:

A torch and battery operated nightlight (we take our Ikea battery fairy lights which are excellent and last ages longer than any camping lamp).

A portable loo is good if you want to avoid the trek to the compost loos or the flushing loos on the main farm complex in the middle of the night.

What not to take:

Electric gadgets will be useless as they're not mains connected.

If you're cooking for yourself, due to bio security reasons you can't take meat from external sources on site.  Buy bangers from the farm butcher's counter or save yourself  the hassle and dine out at the Jolly Waggoner or in the farm cafe.

Linking up with Time Travellers.

44 comments:

  1. Thanks Liz, this looks great, its not expensive either I live close to Watford, its only a stones throw away from me too. I want to take the kids camping this is perfect. (Weather permitting of course). I love the idea no gadgets... yeah family time! Thank you

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    1. Oh it sounds perfect then Lucy! We love camping here, but the great thing about the lodges is that it doesn't matter what the weather's doing. It's watertight and cosy warm. Hope you give it a go, it's such an adventure and there's tonnes to see on the farm too. You'll have a great time.

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  2. This sounds perfect. Camping but without this bits I dont like. That fire place looks cosy!

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    1. Ah yes, it's very hassle-free camping!

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  3. Ahh I love the lambs!! This sounds like such a great place, like camping but without the tents! xx

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    1. The lambs are adorable, and there's cows, pigs, chickens, geese, rabbits...tonnes to see!

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  4. Sounds like a chilled out place to stay - good to get back to nature a little.

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    1. Exactly! It's great to switch off for a while.

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  5. oh what a setting that is and so home from home which is lovely

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    1. It's such a gorgeous place to stay, everyone there is so lovely.

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  6. That sounds like a great place to stay and the lodges sound very cosy and good value for money too.

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    1. They are super cosy, the fire really warms the whole place up.

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  7. Hertfordshire is the next county along for me, and this looks fab. One for me to look into I think! x

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    1. Oh yes, do take a look Michelle.

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  8. Oh wow what a beautiful looking place to stay - I could definitely see myself liking a stay there.

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    1. It's really lovely if you're happy to be 'unplugged' for a while!

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  9. This looks like a lovely place to stay, but I have to admit, i would like a few more comforts and wi-fi! I am a heathen I know!

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    1. Well as a fellow addict, I can tell you if you charge your phone before you go, you can usually get 3G ;)

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  10. Wow what a fab place! The kids would love it...I would love it! x

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    1. Ruby absolutely loves it here, she keeps asking hen we can go next.

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  11. Oh this place looks fantastic - staying in a cabin would be so much fun! x

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    1. It's a real adventure, especially for kids (and big kids!)

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  12. What a perfect break! It looks absolutely perfect x

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  13. I love escaping and going back to basics. This sounds like a lovely place to just forget work and really relax x

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    1. You can totally switch off here and relax!

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  14. oh i am loving this! i love to camp but my battered pelvis is just so unstable these days i need a bed but this would be perfect

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    1. Oh this would be perfect then! The bed's are really comfy.

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  15. Ooh I'm in Herts and not heard of this place - how cute, I love the sounds of staying here and so cheap. Definitely going to look into x

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    1. Oh do look them up, they're at Ardeley, between Stevenage and Baldock. x

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  16. This looks fab - does look like a giant shed from the outside though

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    1. Hehe well I guess essentially it is, except that it has an amazing wood burner inside and a big double bed :)

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  17. Oh wow, this looks like a wonderful relaxing getaway. I am well envious!

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  18. Oh I love the look of this - a lovely place to get away from the world in!! Great log burner too!!

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  19. oooh a roaring fire and that lamb ~ ps not cooking the lamb that is
    beautiful I would want to stay there as well

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  20. I love these kind of places for unplugging, relaxing and just getting away from it all. It sounds absolutely magical, and the best kind of nearby neighbour as well! That Ploughmans!! :) #timetraveller x

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  21. The camping shed is wonderful, anything that involves going outside in the dark to use the loo at 3am is camping in my opinion

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  22. That looks a great alternative for camping wimps like me! The great outdoors without too much inconvenience ;) #timetraveller

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  23. What an amazing find Liz! I love the sound of the wood burner and the Jolly Waggoner even more ... home made vodka did you say?
    I think this is a perfect family getaway, I know my lot would adore it.
    Thanks for sharing on #TimeTraveller

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  24. What an amazing find Liz! I love the sound of the wood burner and the Jolly Waggoner even more ... home made vodka did you say?
    I think this is a perfect family getaway, I know my lot would adore it.
    Thanks for sharing on #TimeTraveller

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  25. This sounds like a lovely place to stay and the perfect comprise for those who don't like the faff of putting up and down a tent (Me included lol) xx

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  26. What a great place to stay away from all of the stresses of modern life!

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