Tucked away in the beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Dales, close to the market town of Masham, “Bivouac” hides away from the stresses and strains of daily life.
Bivouac is a unique place situated on the Swinton Estate where there are luxury bespoke wooden shacks hidden away in the woodland and yurts in a meadow. It’s not just about the accommodation that’s here (which by the way is fabulous). It’s an experience which provides the feeling of being so far from the day to day pressures of home and work in a peaceful and beautiful part of the world.
We went to Bivouac with some close family friends and together the seven of us stayed in ‘Cuckoo Hollow’, one of the handmade wooden shacks. The standard of the accommodation was superb. The shacks are all made from local wood that has been sustainably sourced. It really was a luxury shack and I always base my judgements on the bathroom, which in its eco friendly way was an equal to the many lovely bathrooms that I have seen in hotels. We had a mini kitchen with everything we could need including a great terracotta ‘fridge’ which when topped up with a little water can keep food and milk fresh for up to a week!
The sleeping areas are on three levels in the shack- a double luxury bunk on the bottom, 3 very generous singles in the middle and at the very top a kingsize with a velux window to stargaze through at night. All the beds were super comfy with lovely thick duvets.The kingsize bed is up a tall ladder and is not for those afraid of heights. I was the only one out of my family who I could trust to sleep there on the edge! There was a tree trunk between me and the drop down so it was very safe.
There is no electricity in the shack which at first took a bit of adapting to. We initially felt that we wanted to turn the lights on! Very quickly we forgot about the lack of electric light and we used our camping lanterns once it got dark. It surprised me how the lack of electricity has shown us that we don’t really need to use so much energy! We were able to charge our phones up in the cafe and reception but to be honest we didn’t really need to use them!
The children had the best time playing in the woods and roaming freely. All the wet weather had created a mini muddy pond/bog near to our shack. The girls spent hours playing in and around it, making stepping stones across it and of course falling in it! They had the best imaginary games which went on for hours. It was such a pleasure to see the three of them so equally happy in their world of play or just being on their own in the woods exploring nature.
The cafe at Bivouac which is set in a converted barn is fantastic. The home cooked menu is delicious and varied. There are special children’s dishes or they can have half portions of the main menu. We ate there a couple of times over the weekend and I would really recommend the breakfasts- yummy bacon sandwiches and really creamy porridge, a big treat!
Bivouac have built a couple of fire pits where guests can have their own barbecues. Together we made a fire and the girls enjoyed finding twigs and small branches for us to burn. It was the first time my girls have had a campfire and the sausages and marshmallows (that we toasted on twigs) tasted all the better for it!
Our long weekend at Bivouac was such a success we will definitely be planning another trip. The opportunity to spend time with friends and family in a place where we could all relax and enjoy quality time together. The children had the freedom of being able to play and explore whilst we could relax knowing they were safe and content.
Bivouac have created a very special destination. It is clear to see the time, passion and energy that has been put into the whole project. I am so very pleased we have been because it means that we can return again!