2020 was a very strange year for us here at Herding Hill Farm, as it has been for everyone. In line with the national Government lockdown, we sadly closed our doors at the end of March to guests, but this did not mean that we had nothing to do. Far from it! Although difficult for us not being able to have guests to welcome and look after, we instead spent the time bringing forward our work and maintenance schedule to improve and upgrade our facilities on site further.
All our Wigwam cabins have been freshly painted, their
sides closed to the floor to hide the ugly pipework and several of the Wigwams
now have new decks and lighting surrounding the outdoor hot tubs. We hope these
changes will encourage more of you to splash out on a glamping pod with hot tub
to enjoy our gorgeous night skies the next time you visit us.
The children’s play park is being painted in bright new colours and the equipment has been, jet washed, scrubbed, and polished. New bark has been put down to cushion a fall if any of our younger guests take a tumble.
We have extended our drainage and water supplies to give
us an additional 6 fully serviced touring pitches and we now have 9 serviced
pitches in total, with a further 4 electric hard-standing. As we are lucky
enough to open all year-round we hope this will encourage more motor homers and
caravanners to visit us out of season. We filled the last of the drainage holes
in around 6pm on the evening before we re-opened to guests after Lockdown 1.0,
talk about last minute!!
Thankfully we were able to re-open in July and spent a very busy 4 Summer months enabling guests to have holidays and spend time outside again. We had a robust Risk Assessment to help us maintain Covid safety around the site and gained the Covid-19 Industry Safety Award from Visit England. Although we only opened a few of the grass tent pitches this year to avoid over-crowding in the amenity block, the touring pitches, Luxury Lodge and Wigwam cabins were full for most of this time. Thank you to all our guests who chose to come and stay with us over the Summer. We were blessed with some amazingly clear dark skies, with fabulous views of Mars and Pluto.
Unfortunately, when Northumberland entered Tier 3, November saw us having to close again but as we had planned to start an extension to our luxury amenities building to provide a covered area for our guests (especially our campers) to enjoy it meant this could take place without any disruption to guests.
We are really excited about this room as it will
not only be for the use for our guests but will also give us a space to hold
more events such as stargazing sessions and the regular craft activity sessions
we run for children. The room will be
equipped with kettle, toaster and microwave together with washing up sink. The
vending machines, Book Exchange, information boards and table games for guests
to use will also be located here. There will be tables and chairs for any guests
wanting to eat indoors.
As part of this development the laundry room is being extended
and will provide ironing facilities, as well as washing and drying. The
sluice/Elsan point for Tourers is being moved indoors and away from the front
of the amenities building.
Following suggestions from guests staying in our Luxury Lodge we have plans to refurbish the interior and add additional decoration and soft furnishings to give it that extra special touch and make it a more comfortable and relaxing space for you to enjoy. We have a new carpet in the lounge. Following feedback from guests we have also installed a washing machine. Phil has fenced off part of the decking area overlooking the Reception to provide a private, secluded area when you are in the hot tub or enjoying your family BBQ. We are excited to see what it all looks like when it is finished. If you would like to book the Luxury Lodge please check availability HERE.
We also have some exciting development news for you. Following the disposal of the tipis and belle tents in the old glamping village at the bottom of the site we have received planning permission to install some additional glamping pods. With views West down the Northumberland valley these pods will have some of the best views on the site. We have also taken the opportunity to purchase high specification pods. Work has now begun on preparing the ground for these seven new Luxury Pods which we hope to be able to start letting before the end of 2021.
These cabins have an suite bathroom with shower, a double bed, corner sofa, dining table and chair and kitchen area so there will be little need to leave your pod. They will be fully equipped and will have bedding, towels, cutlery and crockery and everything you need for a comfortable glamping experience. Outside will be a BBQ, fire pit and private hot tub where you will have beautiful views across the valley.
We are currently building the web pages and booking system
for the pods and will keep you posted when these new glamping cabins will be
available to hire. The new pods will be adult-only to enable guests to enjoy a
romantic and relaxing break and as a result of the soft furnishings will regrettably
not be able to take dogs. Our existing Wigwam cabins are dog-friendly and are
also available to hire with an outdoor hot tub for guests wanting some luxury.
We appreciate that for most people it’s not possible
at the moment to book too far ahead for 2021. However it is likely that the
demand for UK breaks and staycations is likely to be as strong as it was in the
Summer of 2020 when we were fully booked and could have let our touring
pitches, glamping pods and Luxury Lodge ten times over. Travelling overseas is
likely to be tempered with anxiety and concerns about getting insurance,
travelling by public transport, as well as the security of travel companies and
airlines in respect of any monies paid.
So why not think about a short break in Northumberland
instead? Our updated cancellation policy means if you want to get ahead and
book for a trip in 2021 you can do so, safe in the knowledge that if Covid-19
or government restrictions prevent you from travelling we will work with you to
re-schedule your break if that is what you want or give you a full refund if we
We were awarded the Good to Go accreditation by Visit
England as recognition of the policies we had implemented in respect of
Covid-19 and received only positive comments from the guests who stayed with us
in the Summer of 2020. But if you have any concerns please give us a call. There
is plenty of space between pitches and oodles of space on site. To check
availability and book a break at Herding Hill Farm please click HERE.
You will be sure of a warm welcome and a fabulous outdoor experience to create
some great family memories.
During the year we sadly said goodbye to Clive and
Jodie and Jean and Nigel but are delighted to welcome 4 new Wardens and their 3
dogs to join the team with Sue and Phil and their two dogs. All our team live
on site here at Herding Hill Farm.
Tom and Chantelle joined the team at Herding Hill Farm the day the first lockdown started at the end of March, after a 6-hour journey from the Cairngorms under the cover of darkness so they weren’t turned around for towing a caravan! So they had to get used to a new area, a new job and a new home whilst the country stayed at home.
Tom is originally from Darlington Chantelle is from Gosport, they have a 5-year-old Jack Russell called Louie, who was adopted from a rescue centre in Aberdeen.
Beginning campsite warden work during a national lockdown was certainly an experience for them and whilst they didn’t get to meet anyone or greet any guests, it allowed them to get to know the site and carry out on some essential maintenance. They got lovely tans, and a little bit of sunburn, from days painting Wigwams and grass cutting! Lockdown gave us them the perfect opportunity to explore Hadrian’s Wall and the local area - their favourite spot being Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, or if they fancied a bit of a longer trip, the lovely quiet beach spots in Beckfoot, where Louie gets to run until his heart is content!
Although their time working as ‘proper’ campsite
wardens came to an abrupt end with Lockdown 2.0, they cannot wait for the
campsite to reopen and get back to helping guests relax and make wonderful
holiday memories. Until then, there’s still plenty of gravel to shift and
pressure washing to do!
Martin & Michaela are the ‘newbies’ of the site. They have come from the flats of Lincolnshire with their dogs Dolly and Delilah to the ‘Tellytubby land’ of Haltwhistle. It has been a great experience in their short time at Herding Hill Farm and luckily, they had the opportunity to experience life ‘pre-Lockdown’, welcoming and looking after our guests to make their stay as enjoyable as possible. Unfortunately, lockdown has cut that experience short, however it has given them the opportunity to complete all those jobs that needed to be done but were too busy to start. They have been pressure washing all the fencing and decking around the Luxury Lodge and the animal enclosure as well as all of the picnic tables outside the Wigwam cabins. They have removed the old fencing that surrounds a couple of the Wigwams in order for Phil to build new and improved ones. They have been filling all the bare patches and potholes around the site with new gravel and weeding as they go!
Even when the site is closed to guests, all the
everyday duties still must be done, such as feeding, playing and chatting with
the animals and mucking out. Suffice to say therefore that our new wardens have
been just as busy in Lockdown as before.
We were delighted at the start of last year to launch Herding
Campers, our new camper van hire business and take delivery of our new
accommodation offers of 2 modern VW T6 2.01 Transporter campervans (Navy with
black/orange interior or brown with brown/cream inside). The camper vans for
hire can sleep up to 2 adults and 2 small children and are ideal for a trip
away to explore the beautiful Northumberland coastline, the lakes and mountains
of the Lake District or to venture further afield into Scotland. The camper vans can be hired for a 3, 7 or
10-day break and are fully equipped with crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils
etc. Why not give us a call to find out more
information or check for availability HERE.
We have really missed having our young guests staying with us and the animals will also be really pleased to see everyone back again. We were sorry to say goodbye to Tommy, Barney, one of our two donkeys and Bubble, our Kune Kune pig during 2020. The animals in our petting farm really are part of the Herding Hill Farm family and we were sorry to lose them. We intend to get some new additions for the animal petting farm in 2021.
We are planning some exciting things for our younger guests
to do when they come back and see us, but in the meantime, here are a couple of
activities to keep you busy whilst you are at home.
We are really look forward to seeing you all again this year and hope that you are managing to keep well and safe and that looking forward to getting away again is helping get you through this strange time.