The Lord Stones, three standing stones on a Bronze Age mound high up on the moors between Chop Gate and Carlton in Cleveland has long been a favourite area for bikers, walkers, cyclists, horse riders, even hang gliders.
Not only are there a network of footpaths and bridleways that cross the Cleveland Way, the Coast to Coast and the Lyke Wake Walk, but the views are breathtaking. On a clear day you can see to Roseberry Topping and the skyscape of Middlesbrough.
Until recently the Lord Stones café was owned and run by the colourful John Simpson who doled out sausage and beans to appreciative travellers, but the rigors of this remote spot and a falling out with some of the bikers led him to sell up to his neighbour John Reeve, owner of the adjoining Urra Estate where he operates a pheasant and partridge shoot and rears belted Galloway cattle.
Reeves has developed the site into what is now the Lord Stones Country Park. They’ve spent a shed-load, practically rebuilding the whole shebang and it’s looking pretty spruce with a shop, an all-day café and a restaurant and it’s now a cracking place to stay.
They’ve got a regular camp-site but the appeal for non-campers like me are the five cosy wooden camping pods each with its own loo, sink and wood burning stove. OK so you have to cross the yard for the ‘his’ and ‘hers’ shower block (you didn’t think there were ensuite showers did you? Come on you have at least to pretend this is camping) with bags of hot water heated from the bio-mass boiler. Then you can sit on your own verandah with a picnic or an aperitif of beer and crisps from the shop that also stocks bread, cheese, chocolate, lots of Yorkshire produce and the farm’s fresh belted Galloway beef to take home.
For meals it’s a mere stroll to the café/restaurant where they serve all day (and evening) – soup, sandwiches, snacks, cakes and a lovely beef and ale pie, but their big thing is steak from those rare breed cattle cooked on a state of the art charcoal grill. After that it’s just a short stagger back to your tent or your pod. Me? Forget a night under the stars I’ll be tucked up warm and dry in my hand-built, insulated pod. Now that’s what I call camping.
Open every day 9am-9pm Bookings 01642 778482