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Stowford Manor Farm, Wingfield,Trowbridge, Wiltshire
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We can't all be to the manor born, but camping in the grounds of Stowford Manor allows you to channel your inner Margot despite sleeping in a field.The stunning 13th-century farmhouse and accompanying mill provide the backdrop to two small camping fields.The site was mentioned in the Domesday Book, although camping started more recently (about 40 years ago). Since then the Bryant family have mastered the art of running a working farm and a delightfully relaxed campsite on the verdant Wiltshire/Somerset border.

Stowford Manor Farm, Wingfield,Trowbridge, Wiltshire


Afternoons at Stowford Manor can be whiled away in the garden, where cream teas are served using dairy from the farmer's two Jersey cows. From here you can watch hens peck around the millpond as the gurgling River Frome flows by. Bliss... Unless it's late July, when the site is taken over by the folky Trowbridge Village Pump Festival.

Camping at Stowford Manor isn't about being completely indolent, though - Farleigh and District River Swimming Club is half a mile downstream. Many wild swimmers stay here, and campers are allowed access to the club for £1 a day. An alternative (drier) activity is to cycle all the way along the canal to Bath - in less than an hour — and enjoy a day spent ogling the sweeping Georgian crescents and noble golden-stone houses.

Knowing what makes their campers tick, the Bryants have printed a map of three pubs within walking distance, all of which have rewarding views and serve good food. What more could you want? Another cream tea? Go on then...

Stowford Manor Farm, Wingfield,Trowbridge, Wiltshire


COOL FACTOR Rural England at her finest: an historic setting offering river swimming and yummy cream teas.

WHO'S IN? Tents, campervans, caravans, dogs, groups - yes.

ON SITE Campfires allowed off the ground. Thirty pitches with hook-ups are spread across 2 fields; the best pitches are by the river - not by the A366. The bathroom is inside a converted barn with rustic antique furniture and a retro jukebox. Three showers (50p tokens available at the cafe) -the water's hot, but they aren't very powerful; 3 loos. Tea and scones £4.50, served 3-6pm. Shiatsu masseur Nik Creenheart (07870 944742) practises in the mill building, £35 per hour.

OFF SITE Co on safari in the grounds of a stately home at nearby Longleat (01985 844400; www.longleat.co.uk). Special Plants (01225 891686; www.specialplants.net) in nearby Chippenham is a nursery with beautiful gardens that runs practical gardening courses.

FOOD AND DRINK The New Inn (01225 863123; www.labourinvain.com) at Westwood is less than a steep mile's walk away. Cross the A366 and follow signs to Westwood, across the fields in a north-westerly direction. Sample local Cheddar cheese (and Brie, Stilton, and ham) in their ploughman's lunch, or hand-made sausages from Bath with mash and onion gravy. A couple of miles along the A366 is the well-stocked Woody's Farm Shop (01225 720006; www.woodysfarmshop.co.uk), with a cracking cafe open daily.

Stowford Manor Farm, Wingfield,Trowbridge, Wiltshire


GETTING THERE From Bath take the A36 south before turning east on to the A366 (or west if you've come down the A363).The site is east of Farleigh Hungerford, 3 miles before you reach Trowbridge (or 3 miles west of Trowbridge).

OPEN Easter-late September.

THE DAMAGE Tent plus 2 people £12 per night; family tent £ 14; motorhome £ 14; hook-up £2.



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