*A quick note first though - this is not a sponsored post. I know a lot of bloggers do this (and kudos to them, I don't have anything against that), but I wanted to show/tell you about this place cos it rocks, not cos I'm being paid to.*
Ok, so you know how I love camping, so rather than staying in a hotel we decided to do some 'glamping' (although I do hate that word with a passion - lets just call it posh camping).
We stayed in this Safari-type tent called 'The Ark' at Leewood which we found through Canopy and Stars. Although 'Posh Camping' can be a bit on the pricey side, we got a bit of a last minute deal meaning it didn't cost us much more than a hotel would.
The tent was huge, with everything you would need already provided. Set on a lovely farm just through a quiet village, it really was a good place to get off grid and relax.
As you'd expect from 'posh camping', everything you would need was easily to hand. As well as the tent being full of items to make a cosy night in (blankets, a variety of chairs, books and games, wood burning stove, etc), the kitchen area (pictured above) also had everything you would need for proper comfortable cooking. They also had a variety of cast iron pans and trivets so you could do proper campfire cooking - I cooked us a hearty spicy beef stew with jacket potatoes, perfect camping food.
But, the main allure of this place for me, was the fact that it is really heavily orientated around craft and creativity.
Almost everything in the Ark is handmade or reclaimed. The bed itself is actually a custom made 'super kingsize' bed, and the quilts were hand sewn by Nick's (the owners) mother. Quilting is one of those crafts that I really appreciate, even if I don't do it myself, as you can see the hours and hours of work it must take to complete something like a blanket.
The site also hosts a variety of workshops (although as we were there for only the one full day we didn't really have time to take part in any), but it was great to see the hand dyed and spun wool for sale along with other local produce. The owner Nick was really nice (and an artist herself) and took the time to tell me more about the workshops even though I couldn't attend any (drawing, painting, spinning, dyeing, weaving and woodworking to name just a few of the workshops). They even grow specific plants and flowers on the farm that are used to dye the wool they use in the classes. It seems that this creative family has made a real creative hub, and evidence of that is everywhere. Anyway, more about the tent.
As well as the impressive bed quilts, there were crochet items absolutely everywhere. The first thing I spotted was this little crochet mat by the log-burning stove, and from there I just kept looking and found more and more pieces of excellent crochet.
....to larger pieces like the crochet blankets (there were quite a few of them as well). I can see how most people would just see this as 'oh that's a nice touch', but as a crocheter myself, I was blown away by the amount of effort that had gone into making this place have a handmade home feel to it.
Even the hot water bottle covers were crochet! It seemed everything had been thought of and lovingly crafted to make this place a real gem.
One of my favourite moments of our time at the Ark was sitting on this rocking chair on the porch, supported by this lovely comfy crochet cushion, doing a little crochet of my own, while the local chickens came clucking along.
As well as all the amazing crochet, all the little touches really added to the charm of this place, any place that frames a variety of knots is cool by me.
I was particularly impressed by this little mushroom felted onto a pocket on the inside of the tent. Every where had little items of crafty loveliness, even the compostable toilet in the woods had little knick-knacks to keep you interested while you 'do your business' (there are normal toilets too - if you don't like the feeling of the wind on your butt).
We absolutely loved staying at the Ark, and I think the next time we're down that way we'd definitely go there again and stay a bit longer to take part in some of the workshops. It is a working farm so there are plenty of animals to see (and fresh eggs from the chickens was a bonus). There's also a Cattery on site too and we managed to see a few pretty kittys (including one that seemed to love licking the window). So if you're after a crafty peaceful getaway, you can't go wrong with this place.
That's all for now, coming up next - what we got up to on the way back from Devon!