As part of the Canopy & Stars collective, I recently tried out Knepp safaris: guided wild land tours with glamping on the side.
If you fancy some wildlife spotting this summer (but don’t have the spare fare to Africa) check out Knepp safaris in Surrey; one of the largest re-wilding projects in lowland Europe, where you’ll find herds of wild ponies, fallow deer, longhorn cows and Tamworth pigs as they roam 3,500 acres of Sussex. And if you feel like making it an extended visit there are luxurious bell tents, yurts and shepherd’s huts on the side. Many of them hand-crafted, each one is individually decorated with up-cycled furniture and rustic furnishings to keep you snug. I stayed in a yurt with my blogging buddy Lori and we were really warm and cosy. The only thing that woke me up was the incredible dawn chorus at 4.30am that sounded amazing (even if it was a bit earlier than my usual alarm). Even during the day, the air is filled with the sound of really varied bird song (we heard cuckoos!) and you can tell that many breeds of wildlife have made their home at Knepp.There are also some great communal areas to cook, eat and gather next to the camping field where you can pitch your own tent if you prefer. As well as the loos, there’s also an amazing hot outdoor shower if you really feel like getting back to nature. Next to our yurt, we also had a traditional cold bucket shower but I’m afraid Lori and I wimped out of that one! After settling into our accommodation for the night, we all hopped on board a couple of Austrian Troop Carriers for our safari adventure as we went out in search of rare butterflies and birds, as well as the animals that graze here. Everywhere you turn is the sight of a white cotton-tail disappearing into the undergrowth too as bunnies scatter. We stopped of at a tree platform to get a close up view of life in the canopy (binoculars useful!). It also helps if you keep quiet so as not to frighten off the wildlife (but that’s not always easy with a gaggle of excited bloggers). Listening to our knowledgeable guides, who filled us in over a cup of tea and homemade brownies was lovely though.
Later on we were treated to a tasting session from the Wild Beer Co. which brews its beers in Somerset using foraged ingredients and wild yeasts (Greig was so jealous when I told him that bit). I have to say, I don’t drink a lot of beer but these were really unusual and surprisingly tasty. I particularly liked the celebration beer that was designed to taste like champagne(!). Then we feasted on an organic barbecue of Tamworth sausages and venison burgers. It was so delicious. We started off eating outside in the garden but the rain forced us into the Cow Barn to finish our meals. No matter as it’s lovely and cosy in there so we sat around the long central table eating our puddings of fresh rhubarb fool before tucking into the wine and swapping stories. It was quite a late one by the time we picked our way across the field to our yurt. The next morning I was feeling a little bleary-eyed to be honest but the bright sunshine after the previous day’s rain was really welcome, as was strong coffee in the camp kitchen and wonderful eggs (the yellowest yolks I’ve ever seen), eaten gathered around the campfire. I wish I could have stayed longer, this re-wilding thing is really rather good for you I reckon.
Thanks to Canopy & Stars for a lovely stay.
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