Jonathan Schofield finds a luxury trailer and a grand walk at Edenfield
After 16 miles of cycling uphill in boiling hot sunshine our destination glinted in the sunshine like the definition of sanctuary. An "Arthopod" was waiting, sitting in a fine position with a great view through trees and across meadows to Holcombe Moor and Peel Tower.
Here, hard industry has melted into the landscape and its mossy remains add a melancholy romance
We’d come the green way; Peel Park, Kersal Wetlands, Prestwich Clough via Ringley and a pint in the excellent Horseshoe Inn. That still left the long haul up the A56 through Bury and on to Edenfield - and then higher again to the lovely Dearden Wood campsite. Hot work, but the rewards were clear as we settled into our trailer accommodation.
So what is an Arthopod? Well, it’s excellent trailer accommodation, a vision in polished aluminium and internally as sharp as a pin. The design is Gary Macpherson’s, a bar and restaurant designer, who thought he’d branch out in lockdown, and down the road from Dearden Wood, in Bury, he set about making a very high spec trailer. I like that it's local.
The trailer is handcrafted and is four-berth. The interior is a Scandi-mix of birch plywood and posh linoleum called Marmoleum, which is made from natural raw materials. Given its overuse, I’m not sure the word sustainable is sustainable anymore, but that’s the whole idea behind the trailer.
More to the point for anybody staying in it, it’s bloody comfy. There’s a cunning use of space, where tables and sofas turn into a roomy double bed for instance. The finish is super high quality and, very important this, the aesthetics calm the mood with a clever palette of tones and shades. There’s all the practical stuff, good kitchen and toilet and so on.
A real bonus is the remote-controlled hydraulic decking at the rear (or is that the front?) that can be lowered and accessed by full-height glass doors. This really opens up the living area on sunny days. The trailers are for sale, hand-made in three months and can double up as a garden room, workspace or guest accommodation when not used for camping trips.
For us it was a luxury camping space and a great base, on bikes, to freewheel into Ramsbottom and the food scene there. We had a good meal at Hearth of the Ram, particularly, an excellent scallop and chorizo dish. Other options include Tre Ciccio, where just a few days earlier the pollo alla diavolo was a must.
Really, though, if you’ve prepared ahead with provisions, there’s no need to leave the site for a couple of days. Dearden Wood has a proper wood with 11 acres of bosky delights, leading down to the lovely stream of Dearden Brook. Go, south west, down the valley a short distance and there are vestiges of Plunge Mill, a cotton mill, including a cute waterfall and pool. Here, hard industry has melted into the landscape and its mossy remains add a melancholy romance.
The walk back up the valley north east is best and very rewarding. The brook, meandering hither and thither with views opening up behind as you climb, is a charming burbling companion. Dragonflies and damselflies are in profusion and then, almost suddenly, the wooded areas end and you are out on the wide-open spaces of Scout Moor. Above, to the west is Whittle Hill, its ridge line pockmarked by redundant quarry workings, again, softened by time - and though not quite natural, nature is in the ascendency.
Back at the campsite, the Arthopod trailer (nick-named by Macpherson as "Arthur the tin can") is the attention grabber but the handsome glamping tents scattered amidst a variety of trees add to the scene. There are communal areas and on weekends people staying at the site can enjoy pizzas made there. The shower and toilet block is handsome and neat and the cleanest I’ve ever seen on a campsite.
The owners of Dearden Brook are fine hosts, the place run by Mark Law and Jessy, his daughter. The site was previously run by youth organisations, guide, scout and Duke of Edinburgh groups and they still visit. The Laws run the place as a not for profit site and close it for certain weeks and let the woods ring with the sound of youth discovering nature.
The whole place, so close to Manchester, is well worth a visit, and if you're cycling up there, remember, on the way back, it's all downhill.
Dearden Wood Michael Wife Lane, Off Gincroft Lane, Edenfield, Ramsbottom BL0 0QY
Click for more details about the production and purchase of Arthopods.
Follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter @jonathschofield
Don't miss out
Get the latest food & drink news and exclusive offers by email.