With all our hard work being directed towards planning applications for further development at Hazel Brow House and Visitor Centre, we’ve not blogged for sometime. But, with the National Parks firmly on our minds we thought we’d continue with some of the recent celebrations inspired by our magnificent night skies.

The National Parks have just finished celebrating their fifth annual Dark Skies Festival. We signed the pledge and are joining the campaign to help make the Yorkshire Dales an International Dark Sky Reserve, to recognise the exceptional nature of our night sky and protect it from further light pollution. Take a look at our Stargazing page.

But, just because the festival is over, doesn’t mean to say there isn’t still plenty going on.

Malham Tarn are holding an event on the 14th March where you’ll be able to take a look at the night sky and take “A Ramble Through The Solar System” with an expert. Bring your torch and binoculars.

Or, if you’d like to gain some new skills whilst holidaying in the Yorkshire Dales, why not embrace the dark on this night navigation course. “The ability to navigate in the dark or poor visibility is a great skill to have. Whether on a mountain, bridleway, footpath or Moor, the ability to know where you have been, where you are and where you are going is fundamental”. Multiple dates available.

Kilnsey Trekking Centre are also continuing the celebrations, launching their full moon horseback rides, creating a “peaceful, magical and a unique experience! Mount up as the sun sets and the moon rises. Follow the lead of an experienced guide through the moon lit woodlands and riverbank to see the Yorkshire Dales National Park in a luminescent glow”.. If you’d like to take the alpacas at Hazel Brow for a moonlight walk during your stay then please let us know.

We’ve also been Inspired by the Dark Skies Festival and have been busy extending the patio. We now have a fantastic setting to place our PERMANENT HOT TUB, (still a little landscaping to do but were so pleased with the results, thanks Johnathan :-).


So………if gazing the night sky by horseback isn’t quite your thing, or you’d like to reflect on your new found navigation skills and knowledge of our solar system, in the warmth and comfort of your own holiday home whilst still being able to admire the spectacular night sky, we’ve got you covered!

So, you’ve drawn the short straw. It’s down to you to arrange the big group holiday for this winter.

Whether it’s a seasonal soirée for the wider family or a get together with friends, our 5-step guide has got you covered.

Here are all the essential things you need to do. Well, apart from rallying the troops. But we’ll leave that to you.

1. Find a place that’s big enough for everyone – even the dog!

There are plenty of wonderful large cottages to rent in the Yorkshire dales. But when it’s Christmas time they get booked up fast.

So, you need to find a place that’s big enough for your group while there is time.

Fortunately, there is still time to book for this December at Hazel Brow House.

We can welcome groups of up to 16 to our wonderful 19th century country house.

We have 8 comfy bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, so no morning bathroom queues.

And, there is even enough space for a couple of cannine companions as well (just let us know and we’ll put out some dog bowls for you.)

The Bootroom

2. Make sure your holiday house has all the home comforts

Although it’s never quite like Game of Throne’s Winterfell, it does get a little chilly from time to time in the Yorkshire Dales.

So, you need a warm and cosy place, with a fire and all the home comforts. Oh, and Wi-Fi of course, which is included for FREE at Hazel Brow.

3. Don’t forget food and drink

Our kitchen comes equipped with an Aga cooker so you can cook your own meals – you can even ask the local supermarket to deliver to save on the hassle!

If you’re looking to join us for a weekend in December, then you’ll get a special Christmas Hamper with mince pies and mulled wine for FREE.

4. Check out everything there is to do in the local area

The Yorkshire dales is the perfect place for some peace and tranquillity. But don’t worry there is still plenty of things to do.

There’s great shopping in our local markets towns at Hawes, Leyburn, Barnard Castle and Richmond, and Farm shops at Mainsgill and Cross Lanes where you’re bound to find that unique little something for a special person (and lots of yummy goodies!).

If you’re up for a walk to the local, you can take riverside stroll to Gunnerside pub. If you’re really keen on walking you might like to head a bit further or stay longer to explore the Yorkshire Dales Inn Way.

It is also worth checking out some of the unique experiences in the area. Wensleydale railway are running The Polar Express this season and there are also chances to meet Alpacas.

But for an unforgettable experience, wait until night-time for some stargazing. Sit round the fire pit, wrapped in a cosy blanket and enjoy our Dark Skies – we’ve even provided a pair of binoculars to help you!

5. Get Christmas Dinner sorted

Of course, a big group holiday in winter would be nothing without a Christmas Dinner. You can book a table with our friends over at the Punch Bowl Inn.
Or if you would prefer to keep things homely, why not book a meal with our private chef all served up in Hazel Brow House’s dining room.
We’ve everything you need for a special celebration, from white table linen and napkins to a range of glassware, and an ice making machine. Cheers!

FREE Christmas Hampers for Bookings in December

If you book your winter weekend in December at Hazel Brow House, then you’ll get a free hamper full to the brim with Mince Pies, Mulling Spices and Wine from our friends at Campbells of Leyburn.
Christmas is our favourite time of year – crisp countryside walks along the side of the river Swale, roaring log fires, mince pies warming in the oven and a pan of mulled wine simmering on the stove.
So, if you’re looking for something special then come and book a weekend with us in December while there is still time!

What a wonderful wedding year 2019 has been, despite the awful flooding and road closures.
In March, when the Swale broke its banks, our brave registrars arrived at the house without the need for a boat and Sarah and Carl tied the knot in one of our most intimate ceremonies of the year.

Bath time

Just tied the knot

We had a couple of “Outside In weddings” and fortunately the weather was great!
Hannah and Rob married in Grinton Church, only 5 days after the flood disaster. Thanks to everyone rallying round and Hudswell village hall for hosting the wedding breakfast, which saved the day.

Beautiful day

flower power

We’re looking forward to seeing Lauren and Jamie again this November who are on their 5th trip to Hazel Brow after marrying at (CB Inn) in 2018
And to close the year, Jemma ties the knot, returning to Hazel Brow some 20 years since her last childhood visit.

Friends New and Old

TIGHR The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers met in Swaledale with the lovely and very talented Cornish contingent staying at Hazel Brow House. The rugs were displayed in Reeth and at Grinton church and were amazing! The group attended meetings, workshops and trips to Bolton Castle, Tan Hill and Beamish Museum (where they went in costume as suffragettes). Heather Ritchie, http://rugmaker.co.uk our own internationally famous rug maker, did a great job of arranging and organising.

Autumn saw us continue our international theme by welcoming guests from the Netherlands who thoroughly enjoyed some great bike rides thanks to Stu and the team at the Dales Bike Centre and last month we welcomed a family back who first stayed with us at Oak Tree barn 20 years ago.

With Christmas so close we’re getting ready with the trees, lights, holly & Ivy and we’re looking forward to welcoming our seasonal guests.


A great walk for this time of year takes you along the river to the King’s Head Gunnerside for mince pies and mulled wine and back through Rowleth wood to a roaring log fire at the house. We’ve got some good deals for remaining winter weekends so get in touch for Birthday party celebrations, walking & biking groups or just a weekend away from it all!

The leaves are beginning to turn on the trees and/with the heat wave of 2018 behind us now, consigned to history with that of ’76. Somehow, however, we have a bumper crop of fruit: – blackberries were early this year and the freezer’s full of Damsons. Even the Walnut tree has excelled its self and the children have buckets full of Conkers and our thought need to turn to Christmas! (more…)

Its been sometime sine the last blog but we have been quite busy with bookings at the house, school groups at the farm, Alpaca Treks and lambing our small flock of Swaledale Ewes to our new Teeswater Tup.

We weren’t too sure what results we would get as he was only a lamb last November when he arrived from Nidderdale and we did wonder if he might not ‘quite hit it off’ with some of his girls but no – 100% success!!  Some really big strong Masham lambs are now running and jumping in the paddock.

The Geese have laid well again this season and are still laying (you really can’t beat goose eggs for baking and omelettes).  We might try and get hold of some Waterglass/Issinglass for preserving some for use later in the year.

The Green Tourism Team have awarded us Silver for our hard work in conserving resources, encouraging recycling, promoting ‘local’ and ‘slow travel’ 🙂  We are so proud and can’t wait to put up the plaque when it arrives!

Cath x

January has been a really hectic month at Hazel Brow with some special birthday’s, corporate team building and family get togethers, we’ve been quite thrang!

The weather is January has been a little challenging but with some careful driving and skillful maneuvering everyone’s managed to get to where they wanted to be.  The main road has been safe to drive (with caution).  We’ve had some fun in the snow and if it continues to thaw gently it looks like we will get away without any flooding.

The log store is topped up with logs, along with a good stock of coal and kindling.  The oil tank is full so come and make the most of the lovely scenic, wintry walks.  Leave your togs to dry in the boot room, warm up and relax by the fire and then savour some of our warming winter recipe ideas.

Our private chef, Sandie, can prepare you a Lamb Henry (its a Westmoorland speciality).  It will be in the Aga, hot and delicious for when you are ready to tuck in.  Contact us for more details, or try it for yourself at home:

Shoulder of Hazel Brow Swaledale Lamb, Onions, Carrots, Celery, Leeks (you can add other root veggies of your choice), seasoning and a splash of water.  Cook slowly for about 4 hours until the meat just drops away from the bone and melts in your mouth mmmmmmmmmmmmmm……..our favourite!

Cath x

We are only a small community in the Parish of Melbecks but I think, on the whole, we work pretty well together.

2017 went out with a bang and a crash in the village with 2 separate accidents on the last Saturday of the year.  Hazel Brow house guests were first on the scene at accident number one and kindly assisted until the arrival of the air ambulance.  Accident number 2 caused some traffic disruption and demolished some walls but thankfully no injuries and, once again, everyone worked together to ensure things got back to normal as soon as possible.

On the brighter side, we had a great Christmas party in the village hall, have got safely through our first snow and ice and are to ready to celebrate a 90th birthday in the village next week!  And to put the icing on the cake (which we will be doing anyway!) our neighbours Bob and Rachel presented us with an amazing watercolour of Hazel Brow House – WOW!  Lost for words!  Its going off to get framed as I type and will be in pride of place in Hazel Brow very soon.

Cath x