HAPPY HOLIDAY: Mary and Steven Nesbitt at one of their cabins named among the top glamping sites TM pic
HAPPY HOLIDAY: Mary and Steven Nesbitt at one of their cabins named among the top glamping sites TM pic

A TRIO of holiday cabins in Teesdale is among the top five glamping sites in the country, according to a tourism award.

The site at Alwent Hall, near Winston, was opened by Steven and Mary Nesbitt two years ago as part of a farm diversification project. It has now been shortlisted for a Sykes Cottages Gem Award.

The project also gave Ms Nesbitt something to do after retiring from her job as a senior lecturer in nursing at Teesside University. She had been a nurse for 40 years.

She said: “The first year we weren’t empty at all. It was a little like a baptism of fire because we had not done it before and we never stopped. All three cabins were full all of the time, even Christmas day, which was nice, and New Year.”

The cabins were built by Mr Nesbitt who had seen the design while visiting a friend in Estonia. The furnishings incorporate images of the animals they are named after: badgers, foxes and otters.

Mr Nesbitt said: “When I saw them, I liked how they were made, so I ordered them. The first one was learning. It took us ten or 12 days, and then the second one took us about six or seven days and the third one took us three-and-a-half.

“I bought four cabins because it was two on a wagon, so there is one spare if anyone is interested in buying it.”

Each cabin has its own hot tub and there is a nearby field where those who bring their dogs can let them run.

Along with the appeal of the immediate surroundings, the comfortable accommodation and facilities, Ms Nesbitt attributed the cabins’ popularity to the location of Alwent Hall.

She said: “The nice thing about being here is we are between The Auckland Project and Barnard Castle and the Teesdale side of things. We are in such a lovely position and there is so much to do.

“Two weeks ago we had a couple who came from Gleneagles and it is their sixth visit in less than two years. They said they can’t believe what a beautiful part of the country it is. They have covered everything: Locomotion, exhibitions, High Force, Raby Castle and Forbidden Corner.”

Reviews by people who stayed there led to Alwent Hall appearing on the shortlist in the glamping category of Sykes Cottages Gem awards.

Ms Nesbitt said: “There were 1,100 nominations. Unfortunately, we didn’t get gold, silver or bronze, but the fact that we are so new at this, we were so delighted to get into the top five.”