Long Ashes Park, Yorkshire Dales – Review

Long Ashes Park, Yorkshire Dales – Review main

By Rachel Howard, February 2023

As I leave the flat landscape of East Yorkshire behind and enter the beautiful scenery of the Yorkshire Dales, I feel insanely lucky. The previous weekend I had been surrounded by mountains and fells in the Lake District, and now here I am, driving up hill and down dale towards Grassington in God’s Own County. It just goes to show, you don’t need to travel far to feel completely at one with nature. Both National Parks offer wildly different panoramas – both spectacular in their own way – but this weekend it’s the Dales that captures my focus.

My base for the weekend is Long Ashes Park. Located in the village of Threshfield, just 2 miles from Grassington, it sits in the Wharfedale Valley in the very heart of the National Park. At first glance, Long Ashes might appear like any other holiday park – static caravans (lodges) dotted amongst a woodland backdrop, but as I drive further in, it becomes clear there is much more to this park than meets the eye.

Not only are there lodges of all shapes and sizes (accommodating both holiday visitors and permanent residents), there are cabins, glamping pods and barns – all situated within a short stroll of the main hub of the park. This hub not only accommodates Pure Spa and the leisure club, it also acts as the main reception, so as my partner, Jon, and I head inside, we look forward to our first taste of life at Long Ashes.

Long Ashes Park, Yorkshire Dales – Review lobby

“Fantastic facility”

Unfortunately, first impressions are not the best. The reception desk forms part of the leisure club cafe, and despite a number of staff milling around, no one seems to know what to do with us. We inform them that we’ve booked in for spa treatments but, as our woodland pod is not yet ready, we are told to wait in the cafe. This leads to all manner of confusion on our part – where is the spa? Will someone come and come get us? Do we get changed? If so, where? All questions that could be easily answered if anyone is willing to assist us. But, alas, they don’t. Confusion aside, we are eventually shown upstairs to a perfectly nice spa area and met by our therapists, who take us off for a quite heavenly head massage. I’ve had my fair share of spa treatments over the years and I’m pleased to report this is a very good example. I float out of the treatment room into the relaxation area (conservatory style furniture would be much improved by some soft sofas, bean bags, cushions etc) only to be met with yet more confusion… No one thinks to explain where we go now, where we might change, directions to the pool etc. It just all seems a little haphazard.

Once we find our way to the pool I’m pleased to report that things start to look up for Long Ashes. We’ll skim over the changing rooms (in need of a little TLC) but the pool is an excellent size and not too busy despite the park being a hive of activity all weekend. There is the welcome addition of a jacuzzi, sauna and steam room and I notice that everything is clean, tidy and modern. We spend a lovely hour relaxing, swimming and enjoying the rare ability to completely switch off. I can’t help but think what a fantastic facility this is if you’ve been walking in the Dales all day. What a way to wind down and rest your aching limbs. But it’s not long before our pod is ready, and I’m desperate to get the keys and see what Long Ashes can offer on the accommodation front.

Long Ashes Park, The Yorkshire Dales – Review pods

“Full of flavour”

Perfect for a romantic getaway, the woodland glamping pods are a new addition to Long Ashes and are, in my opinion, the best accommodation on offer (for two people). Totally self contained, these pods are finished to the highest specification. Good things come in small packages, and although square footage is on the small size, charm, comfort and style are in abundance. The pods are a similar shape to a shepherd’s hut, but have the added bonuses of an integrated kitchen (complete with kettle, toaster, microwave, crockery, cutlery etc), sofa, small breakfast bar, fully fitted shower room, extremely comfortable double bed and smart TV. They’ve even thought to add a hairdryer, iron and ironing board and a decent number of electric sockets. I’m blown away by this little pod – it’s honestly one of the cutest and comfiest places I’ve stayed for a long time.

And this leads me on the other jewel in Long Ashes’ crown – the Gamekeeper’s Inn. The ‘local’ pub, housed in a gorgeous stone-built hostelry, is complete with roaring fires, huge glass windows and an exceptionally warm welcome. It’s a wild night of rain, gale-force winds and sleet and snow, but we are soon thawing out and relaxing, ready to choose our evening meal from a very tempting menu.

We kick off with starters of Slow Braised Oxtail Croquettes, and Oak Smoked Salmon Gateau. Both dishes are full of flavour, served with delicious accompaniments including dressed salads and focaccia crostini. We soon realise we’re in for a culinary treat, so settle back to enjoy an excellent bottle of Malbec and savour every dish in our picture-perfect setting.

Long Ashes Park, The Yorkshire Dales – Review gamekeepers inn

“Warm and cosy”

For mains, Jon goes with the 8oz Yorkshire Rib-Eye Steak, served with triple cooked chips, beer battered onion rings, field mushroom and slow roasted tomato. The steak is cooked to perfection and the sides are just as good, with the accompanying béarnaise sauce topping the dish off nicely.

I choose the homemade steak pie, served with triple cooked chips, mushy peas and gravy. The pie is rich and tasty, encased in delicious shortcrust pastry, and they certainly aren’t stingy with the steak! For such a cold and stormy night, it is the perfect winter warmer.

Unfortunately, we can’t manage a dessert, but instead opt for a couple of boozy coffees, which round off the meal, and the evening, beautifully.

After a blissful night’s sleep we wake warm and cosy in our woodland pod with the familiar feeling of not wanting to come home. It really does feel like a tiny sanctuary away from the stresses of real life and I would love to be staying for more than one night.

For breakfast, we head back to the Gamekeeper’s Inn and find the experience just as impressive as the night before. A warm welcome awaits us and and we quickly decide that two full English Breakfasts are the order of the day — and they certainly don’t disappoint. Plenty of tea, coffee, juice and toast are served up and we happily clear our plates and feel ready to seize the day.

Long Ashes Park, The Yorkshire Dales – Review pods interior“A sweet end”

Staying at Long Ashes provides guests with a plethora of things to do and places to visit. The Yorkshire Dales are awash with picture-postcard villages such as Grassington, Malham, Kettlewell and Horton-in-Ribblesdale. If you’re feeing active and adventurous, you could take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, but if you fancy something a little slower-paced you could pay a visit to Aysgarth Falls, or take a trip on the historic Settle to Carlisle railway. There really is something for everyone. Having toured round many of the villages, we make a stop in Harrogate on our way home, and pay the obligatory visit to Betty’s for one of the best hot chocolates I’ve ever tasted. It’s a sweet end to a lovely weekend.

In summary, Long Ashes certainly didn’t get off to the best start, but what it lacked in organisation, it more than made up for in accommodation and the food and service at the Gamekeeper’s Inn. The saying normally goes “first impressions are everything”, but I think in this case it’s more “don’t judge a stay by its welcome”. For a short break with a difference, Long Ashes’ woodland pods are hard to beat. The Gamekeeper’s Inn is a brilliant addition and certainly makes it stand out from other holiday parks in the area. Pure Spa and the leisure club are good, but so very nearly excellent. It won’t take much to elevate Long Ashes to the next level — it has so much to offer in a stunningly beautiful part of the world. It would be a real shame not to reach its potential.

LONG ASHES PARK, Threshfield, North Yorkshire, BD23 5PN

A stunning holiday and residential park situated in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, surrounded by stunning landscapes so spectacular that the locals call it ‘God’s Own Country’. Whether you are looking for a permanent place to live, or a weekend getaway, a luxury lodge or an affordable holiday home, Long Ashes has everything you need and so much more. The park is located in the picturesque Wharfdale Valley, surrounded by rugged scenery and outstanding walks, quaint villages and endless views.

The Gamekeepers Inn: Formerly a gamekeeper’s cottage, the inn now provides eleven bedrooms, four lodges, five glamping pods, a beautiful wedding venue and a cosy bar and restaurant. With stylish modern bedrooms and stunning food crafted with locally sourced produce, The Gamekeeper’s Inn is the ideal spot for a break away in the Yorkshire Dales.

Long Ashes Pure Spa: Offering a haven in which to melt away stress and strains to revive your body and soul. Long Ashes Pure Spa offers an extensive range of carefully selected treatments designed to enhance your well-being and each Elemis treatment offers you a unique experience from power boosting facials to hands-on body therapies and exotic rituals.

01756 752261


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