Chris ScottAnnegret WalshTim Rickerby
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Sperrin View Glamping at Davagh Forest

Posted on February 28, 2020 @ 3:20 PM in Mountainbiking

Having somewhere to stay close to MTB Trails is always a joy; you can leave your things there when you set off and can put your feet up when you come back. The lovely folk at Sperrin View Glamping contacted the MountainBikeNI team and offered your favourite blogger Kerry a chance to check out their newly opened pods!

On 31st January, Sperrin View Glamping opened its doors – a new dark skies space near Davagh Forest Mountain Bike Trails that allows campers to sleep in a luxurious pod with the best view of the night sky.

They invited MountainBikeNI to come down and spend a night, and I couldn’t refuse! I set off after work from Belfast, which takes just over an hour and a quarter, and arrived on the Blackrock road.

I passed Beaghmore Stones and shortly after, the subtle lighting revealed the site. I pulled up into the car park and walked across the Communal Hub where I was greeted by owner Michael, who couldn’t have given a warmer welcome, including a lit fire at the hub!

The hub is, simply put, amazing. There’s nothing they haven’t thought of; a kitchen for guests to use any time they wish, a bathroom, and plenty of space to chill out, play some board games, or sit in the reading corner. The attention to detail in here was fantastic, with all the décor and little pieces carefully strung up or placed around the room – it feels modern, but still has that homely Northern Irish touch.

The pods are like a larger version of the TARDIS - way bigger on the inside

All the buildings have been designed with such a unique design

Every detail is thought of inside

Walking towards the pods, it felt like being on another planet. The one thing you can’t miss are the giant windows on each pod. I was immediately excited to get inside and start the stargazing.

As you walk around the back, there are picnic tables and little firepits ready for anyone brave enough to brace the colder evenings or toast a marshmallow in the warmer ones.

Michael then showed me the inside - wow! As you walk in there is a spacious bathroom to the side with a good-sized shower. On the other side of the room is a sofa which can be pulled out into a sofa-bed if needed. There is a fridge, kettle, and plenty of materials for keeping your outdoor fire alive. Mairead, who also owns the site popped down and gave another warm welcome. She also revealed the cheese board made up in the fridge for us! They suggested some places to go for food near the area and left us to get settled in.

Towards the front of the pods there are some large stairs that lead up to the giant window and the first-floor bed. There is also a TV but watching the sky is a much better alternative! There is then another bed up a wooden ladder, so 5 can fit in it in total.

 

Mountain bikers will love the design every bit as much as kids will.

After a quick cup of coffee, we headed out to get some food in nearby Cookstown which is only a 20-minute drive out from the site. One thing to keep in mind is that if you are arriving a bit later on in the evening midweek and planning to eat out, aim to get out as early as possible.

Eventually we found somewhere to stop and enjoyed a nice cold drink along with our meal. Alternatively, the kitchen in the communal hub is totally decked out so if you wanted to bring along food and cook, there is more than enough equipment to whip up a storm.

Cooking is very much an option

On returning to the pods, we lit the fire out the back and brought out the cheese board to enjoy under the stars – what an experience! Even though it was a cloudy night, when there was a break in the sky, the stars were so bright.

Just a taster of some of the incredible views you can expect

Determined to see some constellations, I kept my eyes peeled and luckily, I was able to spot some of the obvious ones like Orion’s belt. It’s incredible how small looking at the night sky can make you feel. It’s so vast and this was the perfect way to escape the city lights to experience them. After demolishing the cheeseboard and warming up by the fire, it was time for bed, but not before checking the window for one last peek at the stars.

 

Sometimes work isn't so bad

The expectation with glamping might be that despite not being in a tent, it’s still cold, but that’s not the case with Sperrin View as they were very cosy, and the beds were really comfortable!

Waking up, the first thing you want to do is open the curtains of the window to see the difference from night-time to daylight; It was bright outside, but I knew it was going to be a colder one. We got out of bed, got ready and headed over the hub where we had our breakfast – opting for cereal but the facilities are there for anyone wanting to have a more adventurous breakfast!

After this I headed back to the pods to chill out for a little bit longer before heading off to explore. My first port of call was Beaghmore Stone Circles, only 2 minutes up the road from the site, and a really interesting place to visit. The stones are all so perfectly placed in circles, its eerie but faciniating – experts think that the stones mimic the comets and constellations in the sky.

 

Beaghmore Stones are just a short drive away

My next stop was, you’ll not be surprised to hear – was Davagh Forest Mountain Bike Trails which is really handy to the site, only a 5-minute drive away and very easy to find.

Davagh is such a great spot for all levels of mountain biking abilities, making Sperrin View the perfect overnight stay location for anyone wanting to shred. Davagh also has a number of walking trails so if you’re taking along a non-mountain biker but want to hit the trails yourself, there’s plenty of options!

The beauty of a dark sky site is that, you don’t have to pine for brighter evenings and longer days, because the magic happens when the sky is lit only by the moon and stars, it’s the perfect year-round destination – provided there isn’t complete cloud cover.

I couldn’t recommend this site anymore, it’s just amazing! The attention to detail, the hospitality and the location is ideal! Michael and Mairead are brilliant and the whole experience was unreal!

To see more and to book your stay, head to www.sperrinviewglamping.com

 

Locations like this are few and far between; the level of thought and care that has gone into every detail of Sperrin View Glamping is incredible. We can't recommend it enough the next time you're taking a spin on the trails!

Kerry Kirkpatrick
Kerry Kirkpatrick  Assistant Marketing and Events Officer

A true North Coast water baby, happiest when on the beach.

Northern Ireland's Outdoor Adventure Blog outdoorni.com walkni.com cycleni.com canoeni.com