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50 years of Youlgreave: a Sheffield DA vision

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

In 2020 the Camping and Caravanning Club site now known as Bakewell turns 50 years old but the story of Youlgreave dates back to 1934, when Sheffield DA was formed. This article celebrates the site that we all know as Youlgreave and the pivotal role that Sheffield DA played in its founding.

Youlgreave is baked into the DNA of Sheffield DA since it was founded in 1934, indeed the inaugural meet in June of that year was at Hopping Farm.

By 1954, Sheffield DA was expanding in numbers and innovative thinkers turned their thoughts to establishing a "permanent site"so pioneering members began to lobby in favour of their vision. Initial signals from Headquarters were encouraging with the National Council broadly in-favour, making it clear that they did not wish to make any profit from the site but at the same time did not wish to incur expense. In this context, Sheffield DA approached adjacent DAs however their enthusiasm was met with some resistance such as as the below from Leicester, Notts and Derby DA, citing concerns over demand for such as site.

Undeterred by this initial setback, in 1955, Sheffield DA formed a 'Committee For The Promotion Of Funds For Purchase Of A Permanent Camping Site', which was the catalyst for a programme of fundraising from members, including the princely sum of £100 pledged from a Sheffield DA committee member, Mr Halsey, who not only committed to a time-limited offer of £100 but also 50% of any winnings from his substantial portfolio of premium bonds! Such generosity however was unable to secure the required location and following a frustrating search and consideration of a number of proposed locations, including a site at Little Hucklow, Mr Halsey's time-limited offer lapsed; however in 1958 Sheffield DA committed to loan £100 from the fundraising effort to Headquarters to support the ongoing search.

By 1962 and Head Office sentiment was beginning to shift in favour of the concept of "permanent sites" and 1965 was a notable milestone because after a number of false-starts, the perfect location came available, recorded in a letter from the retiring owners of Hopping Farm. Youlgreave. The serendipity was clear since this was the venue of the inaugural Sheffield DA meet over 30 years prior and many more in the intervening period. This letter to Sheffield DA's Ivy Sallis from the Bateman brothers opened the door to to the site we know today.

At this point in history the stars came into alignment and the Camping Club of Great Britain & Ireland came to actively support the initiative, agreeing to take a role in the negotiations with both the landowners and the Peak District National Park. The ensuing negotiations proved fruitful and in April 1965 a settlement of £6,000 was agreed for the purchase of 11.9 acres over 3 fields. Unfortunately the process was once again frustrated with the proposal being rejected by 5 votes to 3 at the Club 'Sites Committee' on 12th April, but a subsequent intervention from Yorkshire Region saw the matter put before the Club's 'Finance and General Purposes Committee' on 24th May 1965, where the monumentous decision was taken to proceed with the purchase.

Due process ensued and contracts were finally signed on 29th June 1966 with the site celebrating its official opening 50 years ago.

Since then Hopping Farm has remained closely associated with Sheffield DA history, not only as the venue of that 1934 inaugural meet, but also subsequent significant anniversaries celebrating the formation of Sheffield DA at the site where it all began and of course the tenacity of those visionary early members.

Sheffield DA 70th Birthday Meet, Youlgreave, 2014:

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