Herefordshire parish agrees to trial glamping pods in abandoned churches
Holidaymakers could find themselves staying in high-end camping pods, with underfloor heating among its amenities, inside redundant churches.
An Archbishops’ Council’s lottery-funded initiative has developed a glamping structure, made of oak, capable of sitting inside a church to offer additional facilities for in which holidaymakers can sleep.
The pods include underfloor heating, traditional stoves, Wi-Fi, TVs, lunge, bathroom, kitchen and lavatories.
Camping inside churches that have stopped hosting regular services, also called champing, has seen a popularity surge in the past few years. Typically, it involves people lying in a sleeping bag positioned between pews.
The Church Buildings Division’s environmental policy offer, Ruth Knight, said that with the new pods, partaking churches would be in a position to charge a far higher price to champers. The money could then be invested in to building maintenance. She said:
“We have these small isolated churches where the community has moved away geographically. You still have the building which is important to people, but it’s very difficult to look after them.”
No one locally who was consulted on the matter had any objections to the church being used as a base for luxury camping.
“They are very pleased to see something happen with the church. They want to see it restored and back in the community.”
The pod is set to cost £140,000. However, should the pilot scheme succeed, the church is hopeful that the standard cost can be lowered to £70,000.