Nestled in the Loire Valley is a 300-year-old farmhouse that is the idyllic new home for one lucky Old Hall resident.

With luxurious glamping tents and pitches for traditional campers and motorhomes, Camping La Fortinerie promises to please all visitors to the site, which is nestled in the heart of the Forest de Monnai, surrounded by trees.

Tina Bennell left Warrington for France in September 2011 looking for a quieter life and country living, that is unaffordable for most people in the UK.

A keen gardener and animal lover, she swapped traffic lights and traffic jams for occasional delays behind tractors and cows crossing country lanes with fields of sunflowers and endless forests.

The 56-year-old works at a chateau in the Mayenne region helping with restoration work and it was here that she met partner Julian Hunter, who had swapped Dorset life for the continent in 2013.

Warrington Guardian: Tina and JulianTina and Julian

The couple, who both still work full time, now live in the Pays de la Loire not far from the town of Saumur which sits on the banks of the Loire River and is famous for its French cavalry and horses as well as being home to some big names in wine.

The 300-year-old farmhouse has been changed and modernised over the years and has an additional gite which has a bread oven downstairs, donkey sheds – which have been converted in a kitchen, shower rooms and toilets for campers – and stables.

Warrington Guardian: The modernised stable blockThe modernised stable block

The four acres of land boast an area for campers to set up with electricity for six pitches and a fully equipped campers’ kitchen with a washing machine, oven and fridge freezer allowing guests to enjoy some home comforts during their stay.

Tina and Julian “don’t believe in roughing it” and there are “two sumptuous bathrooms with rainfall showers”.

Holiday-makers looking for added luxuries can enjoy the grand safari tent, which sleeps two and is fully equipped with its own bathroom, kitchen and dining area as well as a barbecue and a terrace and there is even a Jacuzzi.

Warrington Guardian: The grand safari tentThe grand safari tent

The equally-modern bell tent is also popular with tourists.

Tina said: “It looks simple from the outside but usually gets an ‘oh my goodness, I didn’t expect that’ moment from our visitors.

“There is a full-size double bed, soft rugs and throws to make it special, and a seating area that all make for a comfortable camping trip.

“We have tried to offer a different experience for campers who are looking for peace, tranquillity and a breath of fresh air that we all crave on holiday.”

The on-site vegetable, fruit and herb garden is a hit during the summer with campers encouraged to help themselves to tomatoes and spinach as well as strawberries and peaches.

Warrington Guardian: A place to relax in the peace and quietA place to relax in the peace and quiet

Living in such a beautiful part of the world, there can’t be much that the couple miss about the UK but there are one or two things, aside from their children and extended families.

Tina, whose parents celebrated their diamond wedding month last month, said: “We miss our family, without a doubt, especially during the pandemic.

“We usually travel home once or twice a year at Christmas and New Year or for special occasions and people come and visit us here in France.

“We’ve not seen anyone since Christmas 2019, which has been tough, but we’ve connected virtually like the rest of the world.

“Two things we do miss about home are mature English cheddar cheese and Cornish pasties!”

She added: “We do love the slower pace of life although this took a little getting used to.

“Most of the shops close for two hours at lunchtime and aren’t open on Sundays with some closing in August for the holidays.

“We’ve been hit hard by Brexit and Covid.

“We had a good eight-week run in the summer but then quarantine rules changed and the season ended abruptly.

“Who knows what will happen this year?

“We will just have to wait and see.”

The African-inspired area complete with firepit is something that Tina and Julian want to show off this summer as well as the new chill zone which has a living willow fence surrounding a misting shower and a four poster bed made from oak harvested from their own woodland.

For more information about the campsite, which is open between April and October visit