Monday, 28 September 2009

Cloud Farm Campsite - a review

picture by me

It just sounds idyllic 'Cloud Farm' doesn't it? Situated in the Doone Valley, the campsite is a series of meadows alongside the beautiful Badgeworthy River. We arrived at night, after a fraught journey, involving our usual "you can't fit all this in the car!" debate on the pavement at home followed by a lot of roadworks on the M5! Despite my biggest worry of pitching the tent in the dark using the car headlights, we managed it, and woke up to find we were surrounded by Exmoor rising steeply above the campsite.

We had camped in the first meadow, below the farmhouse and more importantly the tea shop! The boys quickly made friends with two boys in a neighboring tent and were off fishing as soon as they could, after talking us into buying some nets! In fact, the shop had everything we needed and if we go again, I would be tempted not to take any food at all, as it was so well stocked with good quality food and drink.

One of the reasons we chose this campsite was the fact you can have 'real' fires, a rarity for an English campsite and we bought wood from the shop. You could bring your own, as small bundles of wood and kindling are expensive and they don't insist that you use their own, like some places do, but sometimes it is best to pay for the convenience! The farm also runs a stables where you can go on trails, we thought this was a bit much for our little guys so we hired 'Sweep' the pony for half an hour and walked around the campsite, they were delighted to be rewarded with a rosette afterwards!

The river has lots of gentle waterfalls and pools, big enough for some 'wild' swimming ~ although a little cold, we waded instead, and cheered when a very brave couple took the plunge and swam. Being so accessible, I was very nervous with the boys around the water and insisted they had a grown up with them, my youngest is only three after all. I think were they a little older, you could pack them off in the morning with a picnic and not see them for hours, such is the potential 'adventure' factor here. I would advise plenty of clothes, as ours seemed to get wet very quickly and if we had been there a week, I may have started to despair in getting through so many pairs of shorts!

I would certainly recommend Cloud Farm, especially for families with children, as there is plenty to keep them amused, it is almost a 'natural' theme park, in comparison with the plastic amusements of Butlins, which is 20 miles along the coast, who needs kids clubs when you can discover the joys of messing about on a riverbank? My only word of caution would be weather - this is Exmoor and the weather changes quickly, I wouldn't want to be camping next to a river in a steep valley in heavy rain!

Cloud Farm is just how a campsite should be, no frills or fancy, just heaps of old fashioned fun!

4 comments:

  1. What a lovely review, and the second recommendation for Cloud Farm I have had in the last month.
    We visited Burnbake in Dorset recently, another good one for kids who enjoy "Nature's Playground". We were in good company, Alex James from Blur was there with his little crew x

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  2. The pup VW bus is screaming WoodStock and Grateful Dead... Yes, I am old enough to know both and the originals. Looks like a wonderful place

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  3. We stayed here a couple of years ago and it is just as gorgeous as Emma describes it. We loved having our own campfire and are glad to hear it is still unspoilt.

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  4. Cloud Farm is a lovely campsite though I fear it has become a little too well known now. We went there over half term and it was packed. Fortunately, as I am an obsessive campsite researcher, I knew of a couple of other campsites nearby. I have reviewed the one we ended up staying at, and lots of other campsites on my blog, you might be interested - www.yellowfieldscamping.co.uk I only go to campsites with campfires, and preferably a burbling river, some ropeswings and a good bit of woodland. Picky eh!

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