GoWildGoWest’s Top 6 Campsites in the South West
‘Tis the season to dust your tents off, air out your sleeping bags and try to remember where you stashed all the camping stuff last year.
As we plan some GoWildGoWest adventures for the coming months, we decided to put together a list of our top 6, family-friendly campsites in the South West and Wales.
For us, there are a few small but ESSENTIAL criteria for discovering the perfect campsite;
- Campfire… because camping just isn’t camping without roasting marshmallows and drinking wine in the evening around the campfire
- Traditional camping… we’re talking tent, field, and ideally a loo and a shower, but not a lot else. If you’re looking for a site with swimming pool, mini golf, and a pizzeria then this isn’t the list for you
- Space… with dogs and kids, we need a place with space and freedom for them to safely run around (admittedly dogs may need to be in leads if on a farm)
- Location…. we like a campsite in beautiful surroundings and luckily we’re spoiled for choice in the south west. Whether it be beaches, mountains, or moors there’s got to be some good adventuring around and ideally a good pub within walking distance!
This is simply a great campsite. Pre-booking is essential and this means that Liz, Beryl’s daughter, can carefully manage the numbers and ensure everyone has a really good size pitch. Generally everyone has about a quarter of a large field – so it’s ideal for dogs and children to run around and there’s plenty of space for lots of games. While campfires are not permitted, you can have bbq’s and fire pits so long as you raise it off the ground with the firebricks provided.
There is a small lake in the middle of the site, footpaths and woodland lead directly from the fields and it’s an easy walk down to Beesands beach. In fact, when you’re lying in your tent all you can hear are the sounds of the waves breaking down the valley.
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The Cricketer’s pub in Beesands is a great drinking hole right by the sea. It’s seafood restaurant was being renovated when we were there at Easter, but I suspect it will be up and running again by summer (I hope so cos it’s really good!). We did spot an Asian Cuisine delivery van bringing dinner to some of our fellow campers, but we didn’t have time to try it out.
The facilities are basic, but really good. I know it’s a silly thing, but the showers have really nice tiles and for some reason, that seems to make a big difference. It’s a campsite that just feels very comfortable and friendly. The only thing to be aware of – the showers work on 20p meter and start working the moment you insert the coins so, if you’re short of 20p’s and only have one left……be ready to dive in!
Situated on a headland with 3 beaches within walking distance, Treveague farm is a bit more of a ‘mainstream’ campsite….. but it does it so well and it’s a really friendly place to be. It’s in a really quiet area and the view is really hard to beat. Looking down the valley out to sea as the sun sets reminded me of those photos you see in travel magazines of sunset views in Vietnam or off some remote island in Thailand.
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The campsite has electric hook ups, a restaurant, small shop, children’s play ground and well maintained shower block and washing up area. Dogs on leads are permitted, and again, you can have a bbq or fire pit so long as it is off the ground (bring your own bricks).Treveague farm is a brilliant base for exploring the area. The Lost Gardens of Heligan are nearby and we found the most amazing snorkelling spot at Gorron Haven last year. Its also only a couple of miles from the Caerhays Estate where they have a brilliant beach bar and restaurant and regular music events and drive-in movie nights throughout the summer
This is my ideal campsite – masses and masses of space (take aerobie, cricket, football, rounders, there’s space for it all!), beautiful views and freedom to have a campfire. Don’t expect luxury – we stayed in the top field where there were a total of 3 compost loos and 2 taps. I believe there are flushing loos, showers and sinks in the bottom field as well as bacon sandwiches for breakfast. You can’t book in advance here: the farmer comes round a few times a day to take payment and offer firewood for sale. He also let the boys have a drive in his buggy which was their highlight.
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As a campsite, I’ve never come across one so relaxed and easy-going.
As for the location, you can walk down to Kimmeridge bay where the snorkelling is out of this world! It’s a shallow bay, great for kids to wade out with a huge expanse of shallow reefs and rock pools. We caught a lobster for our dinner but sadly realised he was a bit too small so we let him go again. I could have spent all weekend exploring the waters there. We then walked into Kimmeridge itself and relaxed over an ice cream and a cocktail in the restaurant there.
We stayed here for a week last summer and completely fell in love with both the campsite and the area.
The campsite itself is one of those rare places that ticks all the boxes. It’s small and friendly with only 7 (large) pitches. The kids found some other children to play with and there’s plenty of space for football, frisbee, rounders etc albeit on a slope. In fact, there’s a heap of toys available to play with in the small community ‘shed’ where you’ll also find two fridges and phone charging points. There are a couple of loos and showers which are kept immaculately clean. You can also hire a fire pit/ BBQ and buy logs. With the super friendly Nia and Fil in charge, if there’s anything else you need, they’re there to help!
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And to top it all off, the campsite location is fantastic. Pembrokeshire is definitely my new favourite place to explore. Amazing beaches, wonderful food, wildlife and nature plus loads of activities to keep the whole family entertained. The campsite is on Dale point (a 12km peninsular in the South Western part of Pembrokeshire.) You can walk to the beach and hire a dinghy, windsurfer, canoe or paddleboard. You can also hop on one of the many boat tours for some fishing or a wildlife adventure. Or you can stay on the pontoon and partake in a spot of crabbing.
Most importantly, you can also get a drink or have some incredible food at the Griffin Inn Dale Pembrokeshire. I liked the seaweed infused gin so much that I popped down every day to taste it!!On one night we called Mark the fisherman (details at the campsite) who lives in Dale. We went to collect a feast of local fish for our BBQ including lobster, crab, plaice, and cod. Mark was helpful and friendly and that meal really made our holiday (thanks Mark!)
Wild Mountains is something a little bit different but a place that I’ve grown to love after a number of visits. It’s a small site limited to 4 beautiful bell tents each with a wood burning stove – and there’s a current plan to convert an old railway carriage too. There’s a communal kitchen, 2 showers and 2 incredibly well kept compost loos. We actually hired out the entire site for our family camping holiday and it was perfect for all, from the 70 year olds to the 2 year olds! We sat round campfires and drank wine whilst the children and dogs ran free. Lisa, the owner, was amazing in helping a very chaotic family group to organise our stay and gave us a hugely warm welcome on our arrival.
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The local area is beautiful and the pub, the Cwmdu Inn (within a stone’s throw from the campsite) is now in my shortlist of all time favourites. I highly recommend this place for a weekend (or longer) break. Whether you’re a hardened camper or total novice, this place is fantastic.
6) HUCCABY FARM, Dartmoor
Very basic campsite in the middle of Dartmoor on a beautiful bend of the River Dart. There are definitely no electric hook ups, or other such luxuries here. It is a very basic set up, it is just a field, but there is a loo, shower and sink up at the farm and the farmer drives round in the morning, the fee is £5pppn. There is no website, no pre-bookings and there is no mobile phone reception. But googling Huccaby Farm should put the red pointer in the middle of a big expanse of green and it’s there!
It is a rather eclectic campsite, there was a trout-tickling native-Indian from Plymouth staying in his tipi when we were there.
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There’s no restriction on dogs, children or campfires. It’s the perfect spot for red-indian tribal dances….. as we discovered! The entrance is through two large granite pillars and we all breathed in and closed our eyes as we went through into the field in our car. If you’ve got a van, anything other than very narrowest ones probably wouldn’t get through.
There’s a pub within walking distance. I would suggest walking via the road – don’t try and go cross-country – it’s definitely not quicker. It’s a great location for heading off romping across the moors during the day. If you’re looking to get away from it all, there are some great adventures to be had here.