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A Winter Week in the South West
I thought I would write up a quick guide to our recent week in the South West of England.
We spent time in Cornwall, and came back via Devon and Somerset.
The sites we stayed on were all open all year round and had hard standing pitches to enable winter parking with confidence.
We found the sites in the MMM open all winter book that came free with an issue of their magazine, the Premier Sites book that also came free with a motorhome magazine as well as one we regularly stay at.
I have also included a few of the sites and attractions that we stopped and spent time at on our way round.
Whitsand Bay Fort, Donkey Lane. Nr Millbrook, Cornwall, PL10 1JZ.
I have said before, this is one of our favourites, located in and old fort that formed part of the defences of Plymouth this is a really interesting location to dwell for a few days.
The beach access is not for the faint hearted as the fort is located at the top of a cliff. The path to the beach works its way down, starting just over the road from the fort entrance. When the tide is out the beach extends for miles and is normally pretty much empty. S well worth the effort.
Facilities include an indoor swimming pool kept at around 30 degs C. A small shop and café as well as the ever improving Vaults Bar where the food is excellent and the ambience is unusual. Located in the old vaulted ceiling rooms of the original officers mess and ammunition stores. I have reviewed this one before so for further info check this out at www.mororhometraveller.co.uk . The local area includes the superb villages of Cawsand and Kingsand as well as the ever popular Looe being only a short distance away.
Cardinham Woods, Bodmin.
I was told about this great location after putting out a request on Twitter for somewhere good to visit that we could walk the dog.
Cardinham Woods are located near Bodmin town where the A38 meets the A30. Follow the signs from the roundabout. The lane too the car park can be narrow but there are plenty of passing places, so don’t give up. There are several walks/trails of differing difficulty clearly marked out on posts throughout the woods. We opted to follow the pink route which did involve a steep climb. We were however rewarded with stunning views as well as seeing many birds of prey.
Back at the carpark there are public toilets as well as a café to refresh you after your exertions.
A lot of you will have been to or know of Mevagissy. In the winter it is a quiet place. Park on the left before the town, they have a rate for motorhomes and payment can be made at the kiosk (1 ½ x car rate, I think). From hear the narrow streets, harbour and small shops are a short walk away. Be sure to walk to the end of the harbour wall and take a look back in towards the town. It looks as though it hasn’t changed to much since Poldark took a night out there with his pals. Fish and chips is always a winner in these sort of places and you won’t be disappointed. However a pasty from one of the many vendors will also hit the spot. Another must if you are with the little ones or simply young at heart is a spot of crab lining, always a nice way to while away the time. A point to note is that we couldn’t find a cash point in the town, the post office was shut down and the only other one in Meva news was broken.
Heligan Woods Camping and Touring Park.
I have covered this as a review in the blog, so I’ll be brief. This site is in the Premier Sites book that we had free with a magazine. For two of us it was only £10.35 per night in the winter so great value. Only five to ten mins back from Mevagissy this site has excellent facilities and a great many hard standing pitches ideal for the winter motorhomer. There footpaths to Mevagissy and Pentewan sands from the site that avoid walking on the road.
Also It is directly adjacent to the lost gardens of Heligan. We were to late to visit these but the café is open to all and several people said what a great time they had had. Also there is a really good farm shop opposite the Heligan Gardens car park that is a great visit for the discerning foodie.
Globe Vale Holiday Park
Globe Vale is just off the A30 near Redruth. It is as smart as they come. Large gravel pitches, fully serviced and with easy access. A lot of time, money and thought have go to make this a great site. The toilets are clean and warm. There is a wet suit washing area as well as a decent fenced in Elsan point. The girl who escorted us to our pitch was polite and courteous. We will definitely be visiting again.
This a heritage site a few yards from the Globe Valley site. The sites has many footpaths set around many old tin mining buildings that now lie in varying states of disrepair. The whole site is signed and has plaques that tell of the history of the mine and what each of the buildings offered to the production of tin.
We have all seen these buildings scattered over the south of Cornwall and Wheal Peevor will satisfy the curious. The best bit. It’s free.
The beach at Perranporth is just superb. When the tide is out it is asy to while away a couple of hours walking the dog. The dunes are also huge hear and a great place to try the fabulous Axiski www.axiski.com . For the more energetic this is a surfing town. Perranporth offers great surf as well many shops to hire or buy the required kit. In the town there are plenty of food shops that offer a great variety. We usually head to Scoobys chippy for their curry sauce on chips.
Motorhome parking (in the winter) is available next to the petrol station. We paid a charity donation in the shop to stop here for a couple of hours.
Widemouth and Bude
Whenever we pass this way we seem to stop off and have a walk with the dog at Widemouth Bay. Just a few miles South of Bude this is a great surfing beach with a decent car park and a café. As with most of the beaches on this coast at low tide it becomes massive beach with many parts joining together.
Bude is a ten minute drive from Widemouth Bay and well worth the effort. The beach as great with a large beach car park . The town is typical of the coastal towns in this area, but that said well worth a visit. There are many tourist and surf shops as well as all the bakers, food outlets etc. that you will need. There also two major supermarkets in the town one of which has a petrol station. A good opportunity to fill Up. There are many and various campsites in the area.
This large clean site is somewhere we stayed a couple of times a few years ago. It has now changed hands and has expanded into statics as well as tourers. An outdoor pool is located near reception. Approx 6 miles north of Bude on the A30, it is located on the edge of the village of Kilkhampton. The village has a couple of pubs and a chip shop and the normal grocery offerings.
Adjacent to the site is the resort of Penstowe Manor www.penstoweholidays.co.uk . The manor house has a bar with food as well as a nightclub. There is an indoor pool, gym and other facilities here. When we visited in Feb we were advised that we could use the pool whilst staying next door at Pentire Haven. We also used the bar in the evening.
This outlet village is on the outskirts of Biddeford on the Clovelly Road. Plenty of parking here and plenty of shops offering discounted goods. There I an Asda to catch up on the groceries and there is a McDonalds over the road for those who fancy something a little quicker.
This estuary side town is a a pleasant place to take a look around. I was impressed by the Long bridge. With its 24 arches it connects both sides of the town and I guess that at sometime in the past it linked the two quays. Be warned ther is a three ton limit. The tow also has many small shops with some unique offerings
Braunton and Saunton
Braunton is a small holiday town just North of Barnstaple this is local commerce for the many local beaches and sites. Try Squires for one of the best fish and chips. there are grocery shops as well as many surf and tourist shops as well as many other food outlets. Turn off at the cross roads towards Croyd and you will come to the brilliant Saunton Sands. The beach here goes on for miles. The surfing is great and the dunes are well worth exploring. There is a café and shop as well as loos in the car park. We spent many happy days here with the kids when they were little, rock pooling was the order of the day back then. Now Axiski entertainment. www.axiski.com
As the name suggest this site is tucked away in a valley. Located between the A361 and a wooded hillside there is a stream that runs through the middle. In the season there is a bar and restaurant (not open when we were there in February). The pitches are mainly hardstanding some of which are block paved. There is great little play area for the kids and a dog exercise area. This is also a woodland walk that starts at the top end of the site. The toilet facilities where clean and heated.
Ilfracombe is an old fashioned fishing port town. We only really visited to see the impressive “Verity – by Damien Hurst” a 20m high cast statue that stands on the harbour looking out to see. Well worth the effort. The town has many shops and food outlets. There is a beach and theatre further round the front. If you do nothing else the statue is worth a look.
I remember Minehead being a run down place that was tired and falling into disrepair. However changes have taken place and it is thriving. The obvious main attraction is still Butlins and their large holiday park. But there is now much more on offer.
The main street has many and various shops as well as regular street markets. There are a few pubs and plenty of places to eat. To the side of the town is the compulsory business park with supermarkets and fast food.
It has a large beach and ample parking.
The West Somerset railway hits he end of the line here and runs over 22 miles to Bishops Lydeard just outside of Taunton. www.wsr.org.uk . There are many stops along the way.
Around Minehead for further investigation there is Dunster Castle, Exmoor is on the doorstep and the village of Porlock (nice little campsite here) is always worth a visit. Slightly further a field are Lynton and Lynmouth also worth a nose.
Cornish Farm Touring Park
We were looking for somewhere to stay on the opposite side of Exmoor that would give us good access to the M5 motorway for the journey home and came across this little gem on Google Maps. The reviews were good so thought we would give it a go. A quick call secured us a pitch for the nigh.
The site in the winter is well geared up for the motorhome traveller. Good sized gravelled pitches set around the excellent, heated toilet block. There are also many grass pitches, but none were occupied in mid Feb.
The first thing that you notice as you turn in is that the whole place is immaculate. The grass was manicured and the general appearance was the tidiest we had seen all week.
There is a drive over drain for emptying the grey water tank and a hosepipe supplied to replenish stocks.
And home 🙁
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