Having just come back from Devon at the weekend, I thought I would do a quick review of the campsite we stayed at…..Doone Valley!
Not Doom, Doone I say, as in RD Blackmore…? Lorna Doone….? Oh I give up.
So Doone Valley campsite in Devon, whats the set up?
The campsite consists of 3 fields next to a small stream that meanders it way up Doone Valley, at Malmsmead. It is reached by crossing a small packhorse bridge or if you are more adventurous the ford. Facilities are a very nice toilet and shower block with a pot wash area. There is a car park next to the fields or if you are tidy you can park next to your pitch. Around the corner but not intrusive on the camping fields is a small gift shop and cafe in an old sprawling farmhouse. Apart from absolutely stunning views of the surrounding hills thats about it. No clubhouse, no swimming pool, no shop and the only playground for kids is a rope swing and imagination.
The campsite is tucked away and rather sheltered which also adds to the appeal. Its not very well known about and in fact its neighbour Cloud Farm campsite is better known as an entry in the England “Cool Camping” book. In my opinion, Doone Valley is far superior. Carol runs the campsite and collects the fees on a daily basis. When I first started coming here 7 years ago, she used to ride around on an ATV. Nowadays its a slightly bigger fully covered version but she is still as chatty and busy and hard working as ever. The fees are around £6 per person depending on the size of the tent and if you have children (they are a few quid cheaper) but in my eyes a bargain. The other big thing to note is that the campsite allows proper fires and in fact there was hardly a pitch that didnt have one going whilst we were there. The main attraction of the fires is that its a focal point for the evening and encourages people to stay out and socialise (and keep you warm late into the night!).
Whilst we were there we had very reasonable weather and managed to do some cycling around the area. A criss cross of Exmoor by bike is superb if a little tiring on account of all the hills! Highlight of the trip was fish and chips in Lynmouth (again) and freewheeling down Countisbury Hill on the bike at 40mph! 🙂
Back to the campsite and though it might not be everyone’s cup of tea (especially if you like everything laid on a plate for you), I think its one of the best in the country. I have come here half a dozen times over the last 7 years, in spring summer and autumn and it has always retained that special feel to me. Of course don’t all rush down there to visit. I do like a little bit of peace and quiet you know