Getting elbowed in the back and then enduring halitosis hell after spending your commute to work approximately two inches from another person’s face is, as you would expect, unpleasant. You certainly don’t think about that scenario when London dwellers fondly speak about the vibrant culture and ‘hustle and bustle’ of the city. Sometimes a break beside the seaside is just the prescription, and what better way to spend a bank holiday than camping in Devon?
One of my favourite things to do is go on road trips; they always make the best recipes for an adventure. So when a friend invited me on a camping trip to Devon with her friends I couldn’t resist an opportunity for exploring a new place, and clearing my smog infested lungs with some fresh countryside air!
After 6 hours in nose to tail traffic, with an obligatory pit stop to McDonalds and a food and cider splurge for the weekend ahead, we arrived at the campsite at midnight. Just. Heavy mist, windy narrow roads and various campsite entrances created a rather eerie atmosphere to the last leg of the journey – it was certainly an escapade!
Hidden Gem campsite: Little Roadway Farm, Georgeham Road, Woolacombe in Devon.
Watch out for: Peruvian exports…Alpacas in the field next door. You can’t get petting distance close but just close enough to be able to admire their cuteness!
Favourite features: The beaches of course!
Sightseers tip: If you go via the A303 watch out for Stonehenge, you drive right by it – the silver lining to traffic jams!
If you have an aversion to salty air, sand dunes and watersports, then why on earth would you head to Devon? It is the Mecca of seaside resorts, and Woolacombe beach happened to have been voted number one best beach in the UK according Trip Advisor – that’s a pretty tall flag to wave!
Be prepared to see bodacious blonde surfer dudes lifeguarding, riding the waves and offering up surf lessons. If you’re a girl who loves those types of boys, you’ve just found heaven! Hubba.
We drove to a beach called Saunton Sands in Braunton, about a 10 minute drive from the campsite. Where the only things around were surf board hire shops and a restaurant overlooking the beach. It’s an idyllic spot and you can’t help but feel you have been transported somewhere in the Mediterranean – apart from the stunning cliff face and mountains that surround it, synonymous with the great English countryside. Plus, all illusions are shattered as soon as you dip a toe in the goose bump raising icy water (in May anyway!).
On the agenda that day was stand up paddle boarding (Supping). We were a group of 10 so got a pretty good deal of £15 each for our boards and paddles for two hours. We hired them from a local surf shop called Surfed out, they had a good selection of equipment and the guys running it were very friendly. In case you don’t know, supping is basically where you have a big surf board and you stand up on it and paddle out in the sea. It sounds easy but you need to have some balance, arm and core strength to do it, especially going over the waves. I’d highly recommend it.
The downside: There’s a good size car park but it’s a tad on the pricey side, charging a day rate of £6.50 a car. Ouch!
Two Wheels and an Ice Cream
All paddled out, next on the agenda was biking for the afternoon. We found a bike hire shop called Otter Cycle Hire who supplied us with some decent quality bikes that came with panniers – useful for storage – at £10 for 3 hours. There was a bike route along the River Taw which we followed, passing by the Royal Marines Base, various foliage and incredible views. On route we had a pit stop at the ice cream shop for an obligatory cone and then doubled back for our second pit stop for an even more obligatory pint! The pub, the Vintage Inns, was nestled amongst some trees and hidden from the cycle path. We walked up the path to find a grand stone house, a la Downton Abbey possessing a fabulous beer garden!
Once we’d dropped back the bikes we stocked up on barbecue gear from the Tesco’s Superstore nearby and cooked up a feast that evening for some authentic camping.
Not Quite a Lazy Sunday…
Waking up to hear pattering on your tent is the worst feeling for campers, and sadly Sunday started out as a very dismal day, overcast with unwarranted drizzle. Still, we are Brits, and pressed on with another day of stand up paddle boarding. This time we went to Woolacombe beach, just a five minute drive (30 minute walk) from the campsite. The village is built on the hills and overlooks the long sandy beach, which stretches out for miles and is lined with multicoloured beach huts, cue photo moment!
After more battling with the waves and running around on the sand we strolled up to the award winning pasty shop we spotted. Stomachs full, we headed back to the campsite to freshen up and then made our way to the nearest pub, The Old Mill. The pub grub was great and that night there was a Welsh band playing too, which was the highlight of the night, as our Celtic dancing was for them too!
All in all, my little camping trip was brilliant fun, and I absolutely loved Devon! It’s the perfect spot to take a break away from London and enjoy the beautiful British coastline.
Have you been to Woolacombe or Devon? Is there anywhere you would recommend visiting? I’d love to hear from you!