What a fantastic bank holiday weekend camping with some of our oldest (bestest) friends.
We stayed at Burrowhayes Farm camp site. The owners are very helpful and friendly and the site is well organised and cared for. We were able to borrow an extension lead for the hook up (thank you!) Facilities were clean, showers were hot, there was a well stocked shop on site as well as a laundry room and ‘pot wash’ with a few sinks and hot water. The ground is slightly sloping but didn’t cause a problem for us. The site is very popular with many return visitors (which speaks for itself), so it can get busy. You can read the very positive reviews on Tripadvisor.
The best thing by far about Burrowhayes was being able to play in the stream. The older kids would have stayed and played here all day. Perhaps for the adults the best thing was the hot showers, and the fact that the kids were happy!
Night times were quiet and star lit; we saw Mars, Venus and the international space station (Hi Tim!) in one evening. Owls hooted from the woods as we slept. Exmoor is designated an International Dark Sky Reserve, it boasts some of the darkest skies in the UK so it’s the perfect spot for a bit of stargazing. See the Exmoor Dark Skies guide here.
What to do
There is a path through the woods that adjoin the site. We didn’t walk as far as Porlock, although it looks like a lovely walk. We did, however drive in to discover a quaint village with thatched roofs, an old church, pubs and a great play park.
Porlock is a traditional Exmoor Village with a long history of settlements existing on or near the site of the existing village, with stone-age remains only a short distance away. It is also a working village with shops supplying all that you need, to be found in the High Street. You will certainly be sure of a friendly Exmoor welcome in them all. This will be echoed in the pubs, hotels and restaurants to be found here.
We enjoyed the Duck Race afternoon at nearby Sparkhayes campsite. I think this is an annual fundraising event for the local carnival, so do look out for it if you’re there around the end of May.
Porlock Weir is a pretty collection of houses, including a few shops, pubs, a cafe which have all grown up around the working harbour. There is a shingle beach which extends towards Porlock and behind it, an inland salt marsh which attracts a variety of birds (and birdwatchers).
The views from the Toll Road from Porlock towards Lynton are said to be spectacular. It was laid as an alternative to the very steep Porlock Hill and an interesting history.
Lynton, Lymouth and Minehead are not far away to name just a few other towns and villages. There’s also the heritage train lines, the West Somerset Railway and the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway for train enthusiasts.
This was our first ‘big camp’ with all of us together. It was a great way to meet up (where else can we find for 12 of us, 6 of whom are getting bigger all the time?!) We had the most perfect weather, it was dry and warm which of course makes camping with kids so much easier. They were happy to roam and run, roll down hills, reaffirm friendships, and after a little adjustment, they did sleep at night. Mostly. For the older (bigger kids) we enjoyed time together, catching up about the now and remembering when…
And who better to have around when a child is sick in their sleeping bag than friends who just know what to do without hardly saying a word? Clean pjs appeared, a sleeping bag, warm water for a hair wash and said child was asleep again 10 minutes!
I’d like to do it all again. Perhaps without the sick. And we would love to return to Exmoor to ride, walk, cycle, watch the stars, paddle in the streams, and enjoy all that this beautiful National Park has to offer.