If you have children of a roughly 3 years plus and you enjoy camping, there are certain thing you should look for on a campsite.
Not lovely bathrooms, not closely mown grass, not a clubhouse, not even a playground. No what you need is a a stream or fast flowing shallow river, or perhaps a lake with a small lake beach. My favourite is a stream. Honestly, you can’t beat it for kid entertainment.
First, there is the soothing sound of flowing water. Unbeatably relaxing for both adults and children, you are winning already. Next the endless play opportunities. *Dam the river, how deep can you make the pools, make little bridges over the stream with large stones, alter the course of the stream, split it into several streams.
Should they eventually grow tired of the naturally occurring play opportunities of the stream you might consider making a mini raft. All you need is a penknife and string.
When play is finally over and the children are feeling completely at home in their environment, try asking them to just sit quietly and see if they can get a taste of simple tranquility. Perhaps some wildlife will stop by. A dragonfly, a fish, an otter or river bird.
Next time they come back to that spot, rest assured the play will start all over again.
Next, the ropeswing. Beats me why every campsite with a decent tree doesn’t have one. For some reason they are far more exciting than just your average swing. Perhaps because they are a bit unpredictable and a bit of a challenge. Maybe that connection with the beautiful, leafy, giant entities that beautify our land. I don’t know but I am certain that a scruffy bit of rope hanging from a tree will quickly attract a swarm of eager kids in a way that your average swing never will.
If you are lucky to hit upon a site with both of these ‘facilities’ you are certainly onto a winner.
These are a few of the campsites I’ve found that have lovely playable streams. Of course they are all campfire campsites too!
Exmoor has loads:
Priory Mill Campsite – Brecon
Heritage Coast – Glamorgan
Burnbake - Dorset
Wo-wo – Waspbourne Manor – Sussex
Wookey Farm – Somerset
Thistledown Farm – Gloucestershire
Cornish Tipi Holidays – North Cornwall
Pleasant Streams – Cornwall
* Crocs (or the non branded alternatives) are a properly handy bit of kit for kids when camping and for stream play they are invaluable!