Where: Cornish Tipi Holidays, nr Port Isaac, North Cornwall
How Much: For camping, £45 per night
Campfires: Yes, in dug pits surrounded by stones.
Wood: Yes, sold by the warden. Also it is possible to collect wood in the woods, ask Oggy for good places.
Types of camping: Tents, campervans and Tipis (different prices)
Facilities: Showers, toilets, outside washing up areas, lake with row boats and life jackets.
The Review: I was very much looking forward to visiting Cornish Tipi Holidays, it is truly a destination campsite. the location is stunning – a wooded valley centred around a quarry lake.
The woods are filled with wild flowers, mature native trees, dappled sunlight and the gentle splashing of a shallow woodland stream. The crowning glory of the woodland is the sparkling lake. Surrounded by trees, with wooden pontoons jutting into the lake, the deep, clear water invites the dangling of feet. Impressively there are some rowing boats and canoes along with essential and plentiful life jackets for all shapes and sizes freely available. The tipis are dotted through the woods, some in little groups and some in solitary clearings. It really is a very beautiful place.
Occasionally, breaking the peace of the wood you will hear the buzz of the warden’s quad bike as he roams the site attending to his visitor’s requests and managing the woodland. He met us on our arrival, with a friendly but professional patter he showed us around and took us to our pitch.
Having walked through the lovely woodland I was a tiny bit disappointed that we were in the ‘meadow’. A large field at the top of the valley, it was almost empty but the grass was quite long and thistly. However, to his credit Oggy quickly re-appeared with his drive on mower and cut a good portion of the field around us to make it a little friendlier. He also dug us a fire pit and edged it with rocks. Perfect. A recently built wooden foot bridge led us from the meadow to the top Tipi village and our nearest toilets and washing up area.
We had some warm and sultry weather while we were at Tipi, it was perfect for hanging out by the lake. Quite a few people swam in the lake. It was very deep and cold. There were a couple of floating islands providing rest stops for swimmers, however, it was not a good area for younger kids to splash about, there is no beach area. The boats are great and of course we made a mini raft and sent it off sailing on the lake.
Away from the lake, the woods are good for a gentle stroll and perhaps a little nose at the scattered Tipis. There is a lovely clearing through which the stream meanders and provides a safer area for younger kids to play around in water. This area is used for weddings, which are not scheduled during August but if you visit on a weekend in another month you may find this area out of bounds to non-wedding guests.
Although we were in the meadow other campers in tents were able to camp among the trees on tipi clearing which where ‘resting’. (vehicles are not allowed in the wood). However, there where some benefits to the meadow, principally a near solitary camping experience in peak season in Cornwall! Also, being relatively high and with an unobstucted view, we had one night of fantastic star watching. It was the height of the Perseid meteor shower and we spent several hours lounging next to the fire counting shooting stars in a fantastically clear sky.
As you can probably tell I did think this site was pretty special, however, it did have flaws. It is expensive at £45 per night just to camp. The price meant I was less forgiving of the toilet facilities. The toilets nearest to us were clean enough but the shed in which they where housed was fairly old, cobwebby and not of a very sturdy construction. The other big problem was with water supplies. A lot of the site uses a gravity fed water system, however, the areas of the site that were at the top of the hill had to have water pumped up by a generator (Tipi is completely off grid, has no mains electricity). This system did not seem completely effective and there where water shortages which affected some showers, toilets, washing up areas and stand pipes. To be honest I did not find it a serious problem but I did speak to other visitors who had found it an issue.
Although the area felt like it was miles from anywhere it was actually close to Bodmin Moor, Port Isaac, Rock, Padstow, Tintagel and Boscastle. If you can tear yourself away from the woods and the lake there is plenty to see in the area. We tried out cycling on the Camel Trail from Wadebridge. The Camel Trail works on a system of licences bought by the cycle hire shops from the council, in order to prevent over crowding on the trail. Subsequently, we found that we couldn’t do the part of the trail we had hoped to do from Wadebridge to Padstow as all the licences for the day had already been sold. So it’s worth remembering either book in advance or get there early. As it was, the Wadebridge to Bodmin section was quieter and still very pretty so no great loss.
Cornish Tipi Holidays is a very lovely place to camp. The lake, woods and general magical feel of the place is certainly worth experiencing. If only it where a little cheaper I would have stayed there for as longer!
And finally I can’t resist sharing with you just a few more photos of this beautiful spot!