Where: Caffyns Farm, Nr Lynton, Exmoor, EX35 6JW
How much: Adults £6.50 per night, Kids £5.50 per night, Under 5’s free.
Fires: Yes, there are various fire pit locations all around, as always try to use a previous space. A box of fire stones for edging your fire pit is available in each field.
Wood: Yes, sold at the site shop. A bit on the expensive side though.
Facilities: On site shop, selling essentials, and a few non-essential – oh and wind breaks, more on that later! 3 toilets 3 showers (at present). Riding stables.
Dogs: Polite dogs welcome!
Exmoor is rapidly becoming one of my favourite places, the combination of wild moor, verdant green valleys with tumbling rivers and amazing coves makes it pretty unbeatable in my view. Caffyns Farm is owned and run by the couple who used to run Cloud Farm, it sits high up with panoramic views over the Bristol Channel. By night the lights of Wales twinkle on the other side.
The surprisingly flat fields occupy a large area, and even though it was busy over the May Bank Holiday, there was still plenty of space around. The fields have been divided up using banks of soil. In some area the banks are well covered with grass, in others they are a little more rough and ready. It would be lovely if some wild flower seed were sprinkled all over them!
To get the best views you pay the price of being exposed to the wind, there are more sheltered areas and in retrospect we should not have been seduced by the views on rather a windy weekend. We were not alone and our little area did become quite busy , no-one can resist a cracking sea view! However, it was a sunny bank holiday weekend and would be quieter at other times.
This campsite is great for camping with a large family group, there is so much space you can easily have a section to yourself. However, it also works well for much smaller parties, you shouldn’t be disturbed by too many noisy children if you pitch wisely!
On site there are also some stables where rides of varying lengths and abilities are available. My kids had a great time walking round the fields on a little pony called Freddie.
Do look out for the ‘Picnic Area’ it is worth investigating. A small stream runs through it, and as it is down in a little valley it is much more sheltered. We had several lovely hours while the kids played in the stream and we basked in the sunshine. Lush.
Walk down the footpath towards the sea and you will find yourself in the most beautiful woods, bursting with wild flowers, gushing streams and dappled sunlight. Keep heading downwards and you will eventually (25mins on way down) find yourself at one of my favourite beaches, Lee Cove. At low tide the bonus of a secret hidden cove around the corner is revealed for a few hours each day. We did see families with small children making their way back up through the woods, but be warned it is steep. There is also a car park at Lee Cove. ( We cheated and sent my husband down with the campervan so we could all walk down, then he ferried the kids back up at the end of the day!)
The one serious flaw at Caffyns is the limited facilities. On a busy bank holiday weekend there must have been a couple of hundred people on site but there where only 3 toilets and 3 showers. There was pretty much always a queue for the toilet and this did become rather vexing, especially as the facilities are a fair walk from the furthest parts of the site. Fortunately, the owners are working hard on building a new facilities block in the beautiful old farm buildings. They had hoped to have them finished before the (2013) season started but they have been delayed as the condition of the building was much worse than expected. It would have been good if they had added a few portaloos as a temporary measure.
In summary, Caffyns is a lovely site, with lots of potential and very enthusiastic owners. The views are outstanding though the wind is an issue worth considering when pitching. The local area is one of my favourite parts of the country and to top it all it is a campsite that does not require prior booking and will probably always have space.