The days are lengthening , or so it is rumoured, hard to tell amidst the mid-winter storms. We are on the way towards a new season of camping adventures. Visitor numbers to my blog always leap on New Year’s Day as thoughts turn towards holidays. I am no exception. Planning for the season’s camping is a many layered thing.
First comes the yearning. Daydreams and remembering of those isolated moments of perfect tranquility in some beautiful corner of British countryside. Sparkling, tumbling, susurrating streams. Black skies wheeling with stars. The hot glow of the fire. The absorbed play of the children knee deep in nature.
Next the wide world of possibilities. So many places still to visit, so many to return to. Woods to discover, beaches to roam, streams to paddle and dam.
So we come to some definite areas of interest. Wales is practically on our doorstep yet somehow we didn’t even cross the border last year. Something to be rectified this year. I plan to make our way to Pembrokeshire. I have found the good campsites are often booked up in Pembrokeshire so I may have to forsake my usual method of waiting for a weekend of good weather and book ahead instead. On my list for Pembrokeshire are Celtic Camping , Spring Meadow Farm Campsite, Trellyn Woodland Camping, Ty Parke Farm Campsite. By no means an exhaustive list but enough to be going on with. Each allowing campfires and their own special slice of glorious welsh countryside.
The Lake District is also high on my list of places to visit. We used to live in York and were able to nip with relative ease over to the Lake District for a delicious weekend camping amongst soul stirring scenery. Since moving south and having the children we have not returned. Surely this will be the year. I have had some difficulty in locating the kind of campsites I like: campfires, space and allowing camper vans. Fisherground Campsite, Grizedale Camping Site (No camper vans but I love Grizedale) Gill Head Farm are contenders. There are lots of other great spots but few allowing campfires. An interesting alternative is the Private Camping Company who have agreements with landowners to let exclusive groups of campers camp in certain spots. At least one with direct access to lake shores. They provide pop up camping facilities and campfires for your group. Rather fabulous.
Exmoor is a firm favourite. The wonderful sheltered, wood fringed beaches of Lee Bay and Woody Bay plus the verdant valleys and rushing rivers to be found all around in stunning contrast to the the wide, wild spaces of the moors. (See it made me come over all alliterative.) Caffyns Farm, Doone Valley and Cloud Farm (not at busy times!), Westermill Farm or Pool Bridge – so many great Exmoor campsites to choose from. However, we may have to forsake Exmoor in favour of the unexplored lands of Dartmoor less campsites but Runnage Farm looks great and Westford Farm ticks many of my boxes too.
Finally, the local campsites that I love to visit including the huge, peaceful, nature rich lands of Thistledown Farm, Gloucestershire. One of the few places I return to every year. Wookey Farm a recent discovery, certainly worth a revisit. Perhaps Rocks East Woodland only 15 minutes from my home and not visited for several years.
As you will see I will either have an extremely full camping season or perhaps have to enter the final stage of planning. The whittling down. The hardest bit.