Mena Farm, Lanivet, Bodmin, Cornwall PL30 5PG
A mile or so north of Helman Tor in Cornwall, home to a 6,000 year old Neolithic hill fort, we’ve discovered a more 21st–century attraction: Mena Farm Campsite. In fact, like the diagrammatic history of man, from walking on knuckles to standing tall and strong, Mena Farm is a place that showcases the full evolution of camping kind. In the lower field – open in the height of summer when long blonde grass ripples in the breeze – there’s the most primitive stage. Wild campers pitch their tents in the fauna, foregoing electricity, while, in the main camping area above, family tents and campervans park up on the more formal electric spaces. Then there are hard-standings for caravans, near to free WiFi at reception and the well-equipped, rainy-day games barn. And, finally, there is the fully-evolved glamping accommodation; boutique bell tents kitted out with double beds, kitchen wares and all the kit and caboodle you could need.
If it all sounds like a rather crowded affair then you’d be very much mistaken. With some 15 acres of space on offer, Mena Farm specialises in the lower-key side of camping life, with vast tracts of land set aside for wildlife and a lilly-spattered lake hidden in the trees. Badgers bed down in their sets, hares are occasionally seen in the long grass, and wild flowers – pink campion, daisies and wild poppies – pepper the surrounding fields.
Regardless of whether you pitch a tent in the wild camping meadow or wiggle a campervan down the final lane from the A30 (less than a mile away), all visitors have full access to the excellent clutch of facilities. There are two clean shower blocks, a well-stocked reception shop and bikes available for hire, while children will love the wooden fort that’s part of the small playground. Lending a hand collecting eggs and petting Del Boy and Rodney, the two friendly (and playfully named) kune kune pigs is also a must.
Yet for all the farm space to laze about on and extra treats, like fish'n'chip delivery direct to the campsite, the real joy of camping here is not the site itself but the surroundings. Walk the footpaths south to Helman Tor, now part of a 500-acre nature reserve, and pick up the best parts of the Saints Way walking trail. Or take the campsite bikes for a family cycle along the Camel Trail, a breath-taking route on a former railway line. Or simply hop in the car and drive to the north or south Cornwall coasts, equidistant (at around 20 minutes) from the campsite. Which to choose? Flip a coin? Roll a dice? Rock, paper, scissors? Evolution can only get you so far.
The Owner Says
Mena Farm is a magical place for those that appreciate nature and wildlife. Bring your doggies, go wild camping, look out for badgers, hedgehogs, rabbits, deer, woodpeckers, kingfishers and buzzards, visit the pigs, help collect eggs from the chickens, build a den, enjoy the sunsets, go fishing for tiddlers with the kids... There is no clubhouse here, just a barn with games, books and TV for those rainy days, and there are no bright lights - perfect for star-gazing, but you'll definitely need to bring a torch with you!