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Westland FarmLynmouth & Lynton, Devon, South West England, England
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Sitting pretty in its own self-contained hamlet surrounded by the purple haze of the famed Doone Valley, Cloud Farm’s campsite occupies a prize riverside setting alongside Badgworthy Water.
Since our last visit, a couple more fields have been opened, expanding the narrow strip of campsite along the greenery by the water to allow more space for all who visit this popular site. Further work has been done to level some of the fields for flatter pitching, and there are plans to open more showers, too. James is an attentive host and can be seen in the wood-smoke-filled evenings (yes, you can have real campfires here) wandering among the campers to check that all’s well.
Unsurprisingly, he has few complaints. Kids spend hours in the river, spotting fish, skimming stones and even managing a little doggy-paddle in the deeper pools. Parents are happy to just lounge about on the banks in the summer sunshine and marvel at the valley’s walls of gold and green flecked with unmistakeable Exmoor heather. It’s a little like sitting in a kaleidoscopic colour cocoon and, as there’s no mobile signal here, you really can feel like you’ve escaped modern urban life.
Meanwhile, the walking opportunities are fabulous; one rambler’s treat is to follow the river all the way along the valley, past the stone monument dedicated to Lorna Doone author RD Blackmore, and on to the ruins of a medieval village, which lie resplendent in the afternoon sun.
FacilitiesIt’s all about the river: swim in it, paddle in it, sit and sunbathe by it, build dams in it or fish in it (£5 for a day). You can also head off on walks directly from the site. Ask James for details of some of his favourite routes. Look out for some of the area’s wildlife, too; kingfishers and otters have been spied hanging out here in recent years. Kids delight in buying up all the water pistols and water bombs from the shop on hot days, so take care as you walk through the site.
The site is essentially comprised of narrow fields running alongside the river, as well as a couple of other fields set on higher ground. Campfires are allowed and bags of logs cost £5 (or special offer of 2 bags plus all the kindling and firelighters for £10). There are 4 water taps, mostly around the central hub of buildings that make up the facilities blocks, shop and café. The washing-up room has 4 sinks as well as a washing machine and dryer. At the time of writing there were 10 showers and 9 loos, with a further 2 of each in the pipeline. The showers are powered by a generator and so are only accessible in the mornings and evenings. Campers can charge phones in the onsite café, which serves hot drinks, cream teas and has breakfast, lunch and dinner menus if you fancy a break from the washing-up. The shop sells all sorts – from food and camping accessories to water pistols and dog toys.
Suitable ForCouples, families, groups and well-behaved dogs in tents, campervans or caravans – yes.
You’ve all of Exmoor to explore – by bike, on horseback (Brendon Manor Riding Stables; 01598 741246) or on foot, and the North Devon coast, with its swimmer- and surfer-friendly beaches, is an easy drive away. Dunster Castle (01643 823004), near Minehead, is also nice for a day out, and Exmoor Zoo (01598 763352), half-an-hour’s drive away, has plenty of animals to meet, some of which the kids can handle and help to feed.
Food & Drink
The onsite café does cream teas, full English breakfasts and burgers and chips (you can order takeaway too). At the end of Cloud Farm’s lane, take a left for the Buttery Riverside Bar & Café (01598 741106) for an excellent pizza. The best local pub, which is relatively child friendly, is the Staghunters Inn in Brendon (01598 741222), while the food is pretty standard it’s a fine place for lunch with the kids. Porlock Weir’s Bottom Ship Inn (01643 863288) has stirring Channel views to admire while you’re sipping from a pint of locally brewed Exmoor Ale or glass of cider.
Opening TimesAll year.
Family FriendlyThe river is delightful but could, of course, be dangerous for small children unaccompanied.
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ReviewsAdd Your Review
Rated ★★★★☆ over 22 reviews
Have been coming for years
The location is wonderful, the campsite is lacking in everything, dirty and dangerous.
Fantastic location - awful facilities
fantastic campsite with a beautiful setting
Such potential, shame.
We stayed here just a week or so ago. It's could be a lovely site in an amazing valley, but the owners need to invest in some basic maintenance. There is a small shower block containing 6 showers, but only one is usable. The others have missing knobs, don't switch on, or the shower heads are broken. I reported this to the owner who said 'kids' had broken them, but there didn't seem to be any children there, the damage seemed long-standing, and he clearly had no intention of looking at the problems. The toilets are dirty, only one had loo paper, and if you choose to stay in the on-site accommodation (we didn't, but we had a sneaky look), the walls are mouldy and it's just dirty and smelly. There were not many people staying there, which is probably a reflection of the experiences of others. It is cheap though. My advice is to bring a shower with you, use the site as a basic base, and expect very little. This site could be a thriving business, but sadly, I do not think the owners care enough about it, for it to ever be more than a way of making a few quid.
a mess, but a extremely beautiful setting
If you don't mind showers, toilets, lights and hookups not working and if you keep your eyes on the river or the sky (and not on the mess along the campsite like abandoned machinery, caravans etc.) this is the perfect spot to relax. Children can play endlessly by the river. The skies at night are the best in the UK; if you really want to see the milky way....
However, we do like facilities to be clean and working, so therefore only a 2 * rating, sorry.
Facilities are well below par
We stayed at Cloud Farm last July for about five nights, and we are sorry to say, but it was a disappointment. This means, the facilities. We really had the idea that nobody cares about mending anything. More than half of the showers didn't work (or only with cold water), lights not to mention. Hygienic situation in toilets is really unacceptable (overflowing urninoirs, within half a meter from the sink). Btw, there is only one sink for all the men...
So, if you don't need the facilities, it can be a great place, within a stunning scenery. But if you do, be warned.
I just stayed here for one night (out of season) as I was hiking through Exmoor. The location is simply stunning - please if you stay here, take the opportunity to walk up the valley through the oakwood forest.The farm is in the middle of a dark skies zone, so if clear weather is forecast take a pair of binoculars or a telescope.
I didn't have the need to use the facilities but I have to admit they didn't particularly look 5 star from the outside.The staff were very friendly and helpful and the tea room does a nice bacon sandwich and a cup of tea. There is the Lorna Doone Inn at the small village at the bottom of the drive which has limited opening hours out of season, bur the food is nice.
One of the most beautiful places I have ever had the pleasure to camp. Very near wild camping in the stunning Doone Valley at the foot of Exmoor. Camp where you like insmall fields next to Badgworthy water, a small river with pools and rocks and the odd small trout. Views over to the stunning cloud hill which was a vivid purple with the heather in full bloom at the time of our visit. Great spot to see lots of native wild life, bird life is particularly rich in the valley. Camp fires are permited which makes the experience all the richer. Very little light pollution so we enjoyed evenings round the campfire, with a stunning starry sky over head. The camp owners where very friendly and helpful and very welcoming, whilst just letting you get on with it. The on site shop sells wood for fires and simple food, and the luxury of great local cider too. This is a rustic campsite , come prepared for proper camping, and a view to fully experience the beauty of this rugged and beautiful area.
We have just got back from our 2nd visit to Cloud farm, 2 adults and children aged 13 and 15 and a dog. We visited the first time in summer 2011 and had a lovely 10 day break so came back again for a week this year. We love Exmoor and love the stream through the campsite and cooking marshmallows on the log fire. It was disappointing that the facilities - toilets, showers and washing up area have not been updated since our last visit and had deteriorated considerably - please see previous review - we concur - they were insufficient for the number of visitors, dirty and very smelly. The prices in the shop -TWICE supermarket prices!!
Lovely location, let down by dire facilities
We first visited Cloud Farm in 2011 and decided to go back for 5 days last week. We have two children aged 8 and 6. First the positives - the location is truly lovely, with camping next to a beautiful shallow river that is pretty safe for paddling as long as smaller children are supervised. The owners are friendly and laid back and allow small open fires. The Doone valley is stunning and there is great walking from the site and further afield. The site itself is spread out along the river so never really feels too busy. My children loved the place.
However, I think the site is badly let down by the state of the facilities, which are completely out-dated and inadequate, at least for families. The toilet facilities are cramped, with only one sink for the entire site in each. Four bog standard electric showers (described as 'power showers') are sited in an old portakabin, run off a diesel generator which shuts down after 8pm. Again these are cramped and in poor condition, with broken panels just at the right height to catch small children's fingers. Black mould is everywhere. The washing up area isn't much better. We skipped the 'tea-room' as our confidence wasn't very high as a result.
Its difficult not to come to the conclusion that the owners are just trading on the location and can't be bothered to update the site to a decent standard. We paid £24 per night for a family of four - about average these days. We camp regularly every year and its unusual to find a site with such run down facilities for that sort of price now. The place really needs some money spending on it.
We'll definitely return to Exmoor, but not to Cloud Farm. There is plenty of choice in this area and we have already visited some of the competition for next time. That's a shame, as it could be so much better.
2nd chance saloon
We decided to give Cloud Farm a 2nd chance this year following a terrible trip a few years back.
First time around the site was rammed, and we were very rudely dealt with. The facilities were horrendous, dirty and crowded. We vowed never to return.
We went this weekend with friends and our 2 young kids to give it a 2nd chance. What a difference a few years make.
We had a very friendly welcome, with advice on where to camp with the kids. We setup next to the river, gorgeous. (I highly recommend Jungle Lotion for the midges, works a treat). It was very rainy our first day there, however the toilets and showers were still kept clean. Every morning the owners came around I assume checking for payments, and also making sure we were all OK and enjoying ourselves.
The showers run on a generator, however as long as you want to shower at the time the shop is open(8-8) you are fine, as they will turn the generators on for you.
We only bought bacon from the shop, which was a very high quality. We had lunch a short walk away at Lorna Doone, also beautiful, I believe owned by the same people.
We thououghly recommend Cloud Farm now, very friendly, very beautiful site. We have seen better facilities, but we had no problem using them even with a 2 year old and 8 month old in tow. Also one of the few campsites I have seen that supply a full size fridge that you can use as you like, along with the chest freezer, tumble drier and washing machine.
One of my concerns was the 'no rules' approach, I had visions of rowdy groups staying up all hours, but we certainly could not hear anything after 9pm.. perhaps the sound of the stream blocks it out?
Lovely all round.. Bit of a pain to get to, but the isolation is part of the attraction...How caravans get there I dont know..
Yes the location is lovely, but the facilities are awful and every opportunity they get to extract money out of you they do. Wouldn't,t recommend at all.
a little bit of heaven but..................
I'd be surprised to find a campsite in a more beautiful setting. There is a lovely, friendly, laid-back feel to the place and it's great to have no rules and regulations - and there are very few sites where you can both choose your own pitch and have a campfire. It's in need of a bit of tlc - yes - and it's not what it was 3 or 4 years ago - but the facilities are ok and the owner is friendly and helpful. Fabulous walking country without taking your car off the site.
Not what it used to be...
Haven't been to Cloud Farm for 3 years until a trip last weekend and I have to say that whilst the location is still utterly stunning, the site as a whole does feel somewhat neglected.
Having two young children the attraction to us of Cloud Farm was that you had the beautiful valley location and the stream right there for the kids to paddle in but crucially that the stream was fenced off so they couldn't get to it unless we were with them. Now large sections of the fence have been allowed to fall down or are missing completely and this adds to the overall sense that the glory days of the site are behind it.
The shop/cafe is no longer really a shop as they only sell milk and a few drinks and chocolate bars. We did try some of the hot food and that was fair but nothing to write home about. As others have said the stables are no longer open for riding. The other facilities (loos, potwashing room etc) were all fine but had the same feel of just needing a bit of time and effort spent bringing them up to scratch
Wish I could be more positive as Cloud Farm has long been one of my favourite campsites, I just hope the owners feel the same and are planning to give the site some of the tlc it needs and deserves.
Visited Cloud Farm June 2013 based on write up in Cool Camping. On arrival we discovered the riding school part is now closed and it would appear the site may have changed hands. A little run down, basic facilities which were not particularly clean, but all that said we really thoroughly enjoyed our 3 night stay at Cloud Farm!
The scenery is stunning and the owner of Cloud Farm is very friendly and helpful. The kids loved the freedom, we took our dog and it was wonderful being able to have a camp fire in the evenings. No phone signal for miles! Although we were a bit disappointed when we arrived, this was our best ever camping experience and we will definitely return.