After a successful reign running another Cool Camping recommended site, Cloud Farm, Colin and Jill Harman have upped sticks and moved to a new and more breathtaking location; this time with sea views, open fields and endless space on the North Devon coast.
When they arrived at Caffyns Farm, the Harmans brought with them their trove of cool campsite know-how, and, alongside the farm’s family B&B and a superb new café, have been busy creating a relaxed, rule-free, pitch-wherever-you-fancy campsite. A campfire culture is encouraged and is even more magical given the location – surrounded by expansive countryside and views over the Bristol Channel that spread endlessly beyond your flickering flames.
Campers are free to wander over any of the 150 acres of farmland, which is some of the flattest in this undulating area of Exmoor – all the better for pitching. So far there are four camping fields edged by protective hedgerows, but there are plans to open up more; a couple of which will be adorned by a yurt or two for glamping… And this is just a fraction of what the Harmans have in store for Caffyns Farm.
Even if it takes a while for their dream site to be completed, this campsite is a cracker as it is. The location is beautiful and the laidback vibe ensures friendly, relaxed campers. It’s an irresistible spot for kids who are hooked on riding and beach days, too, with pony-trekking right from the farm’s own stables and walks down to the stunning beach at Lee Bay for days spent bodyboarding, sandcastlebuilding and rockpooling.
Multiple meadows, water standpipes in each. Facilities block has 8 showers, 16 loos, a disabled toilet, family shower room, laundry, fridge, freezer, microwaves and washing-up sinks. Bikes available for hire. They have over 30 ponies, so you can go off trekking to your heart’s content (£25 per hour; age 5+). Excellent shop and tea room in a converted barn space, plus a family B&B if the weather is truly terrible!
Suitable ForTents, small campervans, dogs – yes. Groups – by prior arrangement. Caravans and large motorhomes (over 5½m long and 2¼m high) – no.
Walk directly from the farm down the steep coastal pathways to Lee Abbey and on down to the private beach (better to drive if you have very little children as the terrain’s not buggy-friendly). The beach has big, grey rocks for playing giant stepping-stones (and Who’s the King of the Castle?) with little pools in between for fish spotting. The waves are high enough for bodyboarding but low enough for swimming. Take a trip on the Cliff Railway, between Lynton and Lynmouth (01598 753486), and gape at the scenery before stopping for ice cream at the Cliff Top Cafaurant at the top. Hire mountain bikes from the farm and head off to explore Exmoor.
Food & Drink
Jill’s cakes are to die for. Find them all in the brand new tearoom and café, set in one of the farm’s converted barns (complete with beams and adjoining garden with sea views) along with breakfasts, light lunches, coffees, soft and alcoholic drinks, snacks, baguettes and other refreshments. The café also has plenty of helpful info about Exmoor and the area. 2½ miles away, down steep and winding roads, is the Hunters Inn (01598 763230) – a great family pub with gastro grub and peacocks on the lawn.
Opening TimesMarch – End of October.
There are a couple of little streams (not near the camping fields) on the farm as well as machinery to be aware of. Please don’t feed the horses.
You’ll find detailed directions for various options on the Caffyns Farm website, but the most straightforward route is to take the A39 coastal road westbound all the way to Barbrook. Continue along the road for a further mile and you’ll see a sign for Caffyns Cross; turn right here and continue up the lane, ignoring the first campsite turning on the right and carrying on until you see the Caffyns
ReviewsAdd Your Review
Rated ★★★★★ over 17 reviews
Great location and relaxed vibe
Lovely site but very expensive for what it was
Wonderful relaxed campsite in a stunning location!
We loved our stay here! The owners are friendly and knowledgeable, giving us daily updates on the weather. The shower block is impressive compared to other sites we've stayed on- great idea to have a family shower room. Good facilities for laundry and washing up and great to have use of a microwave for baby's milk. The kids loved being able to have a campfire and there is a nice walk (although steep) down to the beach. Kids loved being on a working farm- enjoyed watching the tractor and climbing hay bales and seeing the horses. Great base to explore the area which has lovely beaches and indoor stuff to do. Pretty Lynton and Lynmouth close by. Would recommend, be careful when choosing pitch as some slightly slopey.
Lovely site despite the weather
I planned to visit Caffyn's Farm for our first family camping trip. I wanted a family friendly site that wasn't too far from home (Cornwall) but would give us a differnet experience. Having read the review in the Guardian I was hoping for a site that was convenient with facilities but would give us a real camping experience.
The site was quite easy to find and the trip gave us the opportunity to sample some of the lovely views offered by North Devon's countryside. Located just on the edge of Exmoor in view of the coast and is reached by a combination of A and B roads. The 'road' to the site itself really is full of horrendous potholes and must be navigated slowly. On arrival we booked in easily at reception and were welcomed by the site owners. The site was fairly quiet post bank holiday and some awful weather so we had the pick of the pitches.
We pitched up and were amazed by how much space we had. The kids were able to run about and explore whilst the farm chickens came to investigate the new arrivals! There are no electric hook ups but this wasn't a problem for us. The weather was beautiful and the views were stunning. There is a standpipe with drinking water in every field as well as a trough of stones for making camp fires.
The site is reasonably close to some towns for getting supplies although the site shop is well stocked with the usual necessities. We found that there is a tesco outside of Ilfracombe and Lidl and Co-op in the town centre. Lynton is closer but has only a costcutter. We also took time in both towns to walk and explore. Both are well kept and clean and good for fish and chips. Lynmouth has the best fish and chips!
Our stay on the site was very pleasant. The weather was mixed with plenty of wind and rain. With hindsight we would have pitched closer to the hedgerow. The facilities were excellent, clean and functional with lovely hot showers. The utility room has shared fridge and freezer and a couple of microwaves.
The highlight of our stay was the campfires and the kids loved toasting marshmallows outside our tent. Even in the wet and wind a campfire makes life a bit better. The kids also enjoyed the woodland walks and we managed a good stroll down to Lee Bay and back. The campsite allows a certain amount of freedom and access to good paths. The kids were able to see the farm animals and go blackberry picking. The site also hosts pony riding and cyclehire which we didn't get around to this time but might in future. The pony riding is pricey so be careful before making promises to children when planning this trip!
All in all Caffyn's is a great site and I would certainly plan to go back. The pros were the facilities, campfires, location, the cons, only the potholed road.
Keep It Simple
My partner and I decided to stay at this campsite for a weekend in mid July (Friday - Sunday). We travelled from London via the M5. The first thing you notce if you take this route is how far away from any cities it is as you travel down all of the country lanes which get narrower and more windy the closer to the site you get. If you are looking for a quiet place to relax then this is for you.
The site is situated on a farm. It is essentially one big field that is split into a handful of smaller fields with small hedges acting as divides. This helps to create a group of more intimate fields. During our stay all of these fields were occupied by around 5-6 seperate groups of campers ranging from couples to families with young children. There was plenty of space with this amount of people but any more than that and it would have been a bit cramped. There is no need to book to stay at this site apart from bank holiday weekends so I could imagine that in busier times such as school holidays it could get quite busy.
As the site is situated in Exmoor national park, it hugely benefits from having very low light pollution. This means that on a clear night, if you look up you can see ALL of the stars and galaxies - something that we don't get to see living near a city which is always a plus. This isn't the only great view - you can also see across the sea to wales which was nicely lit up. This is also the only source of light pollution.
Some of the other reviews about this site have complained about the showers. I can confirm that there is now a really nice toilet and shower block. It was very clean, the showers always had hot water. There are even washing machines and dryers which is something I have never seen at a campsite. There is a seperate block for washing up with at least 5 sinks, a freezer and microwaves. Pretty handy! Incredibly nice facilities for a campsite which you can tell have had a fair amount of money spent on them.
The owners were very nice and have created a great laid back campsite. We never felt like there were too many rules or regulations. The only tiny, tiny critisism I would have and it's not really a critisism - more of something to be aware of and prepare for by bringing enough food etc. is that the on-site shop where you can buy fire wood and camping essentials such as food and other various supplies from is only open for 1 hour in the morning (8.30-9.30) and one hour in the late afternoon (4-5). As we arrived after 5pm on the Friday we were able to knock on the farmhouse and they had no problems opening the shop for us to buy some fire wood.
Overall we had a great stay here and would definitely reccomend this place for couples, families and anyone wishing for a quiet stay and would definitely come back.
Not what was descibed on the website
I was very disappointed when I arrived to find only one field open to campers. It was described on their website as ‘With 160 acres (over half of it flat and with a perfect mix of secluded and open fields)’. We wanted to find a very secluded spot away from other campers. Considering the time of year and the size of the place we though it would be easy, unfortunately it was not possible.
On Speaking to the owners about it, they told me that not all the fields are open all year as the have to farm the land. I totally understand this but it should be mentioned on the website. We did not stay; we found another site that met out needs.
When looking round what was available, it obviously did have a relaxed atmosphere with lots of people chilling in their camps, plenty of stones to make fire pits and the shower block was very good.
My brief review ! - Road has been winter damaged and is getting quite pot-holey.
The top tent pitches ( First field ) marked Kingfisher have least slopes for tents - however most pitches would benefit from flattening as still are significantly sloped and you can end up at the bottom of your bed in the morning.
Eggs are home grown and excellent although free range hens can be nosey and can poo in your tent if allowed. Fires allowed - Sea view great - Local supermarkets about 15 miles although some shops closer.
Well stocked campsite shop and pony trekking available all in all we gave it 9/10 lovely location.
This was the site we chose for our first ever family camping trip and it was perfect in every way. The owners were really friendly, we had a sea view when we came out of our tent in the morning, the new showers were better than our shower at home and the whole atmosphere was lovely. Even though we went at the end of August, in the school holidays, the site was not at all busy and we had our pick of pitches. There are woods that you can walk down through, past waterfalls etc. down to a lovely little beach with a cafe next to it and the site is really well situated for the towns of Lynmouth and Lynton - plus there is lots to do and plenty of nice places to eat. I would really recommend and we would definitely return.
Lovely ... but!
The owners of this site were fantastic in helping us out when we had problems with a couple of things that had nothing to do with them, so full marks there. Unfortunately I was not so taken with the site itself. In many ways I'm comparing it to Eweleaze Farm in Dorset as they are in similar situations ... coastal, rural, campfires etc. The site is small, it sounds like a vast farm but the camping fields are large though not a vast expanse. The newly built (being built) showers and toilets were open but not complete. Male/female are in one block, three toilets in each section, sinks in the toilet areas with separate showers. Personally I would have preferred mirrors and sinks in the shower cubicles, can't be doing with shaving in an open toilet area, likewise for my girlies trying to have a wash/clean teeth/do hair. Also the showers were too hot for me and no facility to change the temperature. Don't get me wrong, I like 'wilder' camping but found Eweleaze with it's toilets in every field (some composting) and solar showers much better. I should imagine in busy periods the toilets/showers could get overwhelmed.
Loved this site
Have just returned from a 9 day camping trip to Caffyns Farm (was only supposed to stay for 7 days but loved the site and area so much we extended the trip for a couple of days). We camped as part of a group (18 of us including children) and absolutely loved it here. The site is set in idyllic countryside with stunning coastal views, it has a relaxed and easy going vibe and the showers are amazing. We have 2 young children and it was nice to be able to give them a bit of freedom in such a secure campsite. Jill & Colin were always friendly and helpful and have created a truly lovely campsite. We would definitely return.
What a pleasant surprise to visit somewhere that was how camping used to be...relaxing, just rock up and pitch where you like, you can light a fire, the toilets were clean and the shop was well stocked with all you need. We camped for 3 nights with friends. We had 4 lively boys with us, 8 years and under. The campsite has seperate areas and a bigger field. We camped in Swallows field, there was just us and 2 other tents there. The boys had bags of room to run around and play football and cricket. It was such a relaxed site, just how camping should be. The ladies toilets weren't quite finished but the new showers were amazing - huge shower heads. Our whole family of 4 fitted in for a shower one morning! You can order bread and delicious French pastries the night before, and collect from 8am the following morning from the shop. The croissants were delicious and still warm! We had a fire every night, they provide stones to make your fire pit and sell wood at the shop. It's a great location, so very quiet at night, even with kids everywhere, as darkness fell, it was so peaceful just sitting round the fire. Will definitely return. A great find.
Can't wait to return!
Have just spent 3 nights at Caffyns Farm with family & friends & we can't wait to go back! The relaxed atmosphere of this site is great, the pitch where you like option is brilliant especially if there is a group of you as you can kind of make your own camp as you don't have to be pitched all in a row. It's great to go somewhere that allows/encourages camp fires as this is what camping is all about! The new showers are lovely :-) and even though the ladies ones aren't finished yet you are allowed to use the ones in the men's block(don't worry the toilets are separate!). The camp shop is superb really and stocks pretty much everything you want from fresh bread to tents! :-D the one thing I think they should look into stocking is BBQ food!! We couldn't find anywhere to buy BBQ food from without having to travel to Barnstaple(40 mins) we were disappointed about not being able to BBQ during our stay.
My only complaint is about how full & overflowing the bins were when we left Monday, I don't know when the rubbish is collected but let's hope it was that day because they were in a pretty awful state & would definitely put off anyone who had just arrived.
We will definitely be visiting Caffyns Farm again what a great place to stay!!
Stunning spot on the north Devon coast
My husband and I (and our dog) have just returned back from this wonderful place after a short taster one night stay here in our camper van. The place itself is not pruned like a bowling green or spotless, but it is tidy, relatively flat for pitching, very relaxed and has plenty of space to pitch in any place that takes your fancy - the view across the Bristol channel is simply spectacular. If you don't mind a brisk wind, I would say camp towards the back of the upper fields to take in the view, otherwise there is places to get shelter from the wind on the lower hedgeline in the lower fields. When we arrived we went into the shop and booked in, and we were welcomed by the lovely lady there who was very relaxed and friendly. She told us that the new shower and toilet block were about to be completed, so I would imagine by the time this review has been read, they will be up and running, so there is no point to comment on the current and very crude facilities in that department, however what they did have was adequate. There is water points in all the fields from what I could tell, and boxes full of stones, which you need to use if having a fire, and wow what a fire we had watching the sun go down, from this glorious place as we were sipping cider. There is horse riding here as well as bike hire, something I will definately take advantage of in the future and when it is not quite as hot! Obviously this is very close to the moor for some lovely hill walking. Just down the A39 coastal road, about a mile towards Ilfracombe is a narrow guage steam railway and then a bit further on there is a pub at some cross roads called The Old Station Inn, which serves breakfast and food all day. We did not try it, but the menu looks great and the setting looks nice, with some local ales on draught to wash it all down. Back at site there is a footpath down the hill to Lee Bay beach, which is very small but totally breathtaking. Be warned this is a very tough walk back up the hill to the camp site (you don't get views like that without being up really high!).The incline and path covers easily 400ft in altitude, so you do need to be prepared as you walk down, even though it is very beautiful through the woods and next to the stream, that you will possibly need new legs at the end of summiting on your return. I also had wished I knew that dogs were not allowed on the beach between May and end of October prior to this epic trek we did. So all you doggy owners exicted about taking Rover for a swim, if it is during this time of year, forget it. Maybe the owners of the campsite could make guests aware of this little detail and provide some information on where is doggy friendly beaches close to the area - a nice touch seeing as this is such a dog friendly campsite and something us dog owners would really appreciate. All in all what a wonderful place, clearly run by lovely people, and we will be coming back over and over again. A little piece of heaven on the North Devon coast which seems to be evolving into a really 'cool' campsite. :0)
This is fast becoming my favorite site. Having been here several times now, we find it very friendly, loads of space and a great location. Having only been open for a couple of seasons, it is getting better all the time. There is a shop on site that sells nearly everything, you can walk to the Valley of Rocks and you can have a camp fire. Jill and Colin make everyone welcome and are a font of knowledge about the area. We have been there in large and small groups, and always find a suitable spot. There are installing new loos and showers, which were not open at the end of May, but should be in late June.
As I first time camper with 2 under 8s, we really enjoyed our 2 nights at Caffyns Farm. As the reviews say great views, peace and quiet, opportunities for campfires and unspoilt. Unfortunately, the showers were a complete let down, basically a shower base in a portaloo cubicle. The lack of space around the shower base (less than 30cm) before you reached the door to the v public lean to meant that dressing in the shower (whilst trying to avoid the very mouldy shower curtain) was virtually impossible and drying and dressing children was completely impossible. Be warned if you have children - showers and toilets pretty unfeasible. To be fair, the friendly owners did say that a new shower block is on the way. Until then, we could not think about returning which is a shame.
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