Sunrise Camping at Penhill Farm

UK England South West England Devon Exeter

  • 10+ metres between camping pitches
  • Contactless check in
  • Deep clean between glamping guests
  • Individual toilets for glamping accommodation
  • Campfires allowed
  • Campfires Allowed
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
  • Beaches
  • Walking
A small off-grid glamping site on a hill-top Devon farm offering sustainable holidays in the great outdoors

There’s nothing quite like a spectacular sunset. Except, that is, for a spectacular sunrise. Some might even say that watching the sun come up, with the excitement of a new day, fewer witnesses and the springtime dawn chorus, is better than watching it set. But getting up at dawn is not for everyone – just a lucky few. The same could be said for Devon site, Sunrise Camping. The off-grid accommodation, the compost loos and the bucket showers will not be to everyone’s taste but if you’re after a sustainable holiday in the great outdoors, you’re in luck. This hill-top site is a socially and environmentally responsible place with comfy accommodation, campfires and, it’ll come as no surprise, amazing sunrise views.

With just one yurt, one shepherd’s hut and one bell tent, this is a small site that’s home to a handful of campers at a time. But you won’t be lonely here, far from it. The glamping accommodation is set in a three-acre, east-facing meadow that’s backed by trees with an abundance of birds, butterflies and other wildlife. The meadow has recently been planted with 900 young trees – the work of Kate Bishop and Simon Gray, who own Penhill Farm. It’s one of the moves they have made to enhance the farm for wildlife along with replanting hedgerows and restoring wildflower meadows. The campsite has been built to fit in with all this; designed to have a low impact on the environment it seeks to showcase.

While this focus is evident in the compost toilets and the bucket showers, it’s hidden in other ways. Just because it’s low impact, doesn’t mean you’ll be roughing it and although it’s called Sunrise Camping, there’s no denying this is a glamping site. The tents are set on level platforms and each has a double bed that’s made up with bedding and there are comfy single mattresses for kids too. Where it is rustic it’s enjoyably so; with cooking and hot water courtesy of campfires and an alarm clock in the form of the dawn chorus.

The campsite has been set up with the aim of encouraging people to spend more time outdoors and the location naturally does its bit to help. When you’ve had enough of gazing out at the panoramic views, you can head down to explore what you see. There’s Haldon Forest Park a mile to the south, the edge of Dartmoor National Park a similar distance west and the Exe Estuary and South Devon coast around 10 miles away.

Our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee

Book with complete confidence at Sunrise Camping at Penhill Farm with the Cool Camping Coronavirus Booking Guarantee. We guarantee the following clear policy for your booking:

  • A low deposit of 30% to secure your booking
  • Balance due 30 days before your holiday
  • Complete flexibility to move bookings up to the end of 2021 in the event of Coronavirus restrictions
  • Due to the flexibility provided we are unable to offer refunds
  • This guarantee supersedes any other policies

Click here to read the full terms

Details

Facilities

Penhill Farm is a working farm in the beautiful Devon countryside. We currently have three bullocks and a bull on site, 25 acres of pasture, rough grassland and wildflower meadows, newly planted and managed woodland and a 1½ acre vegetable plot. We are in the middle of a 10-year programme of transforming the farm into one which contributes food and social/educational experiences to our local community whilst also providing space and food for birds and other wildlife. We are an off-grid campsite with no electricity or hot water. Water for washing, showering and washing up is heated on open fires or wood-burning stoves. We have two compost toilets, two bucket showers, one outdoor sink and two water points. The yurt and the bell tent both sleep up to five people and have a double bed and up to three single mattresses (travel cot available). The shepherd’s hut sleeps two (though there is also space to pitch a small tent alongside). Both the yurt and the shepherd’s hut have a wood-burning stove. All three units have a fire pit, with a grill, Dutch oven, and cooking apparatus.

Suitable For

Glampers only, couples and families – yes. Groups and dogs – by arrangement only (contact the site directly). Tents, caravans, campervans and motorhomes – no.

Nearby

Haldon Forest Park is a mile away with walking and mountain-biking trails as well as a high ropes adventure park by Go Ape (01603 895500) and a cafe. Haldon Belvedere (01392 833846), a small Georgian hilltop castle (occasionally open to the public), is also nearby and offers magnificent views over the Exe and Teign Valleys. Dartmoor National Park (01626 832093) is just three miles from site with seemingly endless opportunities for walking, road cycling, mountain-biking, wild-swimming, letter-boxing and sightseeing. Exeter is six miles away with canoeing and kayaking on the River Exe, a rock climbing centre and all the attractions of the city including its cathedral, museums, galleries, shops and eateries. The Exe Estuary with birdwatching, cruises and off-road cycling and running on the Exe Estuary Trail is eight miles and beaches at Dawlish, Teignmouth and Exmouth are all within 15 miles.

Food & Drink

Kate and Simon have links with local producers and can order local produce in advance as optional extras. The closest pub to site is The Nobody Inn (01647 252394) at Doddiscombsleigh, two miles from site. There’s a good range of pubs a little further away, including The Teign House Inn (01647 252 286), The Poachers (01392 273847), The Huntsman Inn (01598 763230) and The Cridford Inn (01626 853694), all within four miles of site. For a rewarding pint or bite to eat at the end of a long walk, run or cycle head for the recommended Fingle Bridge Inn (01647 281287), 10 miles away.

Opening Times

May–October.

Why book with Cool Camping?

  • Coronavirus Booking Guarantee
  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

The Owner Says

There’s nothing quite like a spectacular sunset. Except, that is, for a spectacular sunrise. Some might even say that watching the sun come up, with the excitement of a new day, fewer witnesses and the springtime dawn chorus, is better than watching it set. But getting up at dawn is not for everyone – just a lucky few. The same could be said for Devon site, Sunrise Camping. The off-grid accommodation, the compost loos and the bucket showers will not be to everyone’s taste but if you’re after a sustainable holiday in the great outdoors, you’re in luck. This hill-top site is a socially and environmentally responsible place with comfy accommodation, campfires and, it’ll come as no surprise, amazing sunrise views.

With just one yurt, one shepherd’s hut and one bell tent, this is a small site that’s home to a handful of campers at a time. But you won’t be lonely here, far from it. The glamping accommodation is set in a three-acre, east-facing meadow that’s backed by trees with an abundance of birds, butterflies and other wildlife. The meadow has recently been planted with 900 young trees – the work of Kate Bishop and Simon Gray, who own Penhill Farm. It’s one of the moves they have made to enhance the farm for wildlife along with replanting hedgerows and restoring wildflower meadows. The campsite has been built to fit in with all this; designed to have a low impact on the environment it seeks to showcase.

While this focus is evident in the compost toilets and the bucket showers, it’s hidden in other ways. Just because it’s low impact, doesn’t mean you’ll be roughing it and although it’s called Sunrise Camping, there’s no denying this is a glamping site. The tent is set on a level platform and each has a double bed that’s made up with bedding and there are comfy single mattresses for kids too. Where it is rustic it’s enjoyably so; with cooking and hot water courtesy of campfires and an alarm clock in the form of the dawn chorus.

The campsite has been set up with the aim of encouraging people to spend more time outdoors and the location naturally does its bit to help. When you’ve had enough of gazing out at the panoramic views, you can head down to explore what you see. There’s Haldon Forest Park a mile to the south, the edge of Dartmoor National Park a similar distance west and the Exe Estuary and South Devon coast around 10 miles away.

Social Distancing Measures

At Sunrise Camping we are mitigating the risks associated with the Covid 19 outbreak in the following way:
We are only opening two of our sites (Apple Tree Yurt and Willow Shepherd's Hut). Our 2nd Yurt will remain closed.
Both the Yurt and Shepherd's Hut have their own compost toilet and shower facilities - there will be no shared toilet facilities on site.
Guests will also have their own water points
We are able to offer our Bell Tent for extra guests but ONLY those who are already in a social bubble with guests in either the Yurt or the Shepherd's Hut. Please contact us if you would like to book the Bell Tent as well.
Check-in will be done outdoors rather than in the reception area.
Guests are encouraged to bring their own bedding.
All accommodation will be paid for in advance.
Social Distancing will be required and must be maintained at all times.
No visitors allowed.

This site offers our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee

Accommodation

A yurt, a shepherd’s hut and a bell tent.

Apple Tree Yurt

Yurt or Ger Sleeps 5
Apple tree yurt is simply but comfortably furnished with a cosy log burner and double bed. Additional beds can be provided to sleep 4 (2 Adults and 2 children) comfortably, or 5 (3 children) if you are happy to squeeze in.

Bell Tent

Bell tent Sleeps 5
For the 2020 season will be used ONLY in conjunction with guests already staying either in the Apple Tree Yurt or the Shepherd's Hut. It comes equipped with camping beds and rugs.

Willow Hut

Shepherd’s hut Sleeps 4
Recently refurbished with a log-burner, new oak stable door and steps, and pull-out double bed, our shepherd's hut is situated at the top of our new woodland. The Hut sleeps 2 people and we have a camping area next to the hut suitable for a small two-man tent.

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Location

Contact Sunrise Camping at Penhill Farm, Penhill Farm, Dunchideock, Exeter, Devon EX6 7RA

Show Map

Getting There

From the A38, come off at the Exeter Racecourse Junction and head north for a mile towards Haldon Forest Park. Continue on the same road past the park for another one-and-a-half miles passing the Haldon Belvedere (a white hilltop folly) on your right and the turning to Doddiscombsleigh on your left. Keep following the road as it bears right at Penhill Cross (signposted to Exeter). The entrance to Penhill Farm is on your right about 100 metres further down the road. Continue down the drive, passing house on your right, until you reach the house/reception at the bottom of the drive on the left.

The nearest train stations are Exeter St Davids or Exeter Central. You can also get off in Newton Abbott if you’re coming from the south but the taxi fare will be higher and there’s no public transport option. From Exeter, bus number 360 from the city centre will drop you at the end of the drive. Ask for a ticket to “Penhill Farm at the top of the hill above Dunchideock”. Alternatively you can take a taxi for about £20. Those who make it by bicycle will be given a 10% discount but be warned – it’s quite a climb out of Exeter.

Reviews

Add Your Review

Rated ★★★★★ over 8 reviews

★★★★★

Serene, picturesque, beautiful, different and welcoming

What a fabulous week we had at Penhill Farm, with its spectacular views. The holiday gave us all the perfect opportunity to unwind and slow the pace of life down. Our hosts were so very welcoming and went out of their way more than once to ensure we were comfortable during our stay, even during an unexpected August storm! They managed to achieve the perfect balance between being helpful and available but not intruding. The yurt and shepherds hut were cosy and well-equipped. The fire pit was very practical (for cooking meals and heating water) and a great focus for meals, marshmallows, story-telling and games. We had fun using the bucket showers - more effective than you might imagine! We didn't lack for firewood once. Compost loos were not a new experience for us, but definitely less smelly than others we have known! The site also offered extra interest in the form of a giant swing, cargo net, tree house, chickens and a healthy vegetable patch. Beyond Penhill Farm we found there was more to do than we had time for - kayaking and paddle boarding, horse riding, cycling and walking in the forest, hiking on Dartmoor, beach trips and exploring Exeter. We would love to come back and see those amazing views again - at sunrise or any time of day or night!
★★★★★

Amazing views

The views of the landscape are simply incredible. The sunrises are a must see and will take your breath away, while the stars in the night sky are just as wonderful. The location is amazing, being so close to Exeter, but we also enjoyed the trails in the Haldon Forest Park, which is a 2 minute journey from the site. The yurt was in amazing condition and has everything we needed with a small fire-lit oven which also doubled up as a radiator to keep us warmer at night. Such a relaxing get away and we would defiantly try and come back again :).
★★★★★

Best family camping experience this summer by a country mile

We had a wonderful few days' stay at Penhill Farm. The landscape and views are spectacular out across Exeter and the mouth of the Ex to the sea. The light here is beautiful. We weren't sure if our young girls would take to eco-camping and compost loos but they loved every minute of it - roaming free in the beautiful fields, barbecuing our meals. It's a really good location as feels totally secluded but really easy to get to from the M5 and not far from Exmouth beach by car. Our hosts Simon and Kate were also super obliging and helpful. We've camped in a few places this covid summer and this definitely felt the most relaxing and beautiful because it's really secluded and on such a small scale. So we're hoping to come back next year...
Sep 3, 2020 by Larry
★★★★★

Truly beautiful site with astounding landscape and wildlife all around; ideal place to wind down

We had a lovely stay at the yurt, with our two kids. Kate was away but had send us detailed instructions and everything was exactly as explained. The site is truly beautiful, with a fabulous view across the valley, with Exeter in the distance. Get up early for sunrise, it is worth it! There is a fire place overlooking the valley which we made great use of, grilling marshmellows for the kids and watching the lights of Exeter and the stars. Hectars of fields, woods and meadows are great for exploring, with ample wildlife to observe, but the moor, rivers and beaches of Devon can also easily be reached by car. For us, it was just the right level of comfort, not luxurious, but not too spartan either. Would love to come back soon.
Aug 16, 2020 by S
★★★★★

Perfect Getaway with Amazing Views and Great Hosts

We have just left Penhill Farm feeling Like all great holidays that we would have loved to have stayed longer. Lovely, friendly and amenable hosts greeted us and made it easy to unwind. A great yurt with an even greater bed and room for our two young children to hunker down too. The wood burning stove provided us warmth, tea, toast and we easily cooked one pot wonders on it too. The views were stunning to Exmouth and the estuary and it was great to watch The wildlife over an open firepit as the sun went down. We were totally in love with this beautiful quiet getaway, from watching the Swallows catching flies over the meadow below to the owls in the woodland behind hooting us to sleep we had a hugley memorable stay and hope to return soon.
Jul 27, 2020 by Dan Giles

Response from Sunrise Camping at Penhill Farm

Hi Dan. Thanks for this review. It was great to meet you all and I'm really glad you had such a nice time at our farm. Hopefully see you again sometime soon. Thanks again. Simon
★★★★★

A magical place

High on a hill, we fell asleep to the sound of owls hooting in the woodland right behind us and woke to the most glorious vista of the valley of the Exe and the sea in the distance, with a little wren from the wood hopping around my balcony. I've camped a lot and I'm finding it hard to remember feeling so surrounded by nature and waking up to such a magnificent view from my actual bed. Heating water on the fire for the shower was fun and the compost toilet was fascinating for the kids. Eggs and veg from the farm for breakfast, cooked over the open fire, topped off a memorable stay. With Dartmoor on the doorstep and the sea not far away, there's so much to do we will definitely be back soon. An inspiring place! Didn't want to leave....
Jul 22, 2020 by Elizabeth Dale
★★★★★

Gorgeous location with spectacular views

I would highly recommend Sunrise Camping. I slept in the Shepherd’s hut, which is lovely and cosy. The view is wonderful at all times of day; you can even see the sea! Simon and Kate are welcoming and friendly hosts and the homegrown vegetables are delicious.
Jul 19, 2020 by Amy Edwards
★★★★★

Gorgeous views on the edge of Dartmoor

This site offers amazing views across towards Exeter and Exmouth. We stayed in the yurt, found it very comfortable. The hillside makes the most of the views, with a lovely balcony around the yurt and seating around the campfire. We enjoyed the routine of heating up water for the bucket shower in a massive kettle on the open fire... The site is great, with plenty of space since there are so few campers. The best views to be had at from the yurt, really, but there are field and a forest onsite as well to enjoy. Beyond the site you can walk up to the Haldon Belvedere and into the Haldon Forest beyond. But it's still close enough to Exeter to pop down to the supermarket. Simon and Kate are great hosts, doing a lot of interesting things with the site, from the veg plots and chickens to tree swings! At the end of the day, though, it's the views from this campsite which are its most extraordinary feature - truly breathtaking.
Jul 19, 2020 by Colin Wilson

Why book with Cool Camping?

  • Coronavirus Booking Guarantee
  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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