Review of Cloud Farm

Aug 20, 2012, by petecros

Cool? Ha. There’s no denying this place is in a stunning location. The valley, the river running through it, the whole heart of Exmoor thing, I can’t fault that. And it’s great, these days, in a British campsite, to have your own little campfire. What I can fault is the fact that it’s a dilapidated old farm with practically no facilities, and it’s really, REALLY expensive. Now before anyone starts screaming “but this is real camping, not your modern 21st century all mod cons camping, but a farm in the middle of nowhere so you can’t expect such facilities”, I’ll admit you’re right. If they charged a tenner and didn’t call it “cool,” that would be about right. I love places like that. But a family can expect to pay a whopping £30 a night to stay at Cloud Farm. And the ripoff doesn’t end there. When my missus bought a pint of milk she was charged a staggering £2 for a litre. No, it wasn’t fresh from the farm cow or provided by a local organic dairy co-operative in the next valley and therefore worth every penny. It was the same stuff they were selling ten minutes away in Lynmouth for exactly half the price. This campsite isn’t in the middle of nowhere. They don’t have to fly it in. It doesn’t cost anywhere near £2 in the Scilly Isles, and I doubt even the most flagrant ripoff kiosk in Covent Garden would try charging anything so brazen. And if you haven’t brought your own logs and don’t fancy foraging, they’ll sell you two little bags for £10 (with free kindling!!). The owners must think we are stupid. Perhaps we are. For this kind of money you’d expect great facilities. For chaps, you get one sink in a ridiculously cramped gents building with a stinking urinal less than 18 inches away (admittedly there are two more in a ruined lean-to next to the farmhouse if you search for it). There are virtually no signs anywhere, so it takes some time to find anything – when I finally located the rubbish dump was just a towering pile of refuse spilling out over the top of an inadequate screen. Needless to say there are zero recycling facilities. The showers, in a big steel container, are open from 8-10 in the morning, and 6 to 8 in the evening. That’s it. So if you’ve got a three year old covered in mud and it’s lunchtime, you just hose em down or wait and join the evening queue. Fancy a quick shower at 7am before your hike on Exmoor? No chance. Oh, and the litter. We picked at least a dozen crisp packets, tent bag labels and drinks cans out of the hedge next to our tent. I’ve camped all over the UK, and all over the world, from Alaska to Zimbabwe, and this sort of thing really pisses me off. There are only a so many middle class townies happy to kid themselves that it’s all so real, having a proper campfire, and being on a farm and all. Sooner or later people will start seeing beyond the Emperor’s new clothes and notice that there seem to be plenty of other campsites in the area in just as enviable locations, but, one presumes, more appropriate facilities for the price. Come on Cloud Farm. Drop your prices, or provide some facilities. The lemmings won’t keep jumping off the cliff forever.