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WELCOME

Welcome to the free sample issue of Camping magazine’s digital edition, featuring page after page of inspiration and ideas for your next camping getaway. It’s packed with campsite and gear reviews, travel features, essential camping tips and advice and the latest news. In fact the digital edition contains the same great content as the print version of the magazine but with additional interactive FOCUS ON EXMO features – including video and picture galleries – to enhance your reading experience. EX MARKS T As well as the extra content, direct links take you to external websites featured in the magazine. And you’ll also find it’s really simple to navigate. The interactive contents page takes you straight to the article you want Queen DORSET & FRANCE BY THE to read or you can browse like a traditional magazine. quirki So enjoy the magazine, and if you like what you à see, follow the simple instructions and sign up for TOP 10 THEME a subscription.

Steve Goodier returns to Exm make an ideal base to

Alde Garden

COO

STAY AT

Eweleaze (Dean Ricca-Smith)

EWELEAZE FARM

à Glorious Exmoor scenery

Osmington, Dorset YO25 8SS 01305 833690 www.eweleaze.co.uk

What makes a campsit It’s not easy to define – almost certainly recogn cool site when you find all about the attitude of the people mood they set. For a start, everyon to be a little more laid back and re yourself in as Claire Tuph And then Strap there’s the little extras th ride through Britain’s Top 10 the sites apart, like home made artisan fresh eggs from the resident hens,

For anyone with an interest in and North Devon in England’s astronomy and camping you might The National Park (designat like to know that Exmoor National its name from the River Exe, w Park has been designated the first in the centre of the area and th International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe. If area of 267 square miles (692 you have visited this lovely national park and It is the second smallest Natio stayed overnight at one of its many campsites, and Wales with only the Pemb this shouldn’t come as any surprise, as on National Park in south-west W clear, cloudless evenings the night sky over As well as the glorious and the rolling moorland is simply stunning. There rolling and heathery moors the is little or no light pollution in most areas and also takes in the East Lyn valle the amount of stars and constellations visible Porlock, the Brendon Hills and to the naked eye is staggering. Being home of stunning and rugged coastl to some of the darkest skies in the United the Bristol Channel. High cliffs Kingdom means it is a great place to come the sea here and the walking is and stargaze with or without binoculars or a and challenging with some aw telescope. such as the tops of Little Hang However, this is only one weapon in the Hangman (which has the highe varied locker that this delightful location has to mainland Britain below its sum On a family camping holiday, the days or squelch your wa offer. Exmoor is very loosely and collectively to 820ft/250 metres and have the sua biggest question is always “what are downpours. You’ll the rolling and open that is found metres) towe Some theme that parks eve we moorland going to do today?”. And that 1,043 ft/318 spread over the counties of Westup Somerset Wild Pear meaning Beach near youC c is why pitching at a theme parkabovecampsites,

CAMPING INDIGO NOIRMOUTIER

23 allée des Sableaux, Bois de la Chaise 85330, Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile, France (+33) 251 390624 www.camping-indigo. com

THRILL S

CAMPING LES DEUX FONTAINES

Raguenez, 29920 Nevez, Pontaven, Bretagne Sud, France (+33) 298 068191 www.les2fontaines.com

à

is such a brilliant idea. They are a brilliant way to spend a day or two, no matter the weather.

doorstep and be first in lin in the morning. If finances

August 2014 campingmagazine.co.uk 24 Louise travelled from visit multiple parks from th You can visit them on gloriously sunny summer Portsmouth to Caen on Brittany Ferries, one way with car from £99. 24-28 Site reviews ID.indd 24

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ABOUT...

Iain Duff Editor iaind@warnersgroup.co.uk

contentedly. “It’s got proper toilets.” As lovely as it is we’re craving a campsite less ordered and neat, and even nearer to the sea. After six days in Nevez we packID.indd up again and Cool Summer 8 drive south into the Vendee to a campsite on Ile de Noirmoutier. If Brittany sometimes feels like Cornwall with better croissants, the island of Noirmoutier feels distinctly Mediterranean. You cross from the mainland over a bridge - there’s a causeway at low tide – and immediately there’s a sense of being somewhere “other”. The island is small, a dozen miles long, dotted with whitewashed villages. Pretty houses with lids of terracotta tiles and brightly painted cornflower blue shutters. Our destination is Camping La Vendette. This place is something special. No pool. No flash facilities. Just acres

Louise Wener found fame in the mid-1990s as lead singer of the band Sleeper and became one of the biggest female stars of Britpop. Her band toured with Blur before scoring their first chart hit Inbetweener in 1995 followed by seven more Top 40 singles, including Sale of The Century, Nice Guy Eddie and What Do I Do Now? Full-on celebrity status followed, with world tours, regular appearances on Top of the Pops and countless magazine covers before they split up in 1998. Since quitting the music business, Louise has gone on to enjoy a successful career as an author, writing a string of novels. Her latest book Just For One Day: Adventures in Britpop (published by Ebury Press) is a memoir telling the story of Sleeper’s rise and fall. She now lives by the seaside with her husband and two children.

08-18

June 2014 campingm

Louise in studio (Ed Sirrs)


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50 COOL ING TIPS 101 TOP CAMP CE AWARDS 2014 EDITOR’S CHOI NAL TRUST TRAVEL - NATIO E PARKS THEM SITES FOR - MOUNTAIN BIKING GIVE IT A GO S REVIEWED TENT E ! u INFLATABL , MUCH MORE AND MUCH

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u COVER IMAGE: Rhosson Ganol campsite in Pembrokeshire.

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY - SEE WHAT YOU COULD BE GETTING EVERY MONTH

REGULARS THE MONTH What’s going on in the world of camping? CAMPING TALK Your letters and photographs LAW OF THE CAMPSITE Keeping occupied on site WISH YOU WERE HERE A stunning campsite view

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CAMPSITES COOL CAMPING 50 of Britain’s coolest campsites

BRITAIN’S COOLEST PLACES

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BIG SITE Nick Harding heads to Edinburgh

COOL BRITANNIA 8

THE SPOT

FOCUS ON - EXMOOR Steve Goodier’s round up of Exmoor campsites THEME PARK CAMPING 10 top sites for thrill seekers

You’ve seen the coolest campsites Britain has to offer, but what about cool places to visit? Forget Shoreditch, as our resident hipster Iain Duff dons his Raybans and discovers some of the country’s quirkiest corners.

moor and finds three sites that o explore the area

TRAVEL

OL SUMMER

COOL BRITANNIA 10 special places to visit in the UK HOME AND AWAY Louise Wener’s coastal camping trip in Dorset and France

n SEA of Cool Claire Tupholme runs down 50 of the E iest, most stylish and laid back campsites in Britain.

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à T UP SEEKERS

te cool? pizza also prefer to sit incredibly around simple a campfi re sharing s South West. There are hidden bays to ovens, be discovered wood-fired saunas. All designed It seems odd to describe to pitch. ted in 1954) takes and secret beaches and for an awesome walk rises almost out thesomething aptly named –whichbut you’llor stunning drive tocheck add different to your stay. It’s that stories of anin evening hitting the something first appeared Theyrather made athan big comeback in the 1960s he park covers an Valley of Rocks near Lynton. Also worth some square kilometres). of anyone’s time is a day about spent hiking along the 1934 as revolutionary, but that’s and were relatively right through nise a also style and comfort. The layout clubhouse. Facilities aren’t quitepopular as important onal Park in England spectacular coastline between Heddon’s Mouth still how we think about inflatable that decade and the next. But it wasn’t PARK brokeshire Coast and Woody Bay. dWales one. It’sCAMPING will be quirky and eccentric. You won’t find – although families will still expect them to being smaller. And then there is Lynmouth tucked in a hidden tents these days. The PTC Igloo was first until Vango revived the idea in 2011 with seemingly endless valley next to the sea - a peaceful place where ee National andParkthe the tourists flock row row of hard-standings – instead be clean and to have a ready hot in greatafter numbers and a stunning manufactured in the days between the two its AirBeam rangesupply that the of idea of inflatable ey, The Vale of location for a day out. But Lynmouth was also and there’s technology tents reallythe hit the mainstream in the UK. d around 34 miles the scene of one of the most spectacular floods to be pitchedwars ne tends tents will tend randomly on no andoubt its water. And they’d prefer facilities to be line that runs along that our islands have ever seen when the East was way ahead of its time. In an era when Dismissed as a gimmick, after a few teething s and hills rise along and West Lynopen Rivers overflowed and caused elaxed. field. You’ll probably find a few more eco-friendly. While there might not be an s both stunning massive destruction as they thundered boulders tents were heavy and cumbersome, the Igloo problems they proved popular with campers, holme takesonto usLynmouth on a rollercoaster wesome viewpoints, below. I could mention Minehead hat set cool canvas bell tents onsite and cool campers adventure playpark for the kids, there should gman and Great too as it just borders the National Park and is the broke the mould – relatively lightweight and so much so that Vango quickly extended eme park camping destinations. est sea cliff on essence of a typical family beach holiday location n bread, will be tempted to try out alternative forms be plenty of space for them to run free, mmit – the cliffs rise and much loved by many generations of families Clearly theme parks are not particularly cheap so ay round them during ummit andthat spades. is essential you keep a keen eye in advance greatreaches time either way. withitbuckets But stickof purelyaccommodation to theare coastal regions does ,erena dramatically communal like yurts and tipis. They woods to explore or a stream to paddle in. have their own for to special offers. There often two for one

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Portmeirion 19/06/2014 17:16

and acres of beach, fringed with shady pine forest. We set up our tent on the sand. We are steps from the sea, separated only by a small wooden fence, the perfect place to dry a swimsuit in the sun. The bay here seems endless, bothered by seaweed on rough days but perfect for swimming when it’s calm. Early morning walks, after a quick stumble from your tent, are nothing short of perfect. We settle into an easy rhythm on Noirmoutier. There are nature reserves to explore and a 12th Century castle to roam. Plage des Dames, with its boardwalk and long wooden pier is our favourite place to swim. La Potinière, with its wrap around veranda is our favourite place to eat. When the tide is out we join the locals digging in the rock pools for free clams and cockles. It’s all about the sea here. The sound of the waves on your canvas doorstep. You’re so exposed to the elements that bad weather would make things very different. But this in one of those perfect summers that seems transposed from another decade. All of northern Europe basks in heat and warmth that feels like it might go on forever. Our three weeks is almost up. I’ve got so used to being outside the thought of going back to four walls is making me tense and restless. The kids sense the coming confinement and run along the beach saying goodbye to all their favourite spots before we bundle them back into the car. All holidays are about making memories. It’s beginning to feel like camping, for it’s freedom, its otherness, its heady sense of adventure makes the very best memories of all. We arrive home tired, grubby but infinitely buoyed and

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WEEKEND IN RUTLAND Hanna Lindon visits England’s smallest county

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CAPITAL CAMPING Nick Harding hits the streets of London

SPECIAL FEATURES gear

PEDAL POWER Paul Richardson goes mountain biking

15/04/2014 13:41

15/04/2014 13:46

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SKILLS LIGHTWEIGHT SCENE Clive Tully’s weekend walk, tips and reviews

June 2014 campingmagazine.co.uk

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NATIONAL TREASURES Our tribute to the bodies that keep Britain great

their range. The trick was adapting the technology to develop family-sized tunnel tents. And in the three years since, they have been followed into the market by almost all the major manufacturers. 101 CAMPING TIPS But what are the advantages and The best ever camping tips disadvantages of blow-up tents? And what are the best models to consider? Here we look at TOP GEAR 2014 a rangeThis of theyear’s new tents that tents you’ll find in your best and camping local camping retailer this spring. ■

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Combe Martin. Exmoor injustice as beautiful as italso mayget be.cheap can pitch up on their ticketan offers available and you can ne when the doors open tickets online if you buy in advance. Here’s our s allow it, you can also guide to the UK’s best theme parks - and where to he same campsite base. camp nearby.

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GUYROPE GOURMET Josh Sutton’s recipe for success REALLY USEFUL STUFF Hints and tips to improve your camping life

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GEAR PRODUCT GUIDE Cooking Equipment KITBAG The latest outdoor and camping gear

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LONG TERM TEST Gelert Horizon 6 is put to the test PUMP IT UP Inflatable tents reviewed

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THE MONTH

Things that caught our eye

GLAMPING ON THE GO Glamping is set to hit the road with a new concept in luxury trailer-tents – the mobile yurt. A fold-up version of the upmarket tent has been developed by Lake District entrepreneur and keen camper Hamish Foulerton that offers all the features of glamping but with the freedom to move from site to site. But upmarket camping on the move doesn’t come cheap – the Go Yurt will cost you a cool £18,000. For your money you get your own shower and toilet wet-room, a fitted kitchen and wood burning stove. It opens out to a 14ft diameter space with a wooden trellis frame, cooker and fridge ready to link to camp site hook-ups. It’s also fitted out with top quality furnishings from John Lewis and Next. There are LED lights in the floor and ceiling, and the wood-burner stove can be fitted in the centre or at the side. There’s an air-dry heating system so that the yurt can be packed away wet – and then plugged in back at home to dry out. Campers interested in trying the Go Yurt can book a trial weekend at the Windermere Camping and Caravanning Club site. See www.goyurts.co.uk for details.

From the Oct 14 issue

BOXING CLEVER

Forget bothering with expensive activities on camping trips – kids are just as happy messing around with cardboard boxes.That was the message from Haven holiday parks, who put the theory to the test during the summer. Camp Cardboard toured 25 Haven parks during the holidays, providing youngsters with nothing but piles of recycled cardboard boxes, paper based tape and their imaginations to create anything from forts and mazes to giant cardboard sandcastles. www.haven.com

IDEAL CAMPING COMPANION? A survey has revealed that most British campers would pick their immediate family or friends as their ideal camping companions, with 57% choosing to take their children. But given a chance almost one in ten of men would like to go camping with David Attenborough or Ray Mears, while women would prefer Bear Grylls. Almost one in ten (8%) of those surveyed by Go Outdoors say they go camping to get some alone time. www.gooutdoors.co.uk

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and made us laugh over the last four weeks RECORD CAMPSITE NEWS

BREAKERS

Terra Nova is celebrating 10 years in the Guinness Book of World Record books for producing the lightest tent in the world. And to mark the milestone, the British firm is launching two new record-breakers to its 2015 Ultra lightweight range – with the world’s lightest two person tent and lightest freestanding two person tent. Terra Nova’s 990g Laserlite first gained the record for lightest commercially available tent in 2004 – and since then the company has smashed its own record three more times, shaving around half the weight off the tents in the process. Managing Director Andy Utting, said: “When we launched the Laserlite in 2004, people were sceptical of the robustness of such lightweight tents. “A decade later a lightweight single person tent is expected to be less than 1kg and our designs have become the blueprint for the competition.” The new Laser Ultra 2 will be available to buy next spring and will be the lightest two person tent commercially available, at just 695g. The lightest freestanding, two person tent, the Solar Ultra 2, weighs in at just 772g www.terra-nova.co.uk

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The latfersotmcaamrpousitnde nBewrsitain

FRESHWATER GOES GREEN

IT’S MEGA PODS FOR VAUXHALL

West Dorset’s Freshwater Beach Holiday Park has won a major design award from RICS, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Its Jurassic Fun Centre came top in the RICS South West Awards scheme, which celebrates inspirational design work. The Bridport site, already well known for its eco-friendly initiatives, has managed to complement its location in the World Heritage Jurassic Coast area with a centre that’s topped by a “green roof” of native species salt-tolerant grass and wildflowers. For more details, see www.freshwater beach.co.uk.

Great Yarmouth’s Vauxhall Holiday Park, which has been celebrating its halfcentenary this year has entered into the glamping side of things. But it’s gone a step further with its Mega Pods that are home to a double bed, toilet, hand basin and sink, microwave, fridge, dining table, sofa bed, TV and heater, plus insulation. The initial offering was five Mega Pods, alongside the 200-plus touring pitches), with prices starting at £50 per couple per night, for two people. Tent camping starts at £21 per night. Vauxhall Holiday Park campers can count on some 15 miles of golden sandy beaches close by, as well as the Norfolk Broads and the historic city of Norwich. For more details, see www.vauxhallholiday-park.co.uk.

THROUGH THE MILL Trethem Mill Touring Park, at St Just-inRoseland, is celebrating scooping a Gold award in the latest round of VisitEngland awards – the only campsite in Cornwall to do so – again! It won the same award last year, when it was also awarded the ultimate Winner of Winners prize. Trethem promises a tranquil setting within its 12 acres on the Roseland peninsula. It’s been owned by Ian and Jane Akeroyd for the past two decades, with luxury washrooms featuring underfloor heating among some of the recent improvements. Other features include a help-yourself herb garden and a park shop with lots of local produce, including artisan bread, Cornish sausages and bacon, and beers and ciders. For information, see www.trethem.com.

TOP 25 HIT FOR LADRAM BAY East Devon site Ladram Bay, near Budleigh Salterton, has claimed success in the Travellers’ Choice awards 2014, run by TripAdvisor – being named on the UK’s top 25 family accommodation providers. It came 11th, based on feedback from its various guests, with ratings ranging from “very good” to “excellent”. The site has a clifftop location and boasts access to a private beach. It also offers a range of family-friendly attractions, including entertainment. The site has been owned and run by the Carter family, since it was founded back in the 1940s. For more information, see www. ladrambay. co.uk co.uk.

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Camping talk

Pull up a chair, pour yourself a drink and join in the chat

DISHING THE DIRT

STAR Having been R LETTE camping on

four occasions now I suppose my family and I are relative newcomers to this wonderful pastime. We have recently returned from a week in a site in North Wales. It was on the whole a really good week and a top site. On the first day, having just erected the tent and got it sort of “shipshape” I was enjoying listening to my three-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter run round the grass at the front of our pitch. We don’t have a garden so it was great to see them enjoying the grass. Then my son slipped in

@

I write with a bit of hesitation to let you know about this absolute gem of a campsite that my wife, a friend and I discovered this year. The owners of Ling’s Meadow campsite in Norfolk, Kath and Neel Shearer, advertise the place as “carefree camping” and this description could not be more apt. The site is “off-grid” so no electric hook ups. It also only caters for no more than six pitches and 20 people at a time. Perfect if you are the type of person who really enjoys peace and quiet. The entire site is eco-friendly and has onsite facilities which include composting toilets and a shower which is heated by solar power or a rocket stove. All of which have been made from scratch by Neel himself! Right from the offset Kath and Neel made this experience fantastic. Every query we had before and during our stay they answered with more information than we needed, which was brilliant. There are also a couple of “glamping” bell tents available for those who want a bit more luxury. Martin Roscoe via email

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In response to Mary McGrory’s letter (Camping Talk, August issue) about the costs

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a blob of dog diarrhoea, in bare feet. My wife and I were incensed and my son was distraught. Why would someone not clean up after their dog on a campsite? Maybe because they were unaware - still unacceptable in my view. It’s called taking responsibility. I see loads of dog mess in towns and I wonder how these owners have become so shameless, because ensuring your dog leaves no poo anywhere is just basic decency in my view. But on campsites? Come on. I can’t get my head round this. Some dog owners are getting the majority a bad name. Sort it out! The Green family, Yorkshire

of DofE and it not being open to all, I can assure everyone that this is just not the case. There is often equipment that can be rented for a very small fee, there are also funds available from other organisations to help with equipment costs. I know that often parents and guardians are often not aware of these options, even though all the information is made available and certainly in my area we have lots of equipment that goes unused but it is all there for the asking (stoves, tents, backpacks, map cases, gaiters, sleeping bags, jackets, etc). Ross Elliott via email I got a Rio Conway in need of an inner bedroom liner, any ideas? WildJim comment on our forum at www.outandaboutlive.co.uk

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How am I supposed to type this email when I have tears in my eyes and I’m shaking with laughter? I refer to Fay Bennett’s letter in the September issue! Don’t worry Faye it can only get better from now on so don’t let it put you off! Which leads me to an idea. What’s the worst/best/funniest camping experience readers’ ever had? Geoff Smeaton via email

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TWITTER TALK All the #camping chat on our timeline.

From the Oct 14 issue


IN ASSOCIATION WITH COLEMAN

COLEMAN.EU 01275 845024

Snappy Campers

WIN PRIZES!

The Star Letter featured each month will receive a prize from Coleman. This month the winner gets a Breckenridge Single (£49.99). Offering a luxurious night’s sleep on the campsite, the Breckenridge sleeping bag combines comfortable, oversized dimensions with high-performance Coletherm® insulation for ultimate cosiness and freedom of movement. The sleeping bag’s large hood ensures optimum heat retention for a warm and restful night’s sleep. Take any photos on your last camping trip? We bet you did, so why not enter our Snappy Campers monthly photo competition and you could see yourself starring in the pages of Camping. And you’ll win a prize if you’re featured! This month, our favourite photo wins an Instant Dome 3 (£129.99)

STAR P H OT O 2

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The new Instant Dome 3 features Coleman’s revolutionary instant technology for ultra-fast pitching. A high-performance flysheet ensures maximum weather protection and the Instant Dome’s fully integrated groundsheet guarantees clean, dry and bugfree camping. All other photos will receive an LED Micro Quad Lantern (£19.99). 4 lights in 1 – this fun lantern promises to brighten up your next camping trip. Great for mealtimes or family games after dark, the appliance also features four handy, detachable micro-lights each with a different coloured, snap-on lens for added practicality.

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ENTER NOW! To enter your photo, email a funny caption, your name, address and phone number to editorial@ campingmagazine.co.uk. Or just upload your photo to our free online gallery at www.campingmagazine.co.uk

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Contact us. @ editorial@campingmagazine.co.uk

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STAR LETTER Looks like we have a stowaway! Our daughter Summer makes sure she doesn’t miss out on a camp at Britchcombe Farm Campsite, Uffington Jody Kerman Oxfordshire 2 Perfectly peaceful pebbly picnic, Pooley Bridge Dan Potter Cleveland 3 A rainy May bank holiday. Even the fish weren’t biting. My son resorted to pleading with them! Lynsey Hitchings Gloucester 4 Maicee’s first chilli on a Devon hillside!! Lloyd James Basingstoke 5 “I don’t wanna go home!” Half term break at Camping La Fontaine des Clercs Lynne Short Hampshire 6 “It takes more than a little bit of rain to dampen our spirits!” Dale Sinclair Hurlford, Ayrshire

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50 COOL CAMPSITES

Alde Garden

COOL SUMMER Queen of Cool Claire Tupholme runs down 50 of the quirkiest, most stylish and laid back campsites in Britain.

à

What makes a campsite cool? It’s not easy to define – but you’ll almost certainly recognise a cool site when you find one. It’s all about the attitude of the people and the mood they set. For a start, everyone tends to be a little more laid back and relaxed. And then there’s the little extras that set cool sites apart, like home made artisan bread, fresh eggs from the resident hens, communal

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pizza ovens, wood-fired saunas. All designed to add something different to your stay. It’s also about style and comfort. The layout will be quirky and eccentric. You won’t find row after row of hard-standings – instead tents will tend to be pitched randomly on an open field. You’ll probably find a few more canvas bell tents onsite and cool campers will be tempted to try out alternative forms of accommodation like yurts and tipis. They

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also prefer to sit around a campfire sharing stories of an evening rather than hitting the clubhouse. Facilities aren’t quite as important – although families will still expect them to be clean and to have a ready supply of hot water. And they’d prefer the facilities to be eco-friendly. While there might not be an adventure playpark for the kids, there should be plenty of space for them to run free, woods to explore or a stream to paddle in.


From the Jun 14 issue

ALDE GARDEN

Troytown Farm

SUFFOLK

This campsite is set in the grounds of the Sweffling White Horse pub but it is more like camping in someone’s wild flower garden. Alde Garden lies just 20 minutes’ drive from the coast and only has five tent pitches plus yurts and a tipi. Rustic pathways lead to the pitches and take you through trees, flowers and wildlife areas. Communal facilities include a campfire, covered field kitchen, pizza oven, compost loo and jungle shower. Outside of pub hours an off-licence service is offered and the herb garden is perfect for adding flavour to your cooking. The campsite also has many ducks and hens, a pond and bikes, which are free to use to explore this beautiful area. In keeping with the campsite’s low impact living ethos the camping area is electric free, with solar powered fairy lights and lanterns being your light in the evenings and adding to this magical secret garden. ALDE GARDEN The White Horse Inn, Low Road, Sweffling, Suffolk IP17 2BB 01728 664178 www.aldegarden.co.uk Price Tent and two adults £14.00 for one night with discounts the more nights you stay. Open 1 May – 31 October Facilities As well as the compost loo and jungle shower there are also flush toilets and solar powered showers. A small area near the main house contains a fridge, freezer, microwave and washing machine plus a spare socket for charging a phone/laptop.

HENRY’S CAMPSITE

CORNWALL

The owners at Henry’s Campsite want you to feel like you are sharing their garden rather than being pitched on a campsite. And what a garden it is, with sea views and individual pitches surrounded by an array of wild and

Henry’s Campsite.

exotic plants. Some pitches also have walls partially surrounding them and others are more open. The campsite is situated in a rural area a few minutes’ walk from Cadgwith village and 10 minutes from the coastal paths. This site’s principal characteristic is its eccentricity backed up by its motto of ‘strange but wonderful’. This is evident through the granite monoliths that are dotted about the site, the free wandering hens and ducks and the riot of colour and local art. The communal firepit and wooden seagulls perched atop the facilities buildings complete this bohemian idyll. HENRY’S CAMPSITE The Lizard, Helston, Cornwall TR12 7NX 01326 290596 www.henryscampsite.co.uk Price Tent and two adults £21.00. Extra adult £10.50. Child £5.00. Electric £4.00. Dogs £2.00.

Open All year Facilities Electric hook-ups, four showers (20p for two minutes, £1.00 for 10 minutes), seven unisex toilets, washing up basins, tumble dryer and washing machine. Mobile phones, laptops and batteries can be charged 50p). Ice pack freezing (10p) and shop on site.

TROYTOWN FARM

ISLES OF SCILLY

The adventure begins long before you even reach this campsite. Troytown farm is located on the water’s edge of the remote island of St Agnes, which is part of the Isles of Scilly. St Agnes is vehicle free to visitors so cars remain on the mainland and you take the ferry (from Penzance) or a small aircraft (from Newquay, Land’s End or Exeter) to St Mary’s island and then a smaller boat to St Agnes. A 15-minute walk from the Quay will bring you, finally, to Troytown Farm. Now you’ve left behind the stresses of modern life and gone back to another time and place. Everywhere on the island is within walking or cycling distance. There’s no electric on site, a torch is needed as there are no streetlights, rainwater is collected and treated there’s no mains water –this is rural, escapism camping and this is what makes it great. There’s a shop on the island, along with a pub and café. The farm itself produces ice cream, clotted cream, milk, yoghurts and butter. TROYTOWN FARM St Agnes, Isles of Scilly TR22 0PL 01720 422360 www.troytown.co.uk Price Tent and two adults £17.50-£25.50. Extra person (anyone five years plus) £8.75. Child under five £5.00. Dogs £2.50. Open All year Facilities A traditional granite building houses toilets, showers (token operated), wash basins, shaver points, hair dryers and laundry facilities. There are also secure lockers with sockets for charging phones, batteries and laptops.

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50 COOL CAMPSITES

Beech Estate Woodland Campsite

BEECH ESTATE WOODLAND CAMPSITE EAST SUSSEX How do you fancy a secret campsite in the woods? One so secret that they don’t tell you the exact location until you receive your booking confirmation email. All you can glean from the website is that it is set within the 2000 acre private Beech Estate near Battle in East Sussex. The campsite is nestled on the edge of a 500-acre woodland, which is exclusive to users of the

campsite and not open to public access. The woodland has miles of forest tracks for walking or cycling and is perfect for children to make dens. The pitches are set apart within glades or in the woods, each with their own fire pit and campfire. For total seclusion try the ‘faraway tent pitches’ which are set on top of a hill overlooking Bracken Valley. Beech Estate is off-grid camping, there’s no electricity and cars cannot be parked by pitches. The site provides unique eco toilets and a shower in a custom made wooden gypsy-style caravan.

BEECH ESTATE WOODLAND CAMPSITE Nr Battle, East Sussex 0800 612 7390/07779 979823 www.ecocampuk.co.uk Price Tent and two adults £30.00. Extra adult £15.00. Child £7.00. Open April – October Facilities Custom built eco toilets, bucket showers and a central washing up area.

FAERIE THYME

CAMARTHENSHIRE

Five years of hard work has gone into making this campsite into a magical place where imagination rules and campers are encouraged to nurture their inner child. Faerie Thyme is an adults only site for relaxation and personal discovery, with space to chill out by a giant dreamcatcher and an area by a stone circle to enjoy the peace of the place. The campsite is surrounded by ancient woodland and is likened to wild camping in a back garden. Pitches are sectioned off by hazel hurdles and different trees and shrubs to give privacy to each tent including two woodland pitches for the ultimate in seclusion. There are covered fire pits dotted around the site and craft courses are offered for 2014. At the back of the site is a large disused quarry which is filled with crystal clear water and great for wild swimming, while a footpath from the site will take you over Mynydd Llangyndeyrn which has a collection of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments, burial areas and standing stones. FAERIE THYME

Faerie Thyme.

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Crwbin, Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire SA17 5DR 01269 871774 www.caravancampingwales.co.uk Price Tent with two adults £21.00-£27.50. Extra adult £9.50. Open 1 May – 31 October Facilities Eco toilets and showers, washing up area, water taps and recycling. Honesty shop selling local produce, logs and kindling.


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50 COOL CAMPSITES SECRET GARDEN CARAVAN & CAMPING PARK

Secret Garden Caravan & Camping Park.

CORNWALL

The Secret Garden stands within the old walled orchard of Bosavern House which is a typical Cornish country house. This is no typical campsite though. It has been planted with a host of shrubs, plants and bulbs so that it feels as if you are camping within a pleasant garden. Secret Garden has just 12 pitches, all with hook-ups, located around the hedges and edges of this little site. To add to the homely feel, the lounge in the main house is available for campers’ use, as is the library and bar. You can even pre-order breakfast the night before it’s required or enjoy a cream tea. Within a short distance of the site are sandy beaches, coastal and moorland walks, golf courses and the Tate Gallery in St Ives. The nearest shops are located within the town of St Just, which is five minutes’ drive away, or about 15 minutes’ walk using a footpath across the fields just opposite Bosavern House. SECRET GARDEN CARAVAN & CAMPING PARK Bosavern House, St Just in Penwith, Penzance, Cornwall TR19 7RD 01736 788301 www.secretbosavern.com Price Tent and two adults £17.00. Electric £4.80. Extra person £3.80. Open March – October Facilities Electric hook-ups. Small facility block with toilets and showers. Laundry, access to the guesthouse lounge and bar. Breakfasts and takeaways available. Battery charging service.

NATURESBASE HOLIDAYS

CEREDIGION

Nestled between the Cambrian mountains and Cardigan Bay, Naturesbase offers 12 pitches

LAZY DUCK CAMPSITE

INVERNESS-SHIRE

within flower rich meadows and farmland. The pitches are created from areas of grass mown out between the clover, buttercup and wild flowers which are left to grow long to increase privacy and wildlife diversity. This place is a natural haven for children – a nature trail, willow tunnels, tipi, rope swing and stream running through the site all provide outdoors fun. There’s also a playbarn and little ones can help feed the farm animals and collect eggs each morning if they wish. The site very much emphasises family time too, by way of campfire nights with communal eating and singing and events in the summer such as day-long survival adventures and make your own pizza nights using the outdoor pizza oven. And if all this wasn’t enough to make the place sound like heaven, there’s the added luxury of home-made cakes, suppers and even reflexology treatments. NATURESBASE HOLIDAYS Tyngwndwn Farm, Cilcennin, Lampeter, Ceredigion SA48 8RJ 01570 471795 www.naturesbaseholidays.co.uk Price Tent and two adults £24.00. Extra adult £12.00. Child £6.00. Dogs £2.00. Pre-booking essential. Open April – October Facilities Toilets and showers, washing up and drying area. Sockets for charging phones/batteries, freezer, and farm shop selling basic items and farm produce.

More a relaxed forest clearing at the back of someone’s house than a campsite, Lazy Duck has just four pitches (plus a small hostel sleeping eight, an eco-cabin and lodge) and is perfect for those who would like their only neighbours to be the waterfowl who give this site its name. Whilst there’s no electric and only the one toilet, there are some added comforts which make this site special. These include a camper’s shelter with tables, chairs and chimenea, a wood-fired hot tub, a sauna, and swings and hammocks hanging from trees inviting you to come and relax. The bush shower has to be tried to be believed. Located outdoors (with wooden sides and a shower curtain to hide your modesty) a bag is hung between the trees which you lower and fill with hot water. It is then raised back to a suitable height and the shower head at the base turned on and voilà – al fresco showering with a sublime view to heather moorland and Caledonian forest at the front and the peaks of the Cairngorms to the rear. LAZY DUCK CAMPSITE Nethy Bridge, Inverness-shire PH25 3ED 01479 821642 www.lazyduck.co.uk Price Tent and two adults £15.00. Extra person £5.00. Open 1 May – 31 October Facilities Toilet and bush shower. Camper’s shelter, hot tub and sauna.

THE SECRET CAMPSITE

EAST SUSSEX

This is a site which should suit all the family. It’s a tent only site for nature lovers and real campers but with an appreciation that some people would like great toilets and showers too. The campsite is kept free from cars and dogs, so that nature can go undisturbed and children can roam freely amongst the wilderness. The camping pitches are reached by loading up trolley and crossing over an old railway bridge into the woodland meadow. Here there are 12 pitches (each with their own fire pit), with two additional pitches in the orchard and another two with South Downs views. The site’s seclusion and bordering ancient woodland ensures black night skies and plenty of wildlife. Children can build dens and climb trees while adults spot deer and listen to the song of the nightingale in the evening. And while the site is rural, there’s a farm shop down the road and Barcombe village, with a great local pub, is a 15-minute walk. THE SECRET CAMPSITE

Naturesbase Holidays.

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Brickyard Farm, Town Littleworth, Barcombe, East Sussex BN8 4TD 01273 401100 www.thesecretcampsite.co.uk


The Secret Campsite. (Maynard Frith)

Price Tent and two adults £28.00. Extra adult £14.00. Child (5-16 years) £7.00. Open 20 March – 26 October Facilities Eco toilets plus flushing toilets and free showers in a converted stable and woodshed, washing up area, water taps, fridge and freezer. Phone charging at reception.

TRELLYN WOODLAND CAMPING

PEMBROKESHIRE

Trellyn Woodland’s owners describe their pitches as ‘a space of your own just yards from the sea.’ With just five pitches (plus four glamping options) spread over 16 acres separated by willow, trees and plantings, each with its own covered campfire area, picnic table and grill, it’s definitely like having your own slice of paradise. The site’s location is around 100 metres from the harbour of Abercastle, on the St David’s peninsula and part of the Pembrokeshire National Park. Because of the Park’s protected status the campsite is for C&CC members only and they only take full week bookings. But what a week it will be! The coast path is minutes away and a private road from Trellyn leads to the village and the sea at Abercastle. You can borrow kayaks and wetsuits to explore the water, use the wood-fired bread oven to cook fresh pizza, enjoy fresh lobster and crab cooked in the field kitchen or relax in the wood-fired sauna. And if that isn’t enough then try your hand at one of Trellyn’s bushcraft courses from £15.00 per person. TRELLYN WOODLAND CAMPING Abercastle, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire SA62 5HJ 01348 837762 www.trellyn.co.uk Price Tent and two adults £240.00 per week. Extra adult £6.50 per night. Child £3.40 per night. Open May – October Facilities Electric hook-up on one pitch, toilet and two family-sized walk in showers. Shared compost loos between some pitches. Washing up area and power supply for charging phones and batteries. Two freezers and a fridge. WiFi.

PORTH JOKE CAMPSITE

CORNWALL

Trellyn Woodland Camping.

Polly Joke beach. (Ross Breadmore)

Between the sandy beaches of Crantock and Holywell Bay, lies a lesser known (but still as beautiful) cove called Polly Joke. The crowds don’t flock here and it remains largely deserted even in summer. A short walk from the beach is a small campsite called Porth Joke. The unsigned road to the site is narrow and sandy, through dunes and a mile from the nearest public road, so only those who mean to end up here do (and even then they sometimes struggle to find it!). The camping field adjoins Treago Mill (a cottage and lodge rental business) and is surrounded by National Trust land, so the whole place is natural and

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50 COOL CAMPSITES very rural. A large sandpit is a feature of one of the camping fields which provides a great social place for children to make friends and play safely and campfires are allowed on the beach. For supplies and places to eat it is only one mile to Crantock village, two miles via the South West Coast Path to Holywell and Newquay is four miles by car. PORTH JOKE CAMPSITE Treago Mill, Crantock, Newquay, Cornwall TR8 5QS 01637 830213 www.crantockholiday.co.uk Price Tent and two adults £15.00. Extra adult (over 14s) £7.50. Child £3.50. Open March – October Facilities Toilets and free showers, washing up room, shaver and hair drying points. Free ice pack service.

GRANGE FARM BRIGHSTONE BAY

ISLE OF WIGHT

If you want a rural, un-commercialised campsite but with more facilities than wild camping offers you’d be wise to head to Grange Farm. The site, which is part of a small, family run working farm, is situated on the coast, with easy access to the sandy beach. There are many unusual animals kept here such as kune-kune pigs, a donkey, llamas and water buffalo, plus the usual farm fayre – pigs, goats, a pony and horse. The whole area is ideal for cycling, fishing and fossil hunting, and it’s a walker’s paradise. The beach (which is dog friendly) is 100 yards away down a coastal path from the site and many of the pitches overlook the sea. The village of Brighstone is ¾ mile away with pubs, a tea room and local shops. For us though it’s the play area that seals the deal – it’s up high overlooking the sea. There’s a play boat, trains, hay cart, slide, see-saw, rope bridge, swings and tyre swing and it must have the best view of any play area anywhere. Fact. GRANGE FARM BRIGHSTONE BAY Military Road, Brighstone, Isle of Wight PO30 4DA 01983 740296 www.grangefarmholidays.com Price Tent and two adults from £13.50. Electric £3.50. Dogs £2.00. Open 1 March – 2 November Facilities Electric hook-ups. Toilets and free showers, shaver points and wash basins. Small laundrette with drying facilities. Dish washing sinks and coin-operated bath.

Grange Farm Brighstone.

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Bouncers Farm Campsite .

BOUNCERS FARM CAMPSITE ESSEX Bouncers Farm is hidden away down a rural narrow lane, which leads to the small holding and the remains of orchards from older times. The campsite is nestled in an old wartime gravel pit and 300-year-old woodland, with blooming apple and cherry trees in early May. As part of a small farm, you’ll find sheep, pigs, chickens and a miniature Shetland pony as your neighbours. Farm produce such as eggs, lamb, jams, jellies and chutneys are generally available and hot meals, breakfasts and picnics can be prepared if ordered in advance. Children will enjoy the tyre swing, clambering up to the treehouse, making dens in the woodland and picking apples in autumn. Pony and trap rides can be arranged with the owner, adding to the olde-worlde feel of this campsite. The pièce de résistance though is the professional opera held at Bouncers Farm every July, which this year is La Bohème on the 12th.

Bouncers Farm Campsite

Iron Age village and stone circles, a shire horse centre and Victorian farm. Dan-yr-Ogof lies in the Brecon Beacons National Park with a river running through the site and private nooks and crannies to pitch in along with more communal areas. The showcaves coffee shop is available to campers from 9am-5pm for breakfasts and meals, plus several restaurants are close by for evening meals. DAN-YR-OGOF The National Showcaves Centre for Wales, Abercrave, Swansea SA9 1GJ 01639 730284 www.showcaves.co.uk Price Tent and two adults £14.00. Electric £4.00. Extra adult £7.00. Child £5.00. Open 1 April – 31 October Facilities Limited electric hook-ups for tents. Hardstanding and grass pitches available (no parking by grass pitches). Toilets and free showers.

BOUNCERS FARM CAMPSITE Bouncers Farm, Wickham Hall Lane, Wickham Bishops, Essex CM8 3JJ 01621 894112 www.operaintheorchard.co.uk Price Tent and two adults £16.00. Extra adult £4.00. Child £3.00. Dogs £1.00. Open All year Facilities Toilets and a wood-heated shower. You are required to take your own loo roll.

Dan-yr-Ogof.

DAN-YR-OGOF SHOWCAVES CAMPSITE

GLAMORGAN

Imagine being able to tell children that on their next camping trip they might see some dinosaurs! If you head to the Brecon Beacons and Dan-yr-Ogof Showcaves Campsite that could actually be true. The campsite is set a five-minute walk from the showcaves and dinosaur park. There are over 200 life-sized replicas of prehistoric animals plus three showcaves – one a wonderland of stalactites and stalagmites which cavers have discovered spans for at least 10 miles and another the location of 42 human skeletons which have so far been discovered. There’s also a replica

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Dan-yr-Ogof.

Dan-yr-Ogof.


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50 COOL CAMPSITES COTSWOLDS CAMPING AT HOLYCOMBE

WARWICKSHIRE

Built in the grounds of a Norman castle with a water-filled moat, Holycombe is a holistic retreat centre and family home. It is a place where music, dance, song and meditation can renew energy and well-being. On weekday evening there are regular groups such as yoga and pilates and therapies include massage, reflexology and acupuncture. The site is set in a wooded valley on the edge of the Cotswold village of Whichford. A natural stream rises from a holy well in the wood, passes through the grounds and down a waterfall. There’s a campfire area and large stone circle on site and archaeologists have excavated a Roman water conduit in the grounds and believe it was a sacred site before the Roman occupation. With no formal layout, campers can choose where to pitch with views being the moat, valley woods or church. Whichford village has a pub serving meals and local shops are slightly further afield. Shell Island.

COTSWOLDS CAMPING AT HOLYCOMBE Whichford, Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire CV36 5PH 01608 684239 www.holycombe.com Price Tent and two adults £20.00. Extra adult £10.00. Child £5.00. Open All year Facilities Flush and compost toilets, free showers and a camping kitchen housed in a log cabin.

LUNDY ISLAND CAMPSITE

DEVON

Lundy Island lies 11 miles off the north Devon coast, a remote, barren and desolate landscape of unspoilt beauty and magnificence. With a permanent population in summer of only about 20, this is the place to come for complete solitude. The island is managed by The Landmark Trust, who Lundy Island Campsite.

maintains the island for the benefit of tourists. A ferry service to the island departs from Bideford and Ilfracombe between March and October (£52 adult, £26 child return) or a helicopter shuttle service runs in winter (adult £87, child £46). The campsite is essentially a walled field with a facilities block and a well-stocked shop is only five minutes’ walk from the site. Near to the shop you’ll find the main focal point of the island, The Marisco Tavern. It is in fact the only pub on the island, but it serves food, and never shuts – it’s the place to go if you need anything whilst camping. LUNDY ISLAND CAMPSITE Lundy Shore Office, The Quay, Bideford, Devon EX39 2LY 01271 863636 Price Tent and two adults £7.00-£10.00. Open April – October Facilities Toilets and free showers, washing machine. There’s no electric after midnight so be sure to bring a torch or two!

SHELL ISLAND

GWYNNED

The road to this campsite in the north of Cardigan Bay gets flooded at high tide so you need to check the tide times before you cross. Once at the site you are looking at 300 acres of land allocated for camping. It is reputedly the largest campsite in Europe with over 35 water points, 22 fire extinguisher points and some four miles of roads. You are free to pitch wherever you choose, with some fields

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having an open aspect, others having alcoves and being divided by trees and shrubs. Some pitches are even right on top of the dunes and close to the beach. Do bear in mind though as this is a large site that some pitches are a 25-minute walk (or short drive) from the main facilities. Shell Island gets its name from the vast amount of shells washed ashore in the winter months by storms, which can be gathered by the bagful in spring. Some 200 different types of shell are to be found on the island’s three beaches, from oyster and scallop to cockle and whelk. The best time to see the shells is January to June. SHELL ISLAND Llanbedr, Gwynedd, North Wales LL45 2PJ 01341 241453 www.shellisland.co.uk Price Tent and two adults £12.50-£14.50. Extra adult £6.25-£7.25. Child £2.50-£3.00. Dogs £2.00. Open 21 March – 1 October Facilities Toilet and shower block and a laundrette. Portaloos added around site in high season. Supermarket, camping shop and gift shop. Tavern Bar, snack bar and converted barn restaurant.

KINTRA FARM CAMPSITE

ISLE OF ISLAY

The name Kintra is derived from Ceann Tragh, the Gaelic for ‘head of the beach’ and this traditional hill farm lies at the end of seven miles of glorious beach. This is wild camping in the sand dunes right next to the beach.


camping, offering minimal facilities and a free choice of pitch in a couple of fields or a wood. The more adventurous will prefer the wood, as you have to cross an old railway line to reach the pitches hidden in the trees. This site is so ‘alternative’ that the owners reckon 20% of campers don’t even bring a tent, preferring to create a bender or sling their hammock. The site covers 20 acres of fields, woods, and a stretch of the River Dulais. The old railway line which runs through is an unusual feature, but weeks can pass between one slow freight train and the next. To keep demand under control, booking is essential and you cannot simply turn up. There aren’t many facilities here but this keeps the rare ambience of a proper backto-basics campsite. Just don’t tell too many people, OK?

Lone Wolf Campsite.

LONE WOLF CAMPSITE Glyn Y Mul Farm, Aberdulais , Wales SA10 8HF 01639 618509 www.lonewolfcampsite.co.uk Price Tent and two adults £10.00. Extra adult £5.00. Child £2.50. Dogs free. Open Nominally April-September but may be open other times Facilities Male and female toilets, free hot shower, kitchen, wash room. Parking, gazebos, pup tents all free.

COOKHAM LOCK

Kintra is remote, with miles of beach frontage and is located on a Site of Special Scientific Interest for chough and Arctic tern. Campers can light up a campfire on the beach and enjoy the sunset, although in summer you’ll need to stay up late for this as it stays light until almost 11pm! The campsite neighbours the RSPB’s The Oa nature reserve where you will see many birds, and possibly feral goats and otters. Port Ellen is a few miles away and has shops and places to eat – the refurbished Islay Hotel being recommended. Islay (pronounced eye-lah), the most southerly island of the Inner Hebrides, is best known for its single malt whiskies which have a distinctive smoky flavour. There are eight working distilleries on the island, all of which welcome visitors and offer guided tours.

BERKSHIRE

It’s not exactly the Mississippi delta (shining like a National guitar…), but the river Thames briefly splits into half a dozen channels to create an archipelago of islands between Maidenhead and Beaconsfield, before regrouping to continue its journey to the sea. In the process it creates an appealing landscape with weirs and locks, wildlife refuges and – best of all – a campsite right by the river. There are in fact two locations to camp at Cookham Lock – beside the lock keeper’s house (slightly easier to get to), or on Sashes Island in the middle of the delta (more picturesque and remote). Geese, ducks, kingfishers, and an ever-growing population of parakeets provide ornithological interest,

Lone Wolf Campsite.

while passing river craft and the simple joy of watching a lock in operation are also fun. Facilities are basic but quirky, with a hexagonal wooden loo block. If you go for an island pitch, be prepared to portage your gear over the pedestrian bridge and check lock opening times to make sure you arrive in time. COOKHAM LOCK CAMPSITE Odney Lane, Cookham, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 9SR 01628 520752 www.environment-agency.gov.uk £10.00 Open 1 April – 30 September Facilities Toilets, showers (£1 token), water tap. Camping only available to those arriving on foot, bike, or unpowered boat.

KINTRA FARM CAMPSITE Port Ellen, Islay, Argyll, Scotland PA42 7AT 01496 302051 www.kintrafarm.co.uk Price N/A Open N/A Facilities Toilets and showers, hot and cold water, washing up area and access to laundry facilities. Fridge freezer. The water supply is private and must be boiled before use.

LONE WOLF

WEST GLAMORGAN Back in business after a brief shutdown in 2012, we’re a little reluctant to even mention this campsite in case the attention leads to another closure. This is a place for wild

Cookham Lock. (Credit Ollie Harding)

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50 COOL CAMPSITES

Don’t miss... SOUTH OF ENGLAND

BLACKBERRY WOOD

Streat Lane, Streat, Nr Ditchling, Sussex BN6 8RS 01273 890035 www.blackberrywood.com

THE SUSTAINABILITY CENTRE Mercury Park, East Meon, Petersfield, Hampshire GU32 1HR 01730 823166 www.sustainability-centre.org

DERNWOOD FARM

SOUTH WEST OF ENGLAND

DORNAFIELD (PREMIER PARK) Two Mile Oak, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 6DD 01803 812732 www.dornafield.com

HUNTSTILE ORGANIC FARM Goathurst, Nr Bridgwater, Somerset TA5 2DQ 01278 662358 www.huntstileorganicfarm.co.uk

BATCOMBE VALE CARAVAN CAMPSITE

Dern Lane, Waldron, Heathfield, East Sussex TN21 0PN 01435 812726 www.dernwoodfarm.co.uk

Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 6BW 07715 905495 www.batcombevale.co.uk

ENGLISH MIDLANDS

STOWFORD MANOR FARM

RUTLAND GREENDALE (ADULT ONLY)

Pickwell Lane, Oakham, Whissendine, Rutland LE15 7LB 01664 474516 www.rutlandgreendale.co.uk

NEW HOUSE ORGANIC FARM Longrose Lane, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 1JL 01335 342429 www.newhousefarm.co.uk

WALES

THREE CLIFFS BAY

Wingfield, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 9LH 01225 752253 www.stowfordmanorfarm.co.uk

COTSWOLD FARM PARK CAMPSITE Guiting Power, Nr Cheltenham, Gloucester GL54 5UG 01451 850307 www.cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk

DENNIS FARM CAMPSITE

NORTH EAST OF ENGLAND

Park Lodge, Keld, Richmond, North Yorkshire DL11 6LJ 01748 886274 www.rukins-keld.co.uk

Lansallos, Looe, Cornwall PL13 2PX 01208 265211 www.nationaltrust.org.uk

JERUSALEM FARM

THE SECRET SPOT CAMPING

HIGHERTOWN FARM – NATIONAL TRUST

HADRIAN’S WALL CAMPING

NORTH WEST OF ENGLAND

Castle Howard, York, North Yorkshire YO60 7DA 01653 648333 www.castlehoward.co.uk

ST HELEN’S IN THE PARK (PREMIER PARK) Wykeham, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO13 9QD 01723 862771 www.sthelenscaravanpark.co.uk

Treheli, Rhiw, Pwllheli, Gwynedd LL53 8AA 01758 780281

LLANTHONY CAMPSITE Court Farm, Llanthony, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire NP7 7NN 01873 890359

NANTCOL WATERFALLS CAMPSITE Cwm Nantcol, Llandedr, Gwynedd LL45 2PL 01341 241209 www.nantcolwaterfalls.co.uk

DOL LLYS CARAVAN AND CAMPING SITE Trefeglwys Road, Llanidloes, Powys SY18 6JA 01686 412694 www.dolllyscaravancampsite.co.uk

SCOTLAND

Moor Lane Nursery, Saunton Road, Devon EX33 1HG 07818 423498

CASTLE HOWARD LAKESIDE HOLIDAY PARK

SNOWDONIA PARK BREWPUB CAMPSITE Waunfawr, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL55 4AQ 01286 650409 www.snowdonia-park.co.uk

ARDNAMURCHAN CAMPSITE

Jerusalem Lane, Booth, Halifax, West Yorkshire HX2 6XB 01422 883246

Melkridge Tilery, Melkridge, Northumberland NE49 9PG 01434 320495 www.hadrianswallcampsite.co.uk

GWERN GOF ISAF Capel Curig, Betws y Coed, Conwy LL24 0EU 01690 720276 www.gwerngofisaf.co.uk

TREHELI FARM

Dennis Lane, Padstow, Cornwall PL28 8DR 01841 534925 www.dennisfarm.wix.com

RUKINS CAMPSITE

North Hill Farm, North Hill Lane, Swansea SA3 2HB 01792 371218 www.threecliffsbay.com

Bogha Caol Ard, Ormsaigbeg, Kilchoan, Acharacle, Argyll PH36 4LL 01972 510766 www.ardnamurchanstudycentre.co.uk

SLIGACHAN CAMPSITE Sligachan Hotel, Sligachan, Isle of Skye, Scotland IV47 8SW 01478 650204 www.sligachan.co.uk

SIDE FARM CAMPSITE

Patterdale, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0NP 01768 482337

STONETHWAITE CAMPSITE – NATIONAL TRUST Borrowdale, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 5XG 01768 777234

RYDAL HALL Rydal, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 9LX 01539 432050 www.rydalhall.org

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BRITAIN’S COOLEST PLACES

COOL BRITANNIA You’ve seen the coolest campsites Britain has to offer, but what about cool places to visit? Forget Shoreditch, as our resident hipster Iain Duff dons his Raybans and discovers some of the country’s quirkiest corners.

Portmeirion

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From the Jun 14 issue

Eden Project

1CORNWALL

EDEN PROJECT

It’s one of Britain’s most popular tourist attractions, but the Eden Project, in the south of Cornwall near St Austell, has managed to retain its status as a cool place to visit. A lot of that is down to the fact that it looks so impressive – but what goes on

inside the truly jaw-dropping set of domed ‘greenhouses’ is pretty cool too. Each holds a self-contained climate and ecosystem. One is a ‘rainforest’ fed by a waterfall, while the other is a more arid setting with plants from South Africa, California and the Med. The landscaped gardens are hidden in a former quarry near St Austell.

FALKIRK 2CENTRAL SCOTLAND

First impressions can be misleading. Once a centre for heavy industry and now a satellite town for Glasgow and Edinburgh, Falkirk, in the heart of central Scotland between the two big cities, isn’t obviously a “cool” place. But it happens to boast two of Britain’s most incredible structures. The Falkirk Wheel is a massive, rotating boat lift that connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal and is truly a modern engineering marvel. Even more impressive are the newly completed Kelpies – two 30 metre high horsehead sculptures, that stand on the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal. The Kelpies are a monument to horse-powered heritage across Scotland and were due to open to the public in the spring, with a visitor centre following in the summer.

PORTMEIRION 3NORTH WALES Falkirk Wheel

The Kelpies

Set on its own private peninsula on the southern shores of Snowdonia in North Wales, Portmeirion was the set for cult 60s TV series The Prisoner and is now the home of one of Britain’s coolest music festivals. It’s certainly not your typical Welsh village. Designed by architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the 1920s, it represents his fantasy of a classical Italianate village in the Mediterranean, transplanted to a romantic clifftop location. It was also designed to demonstrate how a naturally beautiful place could be developed without spoiling it. Feast your eyes on around 50 buildings, pastelpainted, with shuttered windows, a grand piazza, and 70 acres of surrounding woodland and sub-tropical gardens filled with exotic plants. There are woodland paths to explore, and when the tide is low you can walk along the sands.

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BRITAIN’S COOLEST PLACES a mysterious magnetic force, but of course spoilsport scientists have poo-pooed that theory by pointing out that the road’s apparent uphill slope is actually an optical illusion. It’s still a pretty cool phenomenon though.

Crosby Beach Statues

GIANT’S CAUSEWAY 6COUNTY ANTRIM

4LANCASHIRE

a middle-aged man trying to remain standing and trying to breathe, facing a horizon busy with ships moving materials and manufactured things around the planet.” So now you know.

Slightly eerie but definitely cool, this public art installation by Antony Gormley, called Another Place, is made up of 100 cast-iron, life-size figures spread out along more than a mile of the shore at Crosby Beach near Liverpool. The figures, made from casts of the artist’s own body, stretch hundreds of yards out to sea, all of them staring gloomily at the horizon. According to Gormley, in this work “human life is tested against planetary time. This sculpture exposes to light and time the nakedness of a particular and peculiar body. It is no hero, no ideal, just the industrially reproduced body of

5AYRSHIRE

CROSBY BEACH STATUES

Electric Brae

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ELECTRIC BRAE

A hill that cars defy gravity and roll up instead of down? What kind of witchcraft is this? Deep in the heart of the Ayrshire countryside is a stretch of the A719 known as Electric Brae where that’s exactly what happens. Sort of. Though the road appears to be running uphill, leave the handbrake off on your vehicle and it will slowly start moving up the hill. Weird or what? In simpler times it was assumed that the cars were being propelled uphill by Brighton Pavilion

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Giant’s Causeway is a World Heritage Site and geological marvel on the Antrim coastline in Northern Ireland, made up of more than 40,000 polygonal columns of layered basalt that resulted from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. This is scientific fact. But myth and legend says it was carved from the coast by a giant, Finn McCool, to use as stepping stones to Scotland, so he didn’t get his feet wet. Visitors can walk across the columns and enjoy four trails of various grades, which offer breathtaking views of jagged cliffs and wavelashed bays. There are routes suitable for all ages and abilities. You can also experience the full extent of the coastline by walking the coastal path to Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

STONEHENGE 7WILTSHIRE

The BBC website describes Stonehenge as “probably the most famous henge in the world” It’s difficult to argue with that, mainly because I’ve no idea what a “henge” is. But even if I did, chances are they are correct, because Stonehenge is one of the most recognizable structures in the world. It was erected around 4,000 years ago but mystery still surrounds exactly why and how it was built, particularly as the giant stones originate hundreds of miles away in Wales. Each year on 21 June visitors from around the world gather at Stonehenge to mark the summer


Giant’s Causeway

9LINCOLNSHIRE

ANDERBY CLOUD BAR

Stonehenge

solstice and to see the sunrise above the stones. The celebration brings together the likes of druids, pagans and Wiccans with ordinary families, tourists, and ravers. To be fair, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it would certainly make for a memorable night.

BRIGHTON 8SUSSEX PAVILION It’s the south coast of England’s answer to the Taj Mahal. Squint your eyes a bit and you could be staring at the Kremlin. With a bit of imagination, it looks like a oversized chess set. And if you’ve had a few too many lunchtime pints, it could be a box full of giant onions. Built for King George IV between 1787 and 1823, the Brigton’s Royal Pavilion is lauded for its exotic oriental appearance inside and out. However you describe it, the Pavilion is opulent, extravagant and utterly bonkers, which all seems quite appropriate for a city that is itself a pretty cool place these days.

This is one of the few places to visit where you pray there won’t be a clear blue sky. Disappointingly it doesn’t serve alcohol, but the Cloud Bar on the beach at Anderby Creek in Lincolnshire is officially the world’s first cloudspotting area. It opened in 2009 on the site of a disused beach shelter on an unspoilt stretch of the North Sea coast and has become a Mecca for people who like to go abut with their head in the clouds. There are great views out to sea and along the sands, but for most visitors the big attraction goes right over their head. On the viewing platform, are Cloud Menus identifying the different formations, mirrors that can be swiveled to reflect different parts of the sky and specially designed cloud-viewing seats.

turns objects to stone when it trickles over them. Among the objects that have become part of the stone wall over the years are a flat cap donated by actor Lionel Jeffries, one of Agatha Christie’s handbags and a cowboy hat given by John Wayne. ■

Mother Shipton’s Cave Anderby Cloud Bar

MOTHER 10YORKSHIRE SHIPTON’S CAVES At first I was afraid, I was petrified. Mother Shipton’s Cave in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, is reputed to be England oldest visitor attraction, having been open since 1630. But it’s also one of the weirdest – and, dare I say it, coolest. Old Mother Shipton was renowned for her visions, predicting among other things the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the Great Fire of London. But even more bizarre, a few feet from the cave where she was born is the Petrifying Well, a stream that

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THE BIG REVIEW MORTONHALL MORTONHALL CARAVAN AND CAMPING PARK 38 MORTONHALL GATE, FROGSTON ROAD EAST, EDINBURGH EH16 6TJ 0131 664 1533 www.meadowhead.co.uk

Open All year Cost From £14.50-£25 (two people, up to six-person tent, one car, under-fives free) Electric hook-up Yes Children welcome Yes

NEARBY Edinburgh (four miles) Dalkeith (six) Leith (seven) Musselburgh (eight) Livingston (18) North Berwick (25) Dunbar (30)

IN THE CITY All set for Scotland’s capital? Pick a pitch here and you’re almost there. Nick Harding explores.

à

What a setting. It’s not every site that gets to look down on a capital city, yet still remains relatively calm. It’s not every site that’s set in the grounds of a stately home, either. But that’s the proposition here at Mortonhall. Walk up to the very top of the campsite boundary and you can indeed see the glory of the capital of Scotland. Head in the other direction and all kinds of other opportunities await. In fact, if you walk in to Edinburgh it’s just four miles, starting with some glorious views as you look down on the back of

Holyrood Palace, with Arthur’s Seat (one of Edinburgh’s seven hills) beyond and the Firth of Forth in the background. There’s a bit more than just Edinburgh, of course. If you’re driving here, it’s pretty easy to reach from the southern stretch of Edinburgh’s ring road. Don’t rely on punching the postcode into your Sat-Nav. Instead, use the full address to guarantee you’ll bring yourself to the right entrance. You’ll get there, and when you do you’ll find it takes up a mere corner of the 200-acre estate that’s all still owned by the Trotter family (no, not those Trotters... we’re talking Clan Trotter here), who’ve been in charge here since 1635. The park

MORTONHALL CARAVAN AND CAMPING PARK

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From the Jun 14 issue

NEED TO DO

No need to drive if you don’t have to. Catch the bus or walk into Edinburgh and make the most of a wonderful city (or just read about some of it on page 42). âOK, if you must drive... how about a round of golf (gotcha!)? Mortonhall Golf Club is Edinburgh’s oldest. Also nearby are Braids Hill and the nine-hole Wee Braids. Braids Hill Driving Range is a 10 minute walk from site. The respective clubhouses are all within 1.5 miles of site. âThere are also horse riding opportunities. Tower Farm Stables is on Braids Hill Road and just 10 minutes walk from site. âTrip to the coast? Try North Berwick (home to the Scottish Seabird Centre) or Dunbar âNearby (OK, three miles south) Pentland Hills Regional Park offers some 22,000 acres of wild landscape, with walking and cycling, and lots more. âNearest distillery? That’ll be Glenkinchie, some 15 miles south of Edinburgh. Well, we are in Scotland...

All year round camping

also has its own arboretum with some of the trees grown from imported seed from the west of America. There are certainly lots of walks to be had from here, including into Edinburgh itself. Well, the chance to get close up Scotland’s capital city and its unique events such as the Tattoo, Fringe Festival and plenty more (Hogmanay is like no other) is the number one reason for pitching up here. Meanwhile, the site is having its own celebration. It’s 40 years old this year (although it definitely doesn’t look it). But camping’s not new to the area. Oliver Cromwell’s army stayed nearby, after the Battle of Dunbar. OK, that wasn’t exactly pitching up at your leisure...

DID YOU KNOW. . .

The main house was once moated. Then it all collapsed. The present Mortonhall House, including the stable block that’s now an integral part of the campsite, was built in 1769. It was the family home until 1939, when it was taken over as an army camp for training Royal Engineers.

A busy day on the campsite

THE SITE It’s big, but it copes so admirably. It’s an extensive campsite all right, and you can almost take your pick of where you want to pitch here – depending on whether you’re happy to be near the “white boxes” or not. There’s also a massive tents-only area where, at really busy times they bring in additional toilet facilities. Prices for this season actually start at £13 for a one-person tent, no car. Elsewhere, there are some electric pitches, at a slight premium of course. There are a couple of Wi-Fi hot spots. Reception is also home to a pretty extensive licensed shop (also including gifts); otherwise you’re looking at a five-minute drive to a Tesco. Facilities are equally wide-ranging. What was once the stable block is now home to games and family and disabled rooms. There’s also a TV. Also here is a laundry and the main (fully heated, and excellent) toilet block (there are others around the site). Also here is an extensive campers’ kitchen, with hobs and microwave ovens. Plus, if you want to extend your “camping season” here, consider a wigwam. That’s what they call them, but really they’re wooden huts – they occupy their own little reservation (ha ha) near the main toilet block. ■

NEED TO KNOW

www.visitscotland. com www.edinburghinspiringcapital.com

EATING OUT The old stable block

Stay on site for the Stables Bar and Restaurant (with its pretty awesome real fire, friendly waiter service etc). The Toby Carvery at Liberton is very popular with tent campers, I’m told.

The sun does shine in Scotland...

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FOCUS ON EXMOOR

EX MARKS THE SPOT Steve Goodier returns to Exmoor and finds three sites that make an ideal base to explore the area

Glorious Exmoor scenery

à

For anyone with an interest in astronomy and camping you might like to know that Exmoor National Park has been designated the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe. If you have visited this lovely national park and stayed overnight at one of its many campsites, this shouldn’t come as any surprise, as on clear, cloudless evenings the night sky over the rolling moorland is simply stunning. There is little or no light pollution in most areas and the amount of stars and constellations visible to the naked eye is staggering. Being home to some of the darkest skies in the United Kingdom means it is a great place to come and stargaze with or without binoculars or a telescope. However, this is only one weapon in the varied locker that this delightful location has to offer. Exmoor is very loosely and collectively the rolling and open moorland that is found spread over the counties of West Somerset

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and North Devon in England’s South West. The National Park (designated in 1954) takes its name from the River Exe, which rises almost in the centre of the area and the park covers an area of 267 square miles (692 square kilometres). It is the second smallest National Park in England and Wales with only the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in south-west Wales being smaller. As well as the glorious and seemingly endless rolling and heathery moors the National Park also takes in the East Lyn valley, The Vale of Porlock, the Brendon Hills and around 34 miles of stunning and rugged coastline that runs along the Bristol Channel. High cliffs and hills rise along the sea here and the walking is both stunning and challenging with some awesome viewpoints, such as the tops of Little Hangman and Great Hangman (which has the highest sea cliff on mainland Britain below its summit – the cliffs rise to 820ft/250 metres and the summit reaches 1,043 ft/318 metres) that tower dramatically above Wild Pear Beach near Combe Martin.

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There are hidden bays to be discovered and secret beaches and for an awesome walk or stunning drive check out the aptly named Valley of Rocks near Lynton. Also worth some of anyone’s time is a day spent hiking along the spectacular coastline between Heddon’s Mouth and Woody Bay. And then there is Lynmouth tucked in a hidden valley next to the sea - a peaceful place where the tourists flock in great numbers and a stunning location for a day out. But Lynmouth was also the scene of one of the most spectacular floods that our islands have ever seen when the East and West Lyn Rivers overflowed and caused massive destruction as they thundered boulders onto Lynmouth below. I could mention Minehead too as it just borders the National Park and is the essence of a typical family beach holiday location and much loved by many generations of families with buckets and spades. But to stick purely to the coastal regions does Exmoor an injustice as beautiful as it may be.


From the Aug 14 issue

For this is a region of high moors too – friendly and very walkable moorland that reaches its highest point on the family friendly summit of Dunkery Beacon that can be reached via an easy uphill walk and rises to a respectable height of 1,703ft (519 metres). There are walks to be had everywhere at levels to suit all ages and abilities. View Exmoor as the gentler version of Devon’s other National park, Dartmoor, which lies to the south of it. On Exmoor you will find none of Dartmoor’s rugged granite tors and barren wildernesses. Instead you will find friendly paths and well marked ways over rounded tops with walks that take you into remote situations usually with great views to the north of the sea and coast. When my children were very young Exmoor was a regular holiday destination for us and we camped in most parts of the area enjoying glorious summer holidays and often very decent weather too. It was here I taught my youngsters to walk longer distances than they had previously and we loved our time together in this part of the world. The moor was once a Royal forest and hunting ground that was sold off in 1818 and several areas within the modern boundaries of the modern day Exmoor National Park have also been designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Habitable regions of the moor are scattered with the main ones being Porlock, Dulverton, Lynton and Lynmouth (the latter two being connected by the atmospheric Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway. The moorland is covered in soft grass and heather but is virtually treeless; it looks particularly stunning when the heather is in bloom in August and September. Some of the combes

Quantock Hills

p Contains Ordinance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2014

and lower areas have pretty woodlands and sparkling streams abound. The area is simply charming and a camper’s delight. Many favour the sites to be found on the rugged north coastline with its spectacular cliffs and headlands and some of these are located in staggering beautiful positions with awesome views of the sea. Others look for the quietness of the internal parts of the moor to pitch their tents, but whatever your preference there is a good choice of camping locations that will suit all budgets and tastes. All outdoor sports flourish here, and if you like spending your holiday out in the open air then you couldn’t come to a better place. Even the humble family camper will find himself addicted to the region once he has been here once. For driving around, visiting hidden seaside areas, picnicking by tumbling streams or simply taking the kids and the dogs for a walk on the open moor, the place is simply Paradise.

And let’s not forget the villages dotted around either. Many of them you will discover by accident as you motor around and most are so idyllically pretty they almost seem unreal. A lot of pubs have thatched roofs and are irresistible for a bit of lunch in the beer garden on a hot day. Around the southern end of the moor a series of market towns give a good ‘gateway’ to the National Park- and places such as Bridgwater, Taunton, Wellington, Tiverton, South Moulton and Barnstaple have plenty of facilities. And let’s not forget the nearby Quantock Hills too. When the boundaries of Exmoor were drawn up, the Quantock Ridge was excluded but now constitutes a separate Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that is not to be missed if you visit the region. Again, walkers and mountain bikers are well catered for and there is a superb footpath network. Exmoor is a name all campers know but to many it remains just that. To the discerning camper it has memories of happy summer holidays in wonderful surroundings, memories he renews as often as he is able. ■

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FOCUS ON EXMOOR CLOUD FARM CAMPING SITE

A peaceful and family orientated site

If thoughts of the rugged North Devon coastline, heather covered moors and tales of Lorna Doone spring to mind, then how about trying the ever popular all year round site of Cloud Farm? Cloud Farm is surrounded by the countryside made famous by R.D. Blackmore in his romantic novel, Lorna Doone. Nearby is the Lorna Doone Farm and the old bridge over Badgworthy Water and lovers of the book will adore it here. The site (which is close to the Somerset/Devon border) is set in the north of the National Park and has an enchanting riverside setting on the flat bottom of a steep sided and narrow valley and is a wonderful location for people who want to tour the coast and moors of Exmoor, walk the many routes around the

area or just sit back and soak in the wonderful scenery. Cloud Farm is ideally situated for camping break at any time of the year and the trees dotted around the valley give good spring and autumn colour which is backed by the bracken on the moors above. Local towns such as Porlock, Lynton and Lynmouth give plenty to do if the weather is a bit poor or you just fancy driving towards the coast. For walkers or mountain bikers, Exmoor, and the nearby Brendon Hills have endless possibilities so bring your boots and outdoor gear and take a unique opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors in a literary famous area. Cloud Farm is a very busy site and even off-season a period of good weather will often see its numerous regulars heading back to it for another weekend.

CLOUD FARM CAMPING SITE Oare, Lynton, North Devon EX35 6NU 01598 741278 www.cloudfarmcamping.com

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This is a decent sized site that prides itself on being peaceful and family orientated. The site takes caravans as well as tents but does not have many electric hook-ups (about 12) and does not take advance bookings so you should

aim to arrive as early as you can if you need one. The lovely river is shallow with odd deep pools and pitches near it fill up quickly with families who have kids and an air of tranquillity surrounds the site as a whole. The toilet and shower facilities are kept clean and tidy and were refurbished in 2010 – the showers are unisex and the facilities are adequate for the size of the site. There is also a utility washing area which includes launderette facilities and fridge/freezer. Dogs are welcome but are expected to be kept under control at all times. The site allows camp fires as long as they don’t get out of hand and sells logs for burning. There is also a tea room where you can get a full English breakfast and a shop selling food and camping odds and ends as well as children’s toys and fishing nets for the river. You can also buy gas at the shop. It’s worth noting that the site does charge a supplement for very large tents. For a great introduction for all that Exmoor has to offer, give Cloud Farm a go. ■

Enjoy breakfast from the tea room

WORTH KNOWING

 The ground at Cloud Farm can be quite rocky and hard so make sure you are carrying some heavy duty pegs in case you trouble getting your normal ‘anchors’ in.


BURROWHAYES FARM CARAVAN AND CAMPING SITE Reading the internet reviews for Burrowhayes Farm Caravan and Camping Site you regularly come across phrases such as “idyllic”, “stunning”, “welcoming”, “peaceful”, “everything a campsite should be” and “will be returning”. Testament indeed to how highly regarded this location is among regular campers who have discovered it. If you have never been to Burrowhayes Farm and are looking to start your Exmoor camping in a good central location for the rugged north coast, the seaside delights of Minehead, a look around the moor itself and perhaps a walk to the summit of Exmoor’s highest point at Dunkery Beacon, then Burrowhayes Farm is the place to base yourself. The traditional seaside town of Minehead is about eight miles away and has beaches and all the kids could want to enjoy a great day out. There are shops and two good sized supermarkets for stocking up on provisions too. You will find you are camped close enough to the A39 to be able to access it and make use of it to drive along the north coast of the National Park and see all that it has to offer as well as using the other A and minor roads on the moor itself to explore and look around. And if that wasn’t enough you are very close to Dunkery Beacon (which can be seen from the site) so a walk to the top of Exmoor is a distinct possibility with one route actually starting from nearby Luccombe. So what can you expect if you come to stay on Burrowhayes Farm Caravan and Camping site? Well, the site is situated in the glorious Horner Valley and

The site is in the glorious Horner Valley

right besides Horner Water, which gives it a stream-side setting. The stream is much loved by kids staying on the site and provides them with hours of fun and keeps them busy while parents can relax and watch them. The water is fairly shallow here and very picturesque. The site is a series of several fields two of which are reserved for touring vans and one for tents. The camping field is by the field

The location is superb

where the ponies graze at night and stretches from behind the stable buildings to Horner Woods. A good access road takes you to all areas of the site and it is well maintained with well cut grass. Electric hook-ups are available and the site can accommodate 120 units. Most of the camping pitches are on flat ground but there are some slightly sloping areas as well. The Dascombe family farmed this

Facilities are spotless

BURROWHAYES FARM CARAVAN AND CAMPING SITE West Luccombe, Porlock, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8HT 01643 862463 www.burrowhayes.co.uk

area until the 1960s and then set up the campsite, which is still run by them today. There is a well maintained toilet and shower block that is kept spotlessly clean and heated in cold weather and it includes disabled and baby changing facilities. The site has a laundry room too and a pot washing room. Dogs are welcome as long as they are well behaved. At reception you will find a well-stocked shop and there is even a café not too far away. As well as all that the site has stables and hires out horses and ponies for trekking on the nearby moor. The site is approached down a lovely lane past some old cottages and near a pretty stream. Once you arrive you will be delighted you put in the effort to get here – Burrowhayes Farm is simply delightful and nothing seems too much trouble for the owners. A great location for a holiday on Exmoor. ■

WORTH KNOWING

 Some of the camping pitches are slightly sloping but it really is only a small point and not really that much of a nuisance.

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FOCUS ON EXMOOR LYNTON CAMPING AND CARAVANNING CLUB SITE

A great family-friendly site

Approached down an atmospheric and narrow lane, our final choice of Exmoor campsite is located on a hill overlooking the sea above the wonderful and very picturesque village of Lynmouth and near Lynton which is located at the top of a gorge. The two places can be linked via the water powered Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway. Nearby you have the stunning ‘Valley of Rocks’ which is great walking country and it would be fair to say, that this whole area is a hive of footpaths and some of the real classic walking outings of Exmoor can be enjoyed here. Lynton Camping and Caravanning Club Site is

located on Hollerday Hill and is in just the right place to enjoy this wonderful area from. You could park your car up here and walk for days without moving it again, but to be fair, you are also close to numerous other of Exmoor’s attractions so it is probably as well to combine a great walking holiday with a touring and beach break too. You won’t be disappointed if you pitch your tent here as many of the pitches have great coastal and sea views and on clear days you see right across the Bristol Channel to South Wales. Lynton Camping and Caravanning Club Site can accommodate 150 units and takes non Club members (who

have to pay an extra charge). A footpath from the site leads through a wooded valley to reach the coast. Check in is at reception and the wardens are very helpful and keep a very clean, well maintained and efficiently run site. Lynton Camping and Caravanning Club Site is worth taking the time to discover. There are two fields to pitch on and the grass is kept well cut and short. An access track runs around the camping areas and electric hook-ups are available for those who need them. The toilet and shower block are clean and tidy – they are located in a cream coloured building and handy for most areas of

LYNTON CAMPING AND CARAVANNING CLUB SITE Lydiate Lane, Caffyn’s Cross, Lynton, Devon EX35 6JS 01598 752379/0845 1307633 www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk

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the site and are all that you’d expect from the Camping and Caravanning Club. The site also has a laundry. There is a small shop at reception and nearby Lynton has shops, tea rooms and places to eat out. Some of the pitches are slightly sloping but nothing to worry about. To keep the kids amused there is a small play area and if you are lucky enough to get clear evenings, the sunsets from the camping fields are legendary. For a place to experience all that Exmoor National Park has to offer, you could do far worse that come to Lynton Camping and Caravanning Club Site. ■

WORTH KNOWING

âMobile phone reception can be poor in this area – but who cares? Leave them at home and enjoy the break!


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6 TOP TIPS FOR BETTER CAMPING Planning your next camping trip? Here’s some practical advice, handy hints and useful hacks, all designed to improve your camping life.

1

Disposable overshoes are a must. It means you don’t have to keep taking your muddy boots off every 2 minutes if you just need to get something from the tent. Also if it’s raining when you get back to your tent you can slip the overshoes on and take your boots off inside in the dry without getting wet or making a mess everywhere. Also you can leave boots stood/stored in overshoes as well to keep ground sheets and carpets clean and dry. They are just as useful when caravanning and motorhoming as well! A top Myrtle Tip! Myrtle T. Motorhome VIA FACEBOOK

2

Label folding tent poles with which part of the tent they for when packing up Mandy Crandale @TanKGirLDykE VIA TWITTER

3

I have a list of all equipment that I print off, tick as it comes out of the garage and then into car Lisa Martin@lisamm75 VIA TWITTER Have a checklist so you remember everything. Keep it in your tent bag. Lisa @lisajstephens VIA TWITTER

4

Pack lots of solar lanterns! Turns a campsite into a truly magical place and means no one gets lost in the dark! campfirestyle @campfirestyle VIA TWITTER

5

Never pitch your tent near a kids play area or any closer than three pitches away from the toilets. Gingernuts @Gingernuts73 VIA TWITTER

13

Try and pitch facing south-west for that evening sun Jason Whalley @jason_whalley VIA TWITTER

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It’s fine for the kids to get filthy clothes. Just remember kids and clothes wash but adventures are precious. Amanda Dolan @girlwomble VIA TWITTER

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Keep a stash of dry ingredients for best camping meals on hand so spontaneous trips are super easy. Kathleen Wilker @KathleenWilker VIA TWITTER

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Point a head lamp into a large milk carton filled with water for an instant lantern.


From the Apr 14 issue

COVER STORY

READER IAN HUNT SHARES SOME OF HIS CAMPING EXPERIENCE

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Save up sauce sachets from fast food restaurants and sugar sachets from cafes and coffee shops to keep in a plastic takeaway container for use on site.

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3-in-one coffee sachets are great in an emergency if you don’t have milk or sugar handy

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I’ve just been writing about the time I had to peg out a tent with cutlery. So today’s top tip would be ‘take enough pegs’. Martin Dorey @campervanliving VIA TWITTER

Have a drawstring “ditty” bag for the facilities block with a roll of toilet paper, small bar of soap, small microfibre hand towel and a universal sink plug in it as these are the things often missing.

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Take a pair of thick socks or slipper socks to wear in the tent in the evening to protect the groundsheet and your feet.

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A small rubber backed doormat is a great thing to take to put just inside your tent entrance it helps keep the tent clean and dry and rolls up small afterwards to be kept in the tent bag.

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A dynamo eco LED type torch on a lanyard hung by the tent door is really useful for those night time visits to the facilities and when returning to the tent to help you find the main tent lights, plus the batteries never run out.

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Take great food - treat yourself! coolcampkit @coolcampkit VIA TWITTER

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A small light plastic brush and dustpan set helps you keep the tent clean and will protect the groundsheet from small stones being trodden in.

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Choose a pitch with good morning sun for a quicker dry tent on packing up

day. Shan English @sinistermum VIA TWITTER

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Take a pop-up basket to put your dirty washing in with a black bin liner to transport it home.

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For washing up get a netting washing tablet holder and put a plastic pot scrapper and a washing up sponge/scourer in it, get a small Nalgene plastic bottle from a camping shop and put washing up liquid in it as you won’t need much for a week, everything is then together and can be hung up after to dry. Also collapsible plastic crates are brilliant to put your washing up in to transport to and from the sinks.

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Get a plastic tarpaulin which is roughly the size of your tent and put this down first before pitching the tent on top. It protects the main tent groundsheet and if the ground is wet or muddy is much easier to clean off than the bottom of your tent. Take a dustbin liner to pack it in after and then it can be hosed or brushed off when at home.

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If camping in spring or autumn take a couple of foil type survival blankets and put them on the bedroom groundsheet before putting your airbed on top, it will stop the cold from the ground chilling the air in the airbed.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Whether you ask other campers onsite, send us an email or post on our forums, other people’s experience is invaluable to helping you on your way.

extra layers will keep you warm through the rest of the evening, and at bedtime slip out of your top layer and, still feeling warm, into your sleeping bag. Arwen Spicer

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Feel the cold easily, especially in the evenings when camping? Before the sun has completely set and while your tent has some residual warmth, change into your pyjamas early and put on some loose trousers and a nice thick jumper over the top. The

Camping fire extinguishers are almost always powder type. Therefore give it a good shake each week to prevent the powder becoming solid. Bear in mind that they only give a few seconds discharge, so it’s wise to also have a fire blanket too..

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TOP TIPS FOR BETTER CAMPING

PLANNING A TRIP

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Think about where you want to go and for how long. Perhaps somewhere completely new, or an old favourite with a twist. You could even split a week or two between

sites.

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Check your tent thoroughly. Go beyond obvious areas like rips, holes and tangled guylines. Make sure the zips run smoothly and seal the seams again.

Find out what’s going on in the area you want to visit at the time you’re going to make sure you make the most of your trip If you have your heart set on a particular site and even a specific pitch, book it now rather than put it off and risk not getting the dates you want.

Shops like Machine Mart, Argos, etc will sell you a handy household tool set containing all the tools you’ll ever need for under £20. Stash one in your boot and you’ll be Mr Popular on-site. It’ll make blagging beer and burgers much easier later on, too...

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Carry a set of battery leads and a strong towrope. Then, if your car battery goes flat or you need a tow, you have all the equipment necessary to enable someone else to help you. And of course, you can also be a good Samaritan to anyone else in trouble.

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Check mantles and connections on gas lanterns and charge up electric versions or replace batteries.

If you’re going away on holiday – especially if you are travelling on the continent – hide photocopies of your debit and credit cards, passports, and full driving licence, etc in the car. Then if the worst happens you can use the photocopies to help obtain replacements.

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Sleeping bags need to be washed and aired plus zips and stitching checked rather than just pulled out of stuff sacks and shaken before repacking.

Check your first aid kit is up to date. It’s the sort of thing you don’t have to use much (hopefully) so supplies go out of date, leak and spoil other items. Check and replenish the contents and hope it will not be needed.

Dirty or oily hands? No problem, just wash your hands in washing up liquid and sugar. Don’t wet it and the abrasive action of the paste will get the dirt out of the grooves in your skin. Once clean, simply rinse the mixture off (the sugar will dissolve).

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Cook your first night’s meal at home, freeze it and let it defrost in a cool box during the journey. It’ll act as an ice pack and be ready to heat once you’re set up.

In a trailer tent or folding camper but forgotten your spirit level again? The solution is simple if you’re travelling with kids. Simply steal one of their balls (football, tennis or whatever) and place it in the middle of the floor. Note the direction of travel and adjust the chocks accordingly. A head torch is essential for cooking, reading and generally getting around after dark. The latest LED versions are cheap, incredibly bright and very efficient when it comes to batteries.

Cable ties are always handy. We use them to connect our aerial to a spare tent pole. Lisa Martin @lisamm75 VIA TWITTER When travelling abroad, if you aren’t confident speaking the native tongue, invest in an electronic language interpreter. You type in a word in English and the machine instantly works out a Spanish, French, German or whatever equivalent.

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Look for sites where all the essential amenities are within walking distance of your pitch. The less you use your car while on holiday, the more relaxing the whole experience will be. It’ll also reduce your carbon footprint and keep you fit.

Check for ants BEFORE pitching your tent Mandy Crandale @TanKGirLDykE VIA TWITTER

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Add bundles of sage to a campfire to keep mosquitoes away.

Freeze large bottles of water and place them in your cooler. They’ll keep your food cold, and you’ll have plenty of water to drink for later.

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Instead of stocking up the tent with supermarket staples before setting off, just buy the basics and then sample some local produce once you arrive. This will save petrol en route and give the local economy a boost.

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An old favourite, always take duct tape- it’s brilliant for emergencies like broken poles and ripped canvas Vicky Branston @Vix77 VIA TWITTER Duct tape everytime! it has saved me on numerous occasions :D Ding-IRL.com @BaronMugwort VIA TWITTER


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Take your bikes to get around once you’ve pitched up. You’ll save fuel, see more wildlife and do your bit to combat global warming. For a map of cycle routes near your holiday destination, log onto sustrans.org.uk

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If the fridge is full and you want to cool a can quickly, soak a thick sock in water, insert the can and hang it out in the breeze. The latent heat of evaporation will cool the can in just a few minutes.

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If you’re camping in southern Europe for summer, don’t rely on a lightweight mallet to drive in awning pegs – you’ll need something more substantial to get through the hard-baked ground.

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Buy a 12V socket dual adaptor for under £10. Charge your phone and your sat-nav at the same time from one 12V socket in your car

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Modern DAB radios self-tune and give a crystal-clear hiss-free sound. They also display the station that’s playing. Perfect information for a perfect listening experience.

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Take a laptop. Not only does it allow you to stay in touch via email at Wi-Fi hotspots, but you can download pictures from a digital camera, watch DVDs and even check availability and book your next site online. But remember to store it somewhere safe – don’t leave it in the tent.

READER TRACEY SHAW’S THREE TIPS

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I always take tube of hand washing stuff for clothes, its great for swimming stuff or muddy kids clothes - £1 from Asda

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Take a few bits of wood and cardboard for levelling tables and cooking stands etc

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Save all the little toiletries gift sets from Christmas, you can use all the nice stuff on your holidays and the small bottles can be refilled again and are travel size perfect for the weekend jaunts

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TOP TIPS FOR BETTER CAMPING

TOP READERS’ TIPS FROM MARK SONGHURST

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Windbreaks are essential for large sites with no designated pitches as they will help keep children in and mark out your pitch to stop others wondering through; giving you some privacy.

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Make sure you have enough layers to keep warm. There is nothing worse than going camping and being cold, having layers of clothes that you can put over each other will enable you keep warm in most weathers. If all the layers of clothes fail consider a blanket or retreating to either your bed or the local hostelry.

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Having a large selection of recipes

which you know will work when camping makes life easier. We personally use the Cool Camping Cookbook, which to all intents and purposes is a Ronseal, “Does exactly what is says on the tin”

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Cheap furniture polish is often made from silicon and can be used to make poles slide through sleeves easier. Also poles that stick when they are joined together can be sprayed to make it easier to separate them. It also works on sticky zips.

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We have found that having all our camping equipment in large boxes makes it easier when it comes

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to packing. This means you never leave your pans at home or forget black bags, BBQ tongs or Marmite. Providing that you replenish any supplies before you store the boxes.

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If you have never camped before try borrowing a friend’s camping gear first just to make sure you like it. We have seen friends rush madly in to buying all the camping equipment only to give it up after their first trip. Please remember to return the equipment to them, as clean, if not cleaner than when you borrowed it. They may well be the kind of people you will end up camping with in the future.

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Gaffer tape and hairy string are the essential maintenance kit for fixing things whilst on site, until you can get to a retailer to get a full repair.

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Try putting up a new tent before you go camping. We have seen many people arrive at a campsite for the first time with a new tent that they have never put up before. They then start reading the instructions and don’t understand what is meant. Even if you cannot assemble the tent at home, make sure everything is there - poles, pegs, canvas and groundsheet, read the instructions and allow extra time on your first trip to put the tent up.


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If you’re thinking of taking the kids to a big site covering several acres, consider investing in a pair of compact twoway ‘walkie-talkie’ radios. Cheaper than using mobile phone messages, they also offer peace of mind if the children are playing out of sight. Radios with a two-mile working range start at less than £20. Be warned, though, they also work for stray husbands who get ‘unavoidably detained’ by fishing, golf or the local…

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Hate chemical smells? Milton fluid disinfects, bleaches and protects without the horrible honk.

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Use foam floor tiles for a softer, more comfortable tent floor.

Try something new. Camping lends itself to more than just relaxation and exploration. Try photography to take brilliant snaps of your time away, for example. Or even naturism!

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I use the undergrowth by the trees for my fridge and it works wonders, especially with my white wine! Maria Larmer VIA TWITTER

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Store matches in a plastic box and stick a piece of sandpaper to the lid for striking (make sure it’s not safety matches or it won’t work).

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Don’t forget your USB lead Whether it’s for music, downloading pics and vids or charging your devices, you’ll kick yourself if you leave it at home.

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Stay on sites with wireless broadband. More and more are setting up hotspots – either in their bars or cafes – or increasingly across the entire site both here and abroad. Buy a wireless access card and you can surf away in the privacy of your tent for just a couple of quid a day.

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Develop a dedicated camping catering kit. Instead of packing all your pans, crockery, cutlery and other cooking and catering equipment each time you go away, buy the basics from an accessory store and keep it packaged up in big plastic boxes. Then it’s simply a case of loading the boxes up and off you go!

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The best thing for cleaning limescale off a kettle is to boil some vinegar in it. Any vinegar will do (the clear variety works best) but be warned that you will need to boil several rounds of water to clear the fumes. Use your home hob rather than wasting gas on your camping stove, though.

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When packing clothes for the holiday, lie them out on the bed then try to reduce the amount by half. How many times have you returned home having worn only a fraction of the outfits in your suitcase? Don’t worry, you’ll cope and you’ll have less washing and unpacking to do when you get home.

Sat-nav isn’t infallible and some units can lead you, quite literally, down a blind alley. There have even been news stories in recent years of people getting into real trouble because of blindly following an electronic device. So for these occasions, it really is worthwhile holding onto your old roadmap just in case.

READER MARIE MORRISON’S TOP TIPS

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Before you go away, do your research, find out all what the site has to offer, what is available on site, how far is the nearest supermarket. Use the web to find the local

tourist information and ask for details to be sent to you on all local attractions and days out, price them all up before you go so you have an idea of what each cost. Most campsites we go to don’t have a swimming pool, find out where the local one is, always good for a rainy day! Hire out the Ordnance Survey map of the area you are going to, these are good for finding footpaths, places of interest and local play parks.

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Take clothes for all weathers, especially layers, and don’t forget the waterproofs, even in August! For the children, only take old clothes and footwear, they WILL get dirty,

and don’t stress about them getting dirty! Don’t forget your flip-flops/Crocs for the showers and mornings, when the ground is still damp.

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You can never have enough tables and folding crates, they all pack small and all help to keep the tent tidy.

Get to know your neighbours, they will be the ones watching your stuff when you are out. And be respectful of your neighbours with regard to noise, evening and early

morning, and be aware of how much space you are taking, don’t let your stuff spill over onto their area.

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Don’t forget your beer, wine, beer/wine glass, bottle opener, or hot chocolate/tea/ coffee, or beverage of your choice.

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TOP TIPS FOR BETTER CAMPING

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Used properly, barbecues are capable of cooking much more than steaks and sausages. Use them to steam or smoke, bake or cook as a conventional oven rather than sticking with the traditional flame-grilled approach.

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Is your insurance up-to-date? Make sure your policy replaces old gear with new. If you are not insured, consider cover. And find out the get-out clauses. While insurance is good, over-insuring is money down the drain. Check you aren’t already

covered on home or other policies you have and don’t duplicate.

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Portable speakers for your iPod are a great investment. That way you’ve got your favourite music whether you’re in your tent or out walking the dog. You can spend as little or as much as you like for varying levels of sound quality.

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Protect your pots and pans. A paper plate placed in non-stick frying pans during transit prevents abrasion from other pots and pans placed on top.

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EARLY/LATE SEASON CAMPING

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Now could the time to try out a spot of ‘glamping’ in fully-equipped tipis, yurts, or pods. Prices are lower at this time of year than at high season, they can be warmer than a tent and there’s no struggling to dismantle a soaking wet tent when you leave.

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Pack your wellies and waterproofs. Rainfall is generally higher than

through the summer months. Bring a folding plastic box in which you can leave your boots next to the door – it will stop mud getting into the tent.

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Remember that the nights are closing in so don’t leave it too late

to set off or you’ll be putting your tent up in the dark.

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Temperatures are falling, especially at night, so pack your three

season sleeping bags, and perhaps even duvets and fleece blankets. Take more than

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A nearby family-friendly pub, preferably with open fires, is a definite asset come the evening.

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condensation

Make sure you have got a good lantern and spare batteries – the nights can be long in winter. Even better, try to get a site with electric hook-ups so you can have unlimited electric heating and lighting.

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you think you’ll need and you’ll be fine. Hot water bottles, bed socks and even hats all help keep you and your family cosy. Take some absorbent cloths to deal with

Pack plenty of warm clothes (particularly extra socks) so you can

put on or take off layers.

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Check out what indoor activities are on hand for the kids before you

head off.

Don’t pitch at the bottom of a slope if you can help it and avoid other areas that look as though they might get waterlogged.

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Go local. If it turns too cold and wet, you can always come home…

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People spend a fortune on different pots and pans, but when camping alone it’s worth taking a metal steamer. It doubles as a saucepan, and you can healthily cook fish, meat and vegetables in double quick time without using more than one hob. And it saves on the washing up!

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Invest in a tent peg puller! Makes life a lot easier when pulling your

pegs up Daniel Grice@Danthecanvw VIA TWITTER

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Make the most of technology and save yourself a pain in the backside. Not only can you use a traditional map before you leave, but look online at Google Earth or similar and you can use Street View to see exactly what the entrance to the site looks like, for example. This will save you shooting straight past it, arguing with your partner and then having to find somewhere to awkwardly turn around

as you’ve got no idea where the next roundabout it. Easy solution!

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Instead of lugging heavy objects around the campsite, take a small folding sack barrow or a garden trolley and save your back.

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Relax, chill out and most of all HAVE FUN!

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DORSET & FRANCE BY THE SEA DORSET & FRANCE BY THE SEA

HOME & AWAY HOME & AWAY A household emergency forced Louise Wener and family to take to a tent A household forced Wener and family to go take to a tent for threeemergency weeks. By the endLouise of the trip they didn’t want to home. for three weeks. By the end of the trip they didn’t want to go home.

 

It starts because the house is falling down. The builder is clomping about on the scaffolding It starts because the house is falling down. The with my husband, trying to find the leak that’s builder is clomping about on the scaffolding staining our attic walls dark brown. I hear a with my husband, trying to find the leak that’s voice from the roof. “Sorry, mate,” the builder says, not staining our attic walls dark brown. I hear a sounding sorry at all, “I know it’s hard to accept”. Hard voice from the roof. “Sorry, mate,” the builder says, not sounding sorry at all, “I know it’s hard to accept”. Hard

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June 2014 campingmagazine.co.uk

to accept! What does he mean? This is the sort of thing doctors say when you’ve got weeks to live. to accept! What does he mean? This is the sort of thing It turns out our back wall is terminal. It’s coming away doctors say when you’ve got weeks to live. from the rest of the house and taking next door’s back wall It turns out our back wall is terminal. It’s coming away down with it. The few hundred pounds we’d budgeted to from the rest of the house and taking next door’s back wall fix some loose roof tiles has turned into the thousands it’s down with it. The few hundred pounds we’d budgeted to fix some loose roof tiles has turned into the thousands it’s


From the Jun 14 issue

‘‘‘‘

...we do what we anydo sensible ...we what couple would we any sensible when faced couple would with a minor when faced financial crisis. with a minor We open financial crisis. aWe bottle of open wine, log onto a bottle of Google wine, logMaps onto and make a Google Maps getaway plan. and make a getaway plan.

‘‘‘‘

going to cost to rebuild our ailing Victorian terrace. We’ll have to move out while they do the work. The house is going to cost to rebuild our ailing Victorian terrace. We’ll going to be essentially backless for three weeks. have to move out while they do the work. The house is - Where will we go? going to be essentially backless for three weeks. - I’m not going to your mum’s. - Where will we go? - I’m not going to your dad’s. - I’m not going to your mum’s. - That’s it, then. We’ll have to live in the tent. - I’m not going to your dad’s. The kids’ summer break is days away and our holiday - That’s it, then. We’ll have to live in the tent. fund is utterly decimated. It doesn’t seem like we have any The kids’ summer break is days away and our holiday choice. We’ll pack up, ship out and forget about our house fund is utterly decimated. It doesn’t seem like we have any problems while we’re away. The great thing about camping, choice. We’ll pack up, ship out and forget about our house my husband reminds me, is you’re so busy with the basic problems while we’re away. The great thing about camping, tasks of keeping warm and fed, you don’t have time to my husband reminds me, is you’re so busy with the basic worry about anything else. tasks of keeping warm and fed, you don’t have time to Three weeks, though? The longest we’ve camped is 10 worry about anything else. days and it rained hard for almost five of them. I’m not sure I Three weeks, though? The longest we’ve camped is 10 days and it rained hard for almost five of them. I’m not sure I

can take the best part of a month under canvas. Waking up cold in the middle of the night, living on pasta and beans. I’m can take the best part of a month under canvas. Waking up not hardy. I like creature comforts. I camp because all our cold in the middle of the night, living on pasta and beans. I’m friends do, because the kids like it. But I’m a townie at heart. not hardy. I like creature comforts. I camp because all our I like cities. Traffic. Smog. My idea of heaven is a boutique friends do, because the kids like it. But I’m a townie at heart. hotel not a self-composting toilet in a field. I like cities. Traffic. Smog. My idea of heaven is a boutique But needs must, and we do what any sensible couple hotel not a self-composting toilet in a field. would when faced with a minor financial crisis. We open a But needs must, and we do what any sensible couple bottle of wine, log onto Google Maps and make a getaway would when faced with a minor financial crisis. We open a plan. We end up with a single guiding principle. For the bottle of wine, log onto Google Maps and make a getaway entire length of our trip we will camp in sight of the sea or plan. We end up with a single guiding principle. For the less than 10 minutes walk from a beach. entire length of our trip we will camp in sight of the sea or A group of friends are camping in Dorset and we decide less than 10 minutes walk from a beach. to join them for the first five days of our break. After that A group of friends are camping in Dorset and we decide we’ll jump a ferry at Portsmouth and head over to France to join them for the first five days of our break. After that until it’s safe to come home. we’ll jump a ferry at Portsmouth and head over to France until it’s safe to come home.

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DORSET & FRANCE BY THE SEA Tea time!

Out to sea

MY TOP 10 BEACH SITES

Treen Farm campsite

1 EWELEAZE FARM Dorset www.eweleaze.co.uk

2 CAMPING INDIGO Ile de Noirmoutier, France www.camping-indigo. com/en/noirmoutierindigo-campsite-france. html

3 CAMPING PANORAMA DU PYLA South West France www.campingpanorama.com

4 RIVA DI UGENTO Puglia, Italy www.eng.rivadiugento.it

5 POD MASLINOM Dubrovnik, Croatia www.orasac.com

The Dorset beach

6 ARETI CAMPING Halkidiki Greece www.areti-campingand bungalows.gr

7 RAFIKI BEACH CAMP Costa Rica www.rafikibeach.com/

8 TORRE DE LA MORA Tarragona, Spain www.torredelamora.com

9 TREEN FARM CAMPSITE Penzance, Cornwall www. treenfarmcampsite.co.uk

10 LONG KEY STATE PARK Long Key, Florida, USA www. floridastateparks. org/longkey

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The view from Eweleaze (Dean Ricca-Smith)


HOME

Evening sun at Eweleaze

Our first port of call is Eweleaze Farm near Weymouth, a two hour drive from our home in Brighton. It feels like it’s taken us almost a month to pack the car. We’ve borrowed a roof box for the trip but it doesn’t seem to have given us any extra space. Every inch of the car is plugged with “stuff”. Spare tent pegs in the glove compartment. Five bumper packs of Quavers in the footwell. Tissues. Spare pants. Phone chargers. Frisbees. Pillows. Lego bricks. A collapsible washing-up bowl (we always forget the washing up bowl) and enough coffee to see us through to Christmas. We’re scrunched up and grumpy and the kids are stir-crazy, but it’s all going to be OK because Eweleaze Campsite is… absolutely beautiful. The first thing you notice is the view. Wide and gorgeous from the cliff tops, dropping down to a sweep of immaculate bay. The site is huge taking up several fields of farmland, and only opens for the month of August. It’s popular and full to capacity but we find a peaceful spot in the furthest field; spacious and private. Five families - ten adults, twelve kids - with a view right down to the sea. It’s early evening as we set up camp. The kids are a high octane gang within minutes, fuelled by freedom and space. There’s lots for them to do here. A giant play barn, pony rides and a pen of friendly dogs and pups that my seven year old spends whole afternoons playing with. For the grown-ups there’s a bakery serving croissants and freshly baked bread and a farm shop selling organic meats and fresh vegetables. There’s a busy pizzeria when you’re too tired to cook and a new bar is planned for this summer. If the mood takes you, there’s even a Turkish bath. The tent goes up quickly our first night. We light a fire. We eat. Everyone sleeps well. Deep and dreamless. Waking up the first morning of a camp is always a shock to the system, but there’s something about the setting here that galvanizes everyone. You walk to the shower with that gorgeous view over the bay, and the water in the solar showers is plentiful and hot. Pigs and horses roam the site oblivious to the roar of happy children. We’re visited by a nosy sow as we make breakfast. She forages through our bin-bags, sniffing out bacon rinds. She doesn’t seem to bear a grudge. It’s a picture book day, sunny and warm and we spend it down at the beach - a few minutes walk on a safe winding path along the cliff. The kids swim and splash in their wetsuits, leaping off the floating jetty into the sea. “It’s good here isn’t it?” I say. “Yes,” says the five year old. “Except for one thing.” He leans in conspiratorially. “The toilets are a bit…wiffy.” “They’re self composting,” I say. “Hmm,” he thinks for a minute. “It’s a very big hole. I wouldn’t like to fall in it.” The next four days go on like this. Swimming, cooking, exploring, enjoying the space and the freedom. There’s a couple of rainy afternoons, so we invade each others’ tents for games of cards and hunks of delicious cake from the bakery. The problems with our broken house seem a million miles away already. We leave Eweleaze for the ferry vowing to make it an annual trip. There’s only one problem, the five year old was so scared of falling down the giant toilet, he hasn’t had a poo for a week.

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DORSET & FRANCE BY THE SEA The water park at Les Deux Fontaines

Britanny’s Tahiti Beach

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Concarneau in Britanny


AWAY

Tahiti Beach.

Noirmoutier Groyne

The ferry crossing form Portsmouth to Caen takes just over six hours. We have a little cabin on the top deck which the kids love and would happily stay in for the rest of the trip. Whole hours are wasted playing with the fold out cabin beds and pretending to be pirates. It’s late when we arrive in Caen and we overnight in a tiny bed and breakfast by the port before driving south. Our first French campsite is Les Deux Fontaines near Nevez on the south Brittany coast. Our new site is modern and clean but feels cramped after the wide open spaces in Dorset. We’re near to the sea here, but can’t see it and we’re offered a miniscule pitch near the wash block. After a long drive and a broken night’s sleep it unaccountably makes me want to cry. There’s barely room for our tent. No space to play. We are surrounded by caravans, mobile satellite dishes and strings of other people’s washing. By a fluke of luck there’s a car parked on our pitch and no one can find the owner to move it. We’re offered another at the back of the campsite unwanted because it has no electrical hook up. We don’t care. It turns out to be the best pitch on the site. Huge. Pretty. Private and shaded by trees. We celebrate with a bag of Quavers each. And then the skies crack open and the rain starts. The sun is going down so we don’t have the option of waiting out the storm. We’ve never put the tent up in driving rain and wind, and it’s a struggle. We are soaked through, the tent poles are bending, nothing is going where it’s meant to. The kids are fighting in the car, we have run out of Quavers and the mood has suddenly plummeted. We finally manage to get the tent upright and secure and huddle inside with a bag of emergency wine gums until the rain stops. When it’s dry enough we get the stove running and make some pasta. I realize I’m sick of pasta. Which is good, because there’s only 16 days and six giant packets of it to get through. Deux Fontaines grows on us. The kids love the big pool and the playgrounds. The walk to the beach, as advertised, is just over 10 minutes, and it’s spectacular. Wide and wild and empty. It’s called Tahiti beach and the sands here are stunningly pale and soft. The walk down from the camp winds though pretty woodland and we see deer and fawns on each trip. The area around the site (excluding the ancient walled city of Concarneau which is perpetually rammed) is unspoilt and mostly crowd free, even in the height of summer. Our favourite beach, a few kilometers away, is Port Manech. A stunning little bay with a perfect family restaurant overlooking the sea where we sit and devour steaming bowls of moules and baskets of hot salty frites. There’s an ice-cream shop selling mouthwatering cherry and chocolate ices, and a surf school and boat hire if you’re feeling adventurous. The tide goes out a long way here, and after an early dinner we walk out over the damp sands illuminated by a full, silver moon. We clamber onto the beached swimming platform, and the kids pick out the sandcastles they made earlier, still intact on the distant beach. It’s quiet and clear, the night air just beginning to cool. I notice the five year old is beaming. “It’s good here, isn’t it,” I say. “Yeah,” he says,

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DORSET & FRANCE BY THE SEA STAY AT

EWELEAZE FARM

Eweleaze (Dean Ricca-Smith)

Osmington, Dorset YO25 8SS 01305 833690 www.eweleaze.co.uk

CAMPING INDIGO NOIRMOUTIER 23 allée des Sableaux, Bois de la Chaise 85330, Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile, France (+33) 251 390624 www.camping-indigo. com

CAMPING LES DEUX FONTAINES Raguenez, 29920 Nevez, Pontaven, Bretagne Sud, France (+33) 298 068191 www.les2fontaines.com

Louise travelled from Portsmouth to Caen on Brittany Ferries, one way with car from £99.

ABOUT...

Louise Wener found fame in the mid-1990s as lead singer of the band Sleeper and became one of the biggest female stars of Britpop. Her band toured with Blur before scoring their first chart hit Inbetweener in 1995 followed by seven more Top 40 singles, including Sale of The Century, Nice Guy Eddie and What Do I Do Now? Full-on celebrity status followed, with world tours, regular appearances on Top of the Pops and countless magazine covers before they split up in 1998. Since quitting the music business, Louise has gone on to enjoy a successful career as an author, writing a string of novels. Her latest book Just For One Day: Adventures in Britpop (published by Ebury Press) is a memoir telling the story of Sleeper’s rise and fall. She now lives by the seaside with her husband and two children.

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contentedly. “It’s got proper toilets.” As lovely as it is we’re craving a campsite less ordered and neat, and even nearer to the sea. After six days in Nevez we pack up again and drive south into the Vendee to a campsite on Ile de Noirmoutier. If Brittany sometimes feels like Cornwall with better croissants, the island of Noirmoutier feels distinctly Mediterranean. You cross from the mainland over a bridge - there’s a causeway at low tide – and immediately there’s a sense of being somewhere “other”. The island is small, a dozen miles long, dotted with whitewashed villages. Pretty houses with lids of terracotta tiles and brightly painted cornflower blue shutters. Our destination is Camping La Vendette. This place is something special. No pool. No flash facilities. Just acres

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Louise in studio (Ed Sirrs)

and acres of beach, fringed with shady pine forest. We set up our tent on the sand. We are steps from the sea, separated only by a small wooden fence, the perfect place to dry a swimsuit in the sun. The bay here seems endless, bothered by seaweed on rough days but perfect for swimming when it’s calm. Early morning walks, after a quick stumble from your tent, are nothing short of perfect. We settle into an easy rhythm on Noirmoutier. There are nature reserves to explore and a 12th Century castle to roam. Plage des Dames, with its boardwalk and long wooden pier is our favourite place to swim. La Potinière, with its wrap around veranda is our favourite place to eat. When the tide is out we join the locals digging in the rock pools for free clams and cockles. It’s all about the sea here. The sound of the waves on your canvas doorstep. You’re so exposed to the elements that bad weather would make things very different. But this in one of those perfect summers that seems transposed from another decade. All of northern Europe basks in heat and warmth that feels like it might go on forever. Our three weeks is almost up. I’ve got so used to being outside the thought of going back to four walls is making me tense and restless. The kids sense the coming confinement and run along the beach saying goodbye to all their favourite spots before we bundle them back into the car. All holidays are about making memories. It’s beginning to feel like camping, for it’s freedom, its otherness, its heady sense of adventure makes the very best memories of all. We arrive home tired, grubby but infinitely buoyed and the builder is waiting with good news. The wall wasn’t as bad as he thought. It’s going to cost less money than we budgeted. We heave a sigh of relief. It’s short lived. “Ahem,” the builder says, shuffling his feet. “There is one snag. We need to talk about your wonky chimney.” ■


Editor’s Choice AWARDS 2014

TOP GEAR

From the Apr 14 issue

It’s that time again when we reward the best of the best, the new kit that has made the biggest impression on us over the last 12 months and the products we think will make a big improvement to your camping life this year. It’s always a tough job to pick a winner, but some products do stand out from the rest. When we decide the winners, we take into account value for money, innovation, versatility and style. So without any further ado, here are the winners of the Camping Editor’s Choice Awards 2014…

TENT OF THE YEAR & BEST FAMILY TOURING TENT OUTWELL NEWGATE 5

FAMILY TOURING TENT COMMENDED:

COLEMAN INSTANT DOME 5

Expect to pay £1,000 www.outwell.co.uk To land the title of Tent of the Year is no mean feat, when you consider how many excellent contenders there are out there. So what is it about Outwell’s Newgate 5 that sets it apart from the rest? Of course it has all the family friendly features you’d expect from Outwell: large tinted windows with curtains, a zip-out groundsheet, cable tidies, storage pockets in living and sleeping areas. Then there are all the little touches that add that extra bit of quality - adjustable pegging points, heavy duty zips and reinforced patch on all stress points. It even comes with a doormat. But it’s more than that. The Newgate is a polycotton tent that evokes a traditional era of camping.

Expect to pay £149.99 www.coleman.eu The natural smell of the fabric and even the sound of the tent creaking in the wind instantly transports you back to childhood holidays of yesteryear –without losing any of the modern comforts we expect from 21st Century camping. It’s a tent that a couple would find ideal for weekends away but is roomy enough for a family of four to take on a week’s holiday. At a recommended price of £1,000, there’s no getting away from the fact that this is expensive, but treat it as an investment. With proper care and attention it could last you for a decade or more. Luxury materials, weatherproof and sturdy, spacious and bright. Forget pods and yurts – this is true glamping.

Quick and simple to pitch, letting you get on with the serious business of enjoying yourself as quickly as possible.

COMMENDED:

ROBENS CABIN 300 Expect to pay £550 www.robens.de

WINNER

The Cabin 300 is an easy to pitch tunnel tent suited for couples or small families. It has all the technical quality you’d expect from this German brand, that is part of the same family as Outwell.

Editor’s Choice

AWARDS 2014

See a full review in Camping later this year

Te nt

r Of Th e Yea

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Editor’s Choice AWARDS 2014 WINNER

BEST FAMILY TENT VANGO LUMEN V 600 XL

Editor’s Choice

Expect to pay £900 www.vango.co.uk

AWARDS

Vango has been producing quality tents for almost 50 years but in recent years it has led the way in developing the inflatable tent from obscure curiosity into a mainstream family camping essential. Part of the ever-growing AirBeam inflatable range, the Lumen V 600 XL is everything a modern family tent should be. Easy to pitch, well made, with good quality materials, bright, spacious and flexible to your needs. The panoramic PVC windows flood the large living area with light and allow you to feel part of the campsite, even when you’re indoors. And the large front canopy takes that indoors/outdoors concept further – it’s a place to cook, relax. The £900 price tag may seem a lot but you get a lot of tent for your money as well as the undoubted convenience of the inflatable technology and that’s why we think it’s a worthy winner of Family Tent of the Year.

Be

COMMENDED:

COLEMAN GALILEO 8 Expect to pay £450 www.coleman.eu

See a full review on page 76

COMMENDED:

QUECHUA AIR SECONDS FAMILY 6.3 XL Expect to pay TBC www.decathlon.co.uk An excellent quality inflatable tent with lots of features.

BEST SMALL TENT QUECHUA SECONDS XL ILLUMIN FRESH Expect to pay £160 www.decathlon.co.uk

WINNER

Editor’s Choice

AWARDS 2014

For a festival, a quick overnight stop or even a weekend away, this funky number from French brand Quechua fits the bill. It’s a classic pop-up tent that can be pitched in seconds (hence the name) but where it differs from some others is when it comes to packing away. Trying to fold pop-up tents back into their bag can be a nightmare but follow the colour coding on this model and it should be simple. The Illumin gets its name from its built-in lighting system, which is a nice touch, and it boasts plenty of space inside for two campers, as well as a front porch for storage. Ventilation is extensive which makes it superb for camping in the summer months, particularly overseas.

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s t F a l y Ten t mi

See a full review in Camping next month

A combination of quality, versatility and value for money saw the Galileo 5 crowned Tent of the Year in 2013 – and the new 8-berth version has similar qualities. Family camping at its best.

COMMENDED:

COMMENDED:

Expect to pay £140 www.vango.co.uk

Expect to pay £150 www.kampa.co.uk

VANGO ARK 300+

2014

Be

s t Sma l l Ten t

KAMPA MERSEA 3

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See a full review in Camping later this year


BEST LIGHTWEIGHT TENT FORCE TEN HELIUM CARBON 200 Expect to pay £440 www.forcetentents.com Some pretty exotic materials come together to produce a two-berth tent weighing less than a kilo. But it also makes good use of every inch of space, with the less intrusive TBS Pro version of their Tension Band System to provide extra stability. CLIVE TULLY

WINNER

Editor’s Choice

AWARDS

COMMENDED:

Be

MSR PAPA HUBBA

st

2014

L i gh

t we i g h t

n Te

t

Expect to pay £500 www.cascadedesigns.com

COMMENDED:

COLEMAN TATRA 2 Expect to pay £180 www.coleman.eu

BEST CAMPING ACCESSORY COLEMAN CPX 6 QUAD LANTERN Expect to pay £90 www.coleman.eu

WINNER

Editor’s Choice

More lighting innovation from Coleman, the latest addition to their CPX 6 range provides you with four lights in one. Each of the four LED panels can be removed from the sturdy central unit to be operated independently or you can use it as a single lantern. It’s ideal for family camping, letting the kids have their own personal lamp. The panels charge from the main unit, which can be powered using four batteries or with the CPX 6’s rechargeable power cartridge, which is available separately and works with other products in the range. A great familyfriendly piece of kit.

B

es

tC

2014

am p

e i n g Ac c

ry

AWARDS ss

o

COMMENDED:

OUTWELL ECO COOL BOX Expect to pay £80 www.outwell.co.uk

COMMENDED:

VANGO KRAKEN CHAIR Expect to pay £55 www.vango.co.uk

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Editor’s Choice AWARDS 2014 BEST CAMPSITE KITCHEN GEAR BEST CAMPING INNOVATION KELTY TRAILOGIC PK50 BACKPACK CAMPINGAZ XCELERATE Expect to pay £150 600 SG www.keltyeurope.eu

Editor’s Choice B

es

tC

2014

on

AWARDS va amp i ng I nn o

ti

COMMENDED:

BRUNTON HYDROGEN REACTOR CHARGER Expect to pay £135 www.bruntoneurope.com

Choice ea

2014

r

AWARDS s

WINNER

A sleek, double burner stove featuring Campingaz’s new Xcelerate technology that is designed to cut boiling time in half in windy conditions – saving time and gas. The two powerful Piezo ignition burners WINNER come with removable, non-stick griddles, and there are handy side tables and an integrated Editor’s tray for holding condiments and utensils. The stove comes with its own telescopic legs and tC G am it all folds away into a carry-case. h en Be

Top quality kit from across the Atlantic. The TrailLogic collection includes a backpack, a sleeping bag, a tent, and a sleeping mat, with each component designed to work together or independently. The 50-litre PK 50 is a zipperless backpack available in men’s and women’s versions. The flip-open design ensures quick, easy access to the individual storage compartments. It’s designed to maximise access and organisation and does exactly that.

Expect to pay £140 www.campingaz.com

ps i t e K i t c

COMMENDED:

OUTWELL COLLAPS KITCHENWARE RANGE Expect to pay Various www.outwell.co.uk

COMMENDED:

BIOLITE GRILL Expect to pay £70 (grill only, stove is separate) www.whitbyandco.co.uk

BEST CAMPING GADGET SILVA NINOX II HEADTORCH Expect to pay £50 www.silva.se A good head-torch is one of the essential items in every camping kitbag and they don’t come much better than Silva’s Ninox II. The successor to the popular Ninox, it is small, lightweight and comfortable to wear but casts an unexpectedly large amount of light. Silva’s Intelligent Light technology simultaneously provides a long distance spotlight (up to 50 metres) and close WINNER range floodlight, making it suitable for use in the tent and around the campsite. I wore it while pitching a tent at night in torrential rain and it lit up the pitch like daylight. Editor’s

Choice

AWARDS Be

COMMENDED:

THERM-A-REST NEOAIR DREAM Expect to pay £150 www.cascadedesigns.com

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COMMENDED:

STERI PEN ULTRA WATER PURIFIER Expect to pay £96 www.whitbyandco.co.uk

COMMENDED:

st

2014

Cam

VANGO EYE LIGHT Expect to pay £3 www.vango.co.uk

d pi ng Ga

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t


WINNER

Editor’s Choice

AWARDS st

2014

Slee

e

d

Be

/B p i ng Ba g

BEST SLEEPING BAG/BED VANGO SERENITY GRANDE Expect to pay £60 www.vango.com The Serenity from Vango comes in three sizes – single, double and the grande – and it is the grande that stood out for us. Basically an XL single, its size makes it comfortable for the larger camper or just for people who prefer not to be trussed up at bedtime (ahem). The bag has a flat headrest meaning you can add your own pillow, of any shape or size. Insulation is single-hole siliconised hollow fibre and there’s a baffle along the zip, which is two-way and allows you to regulate temperatures at either end of the bag. Also, the zip’s X-lock is deliberately designed to be partially locking, staying in position under normal movement but it will move under extra force, for example if you have to leave the bag quickly.

COMMENDED:

COLEMAN VAIL COMFORT Expect to pay £80 www.coleman.eu

COMMENDED:

OUTWELL CUPILO SLEEP SYSTEM Expect to pay £130 www.outwell.co.uk

BEST CLOTHING/FOOTWEAR KOZI KIDZ VARBERG LINED RAIN JACKET Expect to pay £42 www.kozikidz.com

WINNER

Editor’s Choice

AWARDS tC

2014

ea

r

es

B

In these days of wall-to-wall TV and video games, anything that encourages children to get outdoors should be celebrated. Kozi Kidz, the British brand with the Scandinavian feel, is dedicated to getting children out the house, whatever the weather. To be honest, many of the wide range of products they do merit recognition, but for us the Varberg stands out. Quality materials, waterproof, warm and cosy and brightly coloured, it’s perfect campsite-wear for little people throughout the year.

l o t h i ng / F o o t w

COMMENDED:

CRAGHOPPERS FIELD II JACKET Expect to pay £199 www.craghoppers.com

COMMENDED:

BERGHAUS GRISEDALE JACKET Expect to pay £200 www.berghaus.com

COMMENDED:

HANWAG ALTA BUNION Expect to pay £160 www.hanwag.com

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NATIONAL TREASURES In Britain, we care about our countryside, and we spend our money and time on its land, heritage and wildlife. Every time an ancient woodland is threatened by a new motorway, every time a precious monument is saved from ruin, every time a species escapes extinction, or another species doesn’t, and is mourned, there are people fighting heart and soul to save that wood, that ruin, that hen harrier or that red squirrel. Sally Pepper celebrates some of the people and organisations who protect and care for our precious natural resources – the National Trust, the RSPB and the Woodland Trust.

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From the May 14 issue

TRUST IN US The National Trust is the biggest charity of its kind in Europe, and it does many more things than initially meet the eye - only a small part of its work involves hushed rooms full of antiques. Here are some of its greatest surprises. HAFOD Y LLAN, GWYNNED You may think of the National Trust as being a custodian of stately homes, but did you know that it’s the nation’s largest farmer, and that it owns the Khyber Pass? That is to say that the film Carry On Up the Khyber was actually filmed in Wales on a National Trust farm. You pass through Hafod y Llan Farm if you’re scaling Mount Snowdon on the famous Watkin Path. The farm is 218 hectares, with the lake Llyn Gwynant at its base, and it extends into the mountains, almost to the top of Cerrig Cochion. It is a true landmark in terms of our right to walk in Britain’s wildest and most beautiful places, because there was no footpath of its kind in Britain when William Gladstone opened the path in 1892 in front of a crowd of 2000 people. The farm was bought in 1936 by a leading campaigner for the National Parks movement, who donated the most mountainous section to the National Trust two years later. The whole farm now lies within the Snowdonia National Park and the campaigner’s descendants work with the National Trust to maintain certain ecological principles that this keen conservationist, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, held dear. Come and see the cotton grass in June, see choughs and peregrines and the semi-wild Welsh mountain sheep and Welsh black cattle. Or keep your eyes peeled for the feral goats that find their way onto the steepest cliffs. And look out for a little survivor among the heather, the dwarf juniper, because 90% of its UK population is here.

The exterior of Wayne Manor was Wollaton Hall in Nottinghamshire, and the film’s cityscapes were an amalgam of New York, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and London. Nolan shipped the cast, and Gotham City, over to 16th Century Osterley, partially because it already has a real secret door, in a library bookcase. Supervising location manager Nick Daubeny and his team were able to build a real bat cave from that door. Osterley’s staircase was even repainted in a dark colour to add to the menacing atmosphere of the film before members of the cast, including Christian Bale and Michael Caine, spent a week there filming. Osterley is one of the National Trust’s most popular film locations – Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum came here for the 1960 film The Grass is Greener. It’s been a setting for Horrible Histories and the long-running kids’ show ChuckleVision. It also appeared in the 2011 TV adaptation of Great Expectations starring Ray Winstone and Gillian Anderson.

NEED TO KNOW OSTERLEY

Jersey Road, Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7 4RB (sat nav TW7 4RD) 020 8232 5050

STAY AT

WALTON-ON-THAMES CAMPING AND CARAVANNING CLUB SITE

Fieldcommon Lane, Surrey KT12 3QG 01932 220392 www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk

NEED TO KNOW HAFOD Y LLAN

near Beddgelert, Gwynedd LL55 4NG www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1356395976028 The Watkin Path starts at Pont Bethania Car Park, Nant Gwynant, grid ref SH 627 507 www.eryri-npa.gov.uk/visiting/walking/Hard-Mountain-Walks/Watkin-Path

STAY AT

BEDDGELERT CAMPSITE

Camping In The Forest, Gwynedd LL55 4UU 01766 890288 www.campingintheforest.co.uk/wales/beddgelert-campsite

OSTERLEY PARK, MIDDLESEX Why not pay a visit to Wayne Manor and see if you can recognise the rooms used by Batman? The inside of Osterley Park in the West London suburb of Hounslow played the part of Bruce Wayne’s house in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises. Director Christopher Nolan was looking for a new, rebuilt, Wayne Manor after depicting the destruction of the previous Wayne Manor in his film Batman Begins.

The grand entrance hall at Osterley Park

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NATIONAL TREASURES SANDYMOUTH BAY, CORNWALL The rugged north Cornish coast between Bude and Morwenstow is backed by cliffs, with wild surf, and windblasted campsites high above the sea. It’s a place to go to armed with wetsuits, kites and body boards, though you’ll also find all of that on sale in Bude. What’s all this got to do with the National Trust? Well, it’s a little known fact that the National Trust has recruited some of Britain and the world’s best surfers to champion access to our coast. These National Trust Surf Ambassadors are involved in working groups, helping to protect the beaches they love, including the beach at Sandymouth. Surf champion Robyn Davies says: “I would thoroughly recommend volunteering even a little bit of your time to the Trust. It’s easy just to take the beaches for granted.” The National Trust relies on hundreds of volunteers to maintain coastal footpaths and it owns hundreds of beach car parks too. This all came about because of fears in the 1960s that development would lead to the loss of Britain’s natural coastline. The Neptune Coastal Campaign has brought in £45 million over four decades and the National Trust now owns more than 700 miles of coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but it costs £3000 a mile, per year, to look after it all. Work now focuses on helping to combat the effects of rising sea levels, by such measures as buying land behind the retreating coastline, realigning tidal flow, and planting marram grass. Sandymouth Bay

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DID YOU KNOW?

u The National Trust has 61 pubs. u Each year it serves more than 3.5 million cups of tea. u Founder Octavia Hill had the idea for the National Trust 130 years ago this year, but the Trust was founded 11 years later in 1895 so celebrates its 120th anniversary next year. u It has 61,000 volunteers and more than 4 million members. u It covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland but the National Trust for Scotland is a separate body. u Gravity was discovered on National Trust Land – Sir Isaac Newton’s famous apple tree is at Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire. u The National Trust has 120 volunteer firefighters, 15 volunteer pilots, and 45 volunteer toad patrollers, who help to save toads on the North York moors.

NEED TO KNOW HOW TO HELP

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/get-involved/donate/current-appeals/ neptune-coastline-campaign

SANDYMOUTH BAY This beach is 12 minutes out of Bude, to the south of Woodford, EX23 9JN

STAY AT

BUDE CAMPING & CARAVANNING CLUB CAMPSITE

Gillards Moor, St Genny’s, Bude, Cornwall EX23 0BG 0 1840 230650 www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk

CONISTON GONDOLA One of the nicest ways to give the National Trust money has to be by booking a boat trip. The steam yacht Gondola is a Victorian screw-propelled vessel originally launched in 1859. She was converted into a houseboat in 1936 and an attempt to restore her in the late 1970s fell into financial difficulties until the local National Trust team stepped in and raised the cash to save the project. She was rebuilt, and back in commission in summer 1980. She was initially coal fired but now runs on more efficient and less polluting bricks of compressed sawdust. More than 40,000 passengers a year go on cruises, all of which start from Coniston pier. The standard cruise circles the lake along the western shore, taking you to Brantwood, the former home of John Ruskin – there are discount vouchers to Brantwood and the Ruskin Museum. It’s a trip between two lovely cafés: the Bluebird Café on Coniston Pier, and Jumping Jenny’s tea-room near Brantwood jetty. The Trust runs the Victorian steam-powered yacht across Coniston Water as a profit-making enterprise to raise money


NATIONAL TRUST PLACES IN RECENT FILM AND TV

Hardwick Hall orchard

towards the funding of other National Trust work, so National Trust members have to pay full fare. Online prices for halflake tours are typically £11, and full-lake cruises £19. Sunday afternoon cream tea cruises are £56 for two people and a ‘be an engineer for the day’ experience costs £345.

NEED TO KNOW CONISTON GONDOLA

Coniston Pier, Lake Road, Coniston, Cumbria, LA21 8AN 01539 432733 nationaltrust.org.uk/gondola/book-tickets

STAY AT

CONISTON HALL CAMPSITE

Haws Bank, Coniston, Cumbria LA21 8AS 015394 41223 www. conistonhallcampsite.wordpress.com

HARDWICK HALL, DERBYSHIRE There’s a lot going on at this phenomenal Elizabethan mansion this year because it’s the 400th anniversary of its architect Robert Smythson. There will be exhibitions, behind-the-scenes tours and a two night outdoor film festival (29 and 30 August). Smythson was a stonemason at Longleat who rose to lead his own travelling band of stonemasons before founding a dynasty of architects. His client, Bess of Hardwick, collected amazing textiles and, was a rich and influential woman. She had Mary Queen of Scots in her personal custody for 15 years. The beauty of Hardwick Hall is that you can visit at any time of year, and there is a convenient all year round campsite, the Teversal Camping and Caravanning Club site. Gardeners and those who appreciate beautiful textiles are going to love it here. It has a precious collection of Elizabethan tapestries and exquisite embroidery. Bess of Hardwick’s Gideon Tapestries are huge scenes which would have taken weavers in Brussels 30-40 years to complete. She bought them for £326.6s in 1592. The Trust has restored two of them, which were rehung at Hardwick last summer. The challenge now is to raise money to restore and save three larger tapestries at an estimated cost of £180,000 each.

Outside, the Courtyard Gardens are what remains of the original Elizabethan garden. One of the finest herb gardens in Britain is here. Hardwick has an active team of volunteer gardens supporting the Trust’s own gardeners to maintain the grounds and orchards. Don’t miss seeing the ‘mushroom tree’ in the South Court, an unusually-shaped yew tree that was created when the top of the tree came off in a storm around 25 years ago. It has a smooth trunk, created by visitors going up to it and hugging it. Best of all, if you see a plant you like at Hardwick, it’s worth asking at the Hardwick’s garden shop to see if they have a sample for sale – the gardeners propagate plants from the grounds and sell them to the public. Want something other than trees and textiles? Lamb from the Hardwick herd is available in the restaurant, which also serves veg from the kitchen garden. Day and season tickets are available to anglers wishing to fish in Hardwick’s lake. And Hardwick Hall has received a Mumsnet FamilyFriendly Gold Award, rewarding its facilities for children.

NEED TO KNOW HARDWICK HALL

Doe Lea, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S44 5QJ 01246 850430 www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardwick

STAY AT

TEVERSAL CAMPING AND CARAVANNING CLUB CAMPSITE

Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire NG17 3JJ 01623 551838 www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk

Coniston Gondola

u Death Comes to Pemberley was filmed in three National Trust properties: Hardcastle Crags, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Estate and Treasurer’s House. u The 2013 Downton Abbey Christmas Special was filmed at Basildon Park in Berkshire. u Game of Thrones was filmed at Castle Ward near Belfast, and a whole village was built in the grounds. u Burke and Hare starring Simon Pegg, was filmed at Knole Park near Sevenoaks, Kent. u Anna Karenina, the 2012 production starring Jude Law and Keira Knightly, was filmed at Ham House in Surrey. u Snow White and the Huntsman (2013) starring Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart, was set at Frensham Little Pond in Surrey, which was transformed into a Medieval village. u Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows featured Lavenham Guildhall in Sussex as Godric’s Hollows, and National Trust-managed Freshwater West Beach, in Pembrokeshire, as Bill and Fleur’s home and the last resting place of Dobby.

GET INVOLVED

u Join up. National Trust membership costs from £41.62 (individual) and £72.75 (family with two adults) and includes free entry and parking at more than 300 locations. nationaltrust.org.uk/ membership u Give children great ideas by going to The Trust’s YouTube channel 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾ u Duke of Edinburgh Award. There are schemes to help children and young adults complete their bronze, silver and gold awards nationaltrust.org.uk/ u Volunteer, as an intern, a governor, a conservation volunteer or in endless other ways. You can even volunteer as a whole family nationaltrust. org.uk/get-involved/ volunteer u Support through your work: Employer Supported Volunteering allows bands of workmates to help out.

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NATIONAL TREASURES Ramsey Island (Visit Wales)

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

The RSPB is Britain’s largest single wildlife charity and has more than 200 of our most stunning nature reserves. Here are some of their must see attractions. RAMSEY ISLAND, PEMBROKESHIRE A two-mile boat ride from the coast near St David’s takes you to an unforgettable and isolated world Imagine you and your partner are the only two people on an island, stranded throughout the winter storms. You cook using gas bottles from the mainland, you take care of your own sheep come lambing time and your main companions are seals, rabbits and gannets on a nearby rock. Such is the life that Greg and Lisa Morgan lead on Ramsey Island, a rock separated from the Welsh mainland by fearsome tides. Lisa and Greg were new to lambing six years ago but were taught by a local farmer, Derek Rees, who also brings their supplies in by boat. “We have dealt with many a difficult birth with Derek on the other end of a phone propped up against a hay bale on loudspeaker,” says Greg. During the warmer months they welcome visitors from the St David’s area who come to sample the unique atmosphere of this wild island and RSPB reserve. The nearby island of Grassholm has 10% of the world’s population of gannets and Lisa and Greg monitor the population there, when the weather and tides allow them to make the crossing. In birding terms Ramsey Island itself is also significant. Last year it was home to the only pair of lapwings in Pembrokeshire and it recorded its highest ever population of guillemots, at 4,000 pairs. The critically endangered

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Balearic shearwater breeds on the island. The best time to see seabirds at Ramsey is June. Come at any time and you’ve a pleasing decision to make – a boat trip around the island shows you hundreds of seabirds nesting on the cliffs, which are up to 120m high. You’ll be in good company because a large number of seals make their home on the beaches and rocks around the island. Opt for an island landing and you are free to roam on a three and a half mile circular path. Keep an eye out for the red deer who live here too. Just don’t expect many people – apart from Lisa and Greg and a small number of RSPB volunteers and visiting scientists, the only humans are likely to be those that come with you on the small boat.

NEED TO KNOW

RAMSEY ISLAND RSPB RESERVE

Pembrokeshire. Open from 1 April or Easter to 31 October every year. 07881 846498 www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/ramseyisland Thousand Island Expeditions has twice-daily trips to Ramsey Island, departing from St Justinian’s lifeboat station near St David’s at 10am and 12pm. The boat trip costs £11 (adult), £5.50 (child). There is an additional charge for non-RSPB members to land on the nature reserve (£6/£3). 01437 721721 www.thousandislands.co.uk/boat_trip.php

STAY AT

PORTHCLAIS FARM CAMPSITE

St David’s, Pembrokeshire SA62 6RR 07970 439310 www.porthclais-farm-campsite.co.uk


DUNGENESS NATIONAL NATURE RESERVE If you like beachcombing, and getting lost in a frankly quite weird landscape, you’ll love Dungeness. The RSPB reserve sticks out into the English channel just north of Rye, making it a brilliant place for observing migrant birds such as wheatears and swallows. Its shingle banks have built up over 5000 years and it’s classified as our only desert because its huge, dry and has very little vegetation. As the RSPB’s most established reserve, Dungeness also a National Nature Reserve. There is an excellent visitor centre where beginners to birdwatching can get plenty of advice. There’s also a strong programme of events. Children can borrow a Wildlife Explorer rucksack and follow a nature trail, or experience pond dipping. Don’t miss a trip to the top of the old lighthouse, for fabulous views across the reserve. The RSPB is currently fighting a bid by the owners of Lydd airport to increase their passenger numbers from 4000 to 500,000 a year. The appeal was heard by the High Court in January and as we went to press the RSPB were awaiting results of that hearing.

Ramsey Island (Visit Wales)

Bogbean at Forsinard

NEED TO KNOW DUNGENESS

It is open to the public all year except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Admission is £3 for non-members. 01797 320588 www.dungeness-nnr.co.uk, rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/d/dungeness

STAY AT

LITTLE SATMAR HOLIDAY PARK

Winehouse Lane, Capel-le-Fene, Folkstone, Kent CT18 7JF 01303 251188 www.keatfarm.co.uk

THE LIZARD PENINSULA

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The RSPB’s work is not confined to its own reserves. It’s concerned with protecting endangered species across the UK. The chough, Cornish name Palores, was once so common in the county that it was known as the crow of Cornwall. This distinctive red-beaked bird was already in decline in the 18th Century, a victim of the decline of its cliffside and heath habitat. As livestock grazed these areas in smaller numbers, the conditions became less favourable for the insects and larvae the choughs feed on. The last successful nesting pair were seen in Cornwall in 1947. Roll on to 2001 when a small number of the birds arrived, it’s thought from Ireland. The RSPB has worked in partnership with Natural England on the Cornwall Chough Project, encouraging farmers to manage habitats and safeguard nests. More than 46 youngsters have fledged from Cornish nests. Your best chance of seeing Cornish choughs is on the cliffs of the Lizard and Land’s End peninsulas. Head for the tip of the Lizard and walk the South West Coast Path to Kynance Cove.

STAY AT

LITTLE TREVOTHAN FARM

Coverack, St Keverne, Helston, Cornwall TR12 6SD 01326 280260 www.littletrevothan.com

FORSINARD FLOWS, SUTHERLAND The most remote of all RSPB reserves in Britain is in the far north of Scotland, and it’s one of Europe’s rare remaining truly wild places. A campsite in the area makes it accessible for those seeking a real adventure. It was given the name ‘the flows’ by the Vikings and it’s as close to Iceland and the Arctic as it is to London. Visit in modern times and you find the largest expanse of blanket bog anywhere on earth. Arctic birds and birds from further south gather here in huge numbers during its very short summer. Rare black throated divers mate for life and return to the same loch each year to breed but their nests are easily flooded and many pairs only succeed in raising one live chick every three years. The RSPB helps them at Forsinard Flows by building mini floating islands that keep nests dry as the water rises. Come here in summer, when the days are long and there’s a chance to see golden plovers, hen harriers and greenshanks. Look close to the ground too, for carnivorous plants such as sundew and butterwort. Forsinard Flows is open to the public between Easter and the end of October and admission is free. Find it on the A897, 24 miles from Helmsdale.

STAY AT

HALLADALE INN

Melvich, Sutherland KW14 7YJ 01641 531282 www.halladaleinn.co.uk

DID YOU KNOW?

u The RSPB’s 200 nature reserves are home to almost 80% of our rarest or most threatened bird species. u The RSPB was formed in 1889 by a small group of ladies in Didsbury who objected to feathers in hats. u The RSPB’s first appointed watcher, in 1901, had the job of watching pintails at Loch Leven. u The RSPB is part of BirdLife International, a partnership of 120 organisations from all around the world. u The oldest reserves still in RSPB hands are Dungeness and East Woods, which were bought in 1930 and announced in 1932. u Every year almost eight million seabirds, from 26 species, come to the shores of the British Isles to breed. u The State of Nature report, 2013, found that the UK has lost 44 million breeding birds since the late 1960s.

GET INVOLVED

u Raise funds - every year supporters help raise over £1.5m of donations to help nature and wildlife. Check out the website for ideas. rspb.org.uk u Donate – give to a specific appeal, or make a regular donation to the broader efforts of the RSPB. rspb.org.uk/supporting/ donations u Use the RSPB shop – 100% of all profits go to wildlife conservation. There’s a mail order catalogue, an online retail operation, a number of RSPB shops on reserves, and some pop-up shops in city centre locations. shopping.rspb.org.uk u Volunteer. At the time of writing, the RSPB was actively appealing for volunteers to come forward at Dungeness and at Forsinard Flows. For current opportunities www.rspb.org.uk/ volunteering u Take part in the Big Garden Bird Watch u www.rspb.org.uk/ birdwatch u And join the RSPB to receive a magazine, a free nestbox and free admission to more than 100 reserves. From £36 per person per year. www. rspb.org.uk/Join u Donate www. nationaltrust.org.uk/ get-involved/donate

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NATIONAL TREASURES Glen Finglas

THE TOP OF THE TREE The Woodland Trust’s aims are to protect our precious ancient woods, restore the ones that are damaged and fight for those under threat. Last year we were inspired to plant 5.6 million trees with the charity. FINGLE WOODS Fingle Woods lie between two rambling National Trust estates – Castle Drogo and Steps Bridge. There has been no public access to much of this beautiful area of woodland for the last 10 years but on 1 March that all changed and you can now ramble along the banks of the River Teign, or visit the Iron Age hillfort, Wooston Castle, or the Hidden Valley at Halls Cleave. The Woodland Trust achieved this by joining forces with the National Trust to buy 825 acres of ancient woodland in Dartmoor. They’ve raised £3 million out of a total of £5 million needed to commit to the 20-year restoration. The ancient woodland in this part of Dartmoor offers excellent chances to observe wildlife, including buzzards and sparrowhawks. There are kingfishers and otters on the Teign, which is renowned for its sea trout and salmon. The word ‘Fingle’ comes from the ancient English word ‘fang’, which means to catch. There is parking at the 17th Century Fingle packhorse bridge across the Teign Gorge near Drewsteignton. Or you can walk into Fingle Woods from Castle Drogo National Trust property. The team at Fingle Woods still need to raise £2 million and will be looking to recruit volunteers as well.

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NEED TO KNOW FINGLE WOODS

www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/fingle-woods

STAY AT

SPRINGFIELD HOLIDAY PARK

Tedburn road, Tedburn St Mary, Exeter EX6 6EW 01647 24242 www.springfieldholidaypark.co.uk

Fingle Woods


GLEN FINGLAS This massive estate is accessible Scotland for those living in the South and is the biggest property owned by the Woodland Trust. If you want to enjoy wild Scottish scenery, with views from 600 metres above sea level, over remote lochs, you can do so without going too far north of Glasgow. In the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park there is a huge estate, bought by the Woodland Trust in 1996. Glen Finglas is a quiet landscape with panoramic views over Loch Venachar. There are buzzards and golden eagles and a valuable population of black grouse. This epic landscape even inspired an epic poem – Sir Walter Scott based The Lady of the Lake on nearby Loch Katrine. Glen Finglas is at the eastern end of the Great Trossachs Forest, with, the RSPB’s Inversnaid nature reserve in the west and Loch Katrine, managed by the Forestry Commission, in the middle. Eventually the forest will be one of the largest broadleaf woodlands in Britain.

DID YOU KNOW?

Burntollet Wood

u The Woodland Trust owns 1276 woods covering 23,580 hectares u It has 400,000 members and supporters u The Trust planted 6 million trees across the UK to mark the Diamond Jubilee u The UK has just 13% woodland cover, much less than the European average, and only 2% of the UK’s ancient woodland survives u The oldest tree in the UK, and perhaps in Europe, is believed to be the Fortingall Yew near Callendar in Scotland. It could be 5000 years old u The Woodland Trust’s key aim is to double native woodland by 2050

Wheeldon Copse

NEED TO KNOW

GET INVOLVED

GLEN FINGLAS

Head for Brig o’ Turk or the visitor reception at the Woodland Trust’s estate office, Lendrick Steading FK17 8HR. 01877 376 340 www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/learn/estate/glen-finglas

STAY AT

KELTIE BRIDGE CARAVAN PARK

Stirling Road, Callander FK17 8LQ 01877 330606

BURNTOLLET WOOD If you like wildflowers you’ll love Burntollet, a brand new wood in the beautiful Faughan Valley, south-east of Londonderry. One of the largest wildflower meadows in Northern Ireland is here. This, in turn, leads to there being a very healthy butterfly population. The Woodland Trust has worked with the local community to plant thousands of trees at Burntollet, to provide an important buffer zone for ancient woodland at the nearby Ness Country Park. The hope is that as the trees grow, some of the Country Park’s wildlife will spread into Burntollet. The presence of red squirrels here is special because there are only around 100 red squirrels left in County Londonderry. The Faughan Valley is a brilliant place to experience a wild and beautiful landscape just seven miles from the city. It’s very rich in ancient woodland, but is in scattered fragments so the Woodland Trust is working to join ancient woods with new woodland to create wildlife corridors. It’s just bought 53 acres of farmland at nearby Glenshane and is appealing for £500,000 to fund the planting there.

NEED TO KNOW BURNTOLLET WOOD

Park at Ness Country Park. BT47 3TR www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/ wood/5615/burntollet-wood

GLENSHANE APPEAL

WHEELDON COPSE If you love gardening, prepare to be inspired by the spectacular show of wildflowers at Wheeldon Copse, which is on the slope of the Frodsham Hill escarpment near Alvanley. When you visit the Copse and nearby Alvanley and Thorn Wood, you can expect to see mountains of wildflowers – so many you’d be forgiven for thinking that the woodland floor had been this way for years. In fact, this is new woodland, created using a revolutionary planting method called top-soil inversion, pioneered by the Woodland Trust with Landlife, the charity that runs the National Wildflower Centre. Wildflowers thrive on sterile subsoil, so a new ploughing method removes or buries the fertile topsoil, bringing soil to the surface from up to a metre’s depth. The result is a vastly more diverse wildflower population that’s attractive to wildlife. Wheeldon Copse is the first new Woodland Trust wood to have been sewn with wildflowers in this way before the trees were planted, and it was planted with cornflowers, corncockles, corn marigolds and poppies, which you can see thriving today.

NEED TO KNOW WHEELDON COPSE

Take the Manley Road from Alvanley. Parking can be a challenge. www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/wood/5543/ wheeldon-copse

NATIONAL WILDFLOWER CENTRE

www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/news

www.nwc.org.uk

STAY AT

STAY AT

70 Ballyreagh Road, Portstewart BT55 7PT 0028 7083 2023 www.colerainebc.gov.uk

Fishpool Road, Delamere, Northwich CW8 2HP 01606 883970 www.fishpoolfarmcaravanpark.co.uk

JUNIPER HILL CARAVAN PARK

u Volunteer. The Woodland Trust has an excellent reputation for supporting its volunteers, many of whom use the experience as a springboard into a new career. woodlandtrust. org.uk/volunteer u Donate. woodlandtrust. org.uk/donate u Join in with tree planting woodlandtrust.org.uk/ plant-trees u Visit a Woodland Trust wood – there are more than 1000 woods managed by the Trust, all over the British Isles. woodlandtrust.org.uk/ visiting-woods u Become a member. Every member has a tree dedicated to their name. There’s also an excellent magazine, and a Nature Detectives club for kids. Trust membership costs from £3 a month, or from £3.50 (joint), with lifetime membership from £350. u Fundraise. Either organise your own event or take part in the annual Plod, a 42-mile walk along the South Downs starting at noon on 6 June woodlandtrust.org.uk/ mediafile/100085209/ plod-application-2014. pdf

FISHPOOL FARM CARAVAN PARK

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TOP 10 THEME PARK CAMPING

THRILL SEEKERS Strap yourself in as Claire Tupholme takes us on a rollercoaster ride through Britain’s Top 10 theme park camping destinations.

à

On a family camping holiday, the biggest question is always “what are we going to do today?”. And that is why pitching up at a theme park is such a brilliant idea. They are a brilliant way to spend a day or two, no matter the weather. You can visit them on gloriously sunny summer

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days or squelch your way round them during downpours. You’ll have a great time either way. Some theme parks even have their own campsites, meaning you can pitch up on their doorstep and be first in line when the doors open in the morning. If finances allow it, you can also visit multiple parks from the same campsite base.

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Clearly theme parks are not particularly cheap so it is essential that you keep a keen eye in advance for special offers. There are often two for one ticket offers available and you can also get cheap tickets online if you buy in advance. Here’s our guide to the UK’s best theme parks - and where to camp nearby.


From the May 14 issue

1 ALTON TOWERS

ALTON, THE STAR CAMPING & CARAVANNING CLUB SITE

The name of this Club site might be a bit of a giveaway as to its location – one mile from possibly the UK’s best-known theme park, Alton Towers. In our minds if Carlsberg did theme parks, then Alton Towers would be it. A bus from right outside the campsite will deliver you to the entrance and handily save you on costs and queues for the car park. For those not in the know, Alton Towers is a fun-tastic mix of all manner of rides and rollercoasters, from world-class thrill rides to gentler ones for smaller children. Many special events are held throughout the year including Scarefest at Halloween and fireworks in November. It’s more than just a theme park these days though; there’s also a water park, and even a spa for those who fancy some relaxation time after all the hair-raising fun of the rides. Family members who aren’t quite as adventurous can wander through the elegant gardens on the Alton Towers estate. Info A family ticket to the theme park (two adults, two children) will set you back £165.60 (£124.20 if pre-booked online). Adult tickets (12yrs +) £36.00-£48.00, children (under 12) £30.60-£40.80. Under 4s go free. www.altontowers.com

ALTON, THE STAR CAMPING & CARAVANNING CLUB SITE Star Road, Cotton, Nr Alton Towers, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST10 3DW 01538 702219 www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk Price Tent with two adults and two children £21.00-£35.40. Electric £3.85. Extra person £3.50-£11.80. Open 1 March – 10 November Facilities Toilets and showers, a laundry, and a children’s play area. Grass pitches with or without electric.

2 LEGOLAND WINDSOR

HURLEY RIVERSIDE PARK

Legoland Windsor Resort is a unique UK theme park dedicated to all things Lego, for children aged three to 12 years old. More than just another theme park, there are over 55 interactive rides and attractions which include ‘Miniland’, a Lego model village of buildings from the USA and Europe using nearly 40 million pieces, a play village, a water play area, log flume and tons of fun rides for the younger age group. New for 2014 will be the Pirate Shores attraction, a sea-faring themed area with a pirate playground of highrope walks, nets and slides, along with a pirate ship and log flume. As with most theme parks there are a selection of places to eat and drink with children’s meals being paid special attention here. Hurley Riverside Park is a 20-minute drive from Legoland Resort and sits on the south bank of the Thames with a riverside picnic area where barbecues are allowed. Info An adult day ticket is £45.60, child (aged 3-15) £39.00. Discounts available online if booked seven days in advance. Children under three years old go free. Open dated tickets are a £5.00 supplement. www.legoland.co.uk

HURLEY RIVERSIDE PARK Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 5NN 01628 824493 www.hurleyriversidepark.co.uk Price Tent with two adults and two children £13.00-£26.00. Extra person £2.00-£4.00. Open 1 March – 31 October Facilities Three heated shower blocks, one with family shower rooms. Laundrette. On-site shop (advance tickets for Legoland can be bought here), a nature trail and children’s mini assault course.

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TOP TEN THEME PARK CAMPING 3 THORPE PARK

CHERTSEY CAMPING & CARAVANNING CLUB SITE

There are three theme parks on our list that sit just south of England’s capital, but they all deserve a place on our top 10 for different reasons. Thorpe Park is the south-east of the country’s answer to Alton Towers Resort. One for adults and older children, it has several thrill rides which it’s known for which include The Swarm, the UK’s first winged roller coaster, SAW – The Ride with a rather terrifying vertical drop, Stealth, which does 0-80mph in less than two seconds and Colossus – the world’s first 10-loop coaster. This impressive line-up is complemented by several other “extreme thrill” rides and then more sedate ones such as the usual teacups, river rapids and log flume. Chertsey C&CC is a sheltered campsite on the banks of the Thames, a 30-minute train ride from London and a 10-minute drive from Thorpe Park. There are some riverside pitches and canoes can be launched from here, with fishing also available. Info: An adult day ticket is £48.00 (from £24.99 if booked online) and a child under 12 is £40.00 (from £19.99 online). Children under one metre go free. Two-day tickets, if booked online, are only £6.00 extra. www.thorpepark.com CHERTSEY CAMPING & CARAVANNING CLUB SITE Bridge Road, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 8JX 01932 562405 www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk Price: Tent with two adults and two children £25.20-£42.30. Electric £3.85. Extra person £4.20-£14.10. Open: All year Facilities: Toilet and shower block with a parent and baby room and dedicated accessible facilities. Children’s play area plus a TV and games room. Grass pitches with or without electric.

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4 CHESSINGTON WORLD OF ADVENTURES

HORSLEY CAMPING & CARAVANNING CLUB SITE

Chessington World of Adventures Resort is the third and final theme park in the list which is located near London. Owned by Merlin Entertainments, the same group who look after Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Legoland, Chessington is aimed at children under 13. There’s lots going on here, with 10 themed lands with different rides, a zoo and Sea Life centre. There are plenty of rides to keep smaller children happy and a few white knuckle ones for older kids too – Rameses Revenge and Vampire being the two main rides. At the zoo you can meet over 1,000 exotic animals including meerkats, zebras, gorillas, Sumatran tigers, lions, penguins and sea lions. Located around Horsley Lake, a handy 20-minute drive from Chessington Resort, is the Horsley Club Site. It’s a large site with 130 pitches, but has a spacious feel and an abundance of wildlife as regular visitors. Info: An adult (age 12+) day ticket for the theme park and zoo is £32.40 if prebooked online (£43.20 on the day) and a child’s ticket £26.10 (£34.80 on the day). Children under 0.9 metres tall go free. Various ‘saver’ tickets are available on their website. www.chessington.com

HORSLEY CAMPING & CARAVANNING CLUB SITE Ockham Road North, East Horsley, Surrey KT24 6PE 01483 283273 campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk Price: Tent with two adults and two children £21.00-£35.40. Electric £3.85. Extra person £3.50-£11.80. Open: 1 April – 3 November Facilities: Toilets and showers with parent and baby room. Children’s play area, recreation room and dog walk. Day fishing. Grass pitches with or without electric.


TOP TEN THEME PARK CAMPING 7 PAULTONS 5 FLAMINGO FAMILY LAND THEME PARK

GREEN FLAMINGO PASTURES LAND HOLIDAY FARM RESORT

1959, closefamily to thewhat North Yorkbe Moors Park,the IfOpened you’ve in got a young could betterNational than taking Flamingo was the first park in Europe funfair rides little ones Land to a theme park dedicated totally to combine one of their favourite andcharacters. a zoological garden. a slogan of Paultons ‘wild animals, wilder rides’ TV You can doWith exactly that at Family Theme the Resort a variety rides for the whole There are fiseven Park, homehas to Peppa PigofWorld. Unique to thefamily. UK and a world rst, themed zoneshas including for younger and this attraction rides, Children’s play areas,Planet buildings and evenguests a restaurant thrill isrides such as a looping suspended theatUK’s only that Peppa Pig-themed. Paultons Parkcoaster itself is and aimed younger motorbike launch coaster. children with lots of tamer rides, a play village and only a few thrill TheLike zoo Alton has a Towers host of Resort, animalsthere including red pandas, tigers, rides. are other things on offer white here rhinos, lions, kangaroos and giraffes plus golf, a lot,the lot more. for those whocamels, aren’t so keen on rides – adventure Water Where Flamingo Landand excels is in the events they offer toalso guests. Kingdom splash park ornamental gardens. Paultons has a Therecollection are daily animal shows and and animal handling sessions, animal small of exotic animals birds. encounters with the of meerkats sea lions and even Green Pastures is likes a family run farm and campsite one there’s mile from a behind Park. the scenes zooon safari for resortof guests after the gates Paultons Situated the outskirts New Forest there is aclose. lot The campsite set withto easy to theofrides and and attractions of open space forischildren playaccess and plenty walking cycle but also benefits host of facilities itself. These include routes nearby. A from local apub serving food is 20-minutes’ walk away, an outdoor pool, acities gym, of spa pool and sauna. There’shalf evening with the cathedral Salisbury and Winchester an hour’s entertainment in The Club and even a 9-hole golf course. drive. Info AAn family forover fourone people is £110.00. Anyone or over( counts as an Info: adultticket (or child metre tall) advance dayaged ticketfour is £23.50 adult and charged at £35.00. Children years are andavailable. under go free. £27.00 onis the day) and family tickets foraged up tothree five people www.fl amingoland.co.uk Children under one metre go free. www.paultonspark.co.uk www.peppapigworld.co.uk

FLAMINGO LAND HOLIDAY RESORT Kirby Misperton, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 6UX GREEN PASTURES FARM

0871 9118000 Ower, Romsey, Hampshire SO51 6AJ www.fl amingoland.co.uk 023 8081 4444 www.greenpasturesfarm.com Price Tent with two adults and two children £50.00. Electric £5.00. Extra person £3.00. Price: Tent with–two adults and two children £19.00. Electric £5.00. Extra person £4.00. Open 29 March 2 November Open: 15 March – 31 October Facilities Toilets and showers, along with a laundrette. Grass and hardstandingGrass pitches withwith electric. A one-off charge for theme parkshowers Facilities: pitches electric if required. Toilet block with and accessible zoo admission is payable in addition to thearea camping rate.on-site shop. and facilities. Laundry, washing-up and small

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8 CREALY GREAT 6 GULLIVERS ADVENTURE PARK

CREALY GULLIVERS MEADOWS MILTON KEYNES CARAVAN &CARAVANNING CAMPING PARKCLUB SITE CAMPING &

The westbase of England has its ownfamilies answer to of Gullivers Thissouth is a great for thrill-seeking as the thelikes 90-pitch and Chessington, setnext amiddoor the glorious Devon countryside, a campsite is located to Gulliver’s Milton Keynes with – a theme, campsite next door. Devon’s Great Adventure Park (there’s dinosaur right and farm park all in one.Crealy There is plenty here to keep also one in neighbouring Cornwall)including is a magical family active kids aged 2-13 occupied, indoor funtheme such park as the attraction withfor rides, slides, andyou’ll familyfientertainment. Splash Zone rainy days.animals Outdoors nd all manner Providing of rides aand funroller day out for families with children up to around the of 12, as coasters, along with life-sized dinosaurs to age encounter and well as roller coasters water rides there are alsoisacres of indoor live farmyard animalsand to cuddle. As the campsite located in theplay fun for rainy New for 2014theme is The park Lost World of Atlantis, a heated grounds of adays. well-established there are plenty of shops, indoor attraction several rides, including roller coaster! restaurants and with family entertainment to takea advantage of.The park’s pets’ corner is a great to meet cute furry such as If you fancy a break from place the theme park (and theanimals kids will let you) rabbits, guinea pigsto and and thereLakeside are also meerkat andamonkey there’s also plenty doponies nearby. Willen Park hosts range residents. For those on walking the campsite you can Milton pre-book an ‘own of watersports and staying routes for and cycling. Keynes aispony’ experience whereand you is can assist of the– park’s only three miles away home toone Xscape a hugerangers indoor to care for one of shops, their miniature spotted, Shetland orsports Dartmoor ponies. complex with a cinema and also a snow centre. Dartmoor and the Jurassic Coast are nearby along with of Exeter. Info Ticket prices range from £15.95 for a theme park day ticket to £22.50 for a fully inclusive ticket which includes the Splash Zone and Tickets for the time Dino and & Farm Info: Campers receivealso reduced admission of £10.00 per food. person during term Park are 90cm go free toto allthe thepark. attractions. £13.95 in£9.00. schoolChildren holidays,under for seven days entry www.gulliversfun.co.uk www.crealy.co.uk/Devon

GULLIVERS MILTONCARAVAN KEYNES & CAMPING PARK CREALY MEADOWS

CAMPING CARAVANNING CLUB SITE Sidmouth Road,&Clyst St Mary, Exeter, Devon EX5 1DR Frobisher Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire MK15 0DT 01395 Gate, 234888 01908 679343 www.crealymeadows.co.uk www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk Price: Tent with two adults and two children (over 92cm tall) Price Tent with twoElectric adults and twoExtra children £21.00-£35.40. from £24.00-£42.00. £5.00. person £7.00. Electric £3.85. Extra £3.50-£11.80. Open: 28 March – 3person November Open 14 March – 10and November Facilities: Toilets showers with family bathrooms. Fully serviced pitches Facilities Modern facilitiesShop including a family shower room, washing up and laundry. and hardstandings available. on site and access to bars and restaurants. Children’sand play area. Hardstanding and grass pitches with or without electric. Laundry dishwashing. Dog walk and daytime kennels available.

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TOP TEN THEME PARK CAMPING 7 PAULTONS 5 FLAMINGO FAMILY LAND THEME PARK

GREEN FLAMINGO PASTURES LAND HOLIDAY FARM RESORT

1959, closefamily to thewhat North Yorkbe Moors Park,the IfOpened you’ve in got a young could betterNational than taking Flamingo was the first park in Europe funfair rides little ones Land to a theme park dedicated totally to combine one of their favourite andcharacters. a zoological garden. a slogan of Paultons ‘wild animals, wilder rides’ TV You can doWith exactly that at Family Theme the Resort a variety rides for the whole There are fiseven Park, homehas to Peppa PigofWorld. Unique to thefamily. UK and a world rst, themed zoneshas including for younger and this attraction rides, Children’s play areas,Planet buildings and evenguests a restaurant thrill isrides such as a looping suspended theatUK’s only that Peppa Pig-themed. Paultons Parkcoaster itself is and aimed younger motorbike launch coaster. children with lots of tamer rides, a play village and only a few thrill TheLike zoo Alton has a Towers host of Resort, animalsthere including red pandas, tigers, rides. are other things on offer white here rhinos, lions, kangaroos and giraffes plus golf, a lot,the lot more. for those whocamels, aren’t so keen on rides – adventure Water Where Flamingo Landand excels is in the events they offer toalso guests. Kingdom splash park ornamental gardens. Paultons has a Therecollection are daily animal shows and and animal handling sessions, animal small of exotic animals birds. encounters with the of meerkats sea lions and even Green Pastures is likes a family run farm and campsite one there’s mile from a behind Park. the scenes zooon safari for resortof guests after the gates Paultons Situated the outskirts New Forest there is aclose. lot The campsite set withto easy to theofrides and and attractions of open space forischildren playaccess and plenty walking cycle but also benefits host of facilities itself. These include routes nearby. A from local apub serving food is 20-minutes’ walk away, an outdoor pool, acities gym, of spa pool and sauna. There’shalf evening with the cathedral Salisbury and Winchester an hour’s entertainment in The Club and even a 9-hole golf course. drive. Info AAn family forover fourone people is £110.00. Anyone or over( counts as an Info: adultticket (or child metre tall) advance dayaged ticketfour is £23.50 adult and charged at £35.00. Children years are andavailable. under go free. £27.00 onis the day) and family tickets foraged up tothree five people www.fl amingoland.co.uk Children under one metre go free. www.paultonspark.co.uk www.peppapigworld.co.uk

FLAMINGO LAND HOLIDAY RESORT Kirby Misperton, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 6UX GREEN PASTURES FARM

0871 9118000 Ower, Romsey, Hampshire SO51 6AJ www.fl amingoland.co.uk 023 8081 4444 www.greenpasturesfarm.com Price Tent with two adults and two children £50.00. Electric £5.00. Extra person £3.00. Price: Tent with–two adults and two children £19.00. Electric £5.00. Extra person £4.00. Open 29 March 2 November Open: 15 March – 31 October Facilities Toilets and showers, along with a laundrette. Grass and hardstandingGrass pitches withwith electric. A one-off charge for theme parkshowers Facilities: pitches electric if required. Toilet block with and accessible zoo admission is payable in addition to thearea camping rate.on-site shop. and facilities. Laundry, washing-up and small

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8 CREALY GREAT 6 GULLIVERS ADVENTURE PARK

CREALY GULLIVERS MEADOWS MILTON KEYNES CARAVAN &CARAVANNING CAMPING PARKCLUB SITE CAMPING &

The westbase of England has its ownfamilies answer to of Gullivers Thissouth is a great for thrill-seeking as the thelikes 90-pitch and Chessington, setnext amiddoor the glorious Devon countryside, a campsite is located to Gulliver’s Milton Keynes with – a theme, campsite next door. Devon’s Great Adventure Park (there’s dinosaur right and farm park all in one.Crealy There is plenty here to keep also one in neighbouring Cornwall)including is a magical family active kids aged 2-13 occupied, indoor funtheme such park as the attraction withfor rides, slides, andyou’ll familyfientertainment. Splash Zone rainy days.animals Outdoors nd all manner Providing of rides aand funroller day out for families with children up to around the of 12, as coasters, along with life-sized dinosaurs to age encounter and well as roller coasters water rides there are alsoisacres of indoor live farmyard animalsand to cuddle. As the campsite located in theplay fun for rainy New for 2014theme is The park Lost World of Atlantis, a heated grounds of adays. well-established there are plenty of shops, indoor attraction several rides, including roller coaster! restaurants and with family entertainment to takea advantage of.The park’s pets’ corner is a great to meet cute furry such as If you fancy a break from place the theme park (and theanimals kids will let you) rabbits, guinea pigsto and and thereLakeside are also meerkat andamonkey there’s also plenty doponies nearby. Willen Park hosts range residents. For those on walking the campsite you can Milton pre-book an ‘own of watersports and staying routes for and cycling. Keynes aispony’ experience whereand you is can assist of the– park’s only three miles away home toone Xscape a hugerangers indoor to care for one of shops, their miniature spotted, Shetland orsports Dartmoor ponies. complex with a cinema and also a snow centre. Dartmoor and the Jurassic Coast are nearby along with of Exeter. Info Ticket prices range from £15.95 for a theme park day ticket to £22.50 for a fully inclusive ticket which includes the Splash Zone and Tickets for the time Dino and & Farm Info: Campers receivealso reduced admission of £10.00 per food. person during term Park are 90cm go free toto allthe thepark. attractions. £13.95 in£9.00. schoolChildren holidays,under for seven days entry www.gulliversfun.co.uk www.crealy.co.uk/Devon

GULLIVERS MILTONCARAVAN KEYNES & CAMPING PARK CREALY MEADOWS

CAMPING CARAVANNING CLUB SITE Sidmouth Road,&Clyst St Mary, Exeter, Devon EX5 1DR Frobisher Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire MK15 0DT 01395 Gate, 234888 01908 679343 www.crealymeadows.co.uk www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk Price: Tent with two adults and two children (over 92cm tall) Price Tent with twoElectric adults and twoExtra children £21.00-£35.40. from £24.00-£42.00. £5.00. person £7.00. Electric £3.85. Extra £3.50-£11.80. Open: 28 March – 3person November Open 14 March – 10and November Facilities: Toilets showers with family bathrooms. Fully serviced pitches Facilities Modern facilitiesShop including a family shower room, washing up and laundry. and hardstandings available. on site and access to bars and restaurants. Children’sand play area. Hardstanding and grass pitches with or without electric. Laundry dishwashing. Dog walk and daytime kennels available.

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TOP TEN THEME PARK CAMPING 7 PAULTONS FAMILY 9 M&D’STHEME PARK

8 10 CREALY BLACKPOOL GREAT ADVENTURE PLEASURE BEACH PARK Credit: Jeremy Thompson

GREEN CRAIGENDMUIR PASTURES CARAVAN FARM & CAMPING

Strathclyde Country Park in Motherwell callstaking itself the IfM&D’s you’veatgot a young family what could be better than Scotland’s Park and is set among acres of countryside, little ones toTheme a theme park dedicated totally to one of their favourite woodlands andYou parkland. country is a leading centre TV characters. can doThe exactly that park at Paultons Family Theme for outdoor recreation including shing and Park, home to Peppa Pig World. watersports, Unique to thecycling, UK andfia world first, walking. The theme parkplay has areas, five white-knuckle rides 20 rides this attraction has rides, buildings and evenand a restaurant for families and children. Devil’s Island Adventure Golf will see you that is Peppa Pig-themed. Paultons Park itself is aimed at younger putting over caves and through theand pirates’ For children with water, lots of into tamer rides, a play village only galleon. a few thrill rainy days there’s an indoor complex houses a large softhere play rides. Like Alton Towers Resort, there which are other things on offer area and who glowaren’t in theso dark tenon pinrides bowling. One attraction that is for those keen – adventure golf, thehere Water unique in splash Scotland is and Amazonia – the only indoor tropicalalso rainforest Kingdom park ornamental gardens. Paultons has a packed with exotic animals such as small collection of exotic animals andpoison birds. dart frogs, pythons, geckos, Green toucans, Pastures monkeys is a familyand runfruit farmbats. and campsite one mile from Craigendmuir Camping is on the doorstep of Glasgow Paultons Park. Situated onSite the outskirts of New Forest there isand a lota 20-minute drive M&D’s. The site’s facilities were upgraded in of open space forfrom children to play and plenty of walking and cycle 2013 and include a family Glasgow easily accessible by bus routes nearby. A local pubroom. serving food is is 20-minutes’ walk away, or car, Edinburgh, and Loch all within hour’s with thewith cathedral citiesStirling of Salisbury and Lomond Winchester half anan hour’s drive. drive. Info Various types are available which include some or is all£23.50 of the attractions. A Info: An adultticket (or child over one metre tall) advance day ticket ( Family on Ultimate Experience ticket (forfor any people) isare £67.25. £27.00 the day) and family tickets upfour to five people available. www.scotlandsthemepark.com Children under one metre go free. www.paultonspark.co.uk www.peppapigworld.co.uk

CRAIGENDMUIR CARAVAN & CAMPING Clay House Road, Stepps, Glasgow GREEN PASTURES FARMG33 6AF

0141 779 4159 Ower, Romsey, Hampshire SO51 6AJ www.craigendmuir.co.uk 023 8081 4444 www.greenpasturesfarm.com Price Tent with two adults and two children from £20.75-£22.75. ElectricTent £2.50. Extra person Price: with two adults£2.75. and two children £19.00. Electric £5.00. Extra person £4.00. Open All year – 31 October Open: 15 March Facilities Two andwith shower blocks, a familyToilet room,block laundrette and Facilities: Grasstoilet pitches electric if required. with showers dishwashing. pitches with washing-up electric. Shoparea within ve minutes’ and accessible Grass facilities. Laundry, andfismall on-sitewalk. shop.

CREALY HIGHBANK MEADOWS FARM The Pleasure Beach Blackpool may not be your typical theme park CARAVAN &atCAMPING PARK The west of England has itsto own answer toothers the likes Gullivers but south it offers something different most of the onofour list – its and Chessington, set amidatmosphere. the glorious Devon countryside, with a park nostalgic funfair, seaside The historic amusement campsite right nextcoasters, door. Devon’s Crealy Great Adventure Park (there’s has five wooden the UK’s tallest ride at 213 feet - The Big also neighbouringLand Cornwall) is a magical family theme One,one andinNickelodeon featuring characters from the park popular TV attraction with rides, slides, animalsbesides and family entertainment. Providing network for kids. Other activities rides include ice skating, aadventure fun day out forand families with children upalso to around thegarden age of spaces 12, as golf bowling. There are relaxing well rollerofcoasters and water rides there arerestaurants. also acres ofAnother indoor play and as plenty indoor and outdoor cafes and fun forthat rainymakes days. New for 2014 is The Lost World of Atlantis, a heated thing this place great is the Pleasure Beach Pass ticket indoor attraction with several rides, including a roller coaster! The offered for only £6.00. This allows access to the Pleasure Beach with park’s pets’to corner is a great place to meet cuteon furry the option purchase individual ride tickets topanimals and is such greatas for rabbits, guinea pigs and ponies and there are also meerkat and those who simply want to accompany others on the day out monkey without residents. For those thepleasure. campsite you can pre-book an ‘own paying through the staying nose foronthe a pony’ experience where you can assist one of the park’s rangers to The campsite at Highbank Farm is within a fenced grassed field. care for one of their miniature spotted, Shetland or Dartmoor ponies. The farmhouse offers fresh eggs, home-made jam and milk for sale. Dartmoor and the Jurassic Coast are nearby along with of Exeter. Blackpool and its Pleasure Beach are 15-minutes’ drive away. Info: Campers receive reduced admission of £10.00 per person during term time and Info Booking at least 10 days in advance online for an off peak visit is £17.99 for an adult £13.95 in school holidays, for seven days entry to the park. (£29.99 on the day) and £15.99 for a child (£26.99 on the day). Family tickets (two adults www.crealy.co.uk/Devon and one child) booked online start from £48.00. Children under two go free. www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com CREALY MEADOWS CARAVAN & CAMPING PARK

Sidmouth Road, Clyst St Mary, Exeter, Devon EX5 1DR HIGHBANK FARM 01395 234888 Hardhorn, Poulton le Fylde, Lancashire FY6 8DN www.crealymeadows.co.uk 01253 890422 Price: Tent with two adults and two children (over 92cm tall) www.highbank-farm.com from £24.00-£42.00. Electric £5.00. Extra person £7.00. Price Tent with two adults and two children £14.00. Open: 28 March – 3 November Electric £3.00. Extraand person £1.00-£2.00. Facilities: Toilets showers with family bathrooms. Fully serviced pitches Open All year available. Shop on site and access to bars and restaurants. and hardstandings Facilities pitches with electric required.kennels Toilet and shower facilities are provided. Laundry andGrass dishwashing. Dog walk andifdaytime available. Credit: Jeremy Thompson

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LIGHTWEIGHT

SCENE

WITH CLIVE TULLY

From the Aug 14 issue

EDINBURGH â NORTH BERWICK

à

John Muir was a Scottish naturalist, conservationist and author (among many other things), who made his mark in America rather than in Scotland. He founded the Sierra Club, and his activism led to his being revered as the “patron saint of the American wilderness.” Through his efforts came the concept of National Parks, which of course inspired what we have in Britain. The John Muir Way is a brand new 134-mile, long-distance path opened in April 2014, running coast-to-coast across Scotland’s central belt from Helensburgh (where Muir left to go to the USA) to Muir’s birthplace Dunbar. My choice of this particular section of the route for my weekend walk was inspired by its excellent public transport connections – Edinburgh of course has road, rail and air connections, and even North Berwick on the coast has a train which gets you to Edinburgh in about half an hour. Accommodation in Edinburgh ranges from backpackers’ dormitory style through to hotels. The first day’s walking is not quite so long, so depending on your journey, you can arrive and simply pick up the trail straight away, though of course you would have to forgo seeing the sights in Edinburgh. The route itself is well signed with waymarks on the ground, and while it’s too new to appear on any OS maps, you can download PDF maps from the website. ■

FINISH

START

p Contains Ordinance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2014

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EDINBURGH â PRESTONPANS (10 MILES)

We pick up the route just south of Waverley Station, skirting the southern edge of Holyrood Park. But if you fancy blowing the cobwebs out and rewarding yourself with an early view, why not take a little detour to the 822ft summit of Arthur’s Seat? From here, not only do you have an impressive view across the city of Edinburgh, but out towards the coast and our route along the John Muir Way. At Musselburgh we join the coast of the Firth of Forth. The town’s name derives from the extensive mussel beds along the coast here, and as well as providing an income for the people over many centuries, the mussels are also an attraction for many of the birds you can see along here. Prestonpans has a history of mining and salt panning, and is also the site of the first battle of the Jacobite Rising in 1745. I’ve listed two camping options - Drum Mohr Holiday Park is the first place along the route, giving you a short first day. If you want to even out the mileage somewhat, carry on to Seton Sands Holiday Village in Longniddry.

PRESTONPANS â NORTH BERWICK (16 MILES)

The small village of Longniddry is associated with Reformation leader John Knox, but was also for a short while a boyhood home to James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan. To the north of the village is Longniddry Bents, a two-mile beach popular for watersports. You’ll also see the remains of World War Two tank traps built to counter possible German invasion. We leave the sea for a short while after Gosford Sands, emerging onto the coast once more at Aberlady, site of the UK’s first Local Nature Reserve. Pass some golf courses, but take a short break to explore Dirleton Castle, with its 13th Century keep. Past Yellowcraig Beach, journey’s end is the picturesque seaside town of North Berwick. The harbour is well worth a look, as is the Scottish Seabird Centre, where you can take a boat trip around the outlying islands to view the bird colonies. But if you feel like surveying the scene from above, you could nip up nearby 613ft North Berwick Law, a volcanic hill with whale’s jawbone arch adorning the summit.


FACTFILE TERRAIN

Easy low level walking on footpaths and cycleways, with some roads.

MAPS

Ordnance Survey OS Explorer 350, 351 OS Landranger 66 www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk Anquet Maps Great Britain on DVD www.anquet.co.uk

Dirleton Castle (Jonathan Oldenbuck)

TRANSPORT Edinburgh has both mainline rail and National Express coach connections, while North Berwick has a rail connection with Edinburgh. Further travel information from: www.nationalrail.co.uk www.nationalexpress.com www.traveline.org.uk

CAMPSITES

Drum Mohr Holiday Park Levenhall, Musselburgh, Edinburgh, East Lothian EH21 8JS 0131 665 6867 www.drummohr.org Seton Sands Holiday Village Longniddry, East Lothian EH32 0QF 01875 813 333, www.haven.com

Arthur's Seat,Edinburgh (Kim Traynor)

26 MILES

Tantallon Caravan & Camping Park Tantallon Road, North Berwick, East Lothian EH39 5NJ 01620 893348 www.meadowhead.co.uk/TantallonHome.aspx

FURTHER INFORMATION

www. johnmuirway.org

North Berwick harbour (Martin Taylor)

North Berwick beach (Becky Duncan Photography, Scottish Natural Heritage)

TOP TIP

A lot of flexible pole tents come with a repair sleeve intended as a temporary fix if you happen to break a pole section. But you do also need to remember to have some Duck Tape with you, as you need it to keep the sleeve in place. The tape is useful for all sorts of other emergencies, including mending tears in tents, sleeping bags, rucksacks or waterproofs. I’ve even heard of people using it to perform some fairly dramatic repairs on their walking boots!

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LIGHTWEIGHT

GEAR FORCE TEN ALTITUDE 750 SLEEPING BAG

THERE was a time when my sleeping bag had to be packed in a plastic bag of some kind to ensure it stayed dry on a hike when rain might find its way through the seams of my rucksack. The Force Ten Altitude 750 comes in a seam-sealed roll-top dry bag stuff sack. A small point, perhaps, but a very worthy starting point, particularly when the sleeping bag in question is filled with down. The bag is insulated with a 90/10 mix of 650 fill power duck down/feathers, providing excellent loft – just what you need for a fourseason sleeping bag rated comfortable down to minus four degrees. It’s a typical mummy shape with sculpted hood, but some of the craftiest features aren’t so apparent at first glance. The 30D mini-ripstop Nylon shell and lining is water repellent, while the filling is held in place by baffles set in a trapezoidal construction. Then there’s the Thermal Embrace System, where the inner seams are very lightly elasticated, holding the insulation closer to you, but still allowing you to move about. The hood has a drawstring, while the shoulder baffle also with drawstring helps keep heat in. And while most down bags tend to go for the box foot design, this one uses Arrow Foot technology – basically trapezoid, with the wider part at the top to more efficiently accommodate your feet. The full-length zip has good baffles on each side to keep the heat in, and anti-snag piping beneath the zip which is so effective I couldn’t get the zip to catch on the inner shell even with exaggerated movements. VERDICT High quality materials and design come together in a bag that’s quite attractively priced when you consider it should last a lot longer than a synthetic one. You’ll get it for under £200 if you shop around, making it an even better deal. Expect to pay £250.00 www.forcetentents.com

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ROBENS RAPTOR

IN the normal run of things, a tunnel tent only assumes its proper shape once it’s fully pegged out. The beauty of the Robens Raptor, a twopole tunnel with additional transverse pole, is that it’s completely free-standing, so you can leave thinking about where to peg it until the last minute. The two longitudinal poles which form the tunnel feed into one-way sleeves on the flysheet, with the pole tip on the open end locating easily into a plastic Fast-Foot cup with strap and buckle adjuster to ensure it stays put. The flat sleeves are actually quite close-fitting, so you’ll find as the pole goes through that you do need to keep adjusting while you feed in order to avoid the fabric bunching up. It’s slightly slower than the loose pole sleeves of some models, but the advantage is greater stability when pitched. The single transverse pole runs through a short sleeve across the roof of the tent, with the fly attaching on each side by three double clips lower down, and the pole ends locating in ferrules at ground level. Of the 12 supplied pegs, just six are for the tent itself, using cord pegging loops on adjusters, with the other six for the reflective guylines. The centre guys on each side feature Robens’ Storm Guard system, where the guy wraps round the transverse pole to provide extra stability. The advantage of the tent’s layout is that the high point of the tunnel is in the middle, so logical as you sit up from your Verdict Not so light, but a very solid design with lots of space. Good choice for shorter trips or basecamp use.

2 berth

sleeping position, and there’s a full-length porch on each side, which you appreciate the moment you unzip the door. And while there’s only one door panel per side, it’s multi-zipped so you can zip it back to either the left or right, with cord grip toggle and loop fasteners provided on both sides. It also means you can unzip the door panel from the top in snowy conditions, or leave a small bit undone at the top for ventilation. The porches are vast – big enough for each camper to store his own gear without impeding access, or to take both sets of kit in one side. There’s a full-length door panel on each side of the inner, unzipping round to one side to stow in a mesh pocket. The top third of each inner door has a zip-down panel on the inside revealing a mesh vent. Stiffened cowls shield the mesh flysheet vents, with zipped solid panels on the underside allowing you to control all the ventilation without having to leave the tent. The central hanging loop in the inner is actually part of an adjustable clothes line running across the top of the tent. There are another four loops further down from which you can attach a gear loft. And I like the way the inner is very easily detachable from the fly using quick release buckles throughout, luminous zip pullers, the easily adjustable guyline sliders, and the guyline retainers which make stowing guys less of a knotty problem.

3.4kg

Tunnel with traverse pole

MORE INFORMATION

Pitch in 10 mins

Size 240cm x 340cm Inner 215cm x 130cm (105cm) Packed size 44cm x 18cm Materials Outer 40D ripstop Hydrotex LT Nylon siliconised outside, PU coated inside Inner breathable 30D ripstop polyester Groundsheet 75D polyester Taffeta 185T 10,000 mm Poles Alloy DAC #7001 Pressfit, T6, 9.5 mm, anodised Pegs 12 aluminium Expect to pay £379.99

Robens

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01665 510660 for stockists

www.robens.co.uk


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Guyrope Gourmet Josh Sutton’s search for sublime sites and fine food takes him to one of Britain’s most spectacular sights.

à

Deep in the heart of Yorkshire, you will find one of Britain’s most spectacular sights. Malham Cove is a sheer limestone cliff, which towers some 260ft above the valley floor. From its base flows the source of the River Aire, which wends and winds its way over 71 miles, out past Leeds, flowing first into the Ouse at Goole, and then joining the Humber on its way to the North Sea. Above the cove stands the famous limestone pavement with its series of ‘clints’ and ‘grykes’, a patchwork assemblage of slabs and fissures, left by a retreating glacier and the corrosive effects of rain on limestone. The effects of erosion produce a lunar landscape and a perfect

camping spot for a young wizard. Whilst most muggles would probably opt for the softer ground of Riverside campsite at Townhead Farm, Harry, Hermione and Ron can be seen camping on the limestone pavement above the cove, while hiding out from ‘he who must not be named’ – that would be the National Park Warden, who I’m sure would have a few choice words for anyone daft enough to pitch their tent on the edge of a cliff. Riverside is a great little campsite, open from Easter through to the end of October. Facilities are basic, but with a view up to the Cove and the waters of the Aire running gently through the site, it’s a great place to spend a few days. There are a couple of pubs and a

shop in Malham village, but the place to head to for victuals is Town End Farm Shop, a mile or two back down the road. I mentioned Town End in this column a couple of years back, but it has since had a change of hands, and that can only be good news for lovers of local food. New owner, Chris Wildman, is a fifth generation butcher with a penchant, not only for charcuterie, but also for sourcing the very best in local foods for his shop. Chris runs butchery and charcuterie courses for the enthusiast, as well as for complete beginners. You could have a go at sausage making and impress your pals with breakfast back at camp. Without doubt, the thing to buy here is the almost legendary Yorkshire chorizo, made from the Oxford Sandy and Black pigs raised on Chris’s farm just up the road. Chris makes a spicy version, but my favourite is the original recipe, which is perfect for this very quick and tasty salad. ■

Main image Spectacular Malham Cove Left Impress your camping pals with breakfast from the farm shop

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Background image: www.myfreetextures.com

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From the Apr 14 issue

op Town End Farm Sh n, Airto End Farm Shop To lham, Mawn n, rto Ai Skipton, Ma Yorkshire rthm, Nolha , E ipt Sk BD23on4B e hir rks 02 09 No 729Yo83 01rth E 4B 23 BD 01729 830902

Chorizo, Potato & Rocket Salad The beauty of chorizo is that it will& keepRocket for larger side cut them into quarters!). Warm Chorizo, Potato Salad a good few days in the cool box. It’s perfect a glug of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan The beauty of chorizo is that it will keep for camping fodder. Chorizo is available in two a good few days in the cool box. It’s perfect ‘formats’, thinly sliced and packed, or in a camping fodder. Chorizo is available in two more traditional ‘ring’ or long sausage. The ‘formats’, thinly sliced and packed, or in a latter works better for this dish, as you need more traditional ‘ring’ or long sausage. The a chunky texture, which goes well with the latter works better for this dish, as you need potatoes. a chunky texture, which goes well with the potatoes.

Ingredients Baby new potatoes Ingredients

Chorizo ring Baby new potatoes Bag of rocket leaves Chorizo ring Cherry tomatoes (halved) Bag of rocket leaves Four cloves of garlic (finely chopped) Cherry tomatoes (halved) Olive oil Four cloves of garlic (finely chopped) Black pepper and sea salt to taste Olive oil Black pepper and sea salt to taste

Method Par-boil the potatoes, whole, for five minutes. Method While you are doing this, cut the chorizo into Par-boil the potatoes, whole, for five minutes. small chunks and fine chop the garlic. Don’t While you are doing this, cut the chorizo into over cook the potatoes – they should be firm small chunks and fine chop the garlic. Don’t when stabbed with a sharp knife and stick to over cook the potatoes – they should be firm the blade, rather than sliding off back into when stabbed with a sharp knife and stick to the pan. Remove from heat and drain well. the blade, rather than sliding off back into Cut the potatoes into halves (you’re looking the pan. Remove from heat and drain well. for 2cm chunks – so if your spuds are on the Cut the potatoes into halves (you’re looking for 2cm chunks – so if your spuds are on the

larger side cut them into quarters!). Warm and add the halved potatoes and the chopped a glug of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan garlic, together with a grind of black pepper and add the halved potatoes and the chopped and a pinch of salt. After a couple of garlic, together with a grind of black pepper minutes, add the chopped chorizo and simmer and a pinch of salt. After a couple of gently for another two or three minutes until minutes, add the chopped chorizo and simmer the paprika from the chorizo turns the whole gently for another two or three minutes until pan a delightful deep orange colour. the paprika from the chorizo turns the whole Spread out a couple of layers of kitchen pan a delightful deep orange colour. roll in a bowl and tip the chorizo and potatoes Spread out a couple of layers of kitchen into the bowl to absorb some of the excess roll in a bowl and tip the chorizo and potatoes oil. Leave to cool for a minute, while you into the bowl to absorb some of the excess are cutting the cherry tomatoes into halves. oil. Leave to cool for a minute, while you Remove the kitchen roll, add the are cutting the cherry tomatoes into halves. halved tomatoes Remove the kitchen roll, add the and the bag of halved tomatoes rocket. Mix and the bag of thoroughly, rocket. Mix drizzle with a thoroughly, little olive oil drizzle with a and serve warm. little olive oil and serve warm.

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DISCOVER RUTLAND

GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES

Rutland’s motto is Multum in Parvo - ‘Much in Little’. Hanna Lindon sets out to discover whether England’s smallest county lives up to its promise.

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Cross the borders into Rutland, and you’re immediately catapulted several centuries back in time. The agricultural flatlands of East Anglia give way to gently rolling hills and the traffic on the roads slows to a lethargic trickle. Soon you begin to pass villages: honey-coloured houses and impossibly charming thatched pubs clustered around Domesday-era churches. It’s an easy drive from the urban centres of Nottingham, Leicester and Peterborough, but England’s smallest county has somehow managed to remain a truly bucolic paradise. At the centre of all this natural abundance is the UK’s largest manmade lake, Rutland Water. Forming a twelve-kilometre-square horseshoe around a stunning rural peninsula, the reservoir is the lungs of the Midlands: as

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much a sanctuary for wildlife as it is for cyclists, walkers, sailors and other sporting fanatics. Add those gloriously olde-worlde pubs together with plenty of historic interest into the mix, and you have the perfect recipe for a fun-packed camping weekend. My partner Guy and I began our stay at Rutland’s newest campsite in the traditional way: by getting lost. That would be less embarrassing had we not been on the Hambleton Peninsula: a spit of land that’s narrow enough to drive across in under five minutes. “Never mind,” said Guy, as we sped through the postcard-perfect village of Hambleton for the third time. “At least we’re getting to see the country. Er… I think you just missed the turning again, by the way.” Our goal that day was Armley Lodge Farm, a

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campsite so pretty it should be on the UNESCO list. The pitching field overlooks a wave of cow-grazed farmland, which rolls down to meet the distant lake. There are spanking new toilet facilities and all power is provided either by air source heat pump or solar panels. All in all, a sparkling new addition to the surprisingly limited Rutland camping scene. “Did you know that Rutland is the only county not to have a McDonald’s?” I told Guy, as we struggled with our recalcitrant tent. “There’s probably no room for it,” he said grumpily, trying unsuccessfully to untangle a guy rope. “Maybe not, but there is a Michelin-starred restaurant. Maybe tonight we could…” “No, sorry - you promised me we could go to the pub.”


Pictures by Guy Prince

From the Apr 14 issue

STAY AT

RUTLAND WATER CAMPING

Cycling at Rutland water

St Andrew’s Church in Hambleton

Armley Lodge Farm, Hambleton, Oakham, Rutland LE15 8 HJ 07875479533 (urgent calls only) @ nem@clara.co.uk www.rutlandwater camping.co.uk

Open Mid-March to end of October

Cost Two man tent £5 per night. Three or more man tent £8 Details Occupies an idyllic sheltered spot next to the sailing club on the south shore of Rutland Water. The site is within walking distance to local shop and pub (the Wheatsheaf in Edith Weston). There are no toilet, showers or electrical hook up facilities so if you’re camping with a tent you must be a member of the Rutland Sailing Club to use their facilities. If you’re not a member, you can join the club on a temporary basis. Facilities Mains water supply, rubbish disposal point, chemical toilet emptying point, dogs allowed

NEED TO KNOW

HAMBLETON HALL

www.hambletonhall. com

OLIVE BRANCH PUB

www.theolivebranch pub.com

RUTLAND CYCLING

www.rutlandcycling. com

RUTLAND WATERSPORTS CENTRE

www.anglianwater.co.uk

I might have missed out on the Michelinstarred menu at Hambleton Hall, but the food at the Olive Branch pub in nearby Clipsham more than made up for the disappointment. Once a collection of farm labourers’ cottages, this gloriously cosy little bolthole is a classic English country inn. Homemade lemonade and local ale is served on antique tables against the backdrop of a roaring fire, and all the dishes are based around local, seasonal produce. The beaming landlord was more than happy to answer our questions about Rutland life. He told us that residents of the county are traditionally known as ‘Raddlemen’; that Rutland upholds a tradition of hanging horseshoes upsidedown “to stop the devil making a nest in the bottom”; and that England’s smallest man was born in the area in

A charming Rutland village

the 17th Century. “If you’re visiting over the May Bank Holiday,” he said, “then you’ve got to the World Championship of Nurdling. Those who take part throw old pennies onto a hole drilled in a wooden seat, and the winner gets named the ‘Best Tosser’.” With no nurdling taking place during the course of our visit, we decided to dedicate the following day to exploring the reservoir by bike. A 23-mile route runs around the reservoir and you can hire a set of wheels from Rutland Cycling at Normanton. We spent a gloriously relaxed few hours pedalling over mudflats, through beech woods and past lonely stone manor houses. Every so often, Guy would pull out the binoculars and point out members of the resident bird population: a great-crested grebe, a cormorant, a shag, and an elegant-looking creature that he swore was a black stork. Despite the steely-grey sky and the nip in the air, there were plenty of human visitors enjoying the water as well. Fishermen hunkered

down behind high collars with their long lines flung far out into the lake. At Whitewell on the north shore, we saw a fleet of small sailing boats departing from the Rutland Watersports Centre while kids played on the climbing wall that overlooks the lake. There were even a few kayakers paddling in a leisurely fashion around the fringes of Hambleton Peninsula. “Fancy a crack at that?” I asked Guy, pointing at a group of windsurfers. “Not likely,” he said. “Not in this cold.” Instead, we chose a sheltered spot beneath iconic Normanton Church and watched other people getting wet and freezing as we happily tucked into a picnic. The view was spectacular - Rutland’s motto, ‘Much in Little’, applies as much to the scenery as it does to the myriad leisure opportunities. There’s far more to do and see here than you could ever pack into a weekend. Still, we had a few hours left to kill. “So then,” I said, turning to Guy. “About that Michelin-starred restaurant…” ■

A campsite with a view

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GIVE IT A GO MOUNTAIN BIKING

GET ON YOUR Yorkshire and the Lake District are great for camping - and equally as good for mountain biking. Paul Richardson visits some of the best sites to combine the two.

experience to tackle slightly tougher routes. Kitting up properly and taking a few safety precautions will help to prevent mishaps on the trails. Take plenty of food and water (a puncture can extend your expected time out in the hills), puncture repair kit, gloves, map, spare tube, pump and lights if there’s a chance of being out in the dark. A small first-aid kit isn’t a bad idea. Even if you set off in glorious weather, it can change quickly, especially on the higher routes, so a windproof top and waterproof could come in very handy. Oh – and don’t forget a helmet. At first glance this might seem an intimidating list, but a small backpack should hold the lot. Hopefully you’ll only need the food and water. If your bike carrier doesn’t incorporate a lock, then a sturdy lock will help keep your bike safe whilst you’re asleep or in the pub.

Well spaced level pitches

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Mountain biking has become increasingly popular in Britain over recent years, not only for the daredevil thrill-seekers with nerves of steel (and lemming-like tendencies), but also for mere mortals who simply prefer their cycling to be away from road traffic. Routes are colour graded to help prevent bikers straying onto overly difficult and technical

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terrain. Green indicates easy routes, blue is moderate, red is difficult and black is severe (or just plain ridiculous in my book). Taking sturdy bikes onto the easier trails is a fantastic family day out as well as being a great way to increase your fitness and enjoy yourself at the same time. If you catch the biking bug (and it is pretty addictive), then a vast array of interconnecting routes open up as you gain the

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PEXTON MOOR FARM CAMPSITE YORKSHIRE

If you’re looking for a great selection of mountain bike routes ranging from easy to severe, then the tracks that meander through Dalby Forest will take some beating. Tucked away near the southern edge of the North


From the Apr 14 issue

if you want to help out with some feeding at lambing time, you will be very welcome. Staying on the site can save hefty car park charges at the visitors’ centre, by leaving your car on the campsite and cycling (free) into the forest. PEXTON MOOR FARM CAMPSITE Low Dalby, Thornton-le-Dale, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7LU 01751 460294 www.dalby-forest.co.uk Open: Early March – end of October Cost: £12.00 per pitch (based on 2 people sharing). Electric hook-up is £3.00. Electric hook-up: Yes Children welcome: Yes A basic, clean, friendly site, right on the edge of Dalby Forest and its many mountain bike routes

You’ll soon be on the forest tracks

ORCHARD CAMPING AND CARAVAN PARK YORKSHIRE

BIKE York Moors, Dalby Forest caters for mountain bikers of all levels. The Bike Barn bike shop will look after your every need (well maybe not every need), hiring out quality bikes, sorting out emergency repairs or services and running skills courses. There’s also a visitors’ centre complete with a café. Perfectly situated to take advantage of the facilities and routes on offer here is Pexton Moor Campsite, right on the edge of the forest and about a mile from the visitors’ centre. Wendy and Jim Newham took the site over eight years ago, although it has been in the family for about 30 years. It’s also a working farm. With two acres of level grass, the site can take five caravans/motorhomes and 31 tents. There’s a single shower and two toilets in each of the gents and ladies blocks, as well as a disabled/family unit. Showers are free and there’s a washing up area. Although there is no official playground, Wendy and Jim try to keep an area free of animals whenever possible to create a space for ball games. Bikers, walkers, families, pets are all welcome and quiet is expected between 11pm and 7am. Booking is advised as the site often gets full. It’s just two miles to the village of Thorntonle-Dale, with two pubs that both serve food, and the bustling market town of Pickering is about four miles away. The farm has sheep and highland cattle, and

The picturesque and popular village of Reeth is snuggled into the heart of Swaledale at the northern end of the Yorkshire Dales. The moors to the north and west of the village are a haven for both hill-walkers and mountain bikers, with a network of tracks serving the long since abandoned lead mines that pepper the area. Orchard Camping Park is managed by Peter and Pam Daly, who came here seven years ago to help out the owner Jean Bell for a while, and never actually got round to leaving. The site has been here since 1973 and is small and friendly with a relaxed atmosphere. The shower / toilet block is being completely re-vamped during the winter in readiness for the start of the 2014 season and will be complete with a dish washing area. Showers were 20p when I visited in 2013. All pitches are grass with cars being parked alongside the tents. Peter and Pam don’t really advertise the site, relying on repeat trade from satisfied customers

The visitors’ centre in Dalby Forest (trick-cycling isn’t compulsory)

Plenty of shelter around the pitching area if the wind gets up

The shop and maintenance area at the Dales Bike Centre

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GIVE IT A GO MOUNTAIN BIKING

This is perfect countryside for a peaceful pitch

from previous years. Because so many campers are regulars, there are no written regulations about quiet hours. It’s simply expected that everyone will be quiet after 10.30-ish – and they are. The site can take 28 caravans and 10 tents, with statics also for hire. Cyclists and walkers are always welcome – the static caravans can come in handy for Coast to Coast backpackers if the weather turns nasty. Dogs are also welcome. Reeth village boasts three pubs, all doing food, all child and dog friendly and with the occasional music session thrown in. There are also two cafes and a bike centre. Not bad for such a small village. The Dales Bike Centre is actually just outside Reeth in Fremington. You can enjoy the nearby mountain bike tracks in the company of one of their CTC qualified guides. Families, school groups, individuals and corporate groups are all catered for. There’s a cracking café there as well.

north and east of Austwick village. For some reason many of the routes in this neck of the woods take in Elaine’s Tea Room in the hamlet of Feizor – well you need to keep the energy levels up. A few miles to the south, purpose built trails in Gisburn Forest add to the selection of routes available from the site. The campsite was opened in August 2013 and is a Caravan and Camping Club certificated site. The owners/managers, Neil and Gaynor Holgate are keen that everyone enjoys their stay here (they want you to come back again... and again), and are available to help wherever possible. The camping area is relatively small (about one acre) and level, with spaces for five vans plus tents. The toilet shower block is a

Mountain biker in the North York Moors

portacabin style unit which is kept clean and well maintained. Over the winter months this is being replaced with a larger portacabin unit for use next season. This will have showers, toilets, information area, a freezer for ice-packs, dish washing area, ironing board and hairdryers. All costs are included in the basic camping fee, so all extras such as showers are free. It’s well worth the 10 minute walk to Austwick to refuel at the Game Cock Inn; a pub well known locally for it’s wonderful food (and beer of course). The village also has a village shop and there are cafes available in nearby Clapham. If you’re not biking there’s plenty locally to keep you busy. White Scar Cave and Ingleborough Cave are both nearby, Ingleton

ORCHARD CARAVAN PARK Reeth, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL11 6TT 01748 884475 Open Mid-March – end of October Cost Tents are £6.00 per person per night. Caravans / camper vans with hook-up are £14.00 per night; large motorhomes with hook-up are £16.00 per night. Electric hook-up Yes Children welcome Yes A small friendly site with plenty of mountain bike routes nearby

ORCABER FARM YORKSHIRE Orcaber Farm Campsite is situated just south of Austwick at the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales. This puts it within cycling distance of some excellent mountain bike routes to the

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Mountain biking is for all the family


Waterfall Trail is just up the road and the Falconry Centre is just outside Settle. ORCABER FARM Austwick, Settle, North Yorkshire LA2 8AE 07800 624 994 Open All year Cost Tents are £8.00 per night (including a car, 1 tent and up to 6 people), electric hook-up £2.00. Mobile home / caravan costs £14.00 per night including electric hook-up. Electric hook-up Yes Children welcome Yes Small, basic, friendly site with forest trails and Dales routes available nearby for bikers

LANEFOOT FARM CUMBRIA Lane Foot Farm Campsite sits quietly between the villages of Thornthwaite and Braithwaite, about three miles west of Keswick. The site is ideally situated for biking to the routes in Whinlatter Forest just up the road, although simply being in this part of the Lakes enables you to take advantage of the mountain biking throughout the northern section of the National Park. Helen and Gareth Davies have owned and managed the site for around seven years, although there has been a campsite here since the 1970s. The five acres of pitching space can take 40 tents and space will be found for backpackers and touring cyclists (the coast to coast cycle route passes the door). The toilet block has free showers, drying room, an inside washing up area and information room. A small shop in the reception area carries basic supplies as well as bags of logs for a camp fire. Dogs are welcome and quiet is expected across the site after 10.30pm. The area is something of a haven for wildlife, with otters, red squirrels in the forest and osprey viewpoints at the nearby Bassenthwaite Lake. Braithwaite village has three pubs that serve food and there’s a café in Thornthwaite. Whinlatter Forest visitor centre is about 2.5 miles away, with a built-in café and a cycle shop just up the track. Keswick offers more facilities than you’ve a right to expect in these hills, with a vast selection of pubs, shops, cafes, restaurants, a cinema and a theatre. Lane Foot Farm is a small, basic, friendly, family run site that oozes charm and boasts fantastic views across the Skiddaw mountain range. ■

What a view to get up to – Skiddaw in the distance

The cycle shop at Whinlatter

LANEFOOT FARM Thornthwaite, Keswick, CA12 5RZ 01768 778097 www.stayinthornthwaite.co.uk Open 1 March – early January Cost £8per adult per night in low season, £9 in high season; children 3-15 years are £4per night. Electric hookup is £4.50 per night. See web-site for full tariff list. Electric hook-up Yes Children welcome Yes A friendly site with great views. Whinlatter Forest biking centre is just 2.5 miles away

There’s plenty of room for well-spaced pitches

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CAPITAL CAMPING CAPITAL CAMPING

LONDON LONDON CALLING CALLING

In the first of our capital camping series, Nick In the rst of our capital camping Nick Harding andfifamily hit London for a big series, weekend Harding and family hit London for a big weekend

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Britain’s smallest city? It’s a finding a suitable site actually proved easy. trick question, Britain’s to whichsmallest every city? It’s Lee runs site a handful a Valley Regional finding aPark suitable actually proved easy. smart aleck knows correctto which ofevery campsites within greenery, and Park runs a handful trick the question, LeeitsValley Regional answer. At justsmart one mile square, near Chingford, looked the aleck knows theSewardstone, correct of campsites within its greenery, and being it’s the City of London. (If we’re most ideal for us (see also this month’s Big looked the answer. At just one mile square, Sewardstone, near Chingford, pernickety, London is City also of home to the(IfCity Site Review, pages we’re being it’s the London. most20-21). ideal for us (see also this month’s Big - Ed.) of Westminsterpernickety, Just how much you pack into a London is also home to the City Sitecan Review, pages 20-21). London city,of onWestminster the other hand... well, it’s weekend’s camping? Read on, because - Ed.) Just how much can you pack into a the capital of England andcity, oneon ofthe theother world’s Friday at Sewardstone ledRead to anon, because London hand...our well, it’s arrival weekend’s camping? greatest cosmopolitan metropolises. Olympic-sized whitewater raftingatexperience, the capital of England and one of the world’s our Friday arrival Sewardstone led to an And that’s where we were heading, formetropolises. a full followed by a long day in London, then – rafting experience, greatest cosmopolitan Olympic-sized whitewater weekend break last August. I’mwe notwere the heading,almost eye-blinkingly – we to in beLondon, then – And that’sNo, where for a full followed by aseemed long day greatest fan of campsites in school (tooI’m not packing on the Sunday. – we seemed to be weekend break last holidays August. No, the for home almost eye-blinkingly busy). And whatgreatest would London be like in its own holidays Anyway, followsfor is home round-up of what fan of campsites in school (too what packing on the Sunday. “peak season”?busy). WouldAnd it allwhat prove too busy? we did over the course of jut two nights/three would London be like in its own Anyway, what follows is round-up of what There was only oneseason”? way to fiWould nd out... days away camping, “peak it alland prove too busy? we did over the course of jut two nights/three There was only one way to find out... and

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days away camping,

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From the Apr 14 issue

NO CAMERA, JUST ACTION A RAPIDS INTRODUCTION Wow, what a great way to kick off a weekend away! My “surprise” for the rest of the family was I’d booked for us all to go white water rafting. The course was devised for the Olympics and all the right kit is included – just be prepared to paddle for your life when you’re told! It was £49 for each of us but It was worth it and if you book as a group of nine (ie a full raft) it’s a bit cheaper. You’ll take a soaking, of course, but somewhere in there there’s also an adrenaline rush. You won’t be able to use your own camera here (because of all the water). Instead you’ll need to rely on the professionals who will happily supply you with a disk – it was £90, though and the guy at the desk here was doggedly not going to accept anything less (so make friends quickly with your fellow rafters and share the costs). Hard work. Great fun. Get a bit wet. LEE VALLEY WHITE WATER CENTRE Station Road, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire EN9 1AB www.gowhitewater.co.uk

ALL OUR SATURDAY...

TALKING ‘BOUT A REVOLUTION THE ALL-SEEING LONDON EYE

I planned this deliberately. The thinking was, it’s not just the perfect way to see so many of London’s key places, it also gave us a good idea of where we were heading for the rest of our day. The “world’s biggest cantilevered observation wheel” Could it be the ultimate camping pod?

Rapid reaction

True, it was a little cloudy and we couldn’t quite see Windsor Castle some 25 miles off that they claim you can view on a clear day. There was plenty more of London in all 360 degrees of glory, though. The total trip time is only 30 minutes, but you peak at some 135m above ground level and literally can see for miles. Booking ahead is best... we were lucky enough to be on the first “flight” of the Saturday, at 10am. Having taken the tube from Walthamstow down to Waterloo, it was a tenminute walk through, all pretty well signposted – and you’ll soon see where you want to get to! Don’t forget to visit the accompanying 4D exhibition, too, as part of your booking. It centres around just a three-minute film outlining what you are going to see/have seen from the Eye, but it’s pretty spectacular, and fun. LONDON EYE, RIVERSIDE BUILDING County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB www.londoneye.com

Culture club

CULTURE SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBAL ACTION If London Eye was our Saturday primer, Shakespeare’s Globe was a bit more of a long shot. Expecting groans of despair from my two teenage children, any reticence regarding anything that could be construed as too near to school work was soon dispelled. They loved it here, the key thing being the way it put Shakespeare and his work into some kind of context. What a truly magical place this is. A reproduction of the original theatre where Shakespeare’s plays were formed - “across the river” from where more genteel Londoners lived (theatre hasn’t always had the high culture status it gets today, oh no. It was actually considered quite debauched in Shakespeare’s day). We were lucky with the weather, too, making the most of the walk along Bankside from the London Eye and Waterloo to the Globe, afterwards taking the Millennium Footbridge from just outside the theatre over to the north side of London before picking up a bus to Liverpool Street Station. SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside London SE1 9DT www.shakespearesglobe.com

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CAPITAL CAMPING ROOM FOR A MUSEUM GEFFRYE’S WORLD OF INTERIORS

This used to be fashionable...

A bit of a walk from the nearest tube station, Old Street, although there’s Hoxton train station nearby. Easier still was the bus we grabbed from Liverpool Street Station. From literally hundreds of museums throughout London, The Geffrye, Museum of the Home is one with a real difference. If you want to trace a bit of history of interior design, give it a go. The main display is a series of rooms dating from 1600 to 1890, kitted out in their original entireties. Middle class town houses, if you like. It then carries on into the 20th Century. There are also gardens. Like so many of London’s museums, admission is free (although you can always make a donation), and it’s £2.50 to see the Restored Almshouse, which is only open at certain times. THE GEFFRYE, MUSEUM OF THE HOME 136 Kingsland Road, London E2 8EA www.geffrye-museum.org.uk

MARKET FORCES JUST A SPITALFIELDS AWAY Eclectic. Even the most hardened nonshopper will find something to enjoy at Spitalfields market, even if it’s just sitting in/outside a cafe and having a drink while everyone else passes by. Officially, London’s oldest market and it’s going stronger than ever today. Things have moved on a bit since the 13th Century market that really did take place in a field, of course. There are no more fields here, for a start... It’s all incredibly trendy now. And eclectic. It’s actually a series of markets. The Traders Market is here seven days a week. Last year saw the new Produce Market. Then there’s the Saturday Style Market. And the Arts Market, in Market Street. And loads more, depending on when you come here. A record fair was in full spin when we visited. There are lots of indie shops here, too. A short walk away is another London landmark. Brick Lane is famous for its Indian Not-so-common market

restaurants (you’ll lose count) and 24-hour bagel shop (one). Plus, if you’re a music aficionado, you might just want to drop into Rough Trade, operating from the Old Truman Brewery. Like we did.

London now. Plus, at the time of writing, there was a special offer of two courses for a tenner. A genuine treat and, in your own small way, eating here is helping the Greek economy.

SPITALFIELDS MARKET AND OLD SPITALFIELDS MARKET

6 Horner Square, Old Spitalfields Market, London E1 6EW www.therealgreek.com

Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, London E1 6AA www.spitalfields.co.uk

Food for thought

EATING OUT TOP TREAT AT THE REAL GREEK London has restaurants by the thousand, so choosing one was never going to be that easy. Even narrowing down to a particular country’s cuisine is pretty daunting. We struck lucky with an amazing dinner at The Real Greek in Spitalfields. It certainly lived up to its name, with all kinds of authentic dishes. It also sells traditional Greek ingredients. To finish up, I was even shown how to drink real Greek coffee (no stirring is the secret). It’s one of a chain of six such places around

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THE REAL GREEK

CAPITAL CONCLUSION LONDON – IT’S ALL RIGHT We pounded a few streets (they weren’t paved with gold) and we saw London in a whole different light. Had a better understanding of what it was like to live here (though the ages). We also shopped and ate well. We caught a bus back to Walthamstow, and another straight back to Sewardstone site. We slept well that night, as indeed we had the night before. Just how much can you pack into a weekend away? I think we managed a fair bit... but that really only scratched the surface. Not enough for you? Find out a whole load more at www.visitlondon.com.

DO WHAT WE DID

With so much to see and do, it’s vital to have a masterplan – even if you don’t end up following it to the letter. More than our usual camping breaks, we actually put a bit of planning into this venture – it paid dividends.

DON’T DO WHAT WE DID

Budgets, who needs ‘em? We blew whatever financial resources we had... but, again, it all seemed so worth it. ■


From the Jul 14 issue

êêê COOKING EQUIPMENT

WHAT’S COOKING? From warming up a ready meal to a feast for the family, there are plenty of ways of cooking when you’re camping. Here’s our round-up of the equipment you’ll need

à

Camping and cooking. Surely they go together like mallet and peg. The sights. The smells. Who can resist? And, let’s be honest, anyone who can heat a can of beans – without burning them too much – is instantly a Camping Chef. We don’t all have to reach the dizzy

TOP TIPS

u Don’t cook in your tent. We simply can’t emphasise this enough. Canvas and naked flames just don’t go well together... never mind the carbon monoxide that’s given off whenever burning gas is involved. Invest in practical windshields and keep your cooking a safe distance from your living accommodation, is our advice. u Have a no-scorched earth policy. Site operators won’t thank you for leaving hot cooking appliances on their grass or benches and tables. Plenty, however, can supply you with the wherewithal to literally move your cooking up a level – anything from bricks for barbecues to even offering their own communal cooking facilities. u Planning on cooking with something a bit unusual? Always ask the staff about suitability.

heights of the Guyrope Gourmet, although there’s certainly no harm in trying. But, surely our Josh Sutton would agree, one of the first steps is to kit yourself out with an appropriate cooker – that’s something that’s appropriate to your way of camping as well as just how much cooking you actually want to do, and where. ■

u Remember your neighbours. Whilst few folk seem to find fault with the enticing aroma of frying bacon wafting across site, some might not be so happy if you’re sending out too many smoke signals! u Check your gas hose. If you use a gas appliance with any kind of rubber hosing, check it out. The date of its manufacture will be stamped on it. It has a “working life” of five years from the first time any gas passes through it.

Editor’s Choice CAMPINGAZ XCELERATE 600 SG The next generation camping stove? It certainly looks the part, but it’s performance that counts. Campingaz is promising quicker boil times as well as up to 50% less gas consumption, plus better all-round performance in windy conditions. It is capable of boiling a full litre of water in 10 minutes (in wind-free conditions) and although we haven’t had the need to heat up quite that much liquid, it is noticeably quicker when it comes to boiling a kettle. Campingaz’s Xcelerate technology is what’s behind all this – a combination of highly efficient double burners with patent-pending WindBlock pan supports. Run it from any butane or propane cylinder. A removable nonstick griddle allows you to fry your sausages and burgers direct. The stove is free-standing, dimensions are 63 x 42 x 18cm and weight is just over 10kg. Construction is painted steel with a plastic handle, folding for the easiest of carrying. Built-in side tables and a shelf provide somewhere for your ingredients and utensils to sit. It’s part of a range of Xcelerate stoves, including the 600 ST, which features a grill. Key features Piezo ignition, legs, integrated side tables and shelf, supplied with gas hose and regulator Price £140 www.campingaz.com

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êêê COOKING EQUIPMENT BAR-BE-QUICK FAMILY SIZE FSC INSTANT BARBECUE From the company that’s been making instant barbecues here in the UK since 1986. This Family Size model (it also does singles) claims to feed up to ten folk at a time. It shouldn’t be placed directly onto grass, of course. Reckon on it being ready to cook some 20 minutes after its initial lighting, after which it will burn for anything up to an hour and a half. AOn no account drag a used instant

barbecue into your tent to warm yourself up. At the moment, Bar-Be-Quick only sells stands for its single variant Being disposable, means there’s no washingup, although it is, of course, a single-use item! Key features UK made, fully disposable, lightweight Price £7

www.barbequick.com

HIGHLANDER FOLDING DOUBLE BURNER/GRILL Arguably the most popular type of cooker for family camping. Model number GAS046 from Highlander, but – in honesty – you’ll get variations on this from all the usual brands and more. Yes, they are pretty much of a muchness, but what we’re looking for specifically here is a sureness of control, while the piezo ignition should mean never having to worry about matches.

It’s a folding double burner with grill – the latter for the all-important toast. In black only from Highlander, it’s supplied as standard without any gas hose or regulator – which lets you decide what’s best suited to your needs. Key features Stainless steel top, enamelcoated base, piezo ignition. Price £44.99

www.highlander-outdoor.com

HALFORDS GAS STOVE Another very generic cooker, this time a single ring unit that operates from disposable 220g gas cartridges. Items like this tend to hover around the £10 mark and yes, you do get what you pay for (generally). The two-stage “alignment system” should always ensure you get a perfect coupling of the cartridge to the cooker, ditto when it’s time to disengage.

The carrycase really does make it truly portable – ideal, also for day trips out where you don’t want to take anything too hefty, or indeed too “hi-tech”. Overall ease of use of this type of cooker is a big plus point, too. Key features Single ring, piezo ignition, carry case Price £10

www.halfords.com

WEBER GO-ANYWHERE A big name in the world of barbecues Weber has something to suit everyone, with prices all the way into the thousands. This new GoAnywhere model is a gas-powered version of the ever-popular charcoal burning unit of the same name (and sells for around the £80 mark). It uses 445g disposable canisters, also benefiting from latest Go-Anywhere features, a weatherproof handle and a heatshield. www.weberbbq.co.uk

VANGO ULTRALITE Weighing just 73g before it’s attached to a gas supply, this is tiny enough to hold in the palm of your hand – yet it will boil a litre of water in three minutes. You’ll need to provide the ignition, while the fold-out pan supports are capable enough for anything up to twolitres. Good adjustment allows low simmering heats, too. Its dimensions are 55mm x 75mm x

32mm. Believe us, you can pay a whole lot more and get a whole lot less for an item of this type. Key features 3000W power rating, O-ring gas connection, fold-out pot supports, flame adjustment control, storage bag, Scouts recommended Price £23

www.vango.co.uk

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The lid and bowl are in steel with porcelain coating to both sides, while vents are in aluminium. Dimensions are 44cm x 42cm x 27cm and it comes with a 10-year warranty. Key features Protective heat shield, stainless steel burner, glass-reinforced nylon handles, fire- and rust-resistant lid and bowl Price £129.99


OUTWELL CAZAL FIRE PIT One of a number of new outdoor cooker ideas from Outwell for this season. A neat concept if you like the ideal of cooking on an open fire instantly!. This is like a proper fire pit, but portable – and can be used on the ground or a tabletop thanks to its integrated fold-out legs. Just fill it with charcoal, light it and off you go. It also comes with a multi-pronged, long-

handled tool for lifting off the mesh cover. In its base, there’s a removable grate. It’s not just about the cooking here – the Cazal Fire Pit really is your own portable campfire. Key features Stainless steel, fold-out legs, mesh cover, removable grill area Price £39.99

www.outwell.com

NAPOLEON TRAVELQ PRO 285X A two-burner barbecue? Yes, that’s right. And it’s something of a first. Napoleon is a big player in barbecues, but this new model heats things up by offering a choice of two temperature areas. Features include cast-iron cooking plates, which explains the 13kg weight – but it does claim to be capable of cooking up to 20 burgers at a time! The windproof design helps

here, too. You could also go the whole (roast?) hog and order the model complete with a “scissor cart” for moving around – which brings the price up to as much as £349. Key features Cast-iron cooking grates, 35cm x 54cm cooking area, stainless steel burners, vents spark ignition, temperature gauge Price £289.99

www.napoleongrills.co.uk

MSR DRAGONFLY From an extensive line-up from a company best known for its tiny but high-powered backpacking stoves. The Dragonfly runs on any number of liquid fuels – including kerosene, unleaded petrol or even diesel. Its dual-valve set-up gives you infinite control, but there’s also plenty of full-on power here too, with boiling time for a litre of water anything from three and a half to just under four

minutes (depending on fuel). MSR’s own Shaker Jet technology makes for easy cleaning and maintenance – a flick will unblock the fuel jet. Key features Dual-valve flame control, suspended burner, fuel pump, extra-wide pan supports, windscreen, heat reflector Price £125

www.msrgear.com

PRIMUS ETA LITE This new addition to the famous Eta range from Primus is also the smallest. There’s a patent pending on its LFB technology, while another new feature is the Triangle Joint connection between pot and burner. The overall design gives a significantly lower centre of gravity. The Etna Lite comes with its own 05-litre hardanodised aluminium pot with a heat-resistant felt cover and safety strap, which means you

can use it suspended. Its 1500W output will boil a litre of water some 15 seconds under three minutes. It weighs just 355g, with a height of 150mm and 100mm diameter. You’ll get just under an hour’s burn time from a 100g gas container. Key features LFB technology, piezo ignition, foot support Price £110

www.primus.eu

MR D’S TRAVELLER THERMAL COOKER Eight hours of cooking without using any power? That’s the promise here, with this slow cooker from Mr D. The idea is you use the inner pot to cook up your food then put the inner pot into the outer pot so that the thermal cooking process takes over. Temperatures of 60degC can be retained over six hours, with no danger of over-cooking. It can be used indoors or out.

It has a 4.5-litre capacity, catering for anything between two and eight people. Accessories include a cake tin, bread tin, second top pot, and more, Key features Stainless steel twin-walled vacuum-insulated outer pot, stainless steel inner pot with glass lid, carrybag Price £94.40

www.thethermalcook.com

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êêê NEW GEAR

KITBAG Camping casts an expert eye over the latest outdoor gear. Reviews by Nick Harding (NH) TOMTOM MULTI-SPORT GPS WATCH

Expect to pay £179.99 www.tomtom.com

NEVADA BRIGHT LIGHT RANGER

Expect to pay £39.95 www.nevadaradio.co.uk

If you ever want to light up a large area – just outside your tent, for instance; without annoying any neighbours, of course – but still use cost-efficient LED lighting, consider this, the Bright Light Ranger, from Nevada. It claims to be able to light up a 40 square metre area, and will continue to do so for anything up to eight hours on a single charge. It can be charged and operate directly via a 12V socket, but also comes with a wind-up handle for emergency manual charging. You could also add further lights, using its 6V DC socket. The Nevada Bright Light Ranger is 80mm wide x 180mm deep x 210mm high, weighing some 1.42kg. NH

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Count your strides, monitor your heart rate, track your distances and simply measure your miscellaneous activities with this, the Multi-Sports GPS Watch, from TomTom. One of a range of watches using GPS technology, this has a ten-hour battery life, is waterproof up to 50m and, at just 11.5mm, is slim enough to wear on your wrist without feeling intrusive. It also comes with a scratch-resistant display and choice of strap colours and styles. Prices start at the above, but extras include a £69.99 Heart Rate Monitor, working via Bluetooth. NH

GELERT HARLEY 15L

Expect to pay £24.99 www.gelert.com

A daysack that’s waterproof is a sound enough idea, but this Gelert Harley 15L promises to be a bit lighter than most, too. Capacity is 15 litres and it’s in charcoal grey/sulphur spring. Not only is its TPU material waterproof, the rolltop helps prevent any water forcing its way in, too. Overall size is 44cm x 28cm x 18cm. Its weight? Just 0.28kg. NH

KELTY BIVVYS

Expect to pay £100 www.keltyeurope.eu Bivvy bags like buses? We’ve waited, and now here’s news of two. Both from Kelty and both with the same £100 suggested retail price. The Classic Bivvy is designed to accommodate your sleeping bag plus a pad and still leave plenty of room for moving about. There’s a large mesh vent window and seam-sealed construction for fabric that’s waterproof and breathable. It packs down to 33cm x 76cm and weighs 640g. A whole 100g lighter is the Trail Bivvy. It’s a mummy-shaped sleeping bag that again has mesh vent windows and a main fabric that’s waterproof and breathable. NH


From the May 14 issue

CRAGHOPPERS STEFAN/AIREDALE TROUSERS

THE ULTIMATE C2C GUIDE: COAST TO COAST BY BIKE

Expect to pay £60 www.craghoppers.com

Expect to pay £11.95 www.excellentbooks.co.uk

Waterproof, breathable, lightweight and stretchy – that’s quite some promise for these new trousers from Craghoppers. Stefan for men, Airedale for women – and in sizes 30in-42in for the former, 8-20 for the latter, all with legs short, regular or long – these all use Craghoppers’ AquaDry membrane and Pro Stretch technology to offer something like the waterproof levels of specialist over-trousers, yet with a fabric that makes them suitable for everyday wearing. They do tend to rustle slightly, that’s all. Please excuse the pun, but additional features stretch to three zip-opening pockets, part-elasticated waist, Velcro hem adjuster, stretch mesh lining and heel tape. NH

Fancy a cycling and camping challenge? How about the Coast to Coast route from Whitehaven/Workington to Sunderland/ Newcastle? You don’t have to do it all, of course. But, you might like to read about any bits you miss. This is the new C2C Guide, from Excellent Books. Its 144 pages cover all the information you’ll need, including detailed mapping and campsites en route. Spiral-bound, it’s a handy enough size to fit in a suitable map pocket. NH

BARSKA BLACKHAWK BINOCULARS

Expect to pay £84.99 www.burton-mccall.co.uk and www. barska.com For bird-watching and beyond, bag yourself some barskas. From a massive line-up, this is the Blackhawk 8x42 WP, complete with BAK-4 prisms with coated optics for crisp images. Focussing is via a large, knurled centre knob and whole lot’s encased in rubber for protection from any unwanted knocks as well as keeping a secure grip. Like all Barskas, these come with a limited lifetime warranty. You also get further protection from the carry case, plus strap. NH

ANATOM EXPLORER WALKING POLES

SNUGPAK SOCKS

Expect to pay £14.95 (Coolmax Liner)/£7.95 (Military Boot)/£10.95 (Merino Technical) www.snugpak.com Sleeping bag maker Snugpak is also pretty good at stitching together items of outdoor clothing. Latest products to hit the portfolio are socks – three kinds! Price start at £7.95, for Military Boot socks. These have a wool-rich terry loop lining for warmth and comfort, plus “true” heel and toe to prevent unwanted movement and enhance the overall fit. Snugpak’s Merino Technical socks have in-turned welt and extra padding to the sole, as well as grip sections to prevent unwanted slippage. They come in olive, barley or black. Top of the new range are Coolmax Liners, with key features such as reinforced Achilles cushioning, a sole area designed to wick away any moisture, piquet welt and flat-linked toe seam.

Expect to pay £35 www.anatom.co.uk

Aircraft-quality, corrosion-resistant extruded aluminium is the key to the quality of these Explorer walking poles from Anatom that come in three sections with quick lock fixings. Maximum length is 135cm, packing down 65cm when you don’t want to use them. They also have carbide tips, plus protectors and adjustable straps. NH

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êêê LONG-TERM TENT TEST

BROADEN YOUR The MacTaggart family from Banchory in the north east of Scotland have been testing Gelert’s awardwinning Horizon 6 tent. Here’s how they have got on with it.

GELERT HORIZON 6

à

We are a family of four (our boys are aged 10 and 12) and we regularly camp around Scotland. As teachers, we are lucky enough to have sixweeks summer holiday each year, and we find that camping is the most affordable way of getting out and about as often as possible. We have tested the tent on both the east and west coast of Scotland over the summer, where it stood up to high winds, heavy rain and would you believe it... extreme heat! Firstly the ventilation is excellent, with vents at both ends of the tent which Velcro open, and mesh options on both the outer doors and bedroom doors. The impressive 6,000mm hydrostatic head waterproofing proved to be excellent when we were faced with the occasional shower however upon packing

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up, we did find some small puddles in the outer bedroom corners following heavier and prolonged downpours, particularly where the tent had been under most pressure and stretched to the max. The pack size itself is manageable, and still allows for room in the boot to pack everything AND the kitchen sink. In terms of pitching it was very easy. There are pictorial instructions attached to the storage bag which are straightforward to follow – we didn’t even fall out once which is always a bonus - as well as colour coded fibreglass poles and sleeves. I should also mention that the tent pegs were of particularly high quality. We would normally instantly replace the tent pegs provided, with our own stronger Delta pegs; however the pegs did not bend easily and did the job perfectly well.

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From the Apr 14 issue

HORIZONS

TRIED AND TESTED

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 LONG-TERM TENT TEST

The living accommodation is light and spacious. The Gelert Horizon 6 has two large windows and a generous amount of headroom. There are two storage pockets which can be attached with toggles under each window; however access to these is not ideal as this is the only place where furniture can be placed. We found ourselves only using one of the pockets as the other was blocked by our table (a minor complaint). Overall, this tent is spacious for a family of four. It would of course sleep six but that might feel rather crowded and perhaps be a bit tight for large airbeds. The bedrooms proved to be most

spacious for four. There was plenty of space for a double aerobed in each of the two bedrooms, and handy pockets at lower level for torches etc. We had plenty room to spare for a bedside table (ok, storage box) and all of the essential equipment which camping with children brings. I should probably mention that this tent would also suit smaller groups of two or three people, given that you could leave out a bedroom and zip open the third door at the far end of the tent, thus providing larger living accommodation. Very versatile, enabling you to set it up to best suit your plot. In summary, the Gelert Horizon 6 is a very good quality family tent.

THE LOOK The Gelert Horizon is a six-berth vis-a-vis style tunnel tent which suits our needs really well. It is a rather attractive dark beige colour with a hint of lime green trim. The guy ropes are plain black (reflective ones would have been nice) and the windows are large and give a lovely clear (not distorted) view. The central living area is versatile with a door on either side and it has very trendy patterned curtains and inner doors. We also liked the fact that this tent would meet most campsite size regulations, thus avoiding an additional charge per night.

OUT AND ABOUT We first did a trial pitch in the back garden, which probably took about 45 minutes, however with practice we have reduced our pitch time to around 25 minutes. This of course does not include the further hour it takes for me to fill the tent with half the contents of my house, and decorate the tent with solar fairy lights and bunting (much to the husband’s annoyance!) For our first trip we didn’t go too far. About an hour’s drive north to the lovely costal site of Sandend which looks out over the Moray Firth. Here we spent a most enjoyable four nights in

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WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED? Our main gripe would be the lack of porch to create a kitchen area, however we will not dwell on this as I believe these are available to purchase separately. We would consider this an essential item, given that we cook outdoors daily and don’t want the hassle of having to move heavy kitchen equipment in and out of the tent every time there is a shower of rain. The door zips were somewhat tricky to close once everything was tightened up and the canopy above the door put far too much stress on this section of the zip in particular. Due to the bathtub groundsheet design, the lip was a bit of a trip hazard (although you get used to it) and we were surprised that the third door was not fully sealed along the bottom as this allows access for creepy crawlies over time.

WHAT WE LIKED This tent has a number of features that we liked. The lightweight fibreglass poles reduced the pack weight and made for easy pitching. The light colour, modern patterned curtains and spacious living area were very nice. A couple of zipped vents allowed access for an electric hook up. This was helpful, not only to charge the kids’ gaming devices, but to power our electric cool box, without which, we would have been unable to keep our food cool enough in the unusually hot weather. ■ reasonably fair weather. The boys spent their time surfing the waves and building damns in the stream. Worthy of mention are the campsite owners Bernard and Jane, who couldn’t have been more helpful with regards to places to visit and kept the place spotlessly clean. On our second trip we went further afield to the west coast of Scotland. Sands Campsite is near Gairloch and yet another stunning beach location. The weather was pretty much a scorcher, however when the winds dropped in the evening then we had to retreat back into our tent because of the dreaded midges (and no amount of Avon Skin so Soft or Smidge will keep your West Coast midges at bay). The good ventilation was helpful, as were the mesh doors at either side to allow airflow. But again, we really missed having a porch to set up a more permanent kitchen space. MORE INFORMATION

6 berth

Gelert

21.1kg

0845 1299250

Tunnel

Pitch in 25 mins

Sewn-in groundsheet

Price £449 Packed size 75 x 35 x 30cm Materials Outer Polyester Poles Fibreglass Waterproof 6,000mm hydrostatic head Dimensions Outer 700 x 240cm Height 218cm Bedrooms 1 & 2 220 x 210cm (max)

www.gelert.com

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êêê INFLATABLE TENTS

PUMP IT UP It’s taken 80 years, but blow-up tents have finally arrived in the mainstream. But do they live up to the hype or is it all hot air? Iain Duff checks out a selection of 2014’s inflatables.

OUTWELL HARRIER XL

Tap image above for gallery

KEY FEATURES âBreathable polycotton flysheet âLarge front porch âTinted PVC windows with polycotton curtains âOrganiser pockets in the living area and mesh pockets in the bedrooms âComes with two-way pump with pressure gauge

Outwell

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0151 645 2278

PITCHING Outwell’s pitching system differs from Vango in that it has a single valve, which supplies all four tubes. It’s a double edged sword – on the one hand you don’t have all the faff of disconnecting the pump and moving along to the next valve every time you fill one of the poles. But on the other it can take a lot of energy to put up all the poles in one go. Generally though

www.outwell.co.uk

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From the Jun 14 issue

pitching is as easy as you’d expect. LIVING The front porch provides extra living space, ideal for cooking and storing kit. The large front door, flanked by PVC windows, leads you into the huge main living room (a nice touch is the fold down groundsheet allowing easy access for wheelchairs or buggies). There’s loads of headroom and


Tap here for our YouTube video of the inflatable tent time trial

à

It seems odd to describe something that first appeared in 1934 as revolutionary, but that’s still how we think about inflatable tents these days. The PTC Igloo was first manufactured in the days between the two wars and there’s no doubt its technology was way ahead of its time. In an era when tents were heavy and cumbersome, the Igloo broke the mould – relatively lightweight and

incredibly simple to pitch. They made a big comeback in the 1960s and were relatively popular right through that decade and the next. But it wasn’t until Vango revived the idea in 2011 with its AirBeam range that the idea of inflatable tents really hit the mainstream in the UK. Dismissed as a gimmick, after a few teething problems they proved popular with campers, so much so that Vango quickly extended

u

their range. The trick was adapting the technology to develop family-sized tunnel tents. And in the three years since, they have been followed into the market by almost all the major manufacturers. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of blow-up tents? And what are the best models to consider? Here we look at a range of the new tents that you’ll find in your local camping retailer this spring. ■

MORE INFORMATION

6 berth

38.5kg

Tunnel

Pitch in 10 mins

Sewn-in groundsheet

Price £1,800 Packed size 45x108cm Materials Polycotton Dimensions Outer 400 x 665cm Height 225cm Bedroom 1 215 x 140cm Bedroom 2 215 x 100cm Bedroom 3 215 x 120cm

plenty of windows that let light flood in. You’ll have plenty of space for furniture without making the tent feel in any way cluttered. The doors on each side both have mesh backs.

tent with the added convenience of comfortable as singles but would probably being inflatable. As well as all the obvious accommodate two each at a push. The zip attractions, look out for the little extras: dividers between the rooms allow some reinforced stress points, adjustable pegging flexibility.There are lots of storage pockets points and heavy duty zips. It will make you and there is a rear ventilation panel to keep SLEEPING It’s a typical tunnel layout, with the sleeping area cool. the envy of the campsite, and so it should for MORE IN FORMATION bedrooms at the rear of the tent – a large the price of a decent second hand car. But Price: £950 Packed size 33x71cm OUR VIEW This is camping at its most double is in the centre and two smaller think of it as a long term investment – this Materials Outer Polycotton Poles DAC Hybrid Sewn-in Tunnel Pitch in 18.7kg 4 berth decadent, a luxury, high quality polycotton rooms on either side. These are most could be the last tent you ever need. ■ Dimensions (L)300x(W)226cm x (H)218cm groundsheet 15 mins

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êêê INFLATABLE TENTS VANGO EDEN V 400

Tap image above for gallery MORE INFORMATION

4 berth

44.2kg

Tunnel

Pitch in 10 mins

KEY FEATURES âPolycotton fabric flysheet âLarge panoramic windows âSun canopy at front to extend living space âComes in roller bag for easier transport âZip-up curtains PITCHING Inflatable tents tend to be a bit heavier than regular pole constructions and once you factor in the polycotton fabric, this is one of the heaviest tents of its size we’ve come across. Thankfully it comes in a roller bag to make it easier to move. Pitching is simple – lay it out flat, peg out the corners and pump up the three poles. It’s possible to do alone but a helping hand with pushing the beams up is welcome.

Vango

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0844 770 7058

Sewn-in groundsheet

Price £1,100 Packed size 78 x 40 x 53cm Materials Polycotton Dimensions Outer 310 x 600cm (inc canopy) Height 205cm Bedrooms (total) 210 x 288cm

LIVING For a four berth tent, the living space in the Eden is particularly generous. The high headroom and large panoramic windows give the tent an even more spacious feel and there’s plenty of room for camping furniture, like a table and chairs. If you prefer to spend more time outdoors then the large pre-attached sun canopy (or rain canopy depending on how pessimistic you are) allows you to extend the inside, outside. SLEEPING The sleeping area is along the back of the tent, and is split into two good sized doubles by a zip-divider. This provides a bit more privacy – or alternatively you can remove it completely and leave one large room. Both rooms can accommodate

www.vango.co.uk

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a double airbed or a couple of single mats each. The sleeping pod has decent headroom and other features include mesh panels on the doors, darkened material, storage pockets and a rear ventilation panel. OUR VIEW The Eden 400 is a spacious tent for a small family that simply oozes quality thanks to the polycotton material and excellent workmanship. The quality living space begins before you’ve even got inside, with the built-in sun canopy providing somewhere to cook or to chill-out in the shade on a hot sunny day. Step inside into a sun-filled oasis of calm. The only negatives are the weight and the price – both are a touch on the heavy side. ■


GELERT O.M.E.G.A. 8

Tap image above for gallery MORE INFORMATION

8 berth

Tunnel

29.35kg

KEY FEATURES âSpacious and light living area âSide porch âDarkened bedrooms âMesh panels and doors âComes with double pump PITCHING The biggest issue is the sheer size of this tent which means you’ll struggle to pitch it alone. The inflating is not really the problem, more getting the tent into position and pushing the five tubes up as they fill with air.There’s also a lot of peg points so a helping hand with those won’t go amiss. Once standing you’ll notice the unusual “bow-tie” shape, designed to maximise living and sleeping space.

Gelert

0845 1299250

Pitch in 10 mins

Sewn-in groundsheet

Price £890 Packed size N/A Materials Polyester Waterproof 6,000mm hydrostatic head Dimensions Outer 787 x 397cm Height 227cm

LIVING All five air tubes are the same size, which means the tent widens at the back and front where the bedrooms are. This doesn’t particularly affect the living space, which is large, bright and airy. There’s a small annexe on one side which acts as an entrance lobby – a bit like a spaceship airlock where you can get inside, and remove wet gear before entering the main tent. The low and high level vents encourage good airflow. SLEEPING The bedrooms face each other across the living area, giving families with older children a bit more privacy. There are two double rooms at each end – all of which are big enough to take a double air bed. The

darkened material is designed to give you a better night’s sleep in the summer months when it gets light much earlier, while the rear vents and the mesh door panels provide good ventilation. OUR VIEW This is a good quality inflatable that is large and spacious enough for a big family holiday. But it’s on price that it really comes up trumps. The recommended price of £890 is fairly average for an inflatable, but Gelert was recently taken over by the Sports Direct group and at the time of writing you could find this tent on their website for just £629.99. For an inflatable of this size and quality, that is excellent value for money. ■

www.gelert.co.uk

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êêê INFLATABLE TENTS SUNNCAMP SAPPHIRE 1000 PLUS

Tap image above for gallery KEY FEATURES âSpacious living area âDoors with secondary mesh âLow and high level ventilation âComes with pump PITCHING It’s all straightforward. A couple of minutes to lay the tent out flat and secure the corners, 10 minutes to inflate plus another 10 to peg out (the tent not you!) and you’re good to go. LIVING The Sapphire has decent living space in between the two sleeping areas. There are doors on both sides, each with large PVC windows alongside that provide plenty of light but can be covered up with rollaway curtains. There is ventilation above both windows and mesh backed doors to allow

10 berth

31kg

Tap image above for gallery

air in but keep bugs out. SLEEPING The bedrooms at either end of the tent are advertised as being suitable for 10 campers but we feel it would be far more comfortable for six or eight at a squeeze. The sleeping areas are accessed via doors with mesh panels and there are dividers to separate the rooms. OUR VIEW Promoting this as a 10 berth tent is unrealistic – it may well be possible to squash 10 in but it would not be an enjoyable experience. Treat it as a six berth and it’s much more appealing, providing good value for money; it’s expected to be available for as little as £675. The materials have also been noticably upgraded from last year’s model. ■

Tunnel vis a vis

Pitch in 15 mins

Sewn-in groundsheet

MORE INFORMATION

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QUECHUA AIR SECONDS FAMILY 6.3 XL

KEY FEATURES âLarge panoramic PVC windows âThree bedrooms, including one removable âSpacious living area âSide door with rain protector PITCHING A large tent that will probably need two pairs of hands. The four arched beams can each be inflated in less than a minute, and then it’s simply a case of pegging out the groundsheet and the guylines. LIVING The main living area is very big, even when the optional third bedroom is included. There’s extremely good headroom and light floods in through the large PVC windows at the front and side. Even with room three in place there’s plenty of space. Ventilation

6 berth

is a key feature on this tent. SLEEPING There are two bedrooms at the rear of the tent with a third that can be fitted at the opposite end, bringing the total capacity up to six. Each room is big enough for a double airbed and there’s standing room. OUR VIEW For less than £500 this is an excellent tent offering lots of features and superb value for money. The living area is bright and spacious and the bedrooms provide flexible accommodation for up to six. Ventilation is great and the zip-in groundsheet can be removed to be cleaned. The only downside is that Quechua tents are only available at Decathlon stores in the UK – and there aren’t that many of them. ■

N/A

MORE INFORMATION

Tunnel

Price £832 Packed size 85x43x43cm Materials Polyester Waterproof 5,000mm hydrostatic head Dimensions Outer 700x320cm Height 210cm Bedrooms 1 and 2 210x180cm Bedrooms 3 and 4 210x120cm

Price £500 Packed size 38x38x100cm Materials Polyester Waterproof N/A Dimensions Outer 610x310cm Height 215cm Bedrooms 1 and 2 240x140cm Bedroom 3 230x140cm

Sunncamp

Decathlon

01245 329933

www.sunnflair.co.uk

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www.decathlon.co.uk

Pitch in 15 mins


KELTY MACH 6

HIGHLANDER AEOLUS 4

Tap image above for gallery KEY FEATURES âQuick pitch inflatable system âCentral eating area âVents on bedroom doors âGuyrope pockets PITCHING The Mach 6 is manageable enough to pitch on your own. Lay the tent out flat, stake out the four corners then inflate. LIVING Kelty’s tents are designed for America where campers have different needs than in the UK. Better weather means the emphasis across the pond is much more on outdoor living, with the tent simply used as an overnight shelter. That explains why the living space between the two bedrooms is so small, with no groundsheet and just enough

6 berth

room for a table and chairs. SLEEPING The bedrooms face each other across the central living area and are both a good size. Mesh windows provide lots of ventilation and the air flow is assisted by vents on the doors and on the rear wall. OUR VIEW A good technical quality tent that provides comfortable accommodation for six campers at a reasonable price. Pitching is quick and easy but if a decent-sized living area is important, then you may find the Kelty lacking. There’s little communal space and no windows. It may not suit as a family tent but it would make a good base tent for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors during camping trips. ■

12.5kg

MORE INFORMATION

Tap image above for gallery

Tunnel vis a vis

KEY FEATURES âSpacious, bright living area âLarge bedroom âHigh and low level vents âHeavy duty carry bag PITCHING The appeal of being able to put up a good-sized family tent on your own in 10 minutes is huge. The Aeolus follows the same routine as the other inflatables we’ve looked at – lay out, secure the corners then inflate each tube. LIVING The first thing you notice is just how big the living area is. And not just floorspace – there’s loads of headroom too. The space is bright and airy, with a large PVC window on one side and windows either side of the front door. The side door can be zipped open to reveal a mesh backing .

4 berth

Pitch in 10 mins

SLEEPING The bedroom at the back of the tent is designed for four but it would be more comfortable for two or three. There are storage pockets inside the bedrooms as well as a rear vent. OUR VIEW Easy to pitch and with lots of space, this is a great value tent. Ideal for for a small family on weekend breaks or a touring couple, the spacious living area has plenty of room for furniture. With a price of around £500, this is at the lower end of the scale,and there are a few extras missing as a result. For example, there’s no cable entry point and the waterproof rating is lower than some of its competitors. Overall though, Highlander have produced an excellent tent at a very competitive price. ■

Tunnel

15.1kg

MORE INFORMATION

Price £524.99 Packed size 30x76cm Materials Polyester Waterproof N/A Dimensions Outer 538x269cm Height 193cm Bedrooms 193x254cm

Price £499 Packed size 69x38x35cm Materials Polyester Waterproof 3,00mm hydrostatic head Dimensions Outer 475x280cm Height 210cm Bedroom 240x260cm

Kelty

Highlander

www.keltyeurope.eu

Pitch in 10 mins

01506 438438

www.highlander-outdoor.com

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THE

STUFF Whether you’re a newcomer to camping or a grizzled old veteran there’s always something new to learn. Here you’ll find some of the really useful stuff that is guaranteed to improve your camping life. Craghoppers NosiLife

O THE DUFFER’S GUIDE T

insect repellent clothes

BEATING BUGS

Camping editor Iain Duff’s guide to dealing with insects Keep the inner tent closed as much as possible to keep bugs out – and in hot weather leave the mesh panels zipped up. You’ll still get ventilation but without unwelcome visitors. When sitting around the campfire at night, consider lighting a citronella candle. They do seem to work.

If you find yourself in a particularly heavily infested area, wear long sleeves, a hat, and even tuck your trousers into your socks. You’re not going to win any style awards but better that than be covered in huge red welts. Insect repelling clothes are available from the likes of Craghoppers – its NosiLife range features all sorts of different types of clothing. In the UK, midges (Scotland) and mosquitoes (south of England) will be your biggest enemies. Wear insect repellent to fend them off. Some campers swear by Avon’s So-Soft to deter midges. Repellents containing DEET are very effective but the aggressive chemical has been declared a health hazard. If you find modern chemical warfare doesn’t work try more traditional methods. There are tales that eating Marmite and garlic will discourage the attentions of biting insects – but don’t expect to make any new friends.

Midge bites itch like MAD!

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Fashion tip. Insects are attracted by bright colours, so stick to camouflage greens or subdued colours

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Mosquitoes enjoy breeding around still or stagnant water, so avoid these areas as much as possible If you’re going camping in Scotland, check the midge forecast before travelling at www. midgeforecast.co.uk. The north west of Scotland is generally the worst affected area while the east coast tends to escape the worst. The further south you travel the fewer you’ll encounter. If you get stung, it often helps to use a cold compress on the bite. Take the ice from your partner’s gin and tonic and wrap it in a tea towel or similar cloth. Never place ice directly on skin Steroid creams, such as hydrocortisone, or antihistamines (cream or tablets) are available over-the-counter at pharmacies and will help to ease any itchiness and inflammation from bites. If bitten by a tick, remove it as soon as possible to reduce the risk of getting an infection, such as Lyme disease. Grab the tick as close to the skin as you can, and gently pull straight up until all parts are removed. Using petroleum jelly, alcohol, or a lit match to remove a tick does not work. If in doubt about any insect bite, seek medical advice.


From the Aug 14 issue

THREE FOR ALL

INSECT REPELLENT

FIRST THINGS FIRST

1 LIFESYSTEMS MIDGE & MOSQUITO REPELLENT Expect to pay £5.25 www.lifesystems.co.uk Developed with a combination of active ingredients including myrtle extract, this new repellent spray from Lifesystems provides up to eight hours of protection against small biting insects such as midges, sandflies and mosquitoes. The formula contains DEET, Pyrethrum and myrtle extract, The DEET blocks the insects’ receptors so they’re less likely to land on you, while the addition of Pyrethrum and myrtle extract reduce the probability of any insects that do land on you from biting.

2 PREVENT NATURAL INSECT REPELLENT Expect to pay from £5.99 www.summitint.co

There’s always likely to be a few cuts and bruises on a family camping trip. Frankly, if there aren’t, you’re not doing it right! We find broken bones are best left to the experts at A&E but most injuries you can treat yourself with the help of a properly stocked first aid kit. Here’s the basics you’ll need. u A variety of bandages and

PreVent is a DEET free natural insect repellent that promises protection from all biting insects for up to eight hours with just one application. It is made from natural ingredients including 1% Pyrethrins, derived from African chrysanthemums. The active ingredient is safe and effective and is said to be better for the environment. The range includes a pump spray, insect repellent wipes, cream, aerosol and candles. The theory is that it not only repels the insects, but also inhibits their biting mechanism, while the candles kill the insects altogether.

3 CARE PLUS SENSITIVE RANGE Expect to pay £6.99 www.keeblecare.co.uk No DEET here either. These two products from Care Plus – Spray and Roll-on – use Saltadin as their main active ingredient, 12% in the former, 20% in the latter. It’s proven at keeping all kinds of bugs at bay, up to and including mosquitoes, as well as coming recommended by WHO, the World Health Organisation. Roll-on claims to be effective for anything up to six hours, while the spray is OK for up to four.

gauze strips, ready to strap up sprained ankles and wrists, and to bandage more serious cuts. u Safety pins or tape u Plasters – standard ones, fancy kids ones, and some of the ‘blister’ plasters that you get these days u Non-stick sterile pads u Antiseptic wipes or liquid u Pain killers u Anti-histamines and insectsting relief u Eye rinse u Scissors and tweezers u Tick removal device u Cling film – very handy for keeping burns clean and protected u Sunburn relief cream

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THE

STUFF

SUNSHINE SAFE Cover up on the beach

It’s summer and the sun is guaranteed to shine at some point – even in the UK. Don’t suffer the short term pain (and long term consequences) of sunburn

1

7

9

2

8

10

Wear sunglasses and a hat and cover up your arms and legs – this is especially true for children.

They say only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun but the NHS recommends that you spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm.

3

Don’t forget to drink water regularly when out in the heat. Children are especially vulnerable to dehydration, so bring a bottle that they can sip from at regular intervals

If you do get burnt, soothe your skin with a natural moisturising cream as soon as you can. But make sure you use one that doesn’t attract insects.

Craghoppers NosiLife range also features clothing with built in sun protection as well as insect repellent

Don’t neglect your tent. Ultra-violet rays in bright sunshine can damage nylon flysheets. Treat your tent with a protective spray, such as Nikwax’s Tent & Gear Solarproof spray.

Buy a tent with a built-in sun canopy or add an awning to your current tent so you can enjoy the outdoors without being in the direct line of fire.

4

Slather on the sunscreen. Sun protection factor (SPF) has become a worldwide standard for measuring the effectiveness of sunscreen. Factor 15 is the minimum you’d want to consider.

5

Children’s skin is more sensitive to the sun and they’re usually out in it for longer so it pays to use a sun screen with a higher SPF – 50 is ideal – plus high UV-A and UV-B protection.

6

If you’re at the beach or in and out of a pool, make sure you use a waterproof sunscreen. The sun’s rays are even more powerful when reflected off the water.

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Get a tent with a sun canopy


LAW

sort of thing. And when we were planning it, posted it home, halfway through the trip, we really worried about what we would do unused. It’s not that we don’t like chess. And to while away the evenings. Wouldn’t we get it’s not that the the pieces were small laundrette beforefar the too lady across theto way with five children gets in and takes up all bored, sitting around campsites? So we got use, and were just going to get lost the minute the washing machines again. There’s always something to do. they really were a bit carried away with buying toys. we started to play. Though, And so all my carefully chosen pastimes We bought a mini radio, and I searched - we’d have needed tweezers. My hands are just get left by the wayside. We once found set of juggling balls down the back of every drawer in the house until I found a probably small aenough, but my boyfriend pannier - glow in the dark juggling balls, if tiny pack of playing cards that I’d found in a has enough trouble typing on his mobile you please. They never did get used beyond five minute “look-what I can do”. Then Christmas cracker. They were so cute! Hard screen with hisabig fingers he’d never have they were fished out from the hedge they to play with, admittedly, but a lovely little set. managed! But no theintoreal didn’t had fallen (I’m reason not as goodwe at juggling as I think) and lay in the corner of the And then we decided we needed a chess use it is simply that there never was anytent time. for the rest of the weekend, giving off an set. I Googled and searched and pondered, When you imagine going eerie greenish glow camping, as soon as the you sun went down. A few more would have made a veryto and eventually the mostalways beautifulsomething imagine (or I do, anyway) that it’s all going Gillian Lawbought finds there’s to do handy path marker for going to the loo and miniature chess set you’ve ever seen. It was be pure sloth. Lazing about drinking coffee, on the campsite coming back I’m sure there are loads of things we carvedAfrom rosewood, and was about reading book, staring up at the sky through few years ago, my boyfriend castlings andfour checkmates. Maybe we’d a even all cart about and never use. Radios and and I set off on a long cycle play with other people? It’s an international inches square, with a beautiful lid on elegant the leaves of a speakers tree. are another thing that I’ve taken camping tour round Europe – language, chess, I told myself. away and then not used - partly because I brass hinges, and the teensiest tiniest But it doesn’t work out like that. “trip of a lifetime”, you know the You won’tpieces, be surprised to hear thatsomehow we always feel bad disturbing other people with sort of thing. And when were of planning it, Maybe posted it two home, halfway through trip, each about thewesize a pea. I’m the always making theofcoffee, or going to buy my choice music (or making them listen to we really worried about what we would do unused. It’s not that we don’t like chess. And the Archers on Radio 4). I’m never too happy forthethe king.Wouldn’t we get it’s not that the pieces weremilk or crawling round on my topeas, while away evenings. far toofor smallthe to coffee, when other people play music - and as for bored, sitting around campsites? we got use, just going to hands get lost the minute I imagined us lyingSosprawled onand thewere grass people who get guitars out,book I’m a right old and knees looking for my - and a bit carried away with buying toys. we started to play. Though, they really were grump about that. So it doesn’t seem right to in sunshine, away the hours with tweezers. then realising that I really should go and use Wethe bought a mini radio, whiling and I searched - we’d have needed My hands are inflict my choices on them.

OF THE CAMPSITE

à

every drawer in the house until I found a tiny pack of playing cards that I’d found in a Christmas cracker. They were so cute! Hard to play with, admittedly, but a lovely little set. And then we decided we needed a chess set. I Googled and searched and pondered, and eventually bought the most beautiful miniature chess set you’ve ever seen. It was carved from rosewood, and was about four inches square, with a beautiful lid on elegant brass hinges, and the teensiest tiniest pieces, each about the size of a pea. Maybe two peas, for the king. I imagined us lying sprawled on the grass in the sunshine, whiling away the hours with

probably small enough, but my boyfriend has enough trouble typing on his mobile screen with his big fingers - he’d never have managed! But no - the real reason we didn’t use it is simply that there never was any time. When you imagine going camping, you imagine (or I do, anyway) that it’s all going to be pure sloth. Lazing about drinking coffee, reading a book, staring up at the sky through the leaves of a tree. But somehow it doesn’t work out like that. I’m always making the coffee, or going to buy milk for the coffee, or crawling round on my hands and knees looking for my book - and then realising that I really should go and use

Children seem to want to bring every toy from home, filling up the tent with bright plastic and damp faux fur, but as soon as they get there they’re far too busy playing with mud and leaves and running round in circles. Well, except there’s always one or two determined to stay hooked on their Nintendo or iPad for the whole trip - but you can usually get them interested in the outside world after a day or two. Anyway, my resolution is - no more toys. I’ll find enough interesting things to see and do once I’m there. And if not, there’s always guy lines to tighten or untangle, and other people to beat to the tumble drier. ■

From the Sep 14 issue

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fro pl th wi in or Ni ca wo

I’ll do gu pe


u o y ? h e s i r e W were h PICTURE BY RUSS SWAN To our eyes, few over Kenmare Bay on places on Earth are the Ring of Kerry. The as beautiful as the site took a battering south west of Ireland. in February’s storms, Camping pitches at ironically bringing Wave Crest Caravan visitors to witness and Camping Park, the event; when we a Premier Park, have visited in June all was spectacular views back to normal. WAVE CREST CARAVAN AND CAMPING PARK Caherdaniel, Co Kerry, Ireland 00353 66 947 5188 http://www.wavecrestcamping.com

From the Sep 14 issue


R C S B U S

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