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Woodland Camping in South Devon between the coastal town of Torquay and Dartmoor National Park

The quaint little village of Rattery on the edge of Dartmoor is a rather sleepy sort of place. Old thatched-roofed houses and newer bungalows are cobbled together around the ancient church, while outside the churchyard a pub attracts locals and walkers alike. Above its entrance, flanked by old wrought-iron wagon wheels, the date 1028 is scribed, alluding to the village’s oldest records in the Domesday book. The village name, apparently, comes from the ‘Red Trees’ of the area. And today, just west of Rattery, you can camp in among them, pitching your tent beneath the leafy canopy of Ashbourne Wood.

In fact, though most renowned for its 25 wild camping pitches – clearings and spaces among the trees where you can pitch a tent and have a campfire – Ashbourne Wood offers plenty more besides. Campervans and caravans are also permitted on the hard-standings near reception, while glampers can choose from a range of options, from sturdy gypsy caravans and pods, to summery bell tents and octagonal-wooden huts known as micro-lodges. Firepits are available for hire regardless of what you choose, so you’ll always be able to toast your marshmallows and soak up that traditional camping atmosphere, while an open meadow provides for groups who fancy gathering together in one large place.

In all, this expansive site is a real treasure trove of pathways and clearings. It’s a full 63-acres in size if you include the rest of the forest and for children with a little imagination it’s a haven to explore. Den building, tree-climbing and wildlife watching are all just for starters, if you’re willing to wander a little further to the village pub, or hop in the car and delve deep into Dartmoor National Park (just 2 miles away), then the opportunities are endless. Don’t rush away too fast though. Kicking back in this quiet campsite is a simple pleasure in itself. Sometimes, staying put and enjoying the sounds of the woods is the very best place to start.

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The campsite owner says

Ashbourne Woods is a beautiful woodland camping site catering for all types of camping and overnight stays but which specialises in wild and semi wild camping within the 68 acres of woods.

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