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A charmingly rustic camping retreat in deepest Devon with friendly owners, beautiful views and Dartmoor National Park just down the lane

Jacqui and Richard Morgan moved to Bowacre in 2014. “Drawn by the countryside and prospect of peace and tranquillity”, as they put it themselves, the couple set about restoring the 17th-century cottage and its three-and-a-half-acre grounds. From the old pond to the floral borders of the cottage garden, the place was a rough diamond simply asking to be polished back to rural perfection. Today, that is precisely what Richard and Jacqui have done. And now campers are welcome, too.

Set in the meadows around Bowacre, the tiny campsite has room for just eight tents at any one time and is restricted to adults only. The result is a crowd-free retreat in a much sought-after Devon location. Rural but not remote, the cottage grounds retain their wild and rustic feel but also offer simple facilities – proper toilets, a kitchen area with a fridge and hobs, and a small honesty box selling local milk and eggs from the local hens. The simple, homespun feel of it all, meanwhile, is only accentuated by the single lane road that leads down to the site, thickly grown over on either side with a great green avenue of long grass and cow parsley.

It’s in the separate Lesser Celandine field that Bowacre’s secret retreat is found – a private, ready-pitched bell tent, with a double airbed and its own outdoor kitchen (plus a nearby composting toilet and hot shower). Of all the spots here, it has the best views across the valley and directly overlooks neighbouring Hittisleigh Wood. At night you can hear the hooting of owls from the comfort of your deep double bed, while by day you can stride out and follow a footpath into the trees, roaming beneath the canopy and then out across the surrounding Devon countryside.

It’s walkers, too, that really feel at home at Bowacre. The campsite is a mere three miles from Dartmoor National Park, where hiking opportunities abound, while mountain biking is similarly popular. For a more breezy two-wheeled route, it’s not far to the renowned Tarka Trail, one of the UKs flagship cycle ways on a formerly disused railway line, taking in some of the county’s most scenic countryside before finishing up on the north coast around 30 miles away. Devon’s south coast is closer still and takes around 40 minutes to reach by car. Though treasures like National Trust-owned Drago Castle and the ancient market town of Chagford are sure to delay you along the way.

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The campsite owner says

Bowacre sits in the heart of Real Devon and offers visitors a space to relax and unwind amongst beautiful rolling hills and ancient woodland scenery. To share this lovely space Bowacre offers a spacious furnished Bell Tent (5 meters) with its own compost toilet and hot shower nestled in our Celandine Field. Additionally, Bowacre offers our beautiful 'Fallowfield' to enjoy and relax in – magical on any night to hear the owls, see the deer and gaze at the buzzards as they soar on the thermals.


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