Of all Dartmoor's astonishingly sublime scenes, the Teign Valley is arguably the most jaw-droppingly breathtaking. Picking up the Hunter's Path en route to the stately hulk of Castle Drago on the edge of Teign Gorge, it's little wonder that this Tolkeinesque land inspired the celebrated illustrator of the Lord of the Rings saga, Alan Lee, to laud the "rich variety of landscape, as many boulders, foaming rivers and twisted trees as my heart could ever desire... When I look into a river, I feel I could spend a whole lifetime just painting that river”. With such suitably epic vistas to soak up, you'll be needing a tranquil setting to gather yourself. And we know just the spot.
Burnicombe Farm is 65 sprawling acres of spectacular Devonshire countryside, managed and maintained by the wonderfully accommodating Evans family. Nestled on the fringes of the sleepy village of Bridford, this huge farm-cum-glorious glamper's paradise is abloom and buzz with all manner of flora and fauna (including several rare breeds and endangered species).
This newly opened site introduces a completely new concept in wild, old-fashioned camping with a touch of comfort. With 40 'DIY/ pitch-where-you-fancy' spots scattered around, there's plenty of room to breathe that restorative country air. New to camping? Look no further than the 10 gorgeously-furnished bell tents in the secluded wild flower meadow. Or how about the Mongolian yurts that you'll find in the enchantingly secluded woodlands? Anyone of these canvas palaces are ideal for glamping groups, and with first rate, immaculately clean eco-facilities, plus a communal cooking area, you still get the sense of a proper outdoors holiday.
There's no end to the al fresco fun on offer at Burnicombe. From scaling the ancient granite tors, canoeing in the lake, paddling in the streams, or taking a cooling summer's day dip in the River Teign, from whose sandy banks you can enjoy a waterside picnic. Your helpful hosts can even arrange games for the littl-uns, from tug 'o war and parachute games, to capture the flag, rounders in the playing field, and a weekly 'teddy bears picnic'. Keen to promote an awareness and respect for the local ecology, they also offer a range of eco-activities including nature hunts, badger watching, star gazing and wild food foraging and cooking. The kids will love the farm's residents lambs, chickens (with eggs to collect) and the adorable Dartmoor ponies – be sure to ask about rides in the pony-pulled traps.
It will come as no surprise that Burnicombe is a much in demand wedding venue. Staging those all important big days throughout the year, as well as a range of other events like eco and family adventure camps is why the campsite proper only opens for two fortnightly slots over the summer (perhaps it's only drawback). So if you fancy a stay at Burnicombe (and who wouldn't), you'd best be quick. Then again, with such elegant accommodation and plentiful verdant fields to roam within one of England's last great wilderness, you might just have to pop the big question yourself to secure a spot at this peerless pocket of divine Dartmoor.
His and hers eco loss & eco showers (hot and cold running water). Communal cooking shelter with electricity, fridge, an urn, hot plates and other basic cooking facilities and equipment. Seating area for eating and meeting. Honesty shop selling all the basics. Communal fire pit with free wood collected from the surrounding woodlands. Musical instruments for the campers to help themselves. Recycling facilities.
Tent campers, glampers, families, groups – yes. The minimum stay is 2 nights for tent campers and 3 nights for glampers.
Explore Dartmoor National Park on two-wheels via The Dartmoor Way Cycle Route, the 95 mile-long circular route which winds its way around the natural beauty. The newly re-opened Castle Drogo (01647 433306) – the last to be built in England – welcomes visitors to this ongoing restoration project. Be sure to check out the charming Bunty House and miniature garden. Nearby lies the historic city of Exeter – be sure to pay a visit to the impressive Gothic Exeter Cathedral (01392 285983). To the county's south, the South Hams boasts coastal walks, secluded coves, and charming chocolate-box villages. Blackpool Sands, East Potlemouth, Lannacombe, Slapton Ley – take your pick from any number of gorgeous beaches, all with a unique character. You can also pick up the South West Coast Path with ease but if you're looking for a more secluded walk, Start Point is a good... ahem... starting point. Though not the easiest, the walk to this most southerly tip of Devon is well worth it for the Start Point Lighthouse.
Food & Drink
There's a big campsite cookout twice a week with a fully-licensed bar, sometime with entertainment from a local folk band. Takeaway breakfast and picnic boxes are also available from the farm house kitchen. The Bridford Inn (01647 252250) serves up a decent selection of pub grub favourites at reasonable prices. It's just a 20 minute stroll from site (or a 20 minute stagger, depending on your direction). A bit of a shlep but if you find yourself on the South West Coast Path or walking the Kingsbridge Estuary to West Prawle Woods, be sure to pop in the famous Pig's Nose Inn (01548 511209) – a lively ex-smugglers inn that's popular with the South Hams musos.
25th July – 10th Aug & 22nd Aug – 2nd September.
See website for full directions. Upon arrival, drive down the long farm track. If small vehicle, take the right turn down the tarmac track. If large heavy vehicle, follow the sign to carry straight on through the open metal gate and down the track to the farm house. Please slow down on your approach to the farm yard car park.
Exeter has 3 train stations (Exeter Central, Exeter St Davids & Exeter St Thomas) with a bus stop 20 mins walk away. Georgina can collect from train station and bus stop by prior arrangement.
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