Exmouth Country Lodge & Prattshayes Farm
At the western end of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage site spanning from Exmouth to Swanage Bay, a tall needle sculpture sits atop the headland – putting the ‘point’ in Orcombe Point. Rocks from different geological periods lead away in a short stone path, letting you hopscotch from the Triassic to the Cretaceous, and if you continue hopping inland you soon find yourself in the Quaternary (geological speak for the present period). There, one mile from Exmouth Beach, an excellent family campsite has all the 21st century facilities you need. If you like coastal walks, watersports or simply exploring the nooks of a seaside town, there are few better places to be.
While Exmouth Country Lodge Prattshayes Farm does indeed cater for the modern-day camper – there’s the well-stocked 'cow shed' bar with 'orchard' beer garden, electrical hook-ups and the toilet and shower facilities are immaculate – the place has its fair share of history too. There’s been a settlement in the area since Roman times and, during the 16th century, the farm was owned by the family of Sir Francis Drake. Today, bushy hedgerows parcel up the campsite’s front meadow into two different camping paddocks; one slightly more neat and regimented with electrical hook-ups for touring, the other a tent-camping-only field where you can largely pitch where you like. In a corner there’s also a small settlement of cream bell tents, too, for lazy campers or those without the kit.
In high season, families mainly rule the roost and there’s a tremendously sociable atmosphere. A barn space has been converted into a hip little bar with a beer garden outside and in busy periods there’s a pop-up smoke house and food van that appears at meal times. It’s a welcome treat to most, though having your own barbecue (or campfire) is permitted, too, provided it is raised well off the grass.
The campsite's sister company, Exmouth Watersports, hire out equipment and provide tuition on Exmouth Beach, one mile away. So, if you want a surfboard, paddle board, windsurf or fancy kayaking on the River Exe you only need ask at the campsite. And even if you don’t fancy splashing about under your own steam, there’s no doubt you still spend most of your time here capitalising on the seaside setting. Exmouth town is all about the water, whether it’s relaxing on the beach, catching the ferry across to Starcross and exploring Dawlish Warren or getting a river taxi out to the floating Exe Café. Then there’s Sandy Bay (also within walking distance of the campsite) in the opposite direction and historic Exeter, which is half an hour by car or 20 minutes by train. No matter how much time you have, you probably can’t do it all.
Toilets, showers, disabled shower room, washing-up sinks, drinking water points, BBQ area, waste disposal and recycling, site-wide WiFi, well-stocked shop, food-prep area, plus a bar, coffee shop and club house (seasonal opening hours).
Everyone! Tents, campervans, caravans, groups, dogs...
It's exactly a mile down Maer Lane to Exmouth Beach. It takes about 15 minutes to walk it, depending on how much beach clobber you're carrying. On the waterfront there is an RNLI lifeboat station, often open for the public to see the boat, and there's a beach café. Turn right to walk further into Exmouth, with more waterfront cafés and attractions but a busier beach, or walk left where the beach gets quieter and, when the promenade ends, you can hike up to Orcombe Point, the headland that marks the western end of the Jurassic Coast. If you plan to walk some of the South West Coast path, the Jurassic Coast section, heading east along the coast, is particularly rewarding, with Sandy Bay, West Down View and Budleigh Salterton en route. Other well-known beaches nearby include Dawlish Warren and Shelly Beach. For those with the energy, there are plenty of watersports options too. Hire wind-surfs, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and surf boards from Exmouth Watersports (01395 276599). Then, of course, there is Exmouth itself. Get the kids to take in the history of the place (without realising it) via the Exmouth Mystery Treasure Trail or go for the more sedate way by visiting the Exmouth Museum. The old Exmouth Indoor Market still runs – less of an attraction than it once was – though for real historical landmarks it's worth the half hour drive to Exeter, with its magnificent cathedral (01392 285983), museums and underground passages.
Food & Drink
Once you get down near the beach you're never far from a café or fish'n'chippie. At the far end of the waterfront, however (left when you hit the beach after walking from the campsite; just below Orcombe Point), Bumble and Sea is a particularly good little coffee shack in an up-cycled shipping container. Their home-baked brownies are exceptional, with an array of vegan and gluten-free options. In town, The Grapevine Brewhouse (01395 222208) is ideal for ale drinkers, while, out on the River Exe, you can get a river taxi to the River Exe Café (07761 116103) for exceptional seafood with a suitably novel setting.
The Owner Says
Exmouth Country Lodge & Prattshayes Campsite offers a lovely campsite and holiday accommodation near the beach. Bar and café on site for you to relax while having a break or holiday. We are also a wedding venue with a 16th-century Cosy Cob Bar.
The campsite has a long history, including family names such as Drake and Rayleigh. Today it is a lovely campsite with hook ups, a lodge and holiday cottage. We have a relaxing bar where you can enjoy a long cool drink from a wide range of ciders, beers, wines and spirits. 78 pitches are available but hurry we get busy in the summer. We are also a watersports company and if you want to join us paddle boarding, windsurfing or kayaking just let us know. Exmouth is a great destination for all the family and we are dog friendly which is a great bonus.
If you are arriving with a motorhome or caravan please access the site from the Littleham end of Maer Lane – this lane has passing bays and is wider so it's the most suitable option for larger vehicles.
If you're approaching from the Budleigh Salterton direction please don't follow your sat-nav down Castle Lane as it's not suitable. Instead, follow the A3052 and then A376 to Exmouth. Then, generally follow signs to Sandy Bay and go over the little bridge in Littleham next to the Clinton pub. Then, turn immediately right and you will soon arrive at Exmouth Country Lodge and Prattshayes Campsite on the right. Please pull into the courtyard area where you will find reception in the Cow Shed.
There is a bus stop at the end of the lane directly opposite the Clinton arms pub (a 5-minute walk) and the nearest train station is on the outskirts of Exmouth town (a 15-minute drive).
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