Grey Willow Yurts

UK England South West England Devon Honiton

  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Good walks nearby
The original Devonshire Yabins in the secluded Blackdown Hills

Mention the phrase ‘real camping’ and you’re sure to start that age-old camping argument. Can you have an authentic, outdoors experience yet still enjoy the glamping luxuries of a double bed and hot showers? Grey Willow Yurts is a site that splits the difference between backpack clad traditionalists and over-pampered glampers, by providing off-the-grid seclusion, traditional yurts and ingenious eco-friendly solutions for sumptuous comfort. Set in the Blackdown Hills (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty since 1991), this friendly, family-run campsite sits in a gently sloping grassy field, surrounded by a charming agricultural landscape beside a working dairy farm.  

Grey Willow Yurts have created the 'Yabin' by combining the space and romance of a yurt with the rugged charm of a wood cabin creating totally unique and original camping experience. Step inside and you’ll find a beautiful double bed, double futon and a single futon, tables and shelves, as well as a log-burning stove where you can cook with the pots and pans provided. Meanwhile, the sanitary block (with two bathrooms and a washing up point) sources water from its very own bore-hole and dispenses sewage via a powerless treatment plant. When you throw in the showers, heated through a sustainable log burning stove, you see how this electricity-free site masterfully combines its comfort with the highest eco-friendly credentials.

While Grey Willow Yurts is the definition of rural (it’s a 10 minute drive to the nearest shop), there's still plenty to do in the surrounding area. Walking and cycling trails criss-cross the landscape, eventually meandering into Exmoor National Park in the north, or weaving down to the dramatic south coast, a half hour's drive away. Here the picture perfect harbour town of Lyme Regis shelters snugly between steep hills, rising to the Golden Cap, the highest point on the Heritage Coast. Closer to home the market town of Honiton is the pleasant gateway to the county and hosts the intriguing 'Hot Pennies' ceremony each summer. This weirdly wonderful event involves dignitaries parading a glove-topped pole through the streets as locals throw oven heated pennies from their windows!

If such frivolities keep you glued to the privacy of Grey Willow Yurts, then you can also book a range of onsite workshops. Falconry, woodwork or belly dancing activities are all available, as is expert tutoring to explore the night sky. However, with such a remote location you don’t need an expert to enjoy the milky way above, just dowse the campfire, turn off your torch and enjoy the stirring show.

Details

Facilities

The 3 original Yabins are furnished and heated with a log stove. Each come kitted out with: 1 double bed, 1 double futon and a single futon or Z bed, tables, shelvess, pots & pans, cutlery and a lockable wooden door. Campfires are permitted. There's no electricity onsite so you should bring a torch along, as well as a pair of wellies or sensible footwear. 1 sanitary block with 2 bathrooms and 1 washing up point. Bathrooms have a toilet, shower and sink, all which run with the highest eco-friendly consideration. On arrival you can drive to your yurt to unload belongings, but thereafter there's a designated parking point at the site entrance. Enquire at the campsite to book one of the onsite activities, which include: star gazing, belly dancing, falconry, woodwork and physical theatre workshops.

Suitable For

Couples, groups, families and dogs - yes. Yurt camping only, so no tents, caravans or motorhomes.

Nearby

In the heart of the Blackdown Hills (01823 680681), there are plenty of excellent walking and cycling routes, as well as horse riding trails with Sheldon Riding Centre (01823 681118). Nearby Honiton (01404 43716) is the nearest sizeable settlement, while continuing south to the coast you'll find Lyme Regis, known as 'the pearl of Dorset'. On its west flank is the Undercliff Nature Reserve while to the east stretches the Dorset Heritage Coast. The historic city of Exeter is 40 minutes away by car, and beyond lies the rugged Dartmoor National Park (01626 832093). Escot House has wonderful gardens, whilst nearby Knightshayes Court (01884 254665) is a spectacular Gothic country estate.

Food & Drink

This remote campsite has no onsite shop and the closest place to stock up on supplies is Honiton, which also has a thriving market on a Tuesday & Saturday, and a particularly good pub in The Railway (01404 47976). The Half Moon Inn (01823 680291) in Clayhidonn is 10 minutes by car, while further away in Axminster, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls River Cottage Canteen (01297 631715), offers workshops as well as tasty, organic dishes.

Opening Times

All year round.

The Owner Says

More images from Grey Willow Yurts...

Accommodation

3 wooden yurts (18ft), sleeping up to 5 people. They are 100ft apart in a grassy field with excellent views.

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Location

Contact Grey Willow Yurts, Grey Willow Yurts, Knowle Farm, Smetharpe, Devon EX15 3QA

Show Map

Getting There

For sat-nav, the closest postcode is: EX15 3QA. The easiest way is from the M5, the A303 and then the A30 from Honiton.

From the M5: Come off at Cullumpton Junction 28 and head down the A373 towards Honiton. When you arrive at Honiton, turn left into the High Street. At the mini roundabout, bear left. Once you are just over the A30 bridge, take a left turn signposted Dunkeswell. After 7.5 miles, turn left signposted 'The Knowle'.

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