Westermill Farm Holidays
In 1938, fed up with army life, Great Grandpa Edwards paid a visit to an unkempt farm hiding in a Somerset valley. On stepping inside, he said simply,‘This’ll do’. Within a few years he’d planted thousands of trees, made a home for his cattle and sheep, and transformed the boggy land into something nearing the subtle splendour of today’s farm.
Today, Oliver and Jill run the site from an office lined with an impressive display of rosettes overlooking the farmyard, where chickens scratch around and pigs snooze peacefully in boxes.
Split into four adjoining fields at the base of the valley, where Aberdeen Angus cattle and Suffolk sheep graze on the land near by, Westermill enjoys the clear, trout-inhabited waters of the River Exe as it swishes past, and the sturdy protection of mottled hills on either side. Furthest from the farmhouse, the fourth field is perfect for those fancying a late night by the campfire. Awaken neglected hunter-gatherer instincts by foraging for wood and then building a crackle-tastic fire. By the time you settle down to sleep beneath a star-spattered sky, the neighbouring cattle may have morphed into woolly mammoths.
If you’re a dedicated rider, this is the perfect place to bring your horse on holiday, as cosy stabling is provided for four-legged friends. There aren’t any designated play areas at Westermill, but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t a brilliant family campsite. Far from it. Children can really get stuck in and pretend they’re Huckleberry Finn: the river is part of the considerable appeal of the site. They can have a go at dam-making, paddling and swimming and it’s a good location for a spot of fishing.
In the evening the furthest field is scattered with families in front of their campfires, but by lights-out time the site is usually pretty quiet: there’s no mobile reception and a no-radio policy, so peace and tranquillity reign supreme. And with Exmoor providing a backdrop of scenic eye- candy, to use Great Grandpa Edwards’ words,‘This’ll do’.
FacilitiesFarm animals are a real attraction. As well as the usual suspects there are tortoises and guinea pigs, and usually some chickens and cockerels scratching around. The emphasis is on a working farm: you can bring your own horse on hols, too, as stabling is available. You can go fishing in the river and if you’re lucky you’ll catch a trout. There are 4 camping fields. Pitches are unmarked, with space for approximately 60 tents. The furthest field has campfires and is popular with large groups. There are 2 separate wash-blocks with toilets and showers; solar-powered hot water is boosted with gas. There’s a recycling point on this low-impact site. Each field has a fresh-water tap. There’s a washing machine (£2), tumble-dryer and sinks. Well-behaved dogs are welcome. BBQs are allowed as long as they are not on the grass. Campfires in the fourth field. There are 4 camping fields. Pitches are unmarked, with space for approximately 60 tents. The furthest field has campfires and is popular with large groups. There are 2 separate wash-blocks with toilets and showers; solar-powered hot water is boosted with gas. There’s a recycling point on this low-impact site. Each field has a fresh-water tap. There’s a washing machine (£2), tumble-dryer and sinks. Well-behaved dogs are welcome. BBQs are allowed as long as they are not on the grass
Suitable ForTents campervans, caravans, groups, well-behaved dogs—yes.
The pretty village of Dunster with its castle is nearby, and it’s not far to the resort of Lynton and Lynmouth, with its cliff-top funicular. In the middle of Exmoor, Westermill is only 6 miles away from the coast at Porlock; a great walking beach. Woolacombe has a long stretch of beach with fine open sand and excellent rock pools. Quince Honey Farm (01769 572401) has a fascinating display of open hives. There are some lovely gardens nearby, including Hartland Abbey (01237 441264) – the bluebells in April are gorgeous. Clovelly Court (01237 431781) is a beautiful place for a walk.
Food & DrinkA shop in the yard sells provisions, including meat. Best local pubs are the Crown Hotel in Exford (01643 831554/5) and the Rest and Be Thankful at Wheddon Cross (01643 841222), which has good food. The food at the White Horse in Exford (01643 831229) is cheap and cheerful. There’s a farmer’s market at Minehead on a Friday and a Women’s Institute market at South Molton on a Thursday: make a trip to stock up on cakes and jam, and pay a visit to the excellent cheese stand.
OpenAll year round. Tent campers are advised to ring ahead to check weather conditions during winter months.
Family FriendlyAn unfenced river runs through the site.
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