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’.
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