We had a long way to go to Devon and Cornwall. We met our friends in Devon and arranged a day or two when we could meet and catch up with news etc. We left Beckingham on Monday 13th May and headed for the Hillhead Caravan Club site near Brixham. We were fortunate to be able to stay here as many people as we could. These same members then cancel at the last minute if the weather does not look good. It has been a long time with the Caravan Club to allow you to multi-book sites and so many others to book on-line immediately after Christmas. The answer is simple – a limit of say 3 bookings at any one time.
We arrived at Hillhead around 4pm and were surprised to see you there. Hillhead is one of four sites in the UK that boasts a restaurant, swimming pool and mini supermarket. It would be great if the CC invested more in these facilities than offering cruises etc. which have nothing to do with camping. Having gotten settled we visited Rob and Maxine in Brixham. After dinner during our news we have a lot of information about it. to form glory.
The following morning we set the scene for the day of the day. There is one of our favorite walks along the Teign valley down to the Fingle Bridge where we stop for lunch at the Fingle Bridge Inn and along the river bank to the Castle Bridge Drogo – a very pleasant walk of just under 10 km with a beautiful look around the splendid gardens before being locked out at closing time.
The next day sadly Rob and Max had to travel to Shrewsbury for the funeral of one of Max’s friends husband. Margaret and went for lunch at a new to us pub called the Pig and Whistle situated on the Newton Abbot to Totnes road. We then took Margaret back to Hillhead for tea.
The following day we went to Knightshayes Court just outside Tiverton. It grieves me to admit that having lived in Devon for over 30 years we had never heard of Knightshayes yet it was only 20 miles from our residence. The history behind Knightshayes is shrouded in mystery by William Burges, but he was “sacked” by Sir John Heathcoat-Amory as they disagreed over price and style. The Heathcoat reportedly did not last long and was taken over by the National Trust in 1972. The gardens and kitchen garden were excellent and we had a great day out with Rob n Max. Surprisingly the weather was excellent – I say that as it was the week of the Devon County Show when it has been our experience along with many others “that it always rains for County Show days”
We said our farewells and headed off to Cornwall where we were able to return to the Cottage Farm campsite we had visited several times before. There has been a major change to the site where the main entrance has now moved round the corner. The toilet bock has been converted into a residential bungalow and a new toilet block has been erected. This is all finished off with a new barrier entry system. The problem with the entry system is that you can’t get off the narrow road onto the site unless you know the entry code – which of course new arrivals don’t have. This is compounded by the now lack of manned reception area – meaning you have to hunt around for the owners to let you in. I guess this could be a real problem in high season. Another issue for us is the new toilet block where the cubicles are really too small making it tricky getting out of both shower and toilet cubicles – a major setback we think. This is coupled with a significant price rise making this site very non competitive given the location, lack of hard standings and facilities. The fishing site nearby where we stayed last year is much better located and cheaper with better toilet block (and great if you are into fishing)
We met up with John and Janet and were joined by their son Ian and we re-visited many of the places we have been to over the years.
After our 5 day stop we moved on back up to Devon staying at the Exeter Racecourse CC site. Here we met up with old friends, visited Exmouth and Dartmoor and were treated to what must surely be the best display of wild bluebells in the country. Hidden away in the heart of Dartmoor is a Devon Wildlife Trust site that hosts fields of bluebells and we were in luck to be there when they were in full bloom. We were treated to a BBQ at Ann and Adrian’s and hosted a BBQ for Chris and Roy and even managed a fresh crab sandwich at Exmouth before heading back to Beckingham.