The early summer had shown such glorious promise that me and my Mum decided to risk it and take the boys camping for a couple of nights in late August. North Devon is an easy two and a half hour drive from Bath with some lovely sandy beaches. We booked a pitch at Little Meadows campsite between Ilfracombe and Combe Martin for three nights.
We finally managed to stuff everything into the car (why do you need so much stuff for camping!!) and got away just after lunch on the Wednesday. It was a straightforward drive and we arrived at the campsite for late afternoon.
Little Meadows Campsite
First impressions were good. The owners were friendly, the site looked very well maintained and then there was that view, which was stunning! We were allocated a pitch near to the basic shop and the toilets – very handy – though with only 50 pitches available you would never be too far away. All the pitches had a sea view. We were also near to the small play area and the most perfect climbing tree, so all in all, a great spot. The pitch fees are £30 a night in high season. You have to pay in full, so you always take a bit of a gamble with the old British weather, but I think the site is good for the price.
We got the tent pitched (never easy whilst also chasing a toddler) and dinner cooked on the BBQ. There were lots of kids about and Ethan was very happy off playing with them and so they didn’t go to bed until quite late but by the time it got dark at 9ish the campsite was quiet and all the kids were back at their own pitches.
After some pretty heavy rain overnight we had a bit of mopping up to do in the morning but the weather was dry and breezy (though not exactly warm!). We decided to be brave and head to the beach. The campsite owner recommended Putsborough Beach between Croyd and Woolacombe.
It was about a 30 minute drive down some interesting country lanes. It was a rather pricey £8.50 to park all day but it is a lovely beach with great facilities. The cleanest toilets I have ever seen at the coast by far! The beach itself is wide and sandy with some rock pools to have a play in and some good surf too.
Unfortunately it was one of those traditionally English seaside days, when the jumpers were staying firmly on. Huddling behind the windbreak was a good survival tactic! The boys had a great time though. Why do little ones seem to not notice what temperature it is?! After 4 hours me and Mum could no longer feel our toes and the light drizzle started to become more persistent!
We headed back to the campsite and just about got dinner cooked before the rain settled in for the evening. After the boys were in bed we treated ourselves to a well earned cider and a game of scrabble.
Friday dawned and the weather had definitly gone on a downward trajectory. There was some pretty strong gusts of wind and squally showers. The morning looked better then the afternoon so we decided to brave the elements and take a walk down to the nearest bay from the campsite, Watermouth Cove which is about a 10 minute stroll. It is a pretty little cove, with lots of boats which the boys enjoyed. One of the boats has been turned into a cafe, which we enjoyed!
Lynton & Barnstaple Railway
In the afternoon we headed to the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway which was about a 20 minute drive from the campsite. This a perfect little attraction for small children when the weather turns dodgy, under 5’s are free and adults are £7.50. It is only a 2 mile trip but you can ride all day. There is plenty of space on the carriages. You can also get off and watch the locomotive be switched to the front of the train. So we spent a few hours going a few trips back and forth! Before heading for an early dinner somewhere warm and dry at the Sawmills pub.
This was just the type of place we needed, family friendly, lots on offer on the menu and a quick service. Both me and Mum and fish and chips which was nice (if a little greasy). Unfortunately we noticed the fish specials on the way out! Do book a table though, as the place was mega busy.
Saturday and time to pack up. Thankfully it was dry! But it still took an age to squeeze everything back into the car, we seemed to have even more stuff! Then we headed to Combe Martin for a picnic lunch on the beach. Combe Martin is a funny little place, but the beach has great rock pools for exploring and a sandy area too. We would have stayed longer but the over-tired four year old had other ideas. It was time to go home (for a rest!).
We had a lovely couple of days, the weather could have been kinder but we still had fun. We will definitely be heading back to Little Meadows Campsite, it ticked all our boxes. Good location, clean and well maintained facilities and a friendly and laid-back atmosphere. Roll on next years trip!