This beautifully kept campsite, which is well signed off the main road, has deservedly earned the 2016 David Bellamy Gold Award. Imagine lying in the warm sunshine, buzzards wheeling overhead, butterflies basking on the wild flowers and songbirds serenading you – that is Oakdown.
There are no straight lines here – just gentle curves, spacious groves, seclusion, privacy, peace and quiet. There are several hundred trees and shrubs which have been carefully planted and tended – marvellous for the wildlife all year round – and the well mown grass holds many flower beds and floral displays which are a delight to see.
The heady smell from the various blooms hangs over the whole site. There is a Victorian reed bed, where you can enjoy watching the many birds who visit the park, including goldfinches, from the seclusion of the bird hide. Nearby Sidmouth still retains its Regency charms, with seasonal floral displays in Connaught Gardens and throughout the picturesque streets.
The family can enjoy safe bathing from the main beach or the sands at Jacobs Ladder, with many rock pools where the children can explore for hours. The famous Sidmouth Folk Festival is held each year during the first week of August, so if it is peace and tranquillity you seek – beware of visiting this lovely campsite during that time.
The Oakmead nine-hole course is opposite the campsite, where all holes have a floral name, so you can try your skills on Marigold Dip, Daisy Chain, or Honeysuckle Bank, to name but a few! After the game you can enjoy a welcome lunch or evening meal in the pleasant café.
The nearby village of Branscombe is England’s longest village, and boasts a working thatched forge and one of Devon’s finest Norman churches, or visit Beer, an unspoilt fishing village, with its unique quarry caves, where 70 acres of underground stone have been worked by hand since Roman times.
Some of this stone has been used in many buildings, including Exeter and St. Paul’s Cathedrals. You can take a sea fishing trip from here to catch mackerel, or see dolphin and porpoises, or a boat ride to view the wonderful Jurassic coast. This unique coastline has joined the ranks of the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon as one of the wonders of the natural world, which is due to its outstanding geology, representing 185 million years of history.
Nowhere else in the world can you see the changing rocks, particularly in Charmouth, which tell a fascinating story from ancient deserts to tropical seas and a fossil forest. Erosion over tens of thousands of years has created a beautiful and varied coastline, in some places yielding world famous fossils on display in museums around the world.
The tramway trip from Seaton through the picturesque Axe and Coly valleys to Colyton will thrill the children, as will the Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park near Chard, which has the largest walk-through lemur enclosure in Europe, as well as countless other animals. The more adventurous can explore the wilds of Dartmoor National Park on the many designated foot paths, with its granite tors, Bronze Age settlements, wild ponies and sparkling rivers.
Gatedown Lane, Sidmouth, Devon, South West
Distance: 38.84 Miles
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Unit 44 Bridge Street, Sturminster Marshall, Dorset, South West. BH21 4DB
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This campsite was recommended to us by some friends of ours. We booked for a week. Granted the weather was terrible when we were there but you can’t help that, this is England after all! The owner...
From the minute we arrived on the park we felt welcome and valued. Not just by the lovely receptionists but by the amazing maintenance staff/wardens who really do work tirelessly throughout the day...
Great place to camp great value for money and we will return next year had some issues one night but it was dealt with quickly. Bonus is the family Bathroom, a short walk to the donkey sanctuary...