22/01/2013
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Woodlands Springs Campsite Review

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Turn into Woodland Springs Touring Park, and say goodbye to the rat race and hello to nirvana. Just one-and-a-half miles off the A30 and within the Dartmoor National Park, this pretty campsite is surrounded by pleasant open countryside.

It is an adults-only site, belonging to the Tranquil Touring Parks group and run exclusively by owners Chris and Jan Patrick. They do a sterling job keeping the grounds and facilities immaculate, whilst still managing to provide thoughtful touches to make our visits just that little bit special. The welcome is warm and includes a comprehensive guide to the running of the park, together with extensive local information regarding emergency services, nearby pubs, bus routes, taxis and walks.

The 81 pitches, of which about half have hardstandings, are laid out around a beautiful facilities block in the style of a log cabin. The immaculate toilets gained a Loo of the Year Award for 2012 and we have never seen such a pristine washing up area in all our years of camping. We were particularly impressed with the recycling, which is taken very seriously and is extremely well organised. The aim is that very little goes to landfill and the set-up is possibly a good example to us all.

At reception there is a comprehensive shop stocking all the basic needs, including local beers, preserves and hot bread and pastries. I told you this place was heaven! Dogs are welcome and the walk takes you into a large field where there is plenty of room for Fido to chase his ball or try to catch rabbits.

Outside the campsite the local bus goes to Okehampton where there are the usual shops and pubs. But don’t miss the lovely, well laid out municipal gardens and the castle, which are just a short walk out of town. You can also get to Exeter on the bus, but this stop is in nearby Whiddon Down, which involves a one-mile walk along quite a busy road, and we wouldn’t recommend this to less able campers. Whiddon Down is also where you will find the nearest pub, newspapers and groceries, but there are plenty of other facilities a short drive away. We tried other quieter walks and cycle tracks, which lead from the campsite, but some of these are overgrown, so beware if the weather has been wet as they can become quite muddy. You’ll find a pub at Fingle Bridge, which is said to be near a good walk of four miles that passes Castle Drogo and Sharp Tor. It’s also worth noting that many of the surrounding villages offer farmers’ markets, where you can buy local foodstuffs – the campsite’s website helpfully has a list of what’s on and where.

You’re never going to be stuck for something to do with the glorious moors on the doorstep. Here you will find walking, horse riding, river sports and endless opportunities for photography. There’s Meldon Viaduct and Reservoir, the Dartmoor Railway, the fascinating prison museum, the River Teign Valley, Castle Drogo and pretty villages all within easy distance. And for those gentler days, relax, put your feet up, watch the rabbits and listen to the silence.

Recommended by Anita Davies


The facilities and information hutPitches  Municipal gardens

SITE INFORMATION

Address: Venton, Drewsteignton, Devon EX6 6PG
Tel: 01647-231695
Web: www.woodlandsprings.co.uk                                                                                      
Email:
enquiries@woodlandsprings.co.uk
Open: All year

Charges (2012): From £15 per night.
Nearest public transport: Outside the site.
Nearest pub/restaurant: Whiddon Down 1.5 miles away.
Directions: Turn off the A30 at Whiddon Down and follow signs for Moretonhampstead. At the next roundabout, turn left, and then in one mile turn left again to Venton. Woodland Springs is the second driveway on the left.

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