Devon and Cornwall 2020 Mini Tour

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So, before I start, let’s get one thing clear. We prefer holidaying in France. Why? I hear you ask. One word, two syllables; weather. We’re certainly not anti-Britain, we do holiday in the UK.

I feel better after that. OK, so why are we holidaying in the UK if we love France so much? One word, three syllables; Pandemic

Did we enjoy it? One word, one syllable…Before I answer that, you do ask a lot of questions. Why don’t you let me get on and tell you about our mini tour of Cornwall and Devon….

Setting Off

Trying to work out how long it takes to get to Cornwall from where we live, isn’t an easy thing to do. Of course, the SatNav will tell you a certain amount of time it will take. But, with a caravan these times are always longer. We also need to factor in breaks. We decide to leave at about 2AM. This way we miss all the traffic and things are less stressful. Naturally you can’t get on site until 12 noon, and it doesn’t take 10 hours to get there.

We looked leaving earlier and spending the night in a service station. 31 quid! How much?! 31 pounds sterling to stay more than 2 hours in a car park. Very mean spirited, it’s not as if there are any facilities. OK, there’s a loo in the service station, but it’s really just so that you can spend even more money. Staying overnight, a couple of coffees and something to eat, you wouldn’t get change out of £50.

We would stay on a site, but to get there at a reasonable time we’d have to leave at such a time that we’d hit rush hour on the M25. Not an option.

So, what we do is set off at 2AM. I’m meant to be going to bed at 6pm and getting a few hours sleep, but I’m like a kid at Christmas and sleep for about an hour and I’m awake again. We do leave at 2AM and take a slow, steady drive Cornwall way. We do stop for a couple of hours in a service area, in fact 2 service areas.

Our destination is the highly spoke of Trewethett Farm a glorious site very near Tintagel and the mystical home of King Arthur, who, as far as I can tell, is about as real as Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter.

Trewethett Farm

We arrive, after getting lost, a bit early. We actually arrive at 11:30 am. This is something I generally hate doing, it’s one of my many pet hates, people arriving early at a site. We head down the windy road towards the site entrance, we go around the last corner and are met by a queue of (mainly) Motorhomes.

Ten to be exact. TEN!

I swear Mandy swears, we’re knackered, what the hell are 10 vehicles doing here? Remember this is 11:30 am, something which I felt uncomfortable with. However, these have taken it to a whole new level of earliness. As we stop, about 3 other units pull up behind us. What if we’d turned up “on time” at 12?

The site has a, as far as I know, unique approach to checking in. You check in one at a time. We were given a number (11 in our case) and the warden calls you up one at a time. The person then gets out of the vehicle and goes to the office, pays and is given a small piece of drain pipe. They then proceed on foot to the site, they have a wander around – it’s quite a big site and takes a while to walk around. In the meantime, I’m at number 11 waiting for ten people to go through this procedure. Of course, you can’t go anywhere until the one in front drives though.

Our friends; Ian, Clare and Mike of “For The Love of Caravans” are on site. It wasn’t just an accidental meeting, we arranged to meet them there. They are nearing the end of their 17 night stay and have a pitch on the second row back. It’s a prime location. Anyway, whilst we’re in the queue we ring them, to tell them we’re here and Clare, bless her, brings us up a cup of tea, whilst we wait. It starts to rain and we wait…

When it’s our turn, we’re tired, it’s raining and more than a little pissed off with this absolute circus that’s going on around us. People are getting edgy, there’s a well-documented fight for the “front row”. No one that arrives will get a front row. Oh no, that’s something else we found out. Between the time people leave and the next lot arrive. Some of those on-site “bagsy” the best pitches, so only those on-site already get the prime location. It’s a right of passage it seems. We witnessed this each morning. In fairness, I don’t blame the people doing it and it probably wouldn’t always happen. We were there over the August Bank Holiday.

We get our drain pipe and pretty much go to the first non-waterlogged grass pitch we could find. We’re only here a few days so doesn’t really matter.

There aren’t really any “bad pitches” but there are a few really sought after ones, this causes competition. I’m on holiday, I don’t want to compete for a pitch.

I See Why People Come Back

Boscastle

We’re familiar with Boscastle as most are due to the flooding some years back. So this is the first place we head. There’s a car park, the car park has space. Fantastic. We park. The machine to pay only takes cash OR you can pay by app. OK. I don’t have the app, so I’ll download it. No 4G signal in Boscastle. After 5 minutes it hasn’t even done 5%. We leave. It’s ok, we’ll drive to Tintagel, that’ll have contactless payments.

Tintagel

This car park was exactly the same vash or app. Fortunately during our drive the app has downloaded, so we can pay as I still have no cash.

As we’re only in this part of Cornwall for a few days, we go to the most famous places. Tintagel. King Arthur’s Castle, maybe Camelot, the Old Post Office, ah the mystery, the legends. Closed. Ah, actually the castle wasn’t “closed” it was pre-book only. The old post office was closed though. Still, it’s ok, I’m still tired from the drive yesterday, it doesn’t matter, 10 hours drive and the Post Office is closed. I check my pockets for a match and remember I don’t smoke. Just as well, I don’t think that stone would burn very well and I’d need more than a box of Swan Vestas.

I needed two things in Tintagel. Cash and a pee. I need cash because the toilet is 50p, I need a pee because, well, nature calls. The cashpoint didn’t work. The toilets don’t take Apple Pay or contactless. “Cash only mate”. I recheck my pockets for matches and google where the nearest petrol station is. Note to self, bring matches next time.

It is a sunny day however, so not everything is lost.

Boscastle Take Two

We did finally get to Boscastle the next day and very nice it was too and the sun was out again. We’d now got the app so parking was easy. We had a wander down the river, there are some stunning views. We even stop for a coffee and cake and I finally get some cash. Boscastle certainly has a vibe about it. Actually something I learned whilst on this holiday and it’s taken me 56 years to work out. Holidays really are the best when the sun shines, it lifts my spirits. However, if it’s over 26 degrees……

We spent some time with “For The Love Of Caravans”. In a socially distant way of course. They really looked after us, with BBQ food and beer. Ian and I went off to fly drones at a disused airfield Ian knew about. Mind you there was every kind of flying machine apart from planes. We found a remote part and drones were duly flown. It was really rather nice.

After the Bank Holiday we were off to another site, also in Cornwall, the rather lovely Godrevy Park in Hayle.

Godrevy Park – Caravan and Motorhome Site

Arriving at Godrevy Park site was refreshing after the bun fight and the last site. I went into the office, mask on. I was shown a map with all the pitches that were available, fantastic. This should happen more often. We drove around looking at the pitches that we already knew where available. The site had a really relaxed feel about it. Now I know a lot of people will love Trewethett for it’s views and location, so it’s an “obvious” good site. Godrevy Park was different. It had a feeling of a lovely little site that no one knew about.

The site itself is just on the edge of the sand dunes and is a 20 minute walk from 3 miles of sandy beaches stretching from Hayle to Godrevy Point, which is an amazing place to watch the sunset. Take a look at our vlog to see for yourself.

We set up in the sunshine, it was glorious. I’d previously cleaned the awning and this was my chance to reproof it. I didn’t realise at the time, but Mandy had picked up the camera and was recording me as I did it.

Godrevy Park and a clean awning

St Ives

A couple of times we tried to visit St Ives. Once during the day and once in the evening. To my surprise some roads were closed due to “covid”. This made it awkward to find a parking space, so twice we gave up. There’s an obsession for you to use the park and ride service. This is situated up the top of a hill and you can park and get the bus down to St Ives. Probably a really good service, but during a pandemic, I don’t want to get on a coach. I named it “The Covid Coach”. I know, I’m here all week!

Stupid names aside, we really didn’t fancy getting on that coach. So we drove around and unable to find a parking space left again. The next morning we managed to park as the road closures didn’t start until 11:00am. So we sneaked in early and ignored all the signs for park and ride and kept driving until we reached the harbour. We also went back in the evening and we almost got into a fight with someone over parking. Honestly, it’s never my fault and I’m always the one in the right…Obviously.

St Ives is a lovely harbour. However, it seems to be a little over commercialised. I bought a “traditional Cornish pasty” from a shop and to be brutally honest, Greggs does better ones. That was on the front. We did go back a few rows and find a place where we bought pasties to take home and these were much better.

What I think is great is that you can walk around and all of a sudden you’re reminded of someone’s vlog; “Oh that’s where Caravan ChitChat got that fudge from” Mandy obviously thinks I’m bonkers. etc

Beaches

Cornwall is famous for its beaches and I can see why. I’m not a surfer, but I can see why it’s adored.

I’d recommend Hayle beach. Free parking and a huge beach. In fact, all the beaches along there (which are really one big beach) are fantastic.

Gwithian beach is the best beach I’ve ever been to, certainly in England. I’m not saying I’ve been to every beach you understand. At Gwithian, we had one of those epiphany moments. Perfect weather, perfect beach, everything was perfect.

“This is why we go to France” we thought. Really, it’s as simple as good weather. If it was a bit warmer and the sea wasn’t quite so cold. There really would be no need to leave the island I call home. I know you’re thinking, “Man up, get yourself a wetsuit and dive in”. No chance!

Devon

Our last stop was Devon. Combe Martin. Newberry Valley site. Wardens couldn’t do enough for us, they were marvellous.

We arrived on site after one of the most scary tows we’ve ever done. It was all due to the Sat Nav. It took us down a very long single track roads and did we swear!

My nerves shot to pieces I was looking forward to setting up and having a beer, purely medicinal you understand. The warden showed us to our pitch. “I don’t think you’ll fit”, he says. Great. Let’s think about this. In the end we had to turn around and go on width ways. This involved me having to do a 3 point turn on site (we’ll have a vlog in the playlist below soon). The warden offered to do the turn for me. He obviously didn’t know I was an international vlogger, even though our tow cover would tell him who I was 🙂 Anyway, 3 point turn done (reversing up a hill!) we set up and relaxed.

It’s a nice site, although some pitches are a bit small for twin axles, ours included. They have Alpacas on site, I know, who knew!

Combe Martin itself has the longest high street in Britain, 2 miles and probably the fewest number of shops open in any high street in Britain.

“We used to have 3 blocks of shops, butchers, grocers, all the way along”, said one shop assistant. Today though, I can’t even get clotted cream.

Devon disappointed on a large scale I have to say. Actually I don’t “have” to say, but I will. Ilfracombe was grey and closed. Combe Martin was ok, but a little cove and a weird mix of seaweed and grey sand (and skies) didn’t help.

We had a half day of Sun and the rest was drizzle and very low cloud. As the site is in a valley the cloud just hung about. We were meant to stay 5 nights we stayed 3 and headed home.

Summing Up

Having had 2 or 3 years being spoilt in the South of France spending 2 weeks in the UK was, overall depressing. I’m not saying the places are particularly bad. It really is 100% the weather. We enjoy spending the odd rainy day in the caravan. But for us, the worst part is the cold evening. In France, we sit outside until 11 PM. In the UK we were inside at 5 PM.

I realise that if we’d gone just a few weeks earlier we could have experienced weather similar to that of France. I know not everyone can go to France and many don’t want to. But as this is my blog, I’ll tell you what we like. LOL..

We will do all we can to get to France next year. So, if I can be serious for a sentence or two..

I really do it because Mandy loves it so much. Seeing her face getting into the sea there it makes the whole trip worth it. It’s something she looks forward to and at the end of the day, when alls said and done if she’s happy. I’m happy. Which is probably why I come across as Victor Meldrew in UK holiday vlogs 🙂 Thanks for reading. Below is a playlist of the trip.

Cornwall and Devon YouTube Playlist

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQIRUR28g1StnqftHjEX7zUGotEMSnqvU

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