Balmy Spring days can be just perfect for camping. This is a great time to take advantage of being unfettered by the tyranny of the school holidays and enjoy the glories of camping in relative peace, before the campsites become mobbed.
My favourite camping time is early May, when you can be bathed in some of the best sunshine of the year and can have a campsite almost to yourselves. Somerset, with its lovely country views, space and fresh air, is just perfect for camping. Here are four of our favourite places to spend a night or two under the stars:
Exford, Exmoor, TA24 7NJ
This is the spot for you if you’re looking for the perfect secluded camping spot, complete with river and farm animals, in lovely Exmoor in the west of Somerset. There are four fields in this riverside farm campsite, one of which is fenced off for the river, making it ideal for families with little ones. There are pigs, lambs and cows to delight animal-mad tots but it’s the setting by the river which makes the site a joy. Catch tadpoles, splash and play in the water to your heart’s content! There’s a small shop on site which has all the basics but you’ll need to travel further afield for full provisions.
Tel: 01643 831238 www.westermill.com
The Bell Inn, High Street, Buckland Dinham, Frome, BA11 2QT
This is my idea of perfect camping, although I fully accept that really basic facilities aren’t everyone’s cup of tea! The main attraction for me is that you can have a campfire! Yippee for all those old girl guide songs and bringing out the marshmallows to toast! Tucked away behind a really lovely pub the field has a noisy cockerel and plenty of room for children to run. The pub has a special menu for campers and offers take outs, so you can tuck into gorgeous pub grub in the open air by your campfire! There is a loo (or you can use the pub toilets in opening hours) and a very basic shower. If you like your camping with atmosphere but few frills then this is for you!
Tel: 01373 462956 www.bellatbuckland.co.uk
Cheddar Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Mendip Heights, Townsend, Priddy Wells, BA5 3BP
By opting for a Camping and Caravanning Club site you know that you’ll get good facilities and if having a good shower block is high up on your list of camping priorities you might be better playing it safe and going for this site near the Cheddar Gorge. My parents (who’ve camped for 40 years and will only stay on club sites, not for them my rough and ready campfire-in-a-field preferences!) stayed here last year and really liked the site. It’s in a lovely rural spot with lots of Somerset’s attractions close by.
Tel: 01749 870241 www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk
Hill Farm, West Monkton, Taunton, TA2 8LP
If you’re more of a fancy Yurt than a tent family then try Somerset Yurts, an eco-friendly retreat in the Quantock Hills. The yurts are located in a south-facing field with lovely views of the Blackdown Hills. Each yurt is furnished with a double bed and a lovely, warming wood burner. All of the yurts stand on private decks near to which you’ll find your own picnic area, fire-pit, and barbeque. This is camping with a bit of glamour and no need to worry about packing! Just escape from the day to day grind and enjoy a break under canvas with a bit of luxury!
Tel: 01823 412663 www.somersetyurts.co.uk