The British weather can really make or break a UK caravanning holiday. So when you’re lucky enough to get a full week of warm, dry sunny weather as we did recently in North Devon, it makes for such a memorable experience!

Enjoying a Cream Tea at The Thatch, Croyde Bay
Enjoying a Cream Tea at The Thatch, Croyde Bay

For our week away in early September, we stayed at Damage Barton (a camping and caravanning club site). Cliff-top sea views on a relatively level site, with good facilities including a shop, and in walking distance of the nearest village Mortehoe and Woolacombe beyond that.

Clifftop view from Damage Barton campsite
Clifftop view from Damage Barton campsite

Continuing our theme this year of finding me some steep hills to climb, we travelled the few miles to Clovelly. Certainly a challenge, as the hill drops approximately 400 metres over its 800 metre length to the harbour. I really wished that I had put my walking boots on for this one, as the descent is entirely over the original rather rough cobbles which left my feet aching. We broke up the climb back to the top, stopping off at a little tea shop with a beautiful sea view from its small back garden.

Clovelly Harbour, and the Red Lion Hotel
Clovelly Harbour, and the Red Lion Hotel

Next on our list was Croyde Bay, where Deborah had worked for a summer waitressing job as a student many years ago at a Nalgo holiday camp. A very small village popular with surfers, and a handful of pubs, cafes and shops. We stopped for a drink at ‘The Thatch’, a picturesque little pub on the main road through the village.

The Thatch, Croyde Village
The Thatch, Croyde Village

No dogs allowed on Croyde beach during the summer months, but I think after all the walking on a hot day, ours were glad of the chance to lie down in some shade in the pub’s pretty and well-maintained beer garden.

The Thatch, Croyde Bay
The Thatch, Croyde Bay

Ilfracombe is the nearest seaside town, only a few miles drive away from the campsite. A busy seafront and harbour, packed with bars, restaurants, cafes and tea shops. Very much the same on ‘Fore Street’, with its ancient taverns as you head up the hill towards the town centre. Lots of little touristy shops for us to spend our money on seaside tat – I’m very pleased with my pirate ornament though!

We returned to Ilfracombe one evening later in the week, using the local bus service which stopped outside our campsite. Early-evening drinks overlooking the harbour, then off to one of the ancient taverns for a meal. The bus service finishes quite early in the evening, but a taxi back from Ilfracombe was affordable and easy to book.

A flush of Summer colour at Ilfracombe Bandstand
A flush of Summer colour at Ilfracombe Bandstand

Mortehoe village is only a short walk from the campsite. A couple of nice looking pubs to try, so we had a meal one evening at ‘The Ship Aground’. Great food and service, in what was clearly a very busy and popular local.

Approaching Mortehoe Village
Approaching Mortehoe Village

Woolacombe was a little bit further to walk after Mortehoe, and is clearly a very popular resort town both with families and with surfers. Everything you would expect to find at the seaside, including the obligatory crazy golf…

Pirate Golf in Woolacombe. Arrr!
Pirate Golf in Woolacombe. Arrr!

It’s always a challenge to find dog-friendly beaches on UK holidays, but Woolacombe does pretty well in this respect. There’s a clear divide between dog-friendly and no-dogs sections of the beach at the Golf Club access road…

Dog-friendly section of the beach, near Woolacombe Golf Club
Dog-friendly section of the beach, near Woolacombe Golf Club

…and dogs are welcome on leads at nearby Barricane Beach (with a fabulous little beach cafe, run by a Sri Lankan guy, and specialising in ‘Curry Nights’!)

Barricane Beach Cafe, Woolacombe
Barricane Beach Cafe, Woolacombe

Lynton and Lynmouth are also within easy driving distance of the site. We parked in Lynton at the top of the hill, and walked down the ‘zig zag’ path to Lynmouth at the bottom of the hill. A quaint harbour village with plenty to amuse tourists, and then we took the water-powered cliff railway back up to the top.

Lynton & Lynmouth
Lynton & Lynmouth

A great week’s holiday, which just goes to show that the UK can still deliver, especially when the weather remains in your favour!

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