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North Thorne Cottages and Glamping

Barnstaple, Devon, England
5 acres hosted by Sarah S.
7 glamping pitches
Creature comforts
Enjoy the comforts of home—including flush toilets, showers, and a kitchen.
Family-friendly glamping with private bathrooms and campfires allowed on the edge of Exmoor

You know you’re on a camping or glamping holiday when you wake up to the joyful sound of the dawn chorus. A dedicated nature lover might even be able to identify where in the world they were based on bird calls. What would they make of the sounds at North Thorne Glamping in Devon? The twittering of hedgerow birds, the quacks of ducks, clucks of chickens and squawks of seagulls overhead indicate that this is a rural spot that’s not too far from the sea. But there’s a far more exotic sound in the chorus too: the whoop and call of monkeys. It’s the final clue that’ll pinpoint this glamping site to its family-friendly location in countryside between Exmoor Zoo and the sandy beaches of the North Devon Coast.

To be even more precise, North Thorne borders Wistlandpound Reservoir on the edge of Exmoor National Park. Day visitors and wading birds are drawn to its tranquil setting but, by evening, it’s only the handful of holidaymakers at North Thorne Cottages and Glamping who are left to enjoy this peaceful spot. Wisps of smoke from campfires and barbecues rise as glampers get the dinner on and wait with fingers crossed for another glorious sunset.

Although North Thorne’s land stretches down to the water’s edge, the camping field is on the other side; facing south for sunrise, sunset and sun-bathing all day long. There are three roomy emperor bell tents, five family-sized safari tents and a converted horsebox here. Whichever you pick, each has a private loo and shower room, made-up beds and cooking kit which makes things rather easy. All the better when you’re driving west with kids, wetsuits and body boards crammed in the car. The cars themselves are parked out of the gently sloping field, which means you and, more importantly, the kids can wander the site’s five acres freely.

There’s plenty of space to run around in, a tennis court, a pond to dip, a games barn and a mini menagerie of pygmy goats, chickens and rabbits to see. These sweet and simple pleasures along with the 45-minute walk around the neighbouring reservoir make this a perfect spot to relax before, after or inbetween days on the beach at Woolacombe, Croyde or Saunton Sands, none of which are more than 20 miles away. Lynton, Lynmouth and the rest of Exmoor are all close by too, not forgetting (and how could you?), the exotic animals of nearby Exmoor Zoo.

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Barnstaple, Devon, England, United KingdomTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Sarah S.Joined in December 2021
From the host
Let us introduce ourselves. Over the past 20 years, our family (me - I'm Sarah, together with my husband Andrew and our four girls Hannah, Lucy, Maddie and Victoria) have absolutely loved camping holidays and breaks in the British and French countryside. We feel sure that we are not alone in this and we passionately believe that if we could apply our own idea of the perfect glamping campsite, we could successfully offer a beautiful and relaxing glamping location for other people to enjoy. And so in 2012 we embarked on our own family adventure to do just that in Kent and have now moved to create a new site in North Devon. We wanted to create a nostalgic, quirky and luxurious atmosphere "sleeping under canvas but with hotel facilities". From the watering can shower heads, whisky barrel sink, vintage style accommodation, to the reclaimed kitchen units, WWI wagons, old ploughs and vintage mix & match china we feel we have achieved this. With four kids of our own, we realise that a change from the electronic gadgets, phones, tablets etc is really important and you'll find a tennis court and traditional games as alternatives and of course the space for kids to make their own secret dens. We also have Wistlandpound Reservoir on our doorstep for you to explore. Every unit gets their own private individually designed shower room. We created an open barn area adorned with agricultural decor. The barn houses the shower rooms, kitchen and seating for anyone to use. There is also a social barn with table tennis, seating and a selection of giant garden games. Lets face it the British weather isn't always reliable or kind! There is also an outside seating area for all to enjoy. We intend to keep our glamping campsite small, limiting the 5 acre site to just 10 units including bell tents, traditional gypsy wagons, wooden horsebox lorry and canvas/wooden cabins giving plenty of space and privacy. Sarah, Andrew, Hannah, Lucy, Maddie & Victoria
Nearby attractions

Wistlandpound Reservoir is just outside site and a peaceful place for a walk or to go birdwatching or fishing. Exmoor Zoo (01598 763352) is not much further, so close that you can hear the animals from the campsite, but four miles by road. The closest beach is just seven miles from site at Combe Martin and great for a paddle but for long lazy days on the beach or for surfing and swimming, head a little further (15 miles) to Woolacombe, Croyde or Saunton Sands. In between are the numerous beaches and coves around the seaside resort of Ilfracombe. Keypitts Off Road Adventures (07446 078190), just outside the town, makes for an exciting day out where you can whizz round in 4x4s or on quad bikes. Lynton, Lynmouth and the Valley of the Rocks, with its famous wild goats, are about the same distance in the other direction along the coast and well worth a visit; just a few of the highlights of Exmoor National Park which provides lots of opportunities for outdoor activity. Arlington Court (01271850296)  is just 3 miles from North Thorne and Watersmeet National Trust (01598 753348) is another nice place to visit within the national park and just over 11 miles from site.

Food and drink

The recommended Besshill Farm Shop (01271 850311) a three minute drive or 20-minute walk down the road. The shop also provides free local delivery. The closest recommended pub is The Fox and Goose (01598 763239), three miles from site in Parracombe. The Black Venus Inn (01598 763251) and The Pyne Arms (01271 850055) are also within five miles of site. The Hunters Inn (01598 763230), eight miles from site, is worth a visit for its combination of great views and food and The Old Sawmills (01271 883388) in Berrynarbor, nine miles away, is a handy stopping off point after a day out at the beach or in Ilfracombe. There are also lots of options in Ilfracombe itself.

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