Ashbourne, Derbyshire

An old quarry has been taken over as a touring park. Sunny hard standings are ranged beneath towering cliffs settled by flocks of garrulous jackdaws and crows. Individual bays mark the spacious level pitches, all of which have electric. Facilities are excellent all year round, although the on-site bar is open during busy periods only. A shop sells most items you’ll need urgently and papers can be ordered for the next morning. The Tissington Trail is a few hundred yards from the site’s entrance – excellent walking and cycling territory. It felt as if it was downhill most of the way south bound. The popular part of Dovedale is about 4 or 5 miles away. A great place to pitch the motor home for a spot of outdoor pursuiting.

Rivendale Touring Caravan & Leisure Park, Alsop-en-le-Dale, Derbyshire – tel: 01335 310311
http://www.rivendalecaravanpark.co.uk

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Woodhall Spa – Camping and Caravan Club Site.

To be able to house-hunt this part of Lincolnshire, we’ve stayed a couple of times at this campsite, about half-way between Woodhall Spa and Kirkby-on-Bain. The wardens are helpful and friendly enough, although they can be a little precious about allocating pitches. And we discovered the much lauded and really quite expensive wi-fi internet facility (£12 for two days and counting down from the very minute you first log on) is not available on many of the pitches, which makes the whole system a little pointless.

Hard-standing pitches are generally level, but some grass pitches are uneven. We didn’t need levellers on the hard-standing pitch, but when we went on grass (the only wi-fi pitches available) two ramps couldn’t put us on an even keel. The site is divided into three areas – a wooded acre or so of hard-standings and a couple of open and sunny fields, mostly down to grass. It has all the motor homer needs, although we couldn’t find a grey water dump spot.

The best approach road is from Woodhall Spa itself. Other roads are wide enough, but twist and turn a little and can be a bit narrow should two large motor homes meet at the same inevitable corner. The roads around here are fairly busy and the locals are boy racers of all ages, so cycling and walking can often demand a degree of vigilance.

The Ebrington Arms is a little over a mile away. It has a good reputation for food, especially judging by the chic frocks and glitzy suits of those arriving in their Range Rovers and Mercs. But don’t let them put you off – it’s a grand little pub. We didn’t eat there, but that evening the Abbot Ale was kept close to absolute perfection; connoisseurs of this most elegant of beers should not be disappointed. The cellar person should be congratulated. Mrs Subbuteo vouched for the still mineral water and the salted peanuts.

Woodhall Spa Camping and Caravanning Club
Wellsyke Lane, Kirkby-on-Bain, Woodhall Spa, Lincs LN10 6YU
Telephone: 01526 352911 – non-members are welcome.

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Sutton-on-Sea, Lincolnshire

Cherry Tree Cottage is one of a rapidly expanding genre of camp sites – it’s exclusively for adults. Children are fine. But parents tend to forget to pack common sense and responsibility when they holiday on camping sites. Instead of consistency and rules, many permit a feral pack mentality to reign, much to the justifiable chagrin of more mature customers. We have no problem with that, provided we’re elsewhere. So this camp site is a blessing. It’s time the Caravan Club started opening sites for adults only.

This is perhaps the best run camp site we’ve ever visited. It has everything, including the glorious lack of facilities for kids and the deliberate omission of noisy bars and play areas. The showers and toilet blocks are a privilege to use; they are pristine and gleaming in every way. And FIVE hooks in the shower cubicles, all with two screws to hold them in place! The motor home service point is easily accessible, a hosepipe is provided for fresh water, a unique grey water dumping pipe is provided and recycle bins are tucked away discreetly behind the amenities block.

All pitches are hard-standings and, as far as I could see, not one motor home had the bother of using levellers. Pitches are large, widely spaced and easy to reverse into. The grounds are immaculately maintained, as is every part of this place. TV reception is reasonable and Vodafone actually had a good enough signal for me to get on line using the data card. Buses stop almost outside the site – Mablethorpe and beyond in one direction and the majesty of Skegness in the other. Footpaths are adjacent to the site and cycle paths are but a short distance away, as are some of the broadest, flattest, sandiest beaches this side of Casablanca. All this – and it’s no more expensive than a club site.

Cherry Tree Cottage, Huttoft Road, Sutton-on-Sea, Lincs LN12 2RU – ‘phone: 01507 441626 – On the main A52 Mablethorpe to Skegness road – heading south, turn left into site about 1½ miles beyond Sutton-on-Sea and about ½ mile past the church with the wonky tower.

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Tetford, Lincolnshire (about 5 miles north of Horncastle)

Tetford has a pleasantly tranquil and grassy little camp site in the middle of the village. It’s an open field with a slight slope, but we managed to park on the level without needing ramps. We headed for the back of the field where 10A hook-ups are available. A line of trees and hedges separates these pitches from another smaller field on the banks of fishing lakes (tickets available) – the hook-up cable will thread through the verdure if you prefer the more secluded spot. Except for motor home grey waste dump, all facilities are available. The ground was firm when we were there, but after heavy rains, check to ensure the ground isn’t too soft to bear heavier motor homes.

Toilets and shower (one only) are about 50 yards away at the end of a small row of on-site holiday cottages. They were unisex, basic and perfectly clean with ample hot water. Laundry facilities are inside the toilet block and a chemical disposal point is outside. We dumped our grey water in the hedge. For the idle motor homer, full English breakfast was served in the on-site café from 8am. The owners were friendly, bright and helpful. In June 2009 we paid £4 per person plus £4 for electric. Showers are 50p – put coins in an honesty box or pay the proprietors in advance. Thus we paid £13 for the night.

The “White Hart” is about 100 yards after turning left out of the site entrance. We’re told it’s a fine pub, although we resisted the temptation to drink and eat there; as a rule we travel well supplied with our prandial needs. Infrequent buses will take you from the village to Horncastle or Louth and, if your timing is right, they’ll bring you back again. The widest approach road is from the A153. We obeyed the satnav and found ourselves in lanes a little too narrow for comfort, but we made it OK. The roads are generally quiet around here.

The acid test is: would we stay here again. Yes, definitely.

Contact details: http://www.tetfordcountrycottages.co.uk
Manor Farm, East Road, Tetford, Lincolnshire LN9 6QQ 01507 533276
It’s a Certificated Site, so you’ll need to be members of the Camping and Caravan Club to stay here unless you pay extra. You can join on site.

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