After the final cushion arrived from our heroic upholsterer and the van officially slept two I couldn’t wait to get away for our first night in it. The beautiful May weather gave us no excuse to not get out on the road, so it was with excitement (and a tiny bit of trepidation on my part) that we set our course for the South Hams in Devon.
It sort of didn’t really matter where we went but given that the weather had been so good it seemed that the sea was calling.
We only went for a night, barely even 24 hours but it felt like such luxurious bliss I cannot wait to get away again.
I love and hate the #vanlife movement in equal measures. I’ve written about the outdoor industry’s love of fake news here and I think #vanlife can be a major player in that. The idea that you can just pull up to a beautiful view and park up overnight is not a true one. In England, wild camping in your van is illegal without the landowners permission. To keep on the right side of everyone we went looking for a simple campsite that had a relaxed feel and just enough facilities for our comfort. We found Ilton Farm Campsite less than two miles from Salcombe which suited us just nicely. It felt like the right thing to be spending £15 on a family run campsite rather than pitching up in a lay-by just to save a few quid.
The owners were super friendly and took delight in showing this nosy-parker around their newly installed shepherds huts; I was really impressed, the huts all slept 4 people and were beautifully appointed. Positioned with doors opening onto the best views on the campsite and keenly priced which the biggest on offer for around £600 for a week in high season they would make great accommodation for visiting this lovely area.
We cooked dinner on our stove and then had a lovely evening stroll down peaceful lanes to a viewpoint overlooking Salcombe. The next day after a great fried egg sandwich at Captain Morgan’s Cafe we took the delightful South Sands ferry along the coast to visit Overbeck’s. Something about Overbeck’s seemed very familiar and I was amazed to realise that I had visited before. I had done my A-level Biology fieldwork in the part of the house that used to be a youth hostel!
After overindulging in clotted cream we decided to walk back to Salcombe. Quiet lanes hugged the coast and there was a magical feel in the air as the sea mist came in.
A quick nip to the South Devon Chilli Farm to stock up on some spicy souvenirs and we were on our way back to Bristol. 24 hours of bliss!
If you’re interested in how we converted the van have a look at this post here.