Sunday, 8 May 2016

We're impressed with our new campsite, Dornafield

After two weeks at Widend we fancied a change of scene,
but weren't able to stray too far from Torquay so Dave got his researcher hat on and found us the lovely Caravan Club affiliated campsite of Dornafield which is just outside Newton Abbot. It's a pretty big site with mostly large hardstanding pitches and the whole place is absolutely immaculate! We got one of the friendliest welcomes ever from the staff at Reception and when they say Reception and the well-stocked shop are open from nine until five, they actually mean it. A seasonal deal of £99 a week for pitch with electric hookup means this site is cheaper per day than some CL and CS sites we have used and there are extensive facilities. We have water tap, waste water drain and a bin on our pitch. A full range of recycling bins are nearby and it's not too far to the chemical toilet - some pitches have their own chemical toilet outlet too! Wifi is provided site-wide, but at quite a price so I am glad we already have our Osprey.

The sanitary blocks have won a well-deserved Loo Of The
Living Willow Den 
Year award, the showers are good and in warm rooms, and there are even little herb gardens near the washing-up sinks in case campers suddenly realise they need fresh mint. A games room has table tennis, pool and darts, and there is an outdoor tennis court. The pictured Living Willow Den is part of a brilliant adventure playground complex for children and, to keep me happy, there are bookswap shelves in the Information Room. Like all larger campsites, Dornafield does get quite noisy. We noticed that especially this weekend with vehicles passing by almost constantly, an industrial-sized ride-on lawnmower and mini tractor working away, and several yapping dogs, but it's a bit quieter now on Sunday afternoon so we can hear birdsong and the sheep in the neighbouring field. There are rabbits and squirrels here too, plus we have seen a buzzard soaring overhead. Apparently the buzzards preferred Dornafield before there were so many caravans - they can't dive for rabbits now.

The house at Dornafield has been in existence since 1238
Dornafield lime kiln 
and is still a beautiful building developed around an ancient Devon Longhouse. It's name derives from both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon roots and is believed to translate as 'place of combat' with the natural amphitheatre shape providing a site for warriors to practice in years gone by and a sheltered campsite now. Dornafield's history includes assault with cannonfire during the English Civil War. The owners supported the King which was unusual around here and attracted Fairfax's army. There is a n old lime kiln, last used in 1938, and its accompanying quarry too. The quarry now houses a small kitchen which offers takeaway fish and chips two evenings a week. We had seen lime kilns at Dartington, but with no clue as to what they were. Now we know!

We will be staying here for two weeks and are looking forward to exploring. We have already had our first Dartmoor walk as well as a visit to Newton Abbot and a walk along narrow sunken lanes into nearby Ipplepen.

Our pitch at Dornafield 

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