Woodland Park Camping Huts, Ellesmere

We've just arrived back from a chilly weekend away in Ellesmere staying at the Woodland Park Camping Huts. All 3 families on this trip, we hired out 2 of the 4 berth huts and the 9 berth hut (named Squirral, Stoat and Rabbit). We took the 9 berth as it has a bit more space for us to hang out in case it got cold. Quite glad we got it in the end because it snowed at one point!

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We checked in at the Lodges (they look rather nice too) and got our keys. Then its a short 2 min drive back out to the huts. The track down is pretty rough but it is off the beaten track and doesn't have any other traffic. We trundled down it in our Zafira regardless with no real problems, the odd scrape on the bottom but nothing more. Once there you can pull in by the shower and toilet block and unload the car. Once unloaded you've got to move the cars down the track out of the way (50m or so).

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There are 5 huts surrounding a small pond, the 7 berth and two 4 berths are on the right, whilst the 9 berth and another 4 berth are on the left. The huts are surprisingly fitted out with more than we expected. They're really solid and warm. They've got lighting and electricity outlets throughout too. We didn't know how many outlets so we'd taken extension leads in case, but we didn't need them. We slept in the 9 berth, upstairs there are two large doubles and a single space. Downstairs there are two sets of bunk beds and a small living area with some folding plastic chairs and two large tables. There's a work surface with an electric kettle, water container and a washing up bowl too. They were really clean and we'd hired a heater and bought some firewood for an extra couple of quid, both were sitting inside ready for us. The stairs are a bit dodgy with small kids, we blocked them off for Finn (2yo) and Erin went down on her bum most of the time.

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The toilet block is super clean, really nicely presented, warm. The showers are super powerful, better than ours at home and didn't require any tokens or anything. Outside the block is an outdoor (undercover though) washing sink and 4-5 great big bins for rubbish.

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We had two dogs with us and as were the only ones there we let them roam freely around the woods and huts. They absolutely loved it. It was our first trip with both Jasper and Remy, both had a really great time. Nice little test before we go canvas camping in April.

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It's pretty muddy (more so because it's February) so the kids were covered in warm and waterproof gear all day and they just roamed freely too. The mud gets everywhere, so learn to embrace it. The huts have brooms, dustpans and brushes and a mop and bucket too if things get too bad. We just gave the place a quick broom every now and then.

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The firepit was awesome, had it going most of the time. Don't forget firelighters/newspaper etc to light it. Though it really did get cold at times and ended up in the living area of the 9 berth. Adults in the main bit and kids in the bunks all watching a DVD at night time. The heater was great and the huts were super toasty.

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All in all a great little trip and our first of the year. The weather was against us, but then it was February. You do genuinely feel quite isolated out there, we took all our food and everything we needed so didn't leave the site once. Remember, they're just huts. You need to bring all your camping gear with you like chairs and gas cookers etc. We tied all our food up in a tree outside to keep it cool (it nearly froze though). The surrounding forest isn't really very extensive. We decided to head off into the woods only to be met by near impassable terrain within 100m of the huts. It's very quiet and the stars and moon look awesome here.

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We heard that they're expanding it, not sure how I feel about it, hope it still feels as intimate as it does now, but we're all planning on going back later in the year, so we'll find out then :)

Thanks for reading!

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Platts Farm, Llanferfechan

When did we go?

24th/25th April 2015

Who can pitch there?

11 Tent Pitches over two fields. 7 in the Coed Field and 4 in the Afon Field. There's also a camper van pitch or two. There's also a bunkhouse that sleeps 10. We didn't go in, but it looks pretty good. Especially if you've got a large group looking for a base in Wales for a few days.

How much does it cost?

Adults: £8

Children (3-16): £5

Dogs: £1

Electric Hook Up: £4

Fire basket, logs, kindling, firelighters: £7.50

Cooker Hire: £10

You can check out their price list here.

Can we have a campfire?

Yep, using your own off the ground fire pit or hire one from the site. Logs are available on site too.

Can we have a BBQ?

Absolutely.

Can we take our dog?

Yep, £1 a night :)

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It's still out of season, April is still pretty chilly and the weather is all over the place. We wanted a site that would give us a place to shelter if the weather turned grim. We found that Platt's Farm ticked the boxes we wanted. Big under cover area and not too far from us.

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We arrived late Friday and had no problem driving on in and getting setup. We were pretty much the only people on the site, bar a campervan on the next field. We were given 3 pitches on the Afon field (to the right as you go in). On the field is also an enormous covered barn, two of the sides are open, but it was sheltered from the wind. The barn is lit and has a few picnic benches for cooking and eating at. We knocked on the farmhouse (reception was closed) and met Sam who sold us a few bags of wood, kindling and firelighters. We hired a fire basket too and set it up in the barn. We hung out in the barn most of the evening, sheltering from some wind and rain. The barn really is great, nice high roof meaning you can cook, have a bbq, firepit "inside".

In the morning we had a walk around the site, there's a walled garden that has some great history behind it. Sam the owner will gladly tell you all about it. The kids had a run around there whilst we washed up. Showers are super clean and hot. There is a large under cover washing area to do the pans and plates alongside a drinking water tap. Hot running water too, I can't believe that elsewhere there are campsites that DON'T provide hot water for washing. Amazingly there are fresh eggs both chicken and duck next to an honesty box at reception. I've never had a duck egg before and it was ace!

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The weather was pretty grim but we had a 3rd birthday party in one of the barns for one of our little ladies, complete with balloons and cake! The site is right in the middle of a small village so there's a few shops, chippies and pubs nearby if you need them. The seafront is only 10 mins or so walk away too, though we didn't get down to it. A Duke of Edinburgh team turned up on Saturday evening and took up most of the other field but they didn't once bother us and were all fast asleep by 10pm. Bless 'em. They used the 2nd big barn to dry all their kit, the barns rescue the day again.

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Sunday arrived and the with it the weather, glowing sunshine always arrives on the day you've got to leave doesn't it? The kids played with the frisbees whilst we supped coffee and warmed up in the sun. The place is pretty much enclosed so letting the kids roam was great. They marched off into a small wooded area for a good hour just playing with sticks. The tents dried off and we slowly packed everything up. We had not seen the chickens or ducks whilst there and the kids were a little puzzled as to why. The owner then magically turned up with one of her trusty hens to sit and have a stroke with everyone, a really nice little touch and we're really thankful for it, the kids loved it.

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Overall, a great little place, especially for an out of season / possible rainy camp. The barns are the absolute seller of this place. They really do give you a good option of hanging out together (especially if you're camping with a group like we were) even whilst the weather is terrible. The bunkhouse and fields can be hired exclusively too making it a good option for large groups/organisations. I think the pitches are pretty close together, so I'd recommend going with a few friends and booking pitches next to each other.

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I wish it'd of been nicer so we could of checked out the beach and a bit more of the surrounding area so maybe we'll head back towards the end of this season again. Good stuff Platts, looking forward to the return trip :)

(PS. The scaffolding in the pictures is temporary restorative works taking place, didn't affect our stay at all)

Waterside Farm, Ullswater

Where did we go?

Waterside House Campsite

Howtown Road

Pooley Bridge

Penrith

Cumbria CA10 2NA

http://www.watersidefarm-campsite.co.uk/index.html

When did we go?

10th/11th April 2015

Who can pitch there?

Tents, Tipi Hire, Motorhome

How much does it cost?

For two pitches with EHU for two nights, 3 adults and 3 children we were charged £90ish.

Can we have a campfire/bbq?

Yep, off the ground.

Can we take our dog?

Yes

Any other unique features we should know about?

The site advertises Canadian Canoe hire and Bike Hire, though we didn't try either.

How was the trip?

I've personally never been to the Lake District before bar the occasional trip to Windermere when I was younger, so we were keen to break away from our usual haunt of North Wales to explore a bit further North.

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We ended up selecting Waterside because of its prime waterfront location. However, we needed the EHU for this trip and so we had to go on the EHU pitches which are the most inland pitches of all of them. Upon arriving at our pitch we made the grim discovery of a big ol' dog poo smack bang in the middle of it which isn't exactly the thing you want to deal with when arriving at your pitch. After managing to remove it myself we pitched the tent. The pitches are half pea gravel and half grass. The idea being that you park on the grass and pitch on the gravel. Our tent is much too wide to fit on one or the other so we ended up half on one side and half on the other. Its the first time I've needed to pitch on gravel so I was a little nervous about whether our pegs would go in. They did however, pretty easily too. Whilst pegging the guys out, I found another TWO dog poos in and around the pitch. It's at this point I went and complained at the site shop/reception and asked for a shovel or something similar to get rid. I was met with blank stares from a lady and a man and a feeling like I was inconveniencing them, with no apology for the state of the pitch. The man submitted and came to the pitch to flick away the dirt, claiming that it must of been a visiting dog and not the two dogs he himself had with him that free roamed around the site (We did infact see them doing their business on the Saturday in the middle of the site again). The pitch itself too backed on to the access road, which is busy with farm traffic for most of the time. By dinner time, I was cursing myself for making a bad decision in coming here.

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Not the best start but we pressed on. The wind was pretty strong, but we cooked dinner and had a wander around the site and shore whilst the kids ran around and played football before bed. We also picked up a portion of chips from an onsite food van which supplies burgers, chips and cooked breakfasts. Brilliant chips ;)

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The morning came and we wandered again down to the shore to check out the views over Ullswater. The wind was still really up and the warmth of the sun had gone over night and instead was replaced with SNOW on the hills around us. It had been quite chilly over night, but we hadn't expected snow that's for sure. The view was fantastic. People who got non-EHU pitches and camped right on the shore were treated to some fantastic views, but the wind was so biting that most people were stuck inside their tents looking through the windows. That's April camping though.

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The site has some decent toilet and shower blocks, though the shower was pretty chilly. Free though, so maybe we just went at a bad time. There's a washing machine and a dryer too which take tokens. £3 for the washer and 50p for the dryer. The site is a working farm also so there's a fair bit of animal sound! We like being able to hear the sheep and cows but realise it may pee people off a bit. It was calf season too, so there were a lot of grumpy cows in the barn (that's on site) during the night.

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The kids play area is right on the coast, its got a big sandpit and the usual climbing frames, swings and slides. Our kids loved hurtling round on it, despite the cold weather.

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We walked along the lakeside into Pooley Bridge for lunch. A really nice little walk only about 20 mins. We had lunch in The Pooley Bridge Inn. Great value and great tasting pub food with some lovely proper pub decor. It's got mixed reviews on Trip Advisor, but we went in blind and it was great.

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It absolutely lobbed it down on the Sunday as we were leaving, putting the tent and gear away was brutal and it kind of was the straw that broke me. I've got little desire to come back here, sure it would be nice to sit on the front and gaze over the lake, but the pitches are close together so it would never feel as isolated as I'd like it to be. We were woken up at numerous points by drunk campers across from us on the Saturday night too, busy sites aren't for us and this place will be bedlam in the summer. The site quotes itself as a quiet site but it clearly isn't.

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Maybe we got a bad weekend, maybe we caught the staff off guard, but without doubt our first camp that had a good dose of disappointment. Shame, because with some improvements it could be amazing.

Likes

View from shore pitches

Play area

Food Van

Close to Pooley Bridge

Dislikes

Pitch style

Dog poo everywhere

Poor customer service

Expensive

Farm traffic

Cold shower