Dartmoor – The heart of Devon

We’ve been busy since being at The Dartmoor Halfway Inn campsite, we’ve been on some great walks and seen some amazing Tors, we’ve celebrated the dogs 7th birthday, oh and also our 5th wedding anniversary.

 

 

We were booked in here until the 25th November 2018 so we’d had a good 2 weeks to explore the area, Firstly we took a trip to Berry Pomeroy Castle apparently if you believe in such things the place is supposed to be heavily haunted, to me it just looks like a once stately home, like many others gone to ruins, I didn’t see or hear any ghosts although as a non believer I may be slightly biased… it was owned by the Seymour family (by Jane Seymour’ brother) who then extended the castle in the 1500’s but by the 1700’s the castle was dismantled to such a degree that no one else could ever live there… the castle itself was closed the day we visited, but the grounds were open although we had to be careful what direction we took as a wild fowl shooting hunt was also in progress here, so amongst the frightened screeches of the pheasants being forced from the comfort of the undergrowth and relentlessly hunted, the grounds still seemed an attractive place to be surrounded in all directions by the autumn colours and scattered leaf covered woodland pathways.

 

 

We hiked up Haytor, I say hiked as we’d ignored the car park nearest to the Tor which made the walk longer and steeper than it needed to be, and although Haytor isn’t really a massive walk I thought I may still have had a heart attack by the time I made it to the top, however the views from here were fantastic, so it was worth the struggle.

 

 

After our hike at Haytor we then visited Widecombe in the moor where we found a BBC film crew filming a new series called “Gold digger” apparently its out next July, after a short walk around the village that’s famous for Uncle Tom Cobley and his Widecombe fair and friends we had a nose around in the National trust gift store (full of gorgeous locally handmade goodies) we voted to go have a pint in the pub down the lane called “The Rugglestone Inn” what a lovely quaint little country pub this is, apparently the food is very good here but we couldn’t say as it was nearly afternoon closing time when we managed a cheeky pint here…

 

 

 

We then did the Little dartmouth coastal walk, this walk is amazing, but again I struggled walking uphill and being lazy I prefer more level walks and cursed the adventure whenever it took an uphill stretch, but again what sights and views we were treated too, plus there were very few people around which was an absolute joy for Toffi as it meant a little more freedom for her…

 

 

It was Toffi’s 7th birthday so we took her to a place called Parke where the National trust run a stately home here and which again of course was shut upon our visit but the grounds were open to visiting and we took a stroll around the lovely parkland where Pete declared he had found this years Christmas tree for us and where Toffi got to have zoomies around with not a care in the world on her special day, she got to run around in the long and short gass then have a good old nosey around in the soggy smelly marshland… obviously this type of run is just heaven to any dog!!! Afterwards we took a quick stroll along Totnes river…

 

 

Next was a trip to Hound Tor, we found ourselves here on a very cold but crisp clear day, after driving with the intention of visiting Becky Falls which disappointingly we found to be closed… so on we drove until we spotted Hound Tor and figured we would take a stroll up there instead, if you’ve never been before and you like exploring Tors this one is a must… it’s quite a forgiving walk and again with stunning views across Dartmoor, most of the Tor is very climbable even by novices like me, the stones are marvelous, and we found a lot of letterboxing containers up here, so again a popular pass time if that’s your thing this seems to be a very popular place for it…

 

 

On our way back to camp we decided to see what the shop we’d spotted earlier called the House of Marbles was all about… once inside we found again lots of gorgeous handmade goodies for sale here also with a department dedicated to glass blowing, a museum and also there’s lots of gifts and as the name suggested, marbles for sale!!!

We’d been at The Dartmoor Halfway Inn campsite for 2 weeks and for the most part the place seems fine on the whole the gardening is good and well kept with the privacy hedges well trimmed and kept in great condition and the grass is kept well etc the toilet blocks are very well decorated, heated and clean enough, the showers are lovely, powerful jets and piping hot water which is great at this time of year I think a lot of campsites don’t realise the temperature of the water in their showers need to be very warm at this time of year…

But there are some minor irritations here on camp such as the security barrier just didn’t work for us for the first week we were here which meant we had to phone up and get them to lift the barrier every time we came home from an outing.

Although the toilets were really nicely decorated there is a lack of toileting facilities here with only one toilet and 2 showers in the females shower block and again just one toilet and 2 showers in the males block for the whole of the campsite other than one toilet and shower in the disabled bathroom so when the campsite is busy which it tended to get at weekends, it just wasn’t acceptable for people to be queuing to use the toilet, there’s 20+ hard standings, plus numerous tent pitches on site.

 

 

Other facilities here include washing machines, but take my advice and just do not bother wasting your time or money using them, they charge here by time and using these worked out extremely expensive considering £1 per 20 minutes for example a cotton wash/hot wash if you needed it is 3.5hours, I shall let you work out the shocking total you’d spend for just one hot wash!!)…

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I was left pretty peeved and it felt like daylight robbery after paying for 2 rapid 30 minute washes which I don’t really like doing, but figured it wouldn’t hurt this one time,  I was unwilling to pay for the much longer washes here, so once the washing was finished I put the freshly washed and spun loads into 2 seperate tumble dryers, imagine my sheer anger when after 80 mins and spending well over £10 in drying cost later the washing was still just as wet as when I had put it into the dryers, I was livid if I’m truthful, I approached the reception and told the staff, the manager was busy at the time probably a good thing, but the staff agreed that having by this time used at least £14 in the laundry, wasted most of my day and still finding my clothes after more than 80 minutes in the dryers to be just as wet as when I started was just not acceptable, but even when I did finally get to chat with the Manager it didn’t help with my feeling of anger, she was pretty nonchalant about my complaint and told me she hadn’t encountered any issues from other campers regarding the performance of the machines (I doubted this to be true to be honest as I’d observed in the last 2 weeks even the long termers here just don’t use the washers or tumble dryers… at that cost who could blame them!!! I proudly remained calm smiling politely on the outside (yes my friends would also wonder what was going on, I’m not known to be the most patient or pleasant person when wronged!!!) but there i stood wondering if it was worth me getting angry in front of a pub full of people but instead I chose to remain calm and friendly and walked away whilst inwardly imagining all hell of nasty happenings instead!!!) we were left with no other option that day but to gather up our still wet washing and go find a laundrette that could actually save the day and get this washing dry before it started rotting, we found a lovely friendly and cost efficient laundrette in Chudley which then cost a further £4 to get the 2 loads dry, just wished I had done the whole job with some decently timed hot washes there instead (I worked it out it would have cost me just £10 to have fully washed and dried all of it here!!!) what may also not be apparent to some site owners is that using a cold/cool wash isn’t always what is needed by full timers, especially when you live in close quarters with a slightly adventurous smelly dog and if you also have OCD tendencies, you feel your washing needs more than just a dash of cold water and a splash of detergent to freshen and clean it… besides the fact that these washes are not even adequate enough most of the time to even dissolve the washing pod tablets so you end up with a sticky patch of partially dissolved plasticy washing tablet now stuck all over your clothes too… great…. trust me it’s just not such a hot look!!!

The Dartmoor Halfway Inn serves food all day, I can vouch for the cooked breakfast and thought they are fairly good value for money at £6 each, and with a large pot of tea between 2 (giving 3 cups each) they were really good and filling, being the week of our anniversary we thought we would treat ourselves and had an evening meal here too, in my opinion it just wasn’t such good value, reason being I had a turkey roast, and for afters I was given one small scoop of ice cream with a shot of espresso to put over it, Pete had fish and chips with an apple and pear crumble with custard for afters and we had a pint each the bill came to £47 now the presentation of my meal was lovely, but I had such a meager amount of turkey it was in fact ridiculous… there was a whole 2 small mouthfuls of turkey on my entire plate, but then to make matters worse there was mounds of this horrid tasting sausage meat stuffing type stuff, the veg and the jus however were lovely… also the waiting staff were lovely and attentive, question is would I pay £47 for a pub meal here again…?? perhaps ask me when I have calmed down over the laundry rip off dilemma!!!

Then I have to mention the road noise here which is to put it bluntly… extreme, the noise calmed down after midnight and would start getting busier again by 5am almost every day as the campsite is directly beside A383, the main road into Newton Abbot, although we enjoyed our time at this camp and the site fees were reasonable for the large, private feeling, fully serviced pitches at £16/18 per night I would describe this campsite as more of just an overnight stopover or as a motorhome pub stopover but the location was good for us to get out and about to visit different places in the area so its not one to be ruled out, Karen and Graham also came for a visit with us in the pub one lunch time so having the pub there was quite handy for visitors…

While driving around the area we encountered lots of travellers camped up in caravans, converted vans and horse boxes at the sides of the roads and some groups even in small fields and some near field entrances, all seemed to have been there sometime and I have to admit due to the price some of the UK campsites are charging lately I am more than tempted to join them all!!!

We left Dartmoor halfway Inn on the 25th and made our way to our next stop a campsite called woodland springs you can read all about our adventures here in our next update…

May you always find good laundry facilities… till next time,

Take care

Donna x