Resthaven Farm CL is an off grid family-run CL based in North Devon. Situated just 3 miles from the center of the famous Woolacombe village with its 3 mile sandy beach and under 3 miles from Ilfracombe, home to Damien Hirst’s statue Verity. Owned by Bill Ley and run by daughter Ann, Resthaven CL has been open for over 40 years and offers a warm welcome for new and returning visitors. Ann and her family take great pride in Resthaven Farm and want all their visitors to enjoy their stay and the abundance of local attractions. To gain CL status a new entrance was created to the field, which makes it easy to both enter and leave (even if you have a large motorhome or caravan).
When it comes to things to do Resthaven Farm CL is very central to lots of popular destinations and within easy day-trip distance to locations like Lynmouth and Lynton which are only around 30 minutes drive away, and well worth a visit. There are also several footpaths available directly from the site, including the heritage trail which leads all the way into Ilfracombe. If you don't fancy the walk or drive you can catch a bus from outside the site to Woolacombe or Ilfracombe - This is a great option for those with larger motorhomes or vans as parking can be tight in some of the local car parks.
The beauty of staying at CL sites is that they have a maximum occupancy of 5 units (vans/motorhomes or caravans) so offer an alternative, more relaxed stay than larger sites. It's worth noting that you must be a member of the Caravan and Motorhome Club to use these sites.
Access to Resthaven Farm is effortless from either direction, the entrance is wide and at 90 degrees to the road so it's easy to swing into; the gate is also left open so you can just drive straight in without stopping. Because Resthaven Farm CL is an off grid CL the facilities are limited but everything you really need can be found on site. There is access to fresh drinking water, bins with recycling, and a waste disposal point for chemical toilets. All of these facilities can be found at the top of the field near the main entrance. Because there are no electrical hookups or hard standing areas there are no fixed pitches, this allows you the freedom to pick your preferred spot within the field. There was a lovely couple staying in the bottom corner during our stay who had (in our opinion) the best spot in the field. They had views from both the front and to the side of the caravan and were also close to one of two gates that give you access into the larger field behind (including this backfield the site is around 7 acres in total).
There are currently two gates and a path leading into, and around the hayfield behind the main site. We loved having this large space and the grass footpath running through the field was very well maintained. The dogs loved using these narrow paths to practice their 400m sprints! Ann mentioned there are plans to potentially open up a larger section at the back of this field in the future as a secondary area to sit and enjoy the countryside views.
The main field runs almost from dead East to West and has unobstructed views, this is a big benefit for an off grid site, as there is plenty of potential to maximise solar yields throughout the day to keep the batteries topped up. Because the site hugs the B3343 there is some road noise to be heard, this happens to quieten down later in the evenings and first thing but there was always some traffic passing by. This road is one of the main routes from Barnstaple to Woolacombe.
Woolcombe is an easy 10 minute drive from the site. We spent an afternoon and a whole day here. For the afternoon visit we used the Sandy burrows car park. There was plenty of space here for vans and motorhomes, the carpark was £10 for a full day or £5 when we visited later in the afternoon. This is a great location for going to the beach however they lock this carpark in the evening which makes it less ideal in Summer if you want to stick around for sunset.
For our second visit, we left Resthaven Farm before 8am to secure ourselves a spot on the esplande with all the other vans and motorhomes. This was a fantastic spot to park for the day, as you have sea views and a large grassy area to relax on just in front of the van. We swam in the sea, took a walk around town and in the evening headed a few minutes walk around the corner to the Barricane Beach Cafe, which serves curry on the beach between 5pm and 7pm (There are two options here, a meat or vegan/vegetarian selection). The queue formed quite quickly here and it's worth knowing in advance they only take cash.
For another trip we headed out towards The Valley of Rocks, Lynton and Lynmouth. It was around 30-40 minutes to get to these locations. The Valley of Rocks is situated on the Northern coastline of the Exmoor national park. Parking was around £4 a day here but if you take the all day parking ticket, you can also use it at the council-owned carparks in Lynton and Lynmouth. There is an upper and lower car park here, both of which connect to the coast path which can be done as a loop or an out and back walk, depending on how far you want to go. We climbed Castle Rock which is the large single turret of rocks (it's obvious which one this is when you arrive). From the top you can get great views across the channel and further down the coastline. After enjoying the views and taking some photos we scrambled down to Wringcliff bay below. The first part of the walk was fairly easy going as you descend from the clifftop towards the beach. Towards the bottom, the path gets quite steep before eventually ending at a set of wooden steps onto the bay below.
Next up was a trip to Lynton and Lynmouth to check out the clifftop railway and to find somewhere to cool off. We found a spot to park (designated campervan parking) alongside the river off Watersmeet road. From here we followed the river upstream, until we found a quiet spot to ourselves off the main path for a swim with the dogs. This shaded woodland walk and fast-flowing river reminded us of the Brecon Beacons. It was a great spot to relax before we headed back towards town.
A couple of minutes walk along the seafront brought us to to the Lynton and Lynmouth cliff railway. This railway was opened in 1890 as a way to move goods between the clifftop town of Lynmouth and Lynton below. In 1947 the railway was repurposed for passenger and tourist travel. It is currently the world's steepest and highest water-powered railway in operation. Trips are £3 each way for an adult and no booking is required. Dogs are also allowed to travel on the service for an additional £1 each. We took the railway to the top and devoured a packet of vegan fudge we'd previously purchased from Lynmouth as we strolled back down the hill towards the van.
On another morning we wanted to find somewhere quieter, but still on the coast for the dogs to enjoy some time in the water and off their leads. We stumbled across Crow point near Braunton on Google Maps and headed over. There is a toll road to access this area which is £2 but no additional car parking fees. At low tide there was a massive expanse of sand to walk on from the carpark all the way around to Saunton Sands. At higher tides you can also walk through Braunton Burrows, a series of paths that wind through sand dunes behind the beach. This was a really nice area to walk and have lunch at, with great views across the River Taw to Appledore and the Northern Burrows behind Westward Ho beach. After our stop here we headed towards Baggy Point via the coastal road, past Saunton and through Croyde. The roads up until Croyde were fine for larger vehicles but the road up to the National Trust car park at Baggy Point was very narrow, with limited parking places (and lots of oncoming vehicles). The way out back to Resthaven was also very narrow and even in the evening with low traffic took some time to cover only a few miles.
We had a really enjoyable stay at Resthaven Farm CL. The site itself was a peaceful stay and we loved the views and access to the bigger field behind where the van was parked up. We stayed here for 6 nights but think the couple next to us staying for 3 weeks had the right idea. There is so much to do and see in the surrounding area we would definitely visit again in future to explore more. In the future there are plans to add an additional tap next to the emptying facility, there were also some talks about clearing part of the backfield to make an additional seating area within the shelter of the surrounding hedgerows. Ann is also looking forward to having the time to plant more wildflowers on the entrance and the neighbouring verges to the site.