Steadway Farm CL is a 1 acre off grid CL site situated in the village of Wheddon Cross, the highest village in Exmoor, Somerset. Presently owned by father (Edgar) and daughter (Kathy), Steadway Farm CL has been open since 1978. Steadway Farm CL can be found on the North West outskirts of the village and is only a 5 minute walk (0.3 miles) from the local pub (Rest & Be Thankful Inn), Budgens, and also a petrol station. From the site itself, you'll be treated to views of the Dunkery Beacon and the surrounding rural setting. We stayed at Steadway Farm CL from a Thursday until Sunday and this could certainly have been increased with the number of things to do in the local area. If you like hiking, biking and quaint rural villages, whilst still being located close the to coast then this is a great location to base your trip to Exmoor.
We specifically liked that you could walk and explore the local area directly from the site, without the need to drive anywhere. Kathy has done a great job including some local walks on the information board which you'll find near the site entrance. We really liked the woodland section close to the site, and the dogs loved it too. We found the walks to be very well signposted around Exmoor but would also suggest using the OS maps app (or actual map) to find additional loops and routes.
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.
As you arrive at Steadway Farm CL you are greeted with a large entry way. Even large caravans or motorhomes should have no issues with access due to the corner location of the main gate and ample space to swing into. If coming from Wheddon Cross, the entry will be on your right hand side and the site is sign posted both on the road, and on the gate itself. The gate also opens inwards on both sides providing a wide area to enter the field. On the left hand side immediately as you enter the field, you'll find an information board and all of the bins and recycling facilities. It's definitely worth reading the information board and checking out the map which has some plotted routes which can be walked from the site. As Steadway Farm CL is an off grid site the facilities are limited but there is access to a black waste point and a freshwater tap for drinking water. It's worth noting that at the time of our visit the tap on site did not have a thread so we had some difficulty trying to attach our hose to fill up, thankfully the van next to us had an adapter and kindly offered it to us. Kathy has informed us that hopefully this tap will be swapped out in the near future. Edit - Before we even managed to publish this review Kathy has already had the tap replaced which is fantastic!
As you enter, the field is on a slight slope towards you but we found it fairly level along the edges and on top. Despite the fact that there are no marked pitches it is fairly obvious where to pitch up or park if the site was at capacity. There is one pitch close to the entrance on the left hand side, followed by 4 further pitches around the edges of the field. We stayed on two different areas during our stay and didn't feel the need to use levelling blocks on either. The morning after we arrived Kathy had taken delivery of 5 recycled plastic picnic benches, these have now been assembled and placed roughly where the suggested pitch locations are. We really liked having these as a feature on the site and didn't use our own table or chairs during our stay. We'd love to see other CLs making investments like this where possible. We also loved the wild grasses/meadow which has been kept to the edges of the site as opposed to mowing everything, it was a welcome addition and the dogs thoroughly enjoyed sniffing around in it! We always speak to visitors on the CLs in advance of taking photos and find it a great talking point when saying hello. During our stay, we had such an accomodating and interesting mix of neighbours, it's inspiring hearing how long different people have been travelling for and all the different places they have been. One of the owners Kathy was also on site each day greeting new arrivals and catching up with all the visitors like old friends. Having such friendly owners who really take pride in their sites and the local areas makes you feel so welcome. If you're lucky like us you'll also be treated to some spectacular sunsets and the warm afterglow from a sunset over Dunkery Beacon from your van window.
As we mentioned previously there is no shortage of things to do in the area around Exmoor. We could have happily spent weeks exploring! Some the highlights from our trip include:
Nutcombe Bottom and the tall trees trail. This area of woodland is home to the tallest tree in England and is believed to have been growing since 1876. It's a beautiful area and there are plenty of trails, streams, and places to park up.
The National Trust site Dunster castle and watermill in the small village of Dunster. If you are not members of the National Trust you can either pay to enter the site or just use the car park and walk around the perimeter along the river and back through the village. Dunster is home to several small craft shops and places to eat and drink.
For the more adventurous we spent a day at Wimbleball Lake which spans over 374 acres. You can either pay to hire or launch your own watercraft here for £8 a day. As we had our own kayak we booked a launch spot on their website and paid upfront to make things easier. As well as using the lake for kayaking/paddle boarding and sailing you can walk around the perimeter of the lake which is 9 miles in total.
Dunkery and Horner Wood National Nature Reserve and the Dunkery Beacon. For access to Dunkery Beacon you can either walk from site or drive to one of many small carparks much closer to the top. As we were already out for the day we parked nearby and made the walk to the top. The image from the top of this article shows the panoramic views from the top facing back inland towards Steadway Farm CL. This is a National Trust site but does not have metered parking, instead there is a £1 honesty box for donations. The walk to the top took about 15 minutes. If you continue on the road further North past the beacon you can park in one of many areas of woodland. To find these areas on a map search for Webbers Post.
On our final day we made our way over to Porlock Weir, the car park here is small and the location is obviously popular with tourists so we would advise heading early in the day to secure a space. We spent an hour wandering through the village and sat on the harbour wall, basking in the sun and enjoying an icecream. From here we drove round to Bossington which is another National Trust car park. This was a fantastic spot to park for the day, with its proximity to the river and many walks around the headland to Hurlstone Point and also access to the pebble beach of Porlock Bay.