Campfires, sunsets and stunning views
Another excellent Fireside Meetup gathering - this time camping in North Devon, with wild swimming, hiking and exploring this stunning coastline.
To get involved with our events, join our Meetups group at www.meetup.com/fireside-meetups (or search ‘Fireside Meetups’ on the Meetups app). It’s free to join and a lot of our hikes and adventures are free too.
Scroll the gallery for pictures from this Meetup
“It’s probably one of the best routes for coastal hiking anywhere in Britain, and this stretch in North Devon is particularly dramatic with the highest cliffs in the UK and highest point on the South West Coast Path.”
Our third Meetup took place in one of the most stunning coastal spots in the South West – North Devon, a few miles west of Lynton and where the Exmoor National Park meets the sea.
This adventure was in two parts, a few weeks apart, with the first trip being a scouting mission to reconnoitre the area and check out the new pop-up campsite we wanted to use as a base camp. The first trip I did solo with just my dog, Pudding, for company.
“The campsite itself was one of the increasingly popular temporary ‘semi-wild’ sites where farmers open up their fields for camping but limited to two months a year.”
The campsite itself was one of the increasingly popular temporary ‘semi-wild’ sites where farmers open up their fields for camping but limited to two months a year. These have grown exponentially in popularity in the last year as Covid travel restrictions have caused a surge in demand for camping, while farmers have looked to diversify their income streams. This campsite was wonderfully thought out, with huge pitch spaces spread out over several large wildflower fields on an organic, family-owned farm. The views were amazing, stretching down to the sea which perfectly framed the setting sun and because they allowed firepits on site, it was the ideal space to unwind with coffee after long days on the trail.
The South West Coast Path runs right through the area, connecting most of the South West from Minehead to Cornwall and then continuing to completely circumnavigate Cornwall in what’s often called The Salt Path. It’s probably one of the best routes for coastal hiking anywhere in Britain, and this stretch in North Devon is particularly dramatic with the highest cliffs in the UK and highest point on the South West Coast Path at Greater Hangman, near Combe Martin. Having walked the 30km loop to Combe Martin and back to the campsite at Martinhoe, my recce trip also took in the coves and beaches nearby, the spectacular Valley of the Rocks and the quaint small towns of Lynton and Lynmouth.
“It’s an area that lends itself equally to beautiful summer sunshine or sea storms crashing in from the Atlantic.”
The Meetup weekend saw us return to the same campsite, albeit a different field with even better sea views! We then set about visiting the hot-spot areas I’d identified previously, filming and capturing the essence of the place as best as possible. It’s an area that lends itself equally to beautiful summer sunshine or sea storms crashing in from the Atlantic – and our return visit gave us a dose of both! The rain and gloom had set in on the drive there, with a particularly sharp wind slicing up from the sea but did nothing to dampen our enthusiasm as we made camp and got a fire going and planned the schedule with brews in hand.
We decided to forego a long hike further West, and instead headed east and explored the nearby Valley of the Rocks, and the coves of Woody Bay and Lee Bay, getting in an invigorating sea swim before we were forced ashore by a huge influx of jellyfish! Cooking on the rocky beach as the sun set was one of the best ways to end the trip and we’re definitely earmarking the area for a return visit in future.