This was our maiden voyage as campers, so nerves and emotions were running high!
We took a punt on 'Oakdown' as it was close to home in case A. We couldn't get the tent up B. Had a massive argument and went our separate ways or C. Realised we really aren't cut out for camping.
Luckily none of the above happened, and we found Oakdown to be a cracking campsite. As our experience was limited every little step was a new adventure. Our pitch was large and had the added bonus of a picnic bench, which we made good use of day and night. The wash areas were next to be explored and wow, better than home. Nearly, really clean and catered for all our washing needs.
Staff wise very good, though we did encounter a slightly grumpy lady when we asked to play pitch and put, clearly she wasn't a golf fan but this didn't sour our great game of golf, which I won on count back.
The campsite is ideally placed for exploring Sidmouth, and the surrounding areas, Beer a must visit if you get the chance. Another nice bonus was the dawn chorus of donkeys braying, no need for alarms with our friendly neighbours to wake us up in the near-by sanctuary.
So to sum it up, as a first time camp experience this ticked all the right boxes. We both agreed right from the start we would return again, so that says it all really, even though it's so close to home.
Quite simply we had a cracking time, a lot to do with the campsite and atmosphere, and that's all we wanted from our camping trip!
So visit Oakdown, you won't be disappointed, and if you see a grey Vango tent pop in for a brew and a game of frisbee.
Lovely camp site. Good size pitches. Lovely walks down local lanes' or to donkey sanctuary near by. Lovely beaches within easy drive- plenty to do locally, on bus route, buses run to Exeter and nearby coastal towns reasonably late. Small cafe and shop nice-is more than you have on many sites, and is plenty of alternate cafes and large supermarkets a very short drive if you are desperate for more. Staff friendly and helpful. 1030 leaving time a little early, but means an earlier check in time, and its your last day any way, why put it off, get on and enjoy the coast on the way home. To be honest, only the petty minded could pick fault here.
This is a great site in many ways and I might return but there are quite a few negatives which I'm surprised haven't been reflected by other reviews. Yes I am a bit fussy but I don't think overly so. We stayed as part of a 5 family group. We had 3 touring pitches and 2 statics. Pros and cons as follows
Really friendly wardens (apart from 1 major upset - see below).
Spotless site. One of the best with respect to maintenance. Grass meticulously maintained. Showers well maintained etc.
Pretty peaceful if you get the right pitch as quite a lot are close to a busy noisy road.
Excellent kids play area and a pretty small games room.
Donkey sanctuary is a nice place you can walk to and also has a maze for the kids. Can't walk or cycle to much else though.
There is a great par 3 course for practising your golf on the site (it's an up market pitch and putt)
You have to be off your pitch by 10. 30am - even if you have had 5 pitches over the past 2 weeks and they haven't got new arrivals on the pitch. Even though our little boy (6 years old) was very ill resulting in us going to hospital when we were trying to leave, my wife was still hassled for payment showing no concern at all for our son. Be aware that if your late leaving you will be charged (and hassled for it!)
If you have young children and you want to bath them it's £1 extra for a bath each evening.
The showers in the mens area are small and the shower head points to the door drenching everything so drying yourself and putting on dry socks is pretty difficult.
You have to press the shower button roughly every 15 seconds to keep it going. That's quite a hassle.
It says it now has a cafe. If you call a cafe, coffee from a machine and panini heated in a microwave then it's a cafe but don't expect to meet friends here for any sort of decent breakfast.
Can't ride your bicycles anywhere on the site. If you have kids take their scooters!
Difficult to get a good pitch as many are seasonal so book well in advance.
Not much to walk or cycle to from the site.
It is a nice site that's well maintained and such a shame that the issues above exist as we would otherwise go here often. I would return for a short stay but be very hesitant with kids if it's more than a few nights.
Management response: We are sorry that you feel you need to use the term hassled, we certainly don’t intend on hassling our guests, but we have to have strict policies across the board and the reception team have to adhere to these policies for all guests. We have a very high return rate of guests all of whom respect our policies and many of which stay for an average length of 2 weeks. Unfortunately we were not informed of your son’s situation until later and certainly not told that your son was taken to hospital. We have always respected our guest’s needs, which reflects in our awards and reviews, if we were informed of the severity of your situation we would have made arrangements for you to stay late. We do genuinely hope your son is feeling better and apologise again for your disappointment.
Regarding the showers, the heads are directional and there is a screened seat in each cubicle with plenty of hooks to hang belongings. You have to press the shower button roughly every 15 seconds to keep it going. This time length is the standard button press length of time, which is intentional as part of our ‘green’ approach to the recent refurbishment.
We are very confident in the quality of the coffee produced by our machine, it is a genuine roasted bean machine with fresh milk and a hard coffee to beat from what the locals tell us. We do offer 6 types of coffee, tea and hot chocolate as well as cold refreshments, cakes, confectionary, pasties and pies. The Paninis are what many coffee shops supply, they have had fantastic reviews and are a very high quality product which we did considerable research into to find a ‘self-service’ high quality product. Unfortunately we do not have a license to cook foods on the premises hence why we cannot offer breakfasts except the breakfast panini.
We introduced the no cycling rule as a result of an incident a few years ago to eliminate any risks, scooters are welcome however as children have a little more control and can step off of them quicker than a bike should they need to in a hurry.
We arrived to the campsite under a shroud of thick fog and then rain that had descended upon the area for the afternoon, so we had no idea what the place really looked like until the next day!
The campsite receptionist was extremely welcoming and then the site caretaker walked us over to our pitch, stopping to point out all the facilities on the way. We felt very well attended and comfortable after a rather scary drive!
The site was immaculate and our pitch was a lovely flat hardstanding with hookup and a tap and bins adjacent to us. The campsite is laid out in little 'closes' that all link up to each other. The loo / shower/washup / laundry facilities are warm and comfortable with lots of hot water!
The other additional benefit of this site is that there are also 2 private bathrooms (£1 to fill up the bath), so if you fancy a nice soak after a long walk or drive, this is just the ticket!
I take the point about the main road but we did not notice the noise at all - even with the windows open the second evening.
We had a walk along the coat path to Sidmouth via the donkey sanctuary the next day in beautiful sunshine. I would well recommend the walk - there were a few hills to climb but it was well worth it - and the beach at Weston (en-route) was really peaceful and secluded. As a bonus there is a free hopper bus back to the donkey sanctuary for those with tired legs (like us and our dog!)
All in all it was a lovely place to stay and the campsite was top notch! We may well be back!
Have just returned from a week at this site, with two children 10 &7. Definitely one of the best sites we have stayed at. We were shown to our pitch within 5 minutes of arrival and Pete explained all the site facilities. The wardens were around the site daily. Can recommend the chip shop in Sidford.
Really large pitches.
Showers and toilets were really clean, loved the sensors on the taps, lots of mirrors.
Laundry really useful and great sized freezer, microwave also came in handy.
Recycling facilities on the site were good.
The kids loved the play area.
Fantastic walk to the donkey sanctuary.
Road could be very noisy but we did get used to it.
Showers very small, if trying to shower with a child and attempt to stay dry!
Although there is a bag to keep clothes dry whilst showering, I would prefer more hooks over the door.
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