Camping at Nettwood Farm in Somerset

Camping at Nettwood Farm in Somerset

A lot of my friends hate the idea of camping in the UK. The weather is unreliable, sleep can be patchy, discomfort can be considerable. Camping involves a lot of packing and unpacking and depending on your disposition, you can end up spending a small fortune on equipment which gathers dust for much of the year. However, sitting around the campfire at Nettwood Farm in Somerset last month with a burger in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, children playing in the sunshine, I was reminded why I drag my tent out of the attic each summer. When camping goes well, it is a true pleasure.Nettwood Farm campsite Somerset

Nettwood Farm campsite, in the Mendip Hills near Cheddar Gorge, is relatively small. There are two fields to camp in, the woodland field and the lake view field. We chose the latter which has incredible views over Chew Valley Lake and the surrounding Somerset countryside. Our tents were pitched quite close to the well equipped wash block which had a fridge and decent showers. We were also close to a little playhouse and climbing tower with a slide which all of the children, aged from four to ten, spent many hours playing on.

On arrival, we were warmly welcomed by the owner Debbie who showed us the best place to pitch our tents and later delivered, much to the delight of our sons, our firewood using her tractor. There was a large group of families pitched next to us plus a few other individual tents and caravans but despite this the field felt peaceful and there was never a queue for the toilets, showers or washing up sinks.

If you can’t quite bring yourself to spend a night on a roll mat and the idea of shared toilets fills you with fear, Nettwood Farm has a range of glamping options including a safari tent and a cabin. You can still enjoy all the benefits of camping before retreating to your upmarket accommodation for a comfortable night’s sleep.

As other families with young children will no doubt agree, holidaying with little people is not always (or ever?) a particularly relaxing affair. Sure, it’s an amazing experience exploring the world with your kids if you are fortunate enough to have the means to do so, but there is not a great deal of “down time” for grown ups when children are small and full of energy on holiday. So it’s rather gratifying, when camping, to be able to sit back in a deck chair while the kids run around a field for hours without any need for intervention. We had sufficient space for rounders, cricket and football matches and the eight children in our group made friends with the neighbours so there was a lovely atmosphere.

We enjoyed exploring the woodland at Nettwood Farm. It’s perfect for den building or games of hide and seek and the owners permit the collection of fallen wood for fire pits. There were a few remaining bluebells here and there from what must have been an impressive display in the spring. Just outside the campsite we discovered East Harptree Woods, a Forestry Commission woodland which is also great for a walk.

As well as a trip into Bristol to visit the amazing SS Great Britain (which requires a blog post all of its own), we also made an excursion to Cheddar Gorge (just 8 miles from the campsite). I was slightly disappointed by what we found. There’s no doubting the gorge is beautiful but over the decades some rather dubious car parking decisions have been made resulting in the gorge essentially becoming one long snaking car park with some equally unappealing buildings dotted through it. However, Gough’s Cave and the accompanying audio guide was brilliant, really impressive and informative. We also enjoyed the climb up Jacob’s Ladder and the Cliff Top Walk. The views were lovely and it was perfect for a picnic. If you’re keen to try rocking climbing, Cheddar Gorge is a perfect place to give it a go. There were some easy looking beginner routes as well as some more demanding ones.

Cliff top walk at Cheddar Gorge Somerset

Cliff top walk at Cheddar Gorge

As there were 16 of us camping together, I’d booked us a table in advance for our last day at the Castle of Comfort pub, located just a mile up the hill from Nettwood Farm. The pub has a large garden with an impressive play area. With the sun shining, it was very tricky to convince the younger members of our group to get in the car and head up the tedious A303. We ate well at the pub and I was particularly impressed by their generous interpretation of “2 scoops of ice cream”…

For more of our reviews on family friendly campsites, check out my post on Bush Farm Bison Centre or read about some of our other campsite successes.

Do you love or loath camping with your kids? Let me know in the comments below.

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This post is linking up with Family Friendly Stays, the new family travel blog link up which goes live on the first Wednesday of each month.
This post is linking up with #WanderlustKids and BattleMum
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49 Comments

  1. 07/04/2018 / 6:47 pm

    My boys would go crazy excited at the site of a tractor delivering the firewood! And so handy when you find a campsite with a playground – gives the kids a distraction whilst parents put the tents up. #familyfriendlystays

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/04/2018 / 9:03 pm

      It was the perfect place for families, we had such a brilliant time!

  2. 07/05/2018 / 11:31 am

    Love the look of this campsite, definitely saving for future reference. The views look fab, and such a great area for outdoor exploring. So happy to have found a new linky 🙂 #familyfriendlystays

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/05/2018 / 2:43 pm

      Thanks so much for joining!

  3. Mama Travels Earth
    07/05/2018 / 11:49 am

    This sounds perfect for families – especially with small kids. I love the idea of them running free without needing to intervene too much! This place is really near me too so could make an easy(ish) weekend away. I camped a lot as a kid and am keen for my little ones to do the same. Being the parent now though, no idea how my parents managed it for so many years with 3 of us! #familyfriendlystays

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/05/2018 / 2:09 pm

      I’m very envious of your location close to so much beautiful scenery!

  4. Trish @ Mum's Gone To
    07/05/2018 / 1:03 pm

    We always did the mobile home type of camping when our son was little but this looks like heaven – I could rough it a bit to stay there!
    #farawayfiles

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/05/2018 / 2:08 pm

      It was truly perfect, I do think the weather helped ever so slightly too…

  5. 07/05/2018 / 1:38 pm

    beautiful place for camping! #farawayfiles

  6. 07/05/2018 / 8:36 pm

    What a wonderful way to spend time. I have not been camping , would love to try it. Enjoyed reading your post. #FamilyFriendlyStays

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/05/2018 / 9:37 pm

      Definitely give it a go! Try camping somewhere close to home and pick a weekend with good weather…!

  7. 07/05/2018 / 9:06 pm

    We had a similar experience of camping recently – the nice weather has been perfect for it though! This place looks lovely #familyfriendlystays

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/05/2018 / 9:34 pm

      Yes, the weather helps massively doesn’t it?

  8. 07/06/2018 / 5:42 am

    I don’t believe I have come across a camp site with it’s very own playground – what a treat for the kids! It looks like a beautiful place, and I imagine camping as a group would only add to the enjoyment of the experience. #farawayfiles

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/06/2018 / 7:24 am

      It was indeed perfect for our little group!

  9. 07/06/2018 / 4:44 pm

    This sounds – and looks – like a beautiful place to stay and perfect for the kids to roam and run about. I like that you don’t necessarily glorify camping with kids as it can no doubt be a lot of work – but like you say, when you’re there with a drink in one hand and admiring the views and children milling about – what more could you ask for? Great post. Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/06/2018 / 5:17 pm

      I’d say our stays in a tent have been more successful than villas or hotels as the kids can be outdoors all the time. There’s just a lot of dirty and mess at the end though!

  10. Clare Thomson
    07/06/2018 / 5:36 pm

    What a great looking campsite! And you clearly had the perfect weather for it too. We’ve not stayed in tents with ours yet (apart from school camping trips) but I know they’d love it. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  11. pigeonpairandme
    07/06/2018 / 8:11 pm

    What a shame about Cheddar Gorge! This does sound appealing, though. I bet it would be good for a group of friends, with all the different accommodation options. #familyfriendlystays

  12. pigeonpairandme
    07/06/2018 / 8:19 pm

    What a shame about Cheddar Gorge! The campsite sounds perfect, though. I bet the different types of accommodation help if you’re getting together a big group. #familyfriendlystays

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/06/2018 / 11:47 pm

      Yes, we have a camping-averse friend so we look for somewhere which has some home comforts!

  13. 07/07/2018 / 6:56 am

    We go camping quite a lot – and this site looks like our kind of style. The playground is a real bonus for a toddler! #FamilyFriendlyStays

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/07/2018 / 12:34 pm

      It really is perfect for kids, our children were so content there.

  14. 07/08/2018 / 8:41 am

    Looks like just our type of campsite. Now if we could only convince the Londoners to travel that bit further west?! #FamilyFriendlyStays

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/08/2018 / 10:02 pm

      Well, once you’re in the car what’s another hour or two..?

  15. 07/08/2018 / 1:53 pm

    Wow- I love the idea of camping with kids (we haven’t tried it yet but I’m sure mine would love it). Thanks for your honest opinion of Cheddar Gorge and useful tips about things to do in the area. A pub with a playground is always a bonus! #FamilyFriendlyStays

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/08/2018 / 10:01 pm

      Definitely give camping a try!

  16. 07/12/2018 / 7:28 am

    Looks like a gorgeous site and perfect weather for your annual camping trip! Interesting comments about Cheddar Gorge parking, I’ve never been. I’ve just organised a mini camping break in Cornwall for August with 12 people – trying to get everyone together was chaisso I imagine 16 of you even harder! #AdventureCalling

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/12/2018 / 12:18 pm

      Having everyone on WhatsApp made it easier this year for coordinating!

  17. 07/14/2018 / 3:15 am

    Looks like a lot of fun! Planning such a big gathering must have been crazy though! Thanks so much for sharing this on #TheWeeklyPostcard!

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/14/2018 / 7:53 am

      The planning gets easier each year!

  18. Anisa
    07/14/2018 / 9:38 am

    Looks like a beautiful area. I remember loving camping as a kid, but haven’t done it in forever. Without kids, I am thinking that glamping may be more my style though. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/15/2018 / 8:04 am

      Glamping has grown so much over the last few years, it’s such a great compromise!

  19. 07/14/2018 / 10:05 pm

    Beautiful place to camp, but I don’t think I’d enjoy camping anymore. We used to do it quite often in the past 40 years, but the older I grow the harder it I find it to put up with the camping conditions. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/15/2018 / 8:03 am

      I can imagine it’s very easy to get out of the habit of camping, I’ll see how long I can last!

  20. 07/14/2018 / 10:33 pm

    I have to confess to being part of the non camping brigade. That said the idea of going away as a group with all the kids and in this lovely weather is a whole load more appealing. It sounds like a well equipped site with bags of space and freedom for the kids to play. I haven’t been to Cheddar Gorge since school Geography field trip days but it sounds as though it has changed a lot. Rock climbing sounds fun there if not parking.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/15/2018 / 8:01 am

      Well, it’s never too late to give camping a try!

  21. 07/14/2018 / 11:21 pm

    It’s a lovely area to visit and we went glamping near there a couple of years ago. i agree about Cheddar – rather spoilt but the walk up across the gorge was really worthwhile, if a little longer than we anticipated (we went right round) #countrykids

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/15/2018 / 8:04 am

      Yes, the walk was the best bit for us. I hope they put a bit more investment into Cheddar in the future.

  22. 07/17/2018 / 3:44 pm

    We haven’t been camping with our son yet but this site sounds great. There’s nothing like open space for kids to enjoy themselves. And great it’s so near to Bristol. One of my favourite places there is SS Great Britain! Thanks for linking up to #wanderlustkids

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/17/2018 / 11:28 pm

      I agree, it’s such a great museum!

  23. 07/17/2018 / 10:31 pm

    We love a bit of camping and looking forward to getting away in the summer. We went to Wookey Hole Caves at easter and was hoping to pay a visit to Cheddar Gorge – would you not bother?#countrykids

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/17/2018 / 11:30 pm

      I’m glad we went, Gough Cave was impressive and it was what I was expecting to see, it’s just a shame that the development of the area hasn’t been very well managed over the years.

  24. 07/18/2018 / 11:12 am

    This looks a lovely place. We use to camp when it was just my son, but then we had twins! It didn’t seem so happy to do it then!! It also meant buying a bigger tent so never got around to doing it. I love how chilled camping is though once your all set up!

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/18/2018 / 2:27 pm

      Yes, I can imagine things get complicated in camping once you’re outnumbered!

  25. 07/18/2018 / 3:15 pm

    What a gorgeous campsite! Camping with a group is so much fun, we’re off at the weekend to do just that 🙂 #countrykids

    • smudgedpostcard
      Author
      07/18/2018 / 7:56 pm

      Hope you have equally good weather!

  26. 07/18/2018 / 5:47 pm

    I dont know if this is the place where we attended a family music festival before but it is in this area and this place is gorgeous! The lake is so tranquil to see too! Your photos made me miss camping so much! #countrykids

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