GET­AWAY CAMP­ING WITH THE FAM­ILY GOT COOL AGAIN I

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

T’S hard to re­call the ex­act mo­ment, but there comes a point in life when camp­ing loses its ap­peal.

It’s usu­ally when kids come along and the bar­gain-bin tent and mouldy ruck­sack you faith­fully dragged to Glastonbury ev­ery year are re­placed with the en­tire stock of the near­est out­ward-bound ware­house.

In the past camp­ing meant bog-stan­dard tents, rick­ety gas stoves, chilly nights and the ev­er­p­re­sent fear that your can­vas – brought out of the at­tic once or twice a year – would not with­stand the next storm on the hori­zon.

Lit­tle won­der then that glamp­ing, com­bin­ing the back-to-na­ture thrill of camp­ing with the lit­tle lux­u­ries that make life so much eas­ier, has soared in pop­u­lar­ity.

So it was that I, my part­ner and our two boys – aged two and five months – packed up the car, and headed to north Devon for a three-night break.

Our des­ti­na­tion was the Ruda hol­i­day camp, a stone’s throw from the pic­turesque vil­lage of Croyde on one side and a mag­nif­i­cent sandy beach on the other.

The beach is rated as one of the best surf­ing beaches in the world, which would ex­plain the num­ber of VWs on the roads and en­thu­si­asts of all ages don­ning their wet­suits and stam­ped­ing to­wards the wa­ter.

There’s a surf school on the beach, and RNLI life­guards on duty from May to Septem­ber.

For those who haven’t yet caught the surf­ing bug, the tide waxes and wanes ex­pan­sively, leav­ing a lu­nar land­scape of rock pools (com­plete with alien crea­tures to a two-yearold) as the sea re­cedes. On our visit, hun­dreds of jel­ly­fish (thank­fully, harm­less) were washed up on the sands.

A five-minute walk up from the beach lay our base for the week­end.

Ruda, a Parkdean re­sort, is an in­sti­tu­tion in Croyde with ac­com­mo­da­tion cater­ing for all tastes from car­a­vans and lodges to camp­ing and, most re­cently, glamp­ing.

Our ac­co­mo­da­tion was, in­deed, a tent, but not as we know it. Cabin­like and tak­ing in a breath­tak­ing view of Croyde Bay, it con­tained a dou­ble bed in one half of the tent and two sin­gles in the other.

A sofa bed takes the po­ten­tial These lux­ury tents have all the ameni­ties and a ve­ran­dah so you can en­joy the spactac­u­lar views... and all within a stone’s throw of the stun­ning Croyde Bay, below While the camp­site has its own amuse­ments, it’s handy for the beach and some ex­cel­lent days out for all the fam­ily num­ber of in­hab­i­tants up to six, while a cot was help­fully pro­vided for the baby.

There’s also a sink, with hot/boil­ing and cold wa­ter, fridge, and cooker.

Cut­lery, glasses etc are pro­vided and, for those chilly Bri­tish sum­mer nights, a heater. Out­side there’s a ve­ran­dah, com­plete with ta­ble and chairs – a per­fect spot to sip a glass of wine and take in the view over the bay.

Spot­less toi­let and shower fa­cil­i­ties lay next door to the glamp­ing area, so no long treks in the dead of night were re­quired.

On site, there’s a café, a shop for the ba­sics, a bar/restau­rant serv­ing good pub grub and – in clas­sic hol­i­day camp style – fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment ev­ery night should you want it.

For the chil­dren, there’s a kids’ club, ice-cream par­lour, sev­eral play ar­eas, and Cas­cades Trop­i­cal Ad­ven­ture pool, the lat­ter with a spaghetti-like ar­ray of tubes for rac­ing. It should be noted that vis­its to the pool in­cur a small fee. But the real star of the show is Croyde Bay it­self. Whether sun­bathing, play­ing in the sand or tak­ing to the waves, it’s a re­minder that you don’t have to look abroad to find idyl­lic spots – they’re often right on our doorstep. A short walk through the im­mac­u­late grounds of the park and be­yond is the lit­tle vil­lage of Croyde it­self. It’s a great place to while away a few hours, with a cou­ple of pub restau­rants, ice-cream par­lours and the ubiq­ui­tous surf shops. On our last day, we drove to a nearby at­trac­tion, The Big Sheep. It’s a great day out for kids, with a size­able chunk un­der cover – which was handy as the heav­ens opened while we were there. A busy fam­ily-run sheep farm­turned win­ning com­bi­na­tion of an­i­mal pet­ting farm and amuse­ment park, it has rides to suit all ages, in­clud­ing Devon’s largest roller­coaster. While our two-year-old was re­luc­tant to help milk the goats, get­ting him off the trac­tor rides proved nigh im­pos­si­ble. Back at Ruda Hol­i­day Park, we had that win­ning com­bi­na­tion – two ex­hausted boys, a per­fect sun­set over Croyde Bay and a glass, or per­haps two, of wine.

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