Bales Ash

UK England South West England Devon Chulmleigh, Winkleigh & Umberleigh

  • Electrical hook-ups
  • Laundry
  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Short walk to pub
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
A small, green, pop-up campsite in the heart of North Devon

Like all the best campsites, there’s not much to see at Bales Ash for most of the year. It has a quietly ephemeral feel that almost makes you wonder whether a campsite really calls this patch of Devon's Taw Valley home at all. There’s no playground and just a few faint lines traced in the grass by vehicles that disappeared in mid September.

But summer is an altogether different story. Alive with the colour of canvas tents and infused by the sound of children's laughter, the distant strumming of a guitar and the evocative aroma of smouldering barbecues, you realise that the campsite is perfect entirely because of its lack of all things permanent. This is a lesson in how all campsites should be: pop-up, fuss free, sheep-mown aprons of grass and refreshingly understated.

Camping at Bales Ash is very much of the chilled-out variety. There are a handful of electric hook-ups for small campervans that don’t mind the country lanes and two spacious fields where up to 30 families or groups can spread themselves around. After that. It’s up to you to find the excitement, whether that be impromptu games of football that rope in strangers from the sidelines or communal evening campfires where kiddies gorge themselves on marshmallows.

That being said, animal lovers will enjoy checking in with the rabbits in ‘The Bunny House’ opposite the shower block, while parents and young children alike will revel in Hungry Gorilla’s Story tent where a friendly life-sized gorilla (don’t worry – he’s stuffed!) has taken up residence for the summer with a selection of children’s books for you to enjoy together.

Yet for all its simplicity, Bales Ash still has everything you could possibly need. Campfire pits are rented out at just £3 for your entire stay, high spec hot showers and top notch compost toilets are available for use and there’s even Wi-Fi. It’s the very antithesis of the holiday park scene, right down to the beautifully furnished bell tents (aka 'The Belles of Bales Ash') nestled against the hedge in the small field. If you don’t fancy putting up your own tent and seek a bit of luxury then one of the Belles may be the girl for you! And whilst we’re talking about luxury why not treat yourself to one of Ann, Debbie and Caro’s unbeatable cream teas whilst enjoying the view from outside their Victorian summer house shop and café? (Remember we’re in Devon here – cream first, jam after).

Beyond, views over the hedges to Exmoor draw you out from your camping cocoon. It’s a half hour drive to the national park, though footpaths closer to home offer similarly pleasant rambling routes even if not feeling quite so ‘remote’ – after all, who’s going to complain if you take in a few pubs en route? To the north, Barnstaple and the coast are closer still (about 20-35 minutes in the car) and boast some of the best surfing beaches in the country, with Croyde, Saunton Sands and Woolacombe all sharing the spoils of the swell that rolls in across the Atlantic. By the time winter comes back around you'll never look at an empty field the same way again.

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Details

Facilities

3 super showers, 3 compost toilets plus portable loos, electric hookups, water taps in both fields, washing machine, and freezer. Free Wi-Fi available. Campfires allowed in firepits (supplied by the campsite only), plus there is a large communal firepit – the perfect place to gather under endless Devon skies offer for unrivalled stargazing!

Suitable For

Tents, camper vans, small motor homes, family and group get togethers, couples children, dogs, awnings and event shelters – yes. Large caravans and motorhomes – not suitable.

Nearby

The campsite has direct access to a number of local walks – try the gentle one-hour route to the pubs in High Bicklington or visit the woods at Kingford Hill, owned by the Woodland Trust. The South West Coast Path is rightfully popular, and a great way to access some of the quieter, less accessible beaches. Croyde, Woolacombe, Saunton, Putsborough and Westward Ho! are the most well known beaches and all within around 30-minutes' drive. Backed by seaside towns, they're awash with places where you can rent surfboards, take lessons and enjoy fudge and clotted cream ice cream . For family cycling routes, the well known Tarka Trail is a short drive from the campsite; alternately cycle to one of the stations along the Tarka Line train route. For golf enthusiasts, Libbaton Golf Club (01769 560269) – an 18 hole, par 73 course – is less than a mile away.

Food & Drink

Homemade cream teas are available (and not to be missed) along with some basic food stuff, fresh farm eggs and home baked cakes.  Their gluten-free bakes are a speciality. There is a well stocked community shop in the village, while nearby Barnstaple has all the shops for supplies (Tesco, Sainsburys, Lidl etc) and the coastal villages boast restaurants and takeaways. There are two pubs in High Bicklington, a 20 minute walk across the fields from the campsite. The Golden Lion (01769 561006) is the newer of the two, relatively speaking – it's still a 19th century haunt with a single bar and grainy local pictures from yesteryear. The Old George Inn (01769 560513), meanwhile, is a thatched local from the 1500s that retains many original features. There's a cosy bar area with pub grub and a skittle alley. Less than 10 minutes drive gets you to a fab range of gastro pubs – try The Bell Inn (01769 540368) at Chittlehampton, The New Inn (01805 603247) at Roborough or the newly-refurbished Ram's Head (01805 804255) at Dolton.

Opening Times

Late May – early September.

Family Friendly

Summer comes and summer goes but the memories from this pop-up paradise will stick with little ones forever. If every empty meadow could be transformed in this way then the world would surely be a better place.

Why book with Glampingly?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

The Owner Says

Bales Ash Campsite sits above the Taw Valley in beautiful North Devon countryside with views across to Exmoor providing complete escape from the pace of modern life. We offer relaxed camping in two beautiful sprawling fields for just 3 months each year. We welcome all types of tents and camper vans, awnings and you can even bring a gazebo or event shelter.  Sit and chat around a firepit, enjoy gazing at the stars and experience the complete stillness of being away from it all. Bales Ash is a place to chill out and get in touch with the other side of you. 

Accommodation

30 spacious camping pitches and 3 fully equipped 5m bell tents.

AnnaBelle

Bell tent Sleeps 5 3 Available
Comfort and campfires are promised with stays in this simply furnished bell tent on a North Devon campsite.

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Location

Show Map

Getting There

From the B3127 come through the village of High Bickington (leaving Atherington behind you) and proceed out of the village passing a Community Centre sign. The road narrows and
bends with a high hedge on your left, drive past a white house and then the next building on your left is the brick built Whitebridge Boarding Kennels. Turn left immediately in front of

the kennels and drive on down the lane, take the first right following the blue arrow sign to Bales Ash (ignoring your sat nav which may try to take you straight ahead down a no through road - don’t!) and follow the lane down until you see a building on your right. Carry on beyond the closed wooden gate and then past the open black gates and enter the campsite through the metal barred gate on your right opposite an old stone barn. Please close the campsite gate behind you and then drive over to The Victorian Summerhouse on the right of the field to book in.

From the A377 at Kingford (between Portstmouth Arms and Umberleigh) follow the signs for High Bickington up the mile long Kingford Hill. Towards the top of the hill you pass holiday
lodge signs on your right, next a skidding car warning sign on your left and almost immediately a blue arrow sign to Bales Ash on your right. Turn right onto the lane and proceed uphill for about 1/4 mile. Campsite entrance is through a metal barred gate on your left (opposite a small stone barn on your right). Please close the campsite gate behind you and then drive over to The Victorian Summerhouse on the right of the field to book in.

The nearest train stations are Umberleigh (4 miles) or Portsmouth Arms (1½ miles; tell the conductor you want to get off there or they don’t stop!). Pick-up can often be arranged if needed. Ann, Debbie or Caro can often arrange to pick you up if needed.

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Why book with Glampingly?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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