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Highertown Farm Campsite, Lansallos, Looe, Cornwall
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Highertown Farm Campsite, Lansallos, Looe, CornwallSome people are excited by complexity -calculating the difference between a super-saver off-peak return and two day-rover singles, for example, or explaining the active/passive clause of the offside rule - while for others there's nothing quite so pleasing as simplicity.

You can easily be fooled by the simplicity of Highertown Farm campsite. After all, at first glance it's a fairly square field with a hedge around it and some tents in the middle. There's a church on one side and a sliver of sea to be seen on the other. It might not look like much, but then maybe that's its secret.

There's been a campsite at Highertown Farm since the 1930s, when ruby-cheeked boys with dirty knees and girls in dainty dresses chased wooden hoops or played tic-tac-toe while their parents grumbled about Chamberlain. The site made it through the Second World War and the buttoned-up fifties, let its hair down in the sixties, and went to pieces in the seventies along with the rest of the country. Come the 1980s, though, the National Trust stepped in and took over stewardship of the site. Whether it was the entrepreneurial spirit of the times, or whatever, the NT brought a bit of market discipline to the place - and what a difference it's made.

The site is at the end of a warren of narrow and twisty Cornish country lanes. In summer the grass and hedges at the sides of the road are so high that it's hard to get your bearings, and every now and then you have to act like a meerkat and pop your head out of the sunroof to figure out where you are. With this handy navigational tip you shouldn't have any trouble finding the place, or any other, for that matter.

The site is on a hill at Lansallos looking out towards the coast. A narrow track from beside the church leads down through the trees and opens out into some fields just by a tidy cove with raised cliffs on either side. The South West Coast Path runs along here so don't think you'll have the place all to yourselves, but it makes a great spot to hang-out on sunny days (though the beach is pebbly rather than sandy).

You can also use the path as a starting point to explore some of the coast. Try walking west towards Polruan and taking the ferry across to Fowey, where you can fill up with seafood to fortify you for the return journey. Or go east and you'll eventually reach Shag Rock, where there's nothing to do but, erm, turn around and come back. Unless you have any better ideas.

Once back at the site you can sit yourself down and take in the tranquil atmosphere. The site's limited to 60 people at a time and doesn't accept large groups, so you can be fairly sure of a peaceful stay, though the wardens aren't on site all the time so the system isn't foolproof.

The National Trust owns about 2,000 acres along the Cornish coast here, roughly from Fowey to Shag Rock (the origins of the name are thankfully obscure, but let's hope it refers to the sea bird - a green cormorant, seeing as you ask).

So stewardship of Highertown Farm is just another part of the conservation work the Trust does in the region, and they deserve a hearty slap on the back for preserving this cracking little haven.

The National Trust doesn't own many campsites, but what Highertown Farm proves is that when it does you can be sure that however simple it may look, it'll be pretty darn good.

Highertown Farm Campsite, Lansallos, Looe, Cornwall


COOL FACTOR Eco-friendly National Trust site in a sleepy Cornish village.

WHO'S IN? Tents, room for 3 campervans/caravans. Dogs are fine, so long as they are on leads. But no groups allowed and no under-21 s without an adult.

ON SITE Pretty good facilities all told. Upstairs in the barn there's a kind of day room (where you'll find plenty of leaflets and info on what to do around the site). Downstairs there are a couple of showers (one of which is a large shower/toilet for the disabled) and a couple of loos. The showers cost 20p for 6 minutes. There are covered washing-up facilities (though hot water is 20p a go) with a washing machine and tumble-dryer. You'll find a further 2 compost toilets off the side of the barn, along with a couple of outdoor sinks, which face the cow field and seem to be fascinating to the cattle as they'll often wander over and watch your plate-rinsing techniques. No campfires, but BBQs are allowed as long as they're raised off the grass.

OFF SITE This is Daphne du Maurier country and in Fowey there's a literary centre (01726 833619) and a festival held in May (www.dumaurierfestival.co.uk) in honour of the author of Rebecca and Jamaica Inn. For something completely different (and a change from the Eden Project) carry on west from Fowey to the Lost Gardens of Heligan (01726 845100; www.heligan.com), the restored so-called 'Sleeping Beauty' gardens of the seat of the Tremayne family. It's a fabulous story about the rediscovery and restoration of the gardens, which had fallen into ruin after the First World War. Well worth the trip to see its 200 acres.

FOOD AND DRINK If you don't bring your own it's a bit of a hike to the nearest shops. There's a decently stocked Spar in Pelynt for bread, milk, fresh fruit and veg, and a selection of beers and wines. Otherwise head to Fowey for a choice of great seafood options, including the Other Place (01726 833636; www.theotherplacefowey.com), which offers a weekly changing menu and river views. Or nip down to Polperro, a 14th-century port, and try out the Blue Peter Inn (01503 272743; www.thebluepeterinn.co.uk). It's known as 'the last pub before France' and does a wide range of seafood and other more standard pub grub like ham and cheese sandwiches.

Highertown Farm Campsite, Lansallos, Looe, Cornwall


GETTING THERE From the A38 between Bodmin and Liskeard get on to the B3359 for Pelynt. In the village turn right past the church and follow the road to a T-junction. Go left and then straight on until a fork in the road by a house (on your right). Take the left fork and follow the road down the hill towards Lansallos and the campsite entrance is on your right, just before the village.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT The closest you can get to the site is to take the Western Greyhound bus no. 573 from Liskeard train station to Polperro Crumplehorn, which is about 2 ½ miles away.

OPEN Easter-late October.

THE DAMAGE In low season it's £4 per person, per night; £2 for 2- to 12-year-olds and under-2s are free. In high season (21 June-5 September) it's £5 per adult and £2.50 for all kids under the age of 12.




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