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Maelcombe House, East Prawle, Kingsbridge, Devon
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Maelcombe House, East Prawle, Kingsbridge, DevonAs camping paradises go, it's hard to beat pitching your tent as close to the beach as you can here at Maelcombe House. Beachside camping coupled with views of some of the most unspoilt, uncrowded stretches of the south coast is enough to enrapture campers here. Many enter into some kind of ecstatic trance as they stare out to sea from this small and almost perfectly rustic campsite.

Maelcombe offers a wild camping experience, comprising a field sloping down to the beach with access via a steep private track. It's unlikely you'll share the site with anything bigger than a campervan, and even that'd be a rarity. Facilities stretch to a water supply, and your sturdiest tent and expedition-grade sleeping gear are de rigueur — it's not unknown for tents to be blown away around these parts. And don't forget your fishing gear; even lobsters and crabs can be caught off the beach.

If this sounds too much like tent-and-trowel camping for you, there are a number of sites up the hill in East Prawle that also offer sea views, but with more in the way of facilities and closer to the village's beating heart, the vibrant Pigs Nose Inn.

Maelcombe House, East Prawle, Kingsbridge, Devon

COOL FACTOR Wild beachside camping.

WHO'S IN? Wild campers with tents, dogs - yes. Vehicles - not advised.

ON SITE Campfires allowed. Unmarked pitches on a rustic field above the beach with a stunning sea view. No facilities, but you can collect water from the house.

OFF SITE Swim and go rockpooling at the end of the camping field, or head west for more beaches off the coastal path to Start Point Lighthouse (see www.trinityhouse.co.uk). At East Portlemouth you can take a ferry to seaside town Salcombe (www.salcombeinformation.co.uk). If it rains head to Ashby's Easy Stores (www.ashbysonline.co.uk) in East Charleton for hot steak pasties and outdoor-gear shopping.

FOOD AND DRINK For a change from the Pigs Nose Inn (www.pigsnose.co.uk), take a fine cream tea at South Allington House (p70). Or treat yourself at Dartmouth's Michelin-starred New Angel restaurant (01803 839425).

GETTING THERE Take the A379 south, turn left after Frogmore and follow signs for East Prawle. As you enter the village, turn left into School Lane. Continue round to the right, take the first left, and follow signs to Maelcombe House.

OPEN Variable, approx. Easter-October.

THE DAMAGE £7 per tent, per night. Booking advised.

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