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Manor Farm, Daccombe, Newton Abbot, Devon
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Manor Farm, Daccombe, Newton Abbot, DevonManor Farm is a charming, isolated Devonshire idyll located so near the M5 that campers can fall into step with the West Country's calming, unhurried way of life quickly and easily. Signposts to the farm line the main Torquay Road, and just five miles from the motorway and equidistant from the coast a steep detour promptly descends into rural calm. As you pootle along between high hedgerows the campsite jumps into view. Nestled at the foot of a lush green valley is a sprawling farmhouse with a few dozen grazing cows, and not a mobile home on site, or in sight. Better still, far from overflowing with tourists, the nearby dinky (okay, miniscule), thatched-cottage villages of Daccombe and Coffinswell are crowd-free.

The resident owner,Thea, is a chatty lady who raises calves, keeps chickens, and has all manner of friends and family mucking in to keep the farmland in tip-top condition. Simplicity is key to her success and she's never advertised the campsite. The field is spacious and airy, and there's a half-hour walking trail through the neighbouring woods of Orestone Plantation, overlooking fields.

Nearby kiss-me-quick Torquay is typically British; its numerous restaurants and bars ply for custom, and the main beach is heaving in high summer. Prettier, quieter sandy coves in the area include Watcombe and Hollicombe. Reached by either a steep decline or a long walk, they tend to put off new visitors. We say, be a proud tourist -Manor Farm's chilled aura and surroundings can be as relaxing or energetic as you need them to be.

COOL FACTOR Easily accessible, this simple Devonshire idyll is calming and has a cute thatched-roof pub nearby.

WHO'S IN? Tents, campervans (with tents), dogs, groups -yes. Caravans, radios - no.

ON SITE There's room for 75 pitches, plus an overflow field that can fit a further 75. A clean, functional shower block has 15 loos and 4W, 4M electric showers; 3 sinks for washing dishes and clothes, plus a lower-level sink for kids, and washing machine (£ 1). A mini playground at the bottom has stylish rope swings and a slide. A small shop sells drinks, ice creams, bacon butties, and Pot Noodles. BBQ blocks are free or there are 3 BBQ areas behind the washroom. No campfires.

OFF SITE P-p-pick up a ticket to see a penguin at Living Coasts (www.livingcoasts.org.uk), Torquay's coastal zoo and conservation charity.

FOOD AND DRINK Torquay's inaugural Michelin-starred restaurant the Elephant (01803 200044; www. elephantrestaurant.co.uk) is stylish with pomp, sea views, and posh grub. The Linney (01803 873192; www.thelinny.co.uk) is a local and lovely pub in Coffinswell that serves up more traditional cooking.

GETTING THERE Simples: take the M5 and A38 south then A380 (Torquay Road). Turn left at the traffic lights, following the brown camping signs, then turn right at the top of the hill, and you'll see Manor Farm as you descend.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Take a train to Newton Abbot, then it's £10 by taxi, or take a bus to Torquay and catch bus no. 31, alight at Barchington Avenue, and walk down Daccombe Hill (10 minutes).

OPEN May-September.

THE DAMAGE Ј10-Ј15 (depending on tent size) per pitch, per night; gazebo £ 1; dog £ 1.

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