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Mitchum's Campsites, Moor Lane, Croyde, Devon
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Mitchum's Campsites, Moor Lane, Croyde, DevonAcres of sand, pounding surf, and bronzed lifeguards - welcome to the Gold Coast. Not the original Australian Gold Coast, but the North Devon version; slightly cooler and, more importantly, much nearer for us Poms.

There's no disputing the beauty of Croyde Bay, a wide sweep of dune-backed sand flanked by the finest field-green North Devon hills. It's also the closest thing you'll find to a fair dinkum Aussie surf beach in this part of the world, gifting awesome waves to pros and beginners alike.

The bay provides a perfect canvas for the Mitchum's Beach campsite masterpiece. It's one of the few sites in the area with direct beach views, meaning you can keep an eye on the surt from your tent and race down with your board when the waves are good. And if you're not here for the surf, it's just as great being able to wake up and see the ocean each morning while cooking your sausages.

The wonderful owner of Mitchum's Beach, Guy, knows how to make you feel welcome, and also appreciates that his site is rather popular. So during the busy summer period he diffuses the camping congestion by opening up a nearby field to campers.This one's called Mitchum's Village campsite, and has the same ambience as its neighbourjust without the ocean outlook.

Regardless of which Mitchum's site you end up in, you're still just a flip-flop away from the beach and guaranteed to fall asleep every night in one incredible location, to the sounds of the crashing Croyde Bay waves.

COOL FACTOR Devon-like chilling with awesome Aussie¬like surf.

WHO'S IN? Small tents, small VW campervans without pop-ups or awnings, groups - yes. Motorhomes, large campervans, caravans, dogs, under-17s - no.

ON SITE Approx. 36 pitches; no hook-ups; 2 clean facilities blocks with free hot showers, toilets, and hairdrying, shaving, and phone-charging points. Freezer packs available (£1 deposit, 50p for freezing). Onsite surf hire. No campfires but BBQs off the ground allowed.

OFF SITE Book some lessons with Surfing Croyde Bay (01271 891200; www.surfingcroydebay.co.uk), or take advantage of the stunning heritage coastline path with a walk to Baggy Point. Croyde Bay also hosts the annual Oceanfest (01271 817000; www.goldcoastoceanfest.co.uk) -a free sports and music festival in June.

FOOD AND DRINK Scoff a Devon cream tea at Centery Farm (01271 879603; www.centeryfarm.co.uk). The Thatch (01271 890349; www.thethatchcroyde.com) pub is a lively surfers' hang-out with decent food. And for a quick bite, grab one of the delicious pasties from the village shop.

GETTING THERE Follow the A361 to Braunton, then take the B3231 into Croyde. Turn left in the centre of the village, then left again on to Moor Lane. The Village site is on the left, the Beach site further down on the right.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT From Barnstaple train station, walk the 10 minutes to the bus station and take bus no. 308 to Moor Lane.

OPEN Mitchum's Village: late June-end August. Mitchum's Beach: late July-early September.

THE DAMAGE Book well in advance. Prices vary; contact Mitchum's for details.




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