And although the nosediving economy – and middle-class pretensions towards ‘greener’ hols (staycation, grrr) – have seen camping rocket in popularity, it can be a step too far – outside to the loo, for example – for many (says the man who years ago abandoned sleeping under canvas for the relative comfort of a now 30-year-old rusty campervan).
However, I think Tehidy Holiday Park has pitched it just right with its chalet-style wigwams – not as primitive as their Native American bark or hide-covered namesakes, but solid, basic, cosy and affordable. The covered porch is welcome when it pours incessantly like the weekend Miss Eight, Master 11 and I stayed at the award-laden park in the Tolskithy valley at Illogan, between Redruth and the sea.
Tardis-like, the interior can comfortably accommodate a family as a roomy daytime space or five-bed platform at night.
Again toeing a fine line, the microwave, kettle, fridge and flat-screen TV, as well as plenty of indoor (ie, DRY) storage space, combine and contrast perfectly with the rustic, covered cooking shelter (for your own cooker), sturdy barbecue, clean and bright toilet and washing-facilities and indoor washing up area.
Outdoors, the tranquil setting couldn’t be more of a delight on many levels. Since swapping his Norfolk head teacher’s office for a new lifestyle in 2007, adventurous owner Richard Barnes and his family do not seem to have put a foot wrong at the site they instantly fell in love with.
Their commitment to detail and particularly natural splendour and appreciation have seen four-star Tehidy Park showered with awards and accolades, topped by Practical Motorhome magazine’s Best Small Site in the UK 2012, including recognition from Cornwall Tourism Awards, AA and Enjoy England.
Recently they have added the Alan Rogers European Award – the only site in UK to be nominated in it by their inspectors, also the fifth David Bellamy Gold Conservation Award in a row. This year Practical Motorhome voted Tehidy Park best family site, and the park was also Practical Motorhome regional winner in the top 100 sites in UK 2013.
Among the comfortably spaced-apart cottages, caravans and camping areas nestle shady trees, subtropical plants and borders and patches bursting with wildflowers, attracting all manner of wildlife to the gently sloping site.
Features too numerous to mention include a shop/off-licence, stocked games room, launderette, picnic benches and children’s play area which overjoyed my two with its in-ground trampoline, table tennis, grassy expanse and wooden climbing frame.
Beyond its borders, I suspect few rivals can boast their own streamside stroll, a gentle amble through thick woodland starting and ending at the park, and a handy shortcut to the pub.
With easy access to the Mineral Tramway cycle trail and woodsy two-mile walk both leading to Portreath, its beach beckons, and swimming pools, shopping, dining and other conveniences and leisure pursuits are all within a short drive.
Taken all together, it’s like a playground designed by Mother Nature, but with all the trappings of modern life within easy reach and hosts who bend over backwards to keep their guests happy.
And after an intrepid exploration in the rain, we couldn’t be more pleased to return to the heated wooden wigwam to snuggle up with a hot cuppa without having to traipse back and forth through the wet.
It also opens up the great outdoors to early and late-season enjoyment.
The unique layout made bedding down for the night an adventure in itself and waking to the stunning views and sounds of the Cornish countryside struck the perfect balance for anyone keen on the outdoors – glamorous or not.
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For current prices and further information visit www.tehidy.co.uk