Tarka Trail


Camping on the Tarka Trail

There is something very special about the freedom of camping. What better way to enjoy the Tarka Trail than to load everything you need into a rucksack giving you the freedom to stop and start whenever you choose.

You will find there are every type of camp site in North Devon and plenty of them too. In this article we are focusing on tents and campsites that offer short stay pitches. As well as tent pitches, many of the sites offer a range of options from caravan and motor-home pitches to shepherds huts and yurts for the glamping experience.

Wild camping on the Tarka Trail

While most of the Tarka Trail weaves it’s way through rural countryside, the vast majority of it is privately owned, working farmland. Wild camping is not permitted anywhere in North Devon including the sections of Exmoor National Park the trail passes through. The South West Coast path will pass many coves and beaches, but many of the coves are difficult to access, have high tides or are privately owned anyway, so wild camping on beaches is pretty much out.

Why choose camping on the Tarka Trail?

Camping can be fun and adventurous and nearly always a cheaper alternative to booking accommodation. One of the best reasons to choose camp in a tent on the Tarka Trail is the flexibility to move from place to place without needing to return to a fixed location.

If, for example you were walking the entire route, you could park and stay a night in Barnstaple in a hotel or B&B, then load up your tent and supplies and spend the following two or three nights camping until you return to Barnstaple.

Most of the car parks in Barnstaple allow for long stay parking. The Cattle Market car park is a great place to start your journey:


Seven Brethren car park is also very convenient to access the Tarka Trail.



Where can I camp on the Tarka Trail?

The image below shows many of the campsites that are on, or close to The Tarka Trail. The trail is highlighted (very roughly!) in blue, giving some indication how close many of the campsites are. The map below was generated by campsite directory website Pitch Up. From their website you can filter the different types of camp sites, find out more information and book.  https://www.pitchup.com/

Map of campsites on the Tarka Trail

Another directory website to consider is https://www.campsites.co.uk/ which also has a great choice, but seems to have more caravan and motorhome parks than tent camping pitches.

Here are some of the camp sites that are listed on our website and why we recommend them.

Tarka Trail Camping


Tarka Trail Camping is a campsite based in Yelland which is not too far from Barnstaple. This would be the perfect spot to make as a base if you wanted to cycle on the Tarka Trail.

The section of Tarka Trail that runs through Yelland is part of an old railway track that has now been tarmacked. From the campsite you can easily access Fremington Quay, Barnstaple or Instow. If you wanted to cycle (or walk) a bit further you can follow the trail through Barnstaple and on to Braunton, or turn right and go through Instow into Bideford, Torrington and eventually Meeth.

The campsite offers amazing views over the River Taw estuary toward Ashford on the opposite bank and Crow Point to the west. It is a level field with plenty of space for tents of all sizes.


Smytham Holiday Park


Smytham Holiday Park is just a short distance off the Tarka Trail at Torrington. It is set in beautiful, Devonshire countryside and offers several different types of camping including caravan and motorhome pitches, luxury lodges, curious glamping pods and of course, plenty of room for tent pitching.

The site is set in immaculate grounds with all water and wash facilities provided.

It is the perfect location to explore Great Torrington or the famous Puffing Billy railway cafe.

Lynmouth Holiday Retreat

On the tip of the north loop of the Tarka Trail is Lynmouth Holiday retreat. A luxurious campsite with fantastic views and access to the villages of Lynmouth and Lynton where the Tarka Trail joins The South West Coast Path.

The Retreat is nestled in the rolling hills of Exmoor National Park and provides stunning views down into Lynmouth Bay! The Retreat is a family and pet friendly park, our live-on wardens are always on hand to help and recommend the best local walks and restaurants. We have two dog exercise areas on the park, a brand-new facilities block as well as a small shop in reception. The Beggars Roost Country Pub is also situated next door.

The site has a rating of 4.5/5 on Trip advisor.

Visit Lynmouth Holiday Retreat on Trip Advisor


Watermouth Valley Camping Park

Further along The South West Coast Path and adjacent to The Tarka Trail is Watermouth Vallery Camping Park which boats the most stunning views of the sea and surrounding cliffs. It is the perfect place to stop and rest and a good place to go off and visit some of the local places of interest, such as Watermouth Bay and Watermouth castle theme park.

There are spaces for motorhomes, caravans and tent pitches.

Find out more about the campsite and this year’s tariffs on their website: Watermouth Valley Camping Park

Find out more about Watermouth on the Visit North Devon website : Watermouth Bay

Camping along the North Devon coast

The vast majority of campsites in North Devon are on or around the coast. There are campsites all along The South West Coast Path, in particular around Woolacombe, Croyde and Braunton. In Braunton, however you will have to come off and way from the trail to find a campsite.

Some of the campsites listed allow open fires, though most do not, so please check with the campsite before hand if this is a requirement.

If you know of any campsites, wish to recommend any campsites or want to share any of your camping experiences or tips, please get in touch with us through our website, or comment on our Facebook Page.



Camping on the Tarka Trail