My boyfriend and I ended the summer in style with a weekend spent in a Log Pod on Tollgate Farm campsite in Perranporth. I had been longing to go camping in that area all summer as for me it’s full of childhood memories and an area I would love to move back to one day.
Rémi often works on Saturdays which makes it difficult for us to plan weekends away but we finally managed to book our break towards the end of September. I was eager to share the beautiful beaches where I spent my youth with Rémi and to enjoy the last bit of warm weather before winter makes its dramatic appearance across the Cornish landscape.
We left on the Friday morning, stopping for breakfast at Route 38 – an amazing American style diner, close to where I live – and I successfully drove us down the A38 and A30 to the Perranporth turning. I began to feel more and more relaxed as we approached the countryside lanes with the sea looking very inviting in the distance.
Tollgate Farm was simple to find, situated on the main road into Perranporth if you are coming from the Goonhavern side. We pulled up by the reception where we were greeted by a friendly man, handed our Log Pod keys and some information leaflets/maps and directed to our little home for the weekend.
Although I had seen pictures on the website, I wasn’t really sure what to expect in terms of size and comfort but I was pleasantly surprised to see how spacious our little retreat was. Our cosy pod had a pull-out sofa bed, a TV fixed to the wall (complete with DVD player), shelves containing a microwave, kettle and mugs, and fold-up chairs and a table, perfect for sitting in the spacious porch area. Outside the pod, we had a picnic bench and a BBQ.
As soon as we had transferred our luggage from the car to the pod, we grabbed our rucksacks and body boards and headed towards the beach. From Tollgate Farm, Perranporth beach is about a twenty minute walk. There are several routes you can take, pointed out on the map we were given, but we opted to walk through the golf course; this pathway was marked with helpful white rocks to guide the way and we ended up around the back of the Watering Hole (the bar on the beach).
Rémi clearly thinks I am insane but I was adamant that we would go in the sea. Of course, crazy Cornish girls like me don’t need wetsuits, we have tough skin! We left our stuff by the rocks and sort of power walked towards the choppy ocean. I hadn’t been body boarding in Cornwall for years; I used to go regularly with my dad as a kid and have since been with friends at Croyde beach in north Devon, but due to living near the south coast of Cornwall now, I haven’t really had the opportunity.
I felt a bit ridiculous with my tiny multi-coloured body board I’ve had since childhood, but as soon as I felt the familiar feeling of the playfully powerful waves washing over me, I started to feel like I was at home. Unfortunately, the wind had made the waves quite messy and rough, so it was extremely difficult to successfully catch a wave as the the water had a downwards pull. Rémi did not last as long as me due to being chilled to the bone, but I stayed in as long as I could, feeling at one with nature and pretending to be a cool surfer chick. We dried off and had a wander across the beach and the soft sand dunes before heading back to the campsite.
Having looked at the weather forecast, I knew we needed to make the most of the BBQ on the first night, as there was likely to be some rain the next day (this turned out to be somewhat torrential – but more on this later). We’d already stopped in a supermarket on the way down so we had our beef burgers ready to throw on as soon as the coals were ready, complete with baps, burger cheese and ketchup – plus marshmallows to toast for dessert.
Sure enough, just as soon as we had finished eating, the blue skies became overcast with threatening clouds. Me being ever the optimist, I decided that we should drive down the hill to try to catch the sunset over the sea. Unfortunately, the skies were completely overcast so we were unable to see the sun setting through them. We had an evening stroll on the beach anyway, watching some determined surfers in the fading light and taking in the rugged landscape.
During the weekend, we were able to make use of all the facilities our little log pod had to offer: we enjoyed a couple of DVD’s from the comfort of the sofa bed, we made copious amounts of coffee with our kettle (much easier than boiling a stove whilst shivering in a tent) and even used the microwave to heat up takeaway pizza after being soaked in a horrendous downpour! Let me elaborate. On the Saturday night we had tickets to watch a famous old-school hip hop artist, KRS One. We had been out for lunch earlier in the day but the weather had been pretty grim so we had spent a lot of time snuggled up in the pod. However, we had purchased our tickets so we were ready to brave the elements.
We booked a taxi to pick us up from the campsite at 9pm and booked the return journey for when the gig finished at 2am. To cut a long story short, when we jumped out of the taxi, the ground was completely flooded with water and the rain was coming down in full force. Within seconds we were completely drenched and there were small lakes in our shoes. We trudged across the beach to the Watering Hole, got our wristbands and headed to the bar for cider. By the time it was 10.30pm, the support act hadn’t properly started yet and we were both a bit cold and miserable! I suggested that we go into town for some food, as the rain had eased off, and then come back to watch the main act. However, after we bought our pizza, the thought of returning to the gig in soaking clothes seemed less tempting so we went back to our cosy log pod instead!
You can’t predict the weather when you book a holiday and Cornwall is renowned for being ever changeable. I love camping in all forms but the benefit of a log pod is that you can stay dry and warm. The pod was well insulated and even contained an electric heater.
The only things we had to worry about were the spiders lurking outside the door! Plus, of course, having to leave the comfort of the pod and pile on jumpers and coats to walk to the nearby facilities. As far as campsite toilets and showers go, I cannot complain. The facilities were clean and they even had a radio which activated when you walked in; there’s something less scary about walking into a deserted toilet block when there’s music playing! The showers were free and hot, but similar to swimming pool showers as you have to press the button continually.
During our weekend, we enjoyed a scrumptious lunch at the Blue Bar in Porthtowan, numerous beach strolls, a cliff-top walk to Wheal Coates in Chapel Porth and some lovely drives around the countryside. Yes, the weather was a bit horrible, but Cornwall still looks charming in the rain. I’m very pleased that we made the most of the weather on the Friday and went body boarding and had a BBQ.
Tollgate Farm is perfect for enjoying Perranporth and the other surrounding beaches. The campsite has great facilities and is located with easy access to the beach. The staff are friendly and they have a small shop stocking the essentials. I would recommend the log pods but they of course have plenty of space for tents and caravans. We plan to return next Spring and hope for better weather!