camping on the Isle of Wight: Stoats Farm & the needles

25 June 2014

The weather over in the UK has been wonderful hasn't it? Not too hot, not too windy, not too humid. In fact we may scoff, but we are lucky here to get the kind of pleasant weather that many other countries may envy. The only problems is, it is only for about 4 days out of 365. Thats why we want to make the most of it. Me and my mister agree that there is simply no other place on earth better than a pleasent English summers day. Living on the Isle of Wight may have its down side (like Ferry cost and traveling to London, and crap mobile reception) but the up side is that we can have a swim in the sea before nipper's bed time, and we can go camping down the road, and feel like we went abroad for a week (still can nip back to get more nappies, fresh milk and the like). After our last Isle of Wight camping expedition (at Compton Farm) we thought we'd try the next on our list: Stoats Farm, which is about, ummm, one mile down the road from our house.

Sadly, our camper van failed it's MOT for the first time : (  it's nothing fatal, just means we can't use it for a while, whilst we get it sorted. Lucky for us we have a tent and some space in the back of our car, so we transfered everything from one vehicle to the other. Only problem is that our campervan has absolutely every back-up item imaginable, life saving equipment, vitamin tables, tins of sardines, mahoosive leisure battery that could see us through world war 3, so obviosly we forgot to transfer all the important stuff like...a lighter and extra nappies.

But ok we remembered the beach buckets.

Our littlun loves the whole deal of camping, putting the tent up, lighting the fire...her pop-up cot that literally explodes out of the bag.

we procured a new old table and stools set, the stools fold up inside the table that folds up. Proper flat-pack. Very civilised.

Stoats Farm is a small rural site situated quite near to the Needles and to a few beaches (Totland Bay, Freshwater Bay, Alum Bay and Colwell Bay) They are all nice, but Colwell is currently the sandiest (although the tide comes right up to the sea wall) Compton beach is quite near too, but you will probably need a car or bike (there are buses running around these parts too if you are bus savvy). Right opposite the farm is a pub. It boasts lots of fresh local crab, lobster and fish on the menu as well as roasts and BBq. Our nipper LOVED the slide in the garden. It's a basic traditional pub, but it defo met our needs. The campsite has a small shop and free hot showers. Some parts of the field are sloping but the view is amazing. It gets quite full during school holidays, so may need to book. However, it was almost empty when we arrived mid-week during June.

 So we got the fire smouldering and then ate too much cheese as usual.

Our nipper is obsessed with all the old fashioned switches in the Morris Minor, and I must admit they do have a very satisfying click and clunk noise.

this was the view from the toilet.

the next day we went for a walk along the cliff upto the Battery but we got about a hundred yards when we looked down and spotted a boat doing tourist trips out to the Needles, and we realised that was a much better way to travel.

So we ran back down the hill to the chair lift (that takes you down the steep cliff edge) to try and make the next boat trip.

Glad my camera has an 'anti-shake' facility.

So after a short perusal of the beach called Alum Bay, we boarded the Ramblin' Rose, to take us out to see the Needles.

It was utterly beautiful. And whilst on the boat we saw a little chalkboard saying that they were planning a special trip from Yarmouth harbour the next morning to see the Round the Island Boat Race 
We decided to go for it, even though it departed at 7.15am!

that evening we went for a walk along the cliff edge from Compton Bay carpark.

Lots of rare wild flowers grow there as it's such a sunny spot. I found this amazing wild orchid that looks just like a bumble bee landed on it. (I later discovered that it is called 'Bee Orchid' imaginatively)

 Our kiddo is big on wild life and buzzing critters.

some other delightful bugs...

So the next morning we just about made it out of our tent to Yarmouth Harbour (which is even closer to where we live! but we were on holiday so we pretended it wasn't) in time for the boat to leave, its called the Yarmouth Rose aaahhhhh

it was amazing, watching the sun rise over sparkly still water.
Nipper-dog loving the sway of the boat.

of course it was absolutely rubbish weather for sailing as there was less wind than a mouse's fart.

bored crew.

we traveled through the solent along towards the needles to see what a mess all those 2000 odd boats were going to find themselves in when trying to pass by the Needles at the same time! Due to the wind, the boats weren't moving, in fact some were going backwards. A few got stuck on rocks and an old ship wreck under the water.

a few cheers for our local lifeboat crew, enjoying a rather relaxing saturday morning.

 very nice day for a boat trip (with an engine) though.

enjoying their bacon butties. 

I think everyone felt a bit of a snooze coming on.

In fact they were going so slow, that we were able to drive all the way across the Island to our favourite beach cafe (at Steephill Cove) and watch them re-appear whilst supping our Coronas.

 a few ice creams later and there they were!

what a lovely day.

In the morning we had to pack up all our worldly belongings in our car, and were absolutely cream crackered We headed straight to the beach at Colwell, and after a bit of toddler chasing in and out of the sea, we thought  a cream tea was due. So we tried a new to us, cream tea establishment.

Warren Farm, in Totland, is a short walk from the campsite. The clotted cream, the butter, nay, even the flour is all made on the Island, and a very comprehensive choice of tea.

Extra points for chinkly china.

running along the edge of the field (in the direction I'm looking at) is a footpath that leads up to the Needles, IF you have the energy for that kind of thing.

So that pretty much rounds up our 3 day camping in Totland. 

If you are coming from London, you can get a train straight to Lymington Pier, the train connects directly to the Ferry, the ferry docs right next to the harbour where that little boat trip leaves from. You could do exactly that in about three hours from Waterloo Station. Just saying.

p.s. I'm thinking to try as many campsites on the Island as we can, and one day, make up a little guide book, say Blurb, that you can order online if you are thinking to head over this way. I am amazed at the lack of good camping guide books for the island as compared with the mainland. I'll keep you posted if it ever happens!

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