With spring supposedly sprung, Tom had been keen to get out in the camper van for a few weeks. Up until yesterday I had been able to put him off, but with the sun shining, my bad weather excuse would work no more (I don’t mind admitting to being a “fair weather” camper) and we set off on our first camping trip of the year, a last minute trip to Fen Farm.

As we live within an hour of Mersea Island, we had been there before and wanted to go back for a better look around. The Fen Farm website promised a good setting and some decent facilities and so we phoned up to book for Saturday night.

On arrival, we found the reception office easily and were given a map of the site and told that we could choose a spot in either of three fields. There are four fields for tourers in total and further space given over to static caravans. Each of the fields have water and electric points scattered around (and included in the price – £22/night at this time of year). We chose to set up camp in Berry Field which was quiet at the time of our visit in May. This may have been due to it being furthest from the toilet block as some of the other fields looked busier, but it wasn’t a long walk and it was in the right corner for the footpath to the pub which is helpfully marked on the map.

This site has no club house (which is fine by us) and no shop on site, although gas is available and there is a mobile shop which calls on Saturday and Sunday mornings. There is also a small shop in the village, which we didn’t use as we were only staying for one night and had remembered to bring everything that we needed. We did however check out the local pub, the Dog and Pheasant, which is a short walk away for a pre-dinner drink. It looked to be serving a reasonable range of traditional pub food in the evening but we didn’t try it.  The site does have some childrens play equipment in one of the fields and we were told about this when checking in so we could choose whether or not we wanted to be near to it.

Awning

Success with the awning

Previously, setting up camp has involved three steps. Number one: park; Number two: raise roof; Number three: connect electric hook up. This time however there was a step four: putting up the awning. Having watched the people next to us (who we assume were, like us, quite new to camping) struggling to put up their awning, we weren’t too worried that we would look like novices and up it went in only half an hour with no problems. There was a brief moment where we were worried that we hadn’t remembered how to solve the problem that has arisen the previous and only other time that we had put up the awning which involved matching the coloured ends of the poles to coloured tabs on the flysheet, but this was quickly remembered and we were pleased with our efforts. Time then to check out the local area.

The site is by the sea, although it is the static caravans that enjoy the sea view. The path to the sea from the site is well sign-posted and walking past the static caravans makes you realise just how big Fen Farm is, however due to its layout over several separate fields, it didn’t feel too big. If you were there on a busy bank holiday weekend, it might feel different though.

On arriving at the sea, you can walk left along the coast to Cudore Grove Country Park, which is a nice walk with views over to the mainland or you can turn right. We didn’t do this walk this time, but the coastal path this way heads towards West Mersea.

Beach walk

3 minute walk to the beach

View

From Mersea to the mainland

So it’s a nice site so far and it’s close to the beach for some good walks, but what about the all important toilet and shower facilities? Well they are pretty good – updated in 2005 according to the website. For the time that we visited, in both the ladies and gents, there seemed to be plenty of nice clean toilets and six or seven separate shower cubicles with changing areas and shelves and hooks to avoid having to leave your clothes and toiletries on the floor. The showers are operated on a timed push button system and were a good temperature. The block itself is heated and the piped in music is a nice touch. There are proper hairdryers in the toilet blocks which we didn’t use. These require 20p coins. I didn’t use the hairdryers, instead prefering to leave my hair to dry naturally and then tidying it up with the straighteners that we figured would run on the electric hook-up. I have proved that camping doesn’t have to mean bad hair which makes me happier about the ten day trip booked for the summer.

Looking at our rating system, this site scores 3.5 out of 5. This is on a par with the other sites that we have visited so far. It gets marked down for not having its own shop, for the site itself not being particularly attractive (though not unattractive either) and for it taking ages to get someone to answer the phone when we tried to book (we nearly gave up!).

All in all, a succussful trip and a good start to the 2010 camping season. I think we will probably return to this site in the future and would recommend that others give it a try.

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Fen Farm, Mersea Island, Essex3.552010-05-16T21:10:09+00:00Tracey

4 Comments

mike · August 6, 2010 at 08:40

thank you for the comments on Fen farm. We have just bought a T5 and live in Maldon so will check it out. We have been to the beach there and love the food at West Mersea already so just the info we need to give it a try. Also do you have any advice on awnings as havent got one yet?

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admin · August 8, 2010 at 16:34

Hi, glad you found the review useful – let us know what you think of the campsite if you visit.

We have an Outdoor Revolution Navigator awning – it’s quite flexible because all the panels can be opened up individually, but it’s also quite big, probably bigger than we need most of the time but comes in handy if we’re away with friends and it’s rainy – we easily had 6 people sitting in ours this weekend.

We have friends who have a Sunncamp Seeker which is a bit smaller but quicker to put up. It doesn’t take an inner tent though so it really depends whether you intend to have people sleeping in the awning or not. The Khyam range of awnings look pretty good as the poles stay attached so it’s really quick to put up.

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liz · August 25, 2010 at 22:49

we have just returned from camping at Fen Farm with 2 grandchildren age 8 and 10. they soon made friends and it was a great holiday all round.
our biggest moan was the dogs, loads of them and supposed to be under control! we didnt see much evidence of that and most of the owners seem to let them run wild-a pain when kids playing ball games and dogs making off with the balls!! also spotted one in the shower block with owner!!
most sites specify dogs on leads at all times which is quite right. sometimes the barking late at night and early morning was intrusive, shame otherwise great site

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Seaview Holiday Park, Mersea Island, Esesx « Happy Campervanning · June 12, 2011 at 11:59

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