We were relieved to finally arrive at Bay View and start camping because the journey from Suffolk that we had expected to take around 8 hours had ended up taking closer to 36 with an overnight stay at a hotel in Westbury after the water pump on the ‘van had failed and dumped all of its coolant over the A303. The approach to the site is along a narrow road that’s single-track in places with high hedgerows and a couple of tight bends – fine for us in our small ‘van but I wouldn’t have like to tackle it in a large motorhome or towing a caravan (although others had clearly managed it).
The first thing you notice when arriving at the site is the view across Looe bay. It’s easily the most spectacular location of any site we’ve stayed at so far. The second thing you notice is the informal way that the site is run: there’s no shop or site office to check-in at when you arrive, just a sign saying “give Mike a shout” and a mobile number. The site slopes quite steeply and as there are no formally marked out pitches we had the choice of either pitching at the bottom of the site on the more steeply sloping ground but with an unobstructed view across the bay, or pitching on flatter ground at the top and looking out over the top of a couple of tents. As we don’t have any leveling ramps we chose the flatter ground. This is a small site where tents, caravans and motorhomes all pitch together, which is generally how we like it. Mike came round later that evening to welcome us and take our payment and kindly didn’t charge us for the previous night that we’d booked but had to spend in a hotel.
The shower and toilet block is in a converted stable – actually that’s not quite true, in fact it’s only half the stable that has been converted as in the evening whilst you stand brushing your teeth you can hear the owner’s prize winning shire horses in the other half of the stable! The shower facilities are basic but adequate, with one electric shower in both the ladies and the gents toilet block and further shower cubicles in a separate block (not separated for men/women). Although the converted stable look adds character, I think it would benefit from being upgraded a little or just more thorough/regular cleaning – for jut a few nights it’s fine though and that view easily compensates for one or two minor gripes. There’s also a wash-up area with a couple of sinks and coin operated washing machines. It’s a shame that the site doesn’t provide any recycling facilities as all rubbish is thrown in a skip round the back of the site.
Bay View has featured in the Cool Camping book, and their description (available on the campsite’s own website) says that there are just 12 pitches. When we visited there were at least 20 pitches in use, but it didn’t feel cramped. I expect they could squeeze in another 10 or 15 at high season, but it’s still by no means a large site.
On our second day we walked into Looe along the coastal path. It’s less than 2 miles away but be warned: there are some very steep hills to go up, and down, and back up again! Apart from this clifftop pathway which runs in both directions from the site, Bay View is otherwise quite isolated, but that’s not too much of a problem if you can drive away in your ‘van as there’s lots to see and do within about 10 miles of the site. Looe is a nice picturesque fishing town with its banjo pier, a decent sized beach and plenty of fish & chip shops and pasty shops (go at high-tide when it looks it’s best). Polperro is about 8 miles away and is another postcard fishing village, though much smaller than Looe. If you’re looking to escape the tourist traps, Seaton is within walking distance of Bay View (in the opposite direction to Looe) and has a large sandy beach, a beach-front cafe and that’s pretty much it. When we visited there were no more than half a dozen people on the whole beach.
Of the three sites that we stayed at during our first Cornwall Camping trip I’d say that Bay View was our favourite. It’s small friendly sites in great locations like this that are what got us excited about owning a campervan in the first place. It didn’t have the best on-site facilities, and in bad weather it could feel quite remote, but did I mention the view?