… but sometimes there has to be an exception. Site reviews are subjective, and what we find fine, others may not, plus there are other website that specialise in reviews. The reason for this review is because we found The Old Oaks near Glastonbury rather exceptional. Now before I get going, I’d just like to state for the record that neither Sue or I have received any form of payment or gratuity for this review.
The first thing I noticed when I turned into the long drive up to the site reception is the lack of speed humps. Nothing to shake the last bit of life out of the van after suffering some of the potholes on the UK’s roads. The second thing was how neat all the grass verges and fencing was. There is a clearly signed area for new arrivals to pull into and reception is also clearly visible, without the need for a jungle of signs pointing the way. You walk through a neat garden in front of the main house to the small reception that has a well stocked shop carrying a range of the essential “oops I forgot to bring….” camping items and a good variety of local produce, including freshly baked local bread and eggs laid by chickens that live in a field next to the fishing pond.
We got a warm greeting from Tara who was manning reception when we arrived. On booking in you are given a small booklet with your pitch details filled in and departure date. The booklet includes a great deal of information about the site, including information about fishing (they have fishing competitions too!) and bike hire. There is also a map of the site and a map of the local area showing some of the walks.
We were shown to our pitch by one of the wardens and were left to set up in our own time without having someone make sure we were exactly in line with a peg… in fact, no pegs.
The layout of The Old Oaks is quite clever. It is divided into 6 areas and the layout of the roads is such that all you ever really see is vehicles in your own area, not a constant flow of vehicles entering or leaving the site from every corner. The pitches in three of the areas – Top Oaks, Lower Oaks and Walnut Circle are mahoosive. You can park your caravan across the pitch if you wanted and they are nearly all separated by careful planting of selected shrubs. The standard of groundsmanship is exceptional. I can’t tell you about the other areas as they are so well hidden!
Something I have not seen on a fully serviced pitch before is the addition of a second water tap. So once your hose is connected, you still have a tap to fill up water jugs, dog bowls etc without having to disconnect your main hose. Such a simple thing to do but very useful.
The new facilities block has got to be seen to be believed. The water was hot and plentiful in the showers and the shower cubicles were large. Also the shower floors were very well drained so you weren’t paddling about in water when you had finished showering. The other thing that we have only seen at one other site (Newberry Valley) is unisex shower rooms. Rather than a couple taking up two cubicles, they can share one private shower room which means you will probably be less likely to have to wait to use the showers. You can have a look at some of the images for the facilities block on their website Here.
The other outstanding facility is the chemical disposal point. It’s the only fully tiled and complete with it’s own hand soap/sanitiser dispenser Elsan point I’ve seen.
The roads round the pitches are gravel… which means people don’t speed. It also means when it rains it drains (as long as the gravel is put down correctly) so no tip-toeing through puddles. It’s also handy sometimes as you can hear a vehicle approaching. The downside of gravel is it often wanders off and does it’s own thing and you have to have a stern word with it and put it back where it should be and occasionally do a bit of weeding, but that’s not the case here.
Ok So I know this doesn’t come as top of the priority list for everyone, but for us it does. When you check in you receive a small laminated card (small refundable deposit required) with your ID and pass code. It’s simple to use ….. make sure WiFi is turned on on your laptop, start up your internet browser and you will be presented with a log-in and you just enter what’s on the laminated card. The setup at The Old Oaks is quite good. They have managed to achieve good coverage and a reasonable connection speed without hanging WiFi aerials off every lampost on site…..
….. so you are not looking out on a technology jungle. I did some photo editing and uploading to my on-line server and never had any speed or connectivity issues. That said, if you try to watch a HD movie on line it may slow down somewhat.
The night lighting on site has been thought about too. You don’t need to carry a torch to navigate to the facilities block, but if you want to sit out and gaze at the stars on a clear night, the site produces little light pollution.
Throughout the day there was the odd jet and helicopter at low level and the occasional small plane at 2000 feet or so, but for us it wasn’t an annoyance. Other than that apart from cutting the grass…. and I’ll swear it was a muffled mower the warden was driving …it was very quiet. At night the odd owl hooted and that was about it really.
OK The bad news…..
There isn’t any really except that now we have a standard that all other sites will be judged against and we will forever be comparing them to The Old Oaks.
So in summing up…
Friendly helpful staff. A quiet, well thought out site with the best facilities you could expect in a lovely part of the UK. If Carlsberg did campsites…..!
So if that hasn’t put you off….. go and book a break there.
If you still need convincing, go and read the reviews on Trip Advisor
PS…. If you have stayed here, why not pop over to the Caravan Talk Awards and vote for them in the Best UK Caravan Site 2013 category. We have.