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“Lovely place but a bit too pricey”
Review of Thistledown Farm

Thistledown Farm
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Peaceful, tranquil and unspoilt green camping with superb views. A night or more at Thistledown gives you much more than just a campsite. Located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty lies Thistledown Farm: 4 miles of maintained paths and sculpture trails wind their way through 70 acres of meadow, pasture and woodland. Educational boards around the site provide information on a host of environmental and agricultural subjects. Friendly pigs, goats and cattle are always happy to greet visitors. Fire pits are provided and wood is available to be bought. Numbers are strictly limited and booking is essential - please see our website for online booking.
Stroud, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Lovely place but a bit too pricey”
Reviewed August 25, 2013

There are some major bonuses to this campsite which is why we have been before. It is basically set in a beautiful nature reserve and you can wander round and see the pond, the farm animals and take a lovely walk through the woods and see the stream and the rope swings and some wildlife if you are lucky too. You can also have a fire. Don't pick any wood from the wood for your fire as they don't like that even for kindling. We bought half a wheel barrow full from them last time and only used half of it so we bought the rest back this time and had a good second fire with it so that was good. It never feels crowded you can just spy other people through the elderflower bushes occasionally so you feel undisturbed on your area.

However I do have some criticisms after our last trip. We have a campervan so we have to camp on the top field the elderflower orchard. The toilets there are portaloos and they really didn't smell nice compared to the composting toilets on the lower fields. It is quite a walk down to the lower fields from there to do the washing up and have a shower. The price is almost the same for where ever you camp on the site (although slightly cheaper on elderflower orchard). To me it feels like each area should really have the same facilities and standard of facilities too and the price should only be a bit less on that field due to lack of shade and it being not so beautiful as the other fields.

Also my camper can't go in any other field so why should I therefore have less facilities I felt? It is fair to say I knew this in advance but its a shame for the camper van people or campers on that field. Lack of shade is an issue on the Elderflower orchard too unless you can pitch up right against the hedge boundary.

My friend briefly came to visit us and see we were ok and we went for a bit of a walk around but I did have to pay £4 for his visit as people can come and visit Thistledown without camping and have to pay to get in. It felt a bit odd though as at other campsites you don't pay for people to visit you just the campers pay for their stay. Just bear that in mind I say.

I queued up for the showers in the morning for about 20 minutes and then found that they were icy cold. The solar hot water must have run out and the campsite wasn't even full which was very frustrating as we were going on to visitors from the campsite having had no shower which was not a nice feeling especially for the price paid. Last week I paid £11 to camp with the same van near Cardiff and we had wonderful facilities also a bit eco-friendly and in a beautiful location but here I paid £24 for one night with long walks to the facilities and then no hot water. I felt a bit miffed with the price then. Overall a beautiful place to camp but a bit pricey.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank sonja k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ryan K, Manager at Thistledown Farm, responded to this review, August 28, 2013
Thanks for taking the time to leave a review, and I'm sorry that you didn't fully enjoy your stay. As you've visited a couple of times you'll know that the Elderflower Orchard is the most basic site, and we try to make this very clear before you book. It is £5 less than the other areas to compensate for having to walk 3 - 4 minutes to the facilities in the lower pastures. We do plan to build more facilities in the Elderflower Orchard when we are able to, perhaps next year, and the price will then be the same in all areas. Having a campervan does limit your camping options, but we are trying to create a space for those who are looking to get away from vehicles! There is indeed less shade in the Orchard than the lower pastures, but still more than the vast majority of sites that I stay at.

We've had a problem with our water pressure in one of the shower areas which means that the boilers don't fire up (pressure loss was due to a camper accidentally putting an 18" spike through a pipe!), so apologies if the shower was cold - I know how frustrating this can be. The other shower facilities have been largely unaffected, but you might have showered before our information signs were put up.

We charge for day visitors as we were sometimes inundated with visitors in the past, and we prefer to keep numbers down. A lot of campsites don't charge for visitors as they aren't the sort of place that people would want to visit for a walk and picnic and thus don't have a problem with extra people onsite. The camping (£20 in your case) is not the cheapest nor the most expensive that I've encountered. We took the decision when we opened not to cram people in and this ensures that everyone has plenty of space and their own campfire, as well as access to the farm animals, 70 acre site and adjacent woodlands. There are a number of local campsites which have excellent facilities for campervans, motorhomes and caravans, and I'd be more than happy to recommend some to you if you wish.
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  • English first
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English first
Northallerton
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Lovely camping!”
Reviewed August 17, 2013

Just had a great time at thistledown farm, sort of place where both you and the kids want to run around barefoot! You get to choose where you want to put your tent, all the areas are very pretty. The surrounding area (especially the forest walks) are stunning, and the pigs are extremely cute. The local pub (the rose and crown?) was really friendly, with good food and a nice atmosphere. Cant wait to go camping there again!

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank claire b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Porthcawl, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“The Number 1 Camp Site without a Doubt!”
Reviewed August 5, 2013

This July was our third visit to this gorgeous site, our second visit this year! As we were leaving the whole family voted that if we could have stayed longer we would have.
We first chose this site after extensive research on the internet. We are rather fussy in our choice... we required camp fires as a must, no cars on site preferably (for the little one's safety and noise levels), a complete lack of anything electrical and as much space and nature as possible.
Thistledown ticked every single criteria.
From the moment you turn up a wonderful experience begins. Not only are the family incredibly friendly when booking in but they treat you as valued individuals. They remember you from previous visits, even your favourite pitches. The beauty of the pastures cannot be described in words and even photos do not do them justice. One of our party turned up a few days late and his first word on joining us at our pitch in the Badger's hide was 'awesome!' and out came the camera instantly.
The space is unbelievable. Fully booked takes on a whole new meaning here compared to nearly every other site we have seen. You have almost complete seclusion if you want it or you can have several tents grouped around a shared fire pit. The choice is totally yours.
The wild flowers and animals are numerous. Pheasants and hares pass the tent regularly. The bird song in the mornings is beautiful. The facilities are kept in an exceptionally clean manner with some lovely touches such as potted flowers in every toilet.
The camp fire aspect definitely makes the experience complete. There are deliveries available every day of the wood. We even missed a few due to being out and about exploring but it was no problem at all for a later delivery to be made especially for us.
As for being out and about exploring there is whole range of choices. We always choose to abandon the car from the second we arrive yet still have plenty to fill every day of our visit. Within the actual camp site the woodland paths are numerous with unexpected finds of tyre swings and stick and twig wigwams. The space around the actual tent allowed for cricket, croquet, badminton, boules, football and hula-hooping. The farm animals are numerous and the pigs in particular were a big hit with our daughter. The walk through the Woodchester estate is magical. The lakes at the bottom of the valley and Woodchester Mansion itself are a must to see. The history fascinated everyone. A wander along Tinkley Lane takes you to a beautiful pub, The Rose and Crown, with delightful food and a large outside garden with play area for the children.
The best bit then is the return to your pitch with a fire burning, bats flying around and an amazing array of stars totally visible due to the lack of any streetlights etc.
We have found as close to perfection in our eyes as you are ever going to get for camping. It is not for a place for those who want loud music. It is not a place for those who want a club house on site. The pastures are not places for those who want to have car next to them for ease of unpacking... wheel barrowing everything is all part of the fun and you really appreciate the fact the children are free and safe to roam wherever they want.
We love this place! We will be back!

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank The_Clees
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Crowthorne, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Fantastic hideaway!”
Reviewed July 28, 2013 via mobile

Stayed here for a friends birthday weekend and found the site to be perfect... We had a complete field to just our party and had a huge amount of space. The showers and compost toilets were really clean (and hot water!!). Although there are no cars on site, the £5 tractor down and back up with all your kit is fantastic even when we arrived later than anticipated. We really enjoyed the whole site, and a lovely little shop on site too.
We would really recommend it and plan to go again when the rain stops!!

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Laura B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“awesome toilets”
Reviewed July 20, 2013

Stayed here for 4 days, did not want to come home. Pitches are so far apart, you feel like you're the only ones there. The owners were very friendly and helpful. They views were lovely and being so close to animals was really nice. But by far, our favourite thing were the composting toilets. They were an awesome experience and didn't smell at all, even in all this heat. Loved every minute here!

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Tillzee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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