Clawford Lakes is a new 80-acre luxury holiday site on the border of Devon and Cornwall. Originally opened in April 2022, new accommodations has recently been added – including six highly original lakeside “cocoons”.
Not found anywhere else in the UK, the designer cabins have a metal frame with a stretched canvas exterior and a stunning lakeside position. Billed as luxury glamping, the emphasis is definitely more on the luxury, due to underfloor heating, smart TVs, roll-top baths and a private fire pit area for each cocoon.
Clawford Lakes is in Holsworthy – a market town in the Torridge district of Devon. But being right on the border with Cornwall, you’re only half an hour’s drive from the tourist honeypot of Bude. It’s quite a remote location so you’d struggle to access the site without a car but the nearest train station is around 16 miles away in Okehampton where you can link up to Exeter St Davids.
With 17 on-site lakes – and some accommodation where you can fish directly off the decking – Clawford Lakes is a magnet for anglers. But the leisure lake, spa, pool and restaurant also on site make it an attractive destination for all types of travellers. While we were there, The Apple & Grape restaurant was decorated for Halloween and there was a free Halloween trail for kids to follow.
It’s also a haven for dog lovers – the majority of the accommodation (including the new cocoons) is dog-friendly. And it’s not just Fido who is welcome to join the fun – reception staff told us that house cats and rabbits are among the other pets who have already paid a visit.
There’s also a no-cars policy on site in order to give the guests the best chance of a peaceful break – meaning you can’t drive right up to the door of your accommodation. But the designated parking areas are plentiful and you can obviously come and go as you please.
We stayed in a luxury cocoon but you have your choice of lake pods, floating lodges, regular lodges and a selection of one- and two-bed apartments. The six cocoons opened in August this year and there are plans to add another one by Easter 2023. Thirteen more lake pods are also being added by next spring, as are three more floating lodges (where you can fish right off the decking).
The cocoon truly is a unique living experience – when it rains (which it did, a lot) the noise of water hitting canvas is immense. But it’s also warm, dry and cosy inside so it feels sort of exciting and reassuring all at the same time.
The bathroom has a toilet, small roll-top bath and a standalone shower with complimentary toiletries – a far cry from the kind of camping toilets most of us are used to!
The king size bed was super comfy and our daughter slept well on the fold-out Z-bed. The sofa also folds out into a double bed, meaning you can sleep up to five people in the pod.
The attention to detail is exceptional – from the outdoor lighting to the designer furniture and the incredibly well-appointed kitchen area that although small, manages to house a sink, a hob, an oven, kettle, fridge and mini freezer and all the utensils you could ever need.
Outside is a private patio and down the steps, is the fire pit which can be used as a barbecue, thanks to the detachable grill arms. We had a feast of sausages, burgers, baked potatoes and – of course – marshmallows courtesy of the pit. Firelighters, smokeless logs and coal, utensils and matches are all provided.
Clawford Lakes currently has one accessible lakes-edge lodge and one accessible ground floor apartment with hot tub.
Food and drink
As previously mentioned, the kitchen has everything you need for a self-catered break – including a (very) high-end breakfast hamper of locally-sourced sausages, bacon and bread alongside fresh orange juice, milk and butter. There is a huge Waitrose in nearby Holsworthy, too.
If you can’t be bothered to barbecue or cook, then the on-site restaurant, the Apple & Grape, is well worth a visit. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the cocoons to the restaurant, taking in a bridge over the leisure lake. The kids menu (priced at £10 for three courses) was good value and offered a decent range of main meals – and an even better selection of ice cream flavours to finish.
The pie of the day (beef and ale, £15.50) was very well received and I would also recommend the chicken and chorizo skewers (£8) to start.
What to do
If you’re a fishing fan, you’re in luck – and if you’ve never tried it, you can sign up to a beginner’s course on selected dates. Permits are required.
Meanwhile, on the leisure lake, you can keep yourself busy with kayaking, paddle boarding and open-water swimming. Wet-suits and equipment are available to hire and some tuition is available.
The swimming pool is also open daily and is free to use – we had it to ourselves during much of our stay. Bikes are also available to hire free of charge, on a first come, first served basis. And if all that activity has worn you out, head over to the Lakeside Spa for views and treatments that will improve your mood no end.
Worth writing home about
The “head-to-toe spa experience” (only available on Fridays, currently on offer for £95) left me feeling like I was walking on air. It includes a one-hour botanical facial plus a reflexology session to reduce stress. Weather-permitting you can then relax on an outdoor sun bed overlooking the leisure lake while everyone else exerts themselves.
How to book
Four-night breaks in a luxury cocoon (sleeping up to five) start from £1,065. Apartment prices start from £345 for a four-night break. Visit clawfordlakes.co.uk or call 01409 678018 to book.
The entire resort is closed from 20 December 2022 until 19 January 2023.
published 2022-11-11 00:12:17