Location – 5/5
Coniston, in the south Lakes, has three campsites within two miles of its small village centre. I have stayed at the main one, Coniston Hall twice before and its a nice site but very busy and at £10pppn with a further £10 deposit its more than I like to pay. Hoathwaite is slightly further along the Lake and a 30 minute walk from Coniston along the Cumbrian Way, right by the lake shore. It’s nearer to Trover (10min walk) which has a shop/deli and pub. Coniston has at least three pubs, a tourist info centre, cafes, outdoor shops, gift shops and a petrol station amongst other things. Like anywhere in the Lakes it’s not short of amazing views, challenging fell walks and seasonal boat trips! The most popular fell to climb is The Old Man Of Coniston. It towers over the village and is very impressive to both climb and gaze at. There are a large number of other fells forking off in all directions of its summit, namely Wetherlam which is a personal favourite! Less challenging walks include to the old slate mine at the foot of The Old Man, its stunning and quite unexpected. Tiberthwaite is another place worth exploring as is Tarn How’s, relatively unknown to first time visitors, I stumbled upon it on my fourth visit. I’ll stop there……but I could go on….! Coniston is one of my favourite places because it has all the amenities of Ambleside but is quiet and its easy to escape the crowds, even on a bank holiday.
The approach is via a quiet track and a welcoming sign (for me anyway!) that this is ‘a quiet site’. There’s no one to greet you, which is fine, I just always feel cheeky for pitching before paying! In the evening a very friendly member of the National Trust came round for payment. He was very cheery and gave me advice, a storm was coming and I’d do well to move my car off the grass before the deluge!
Pitch – 4\5
The site has two areas, one for pre booked groups and one for everyone else. This I like. The worst thing is pitching, going on a walk and coming back to find a huge group of D of E pitching right next to you! There is a notice asking campers to leave at least 6m between eachother. I like this too! The field is large but not all of it is ‘pitchable’. I chose a corner looking over the lake. There are some Shepherd’s huts and Yurts for those who prefer glamping (I hate that phase!).
Views – 4/5
The field is elevated and above the lake so you get great views. Two minutes and you are by the lake where you can watch the boats float by. Grizdale Forest and all the Coniston fells are visible, if there’s no mist!
Noise – 4\5
It’s emphasis is on quiet. No noise after 11pm. The track to the site is 1\2 mile from the ‘main’ (its not busy!) road so there’s no traffic noise. I visited in hay making season so the tractor was churning away until midnight but its a surprisingly therapeutic noise.
Price – 3/5
It’s £6 for a car and person which is a reasonable price…but then they charge extra for a dog, £1 and on the website it mentions a £2.50 booking fee (I think this is for pre bookers though) and in peak season, weekends or bank holidays there is a minimum two night stay. This wasn’t mentioned to me so maybe if its quiet and there’s plenty of space they aren’t bothered!
Facilities – 3\5
A porter cabin houses the toilets which are clean. There are a number of water taps. Showers available, basic but functional.
In general I try to avoid National Trust campsites. They tend to be expensive, busy and full of too many amenities! But this one is different. The price is reasonable and its emphasis is on quiet! I’m reluctant to draw attention to this site. I’ll be back later this summer.