Phase two of our summer staycation was camping at Roadford Lake. It’s a dog and family-friendly Devon campsite by the water with an activity centre where you can launch your own water sports equipment or hire. 

I’ve got to admit that I’d not heard about Roadford until I asked for recommendations for places to go paddle boarding in the Devon with Kids Facebook group

And then, when we were looking for somewhere to stop off between camping in the South Hams and a long weekend in North Devon, it popped up in our search for campsites.

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Looking for an activity centre with a campsite in Devon? We can recommend camping at Roadford Lake in West Devon. Here's all you need to know #Devon #camping #travel #campsite #lake #roadford #watersports #Devonwithkids #campingwithkids #England

About camping at Roadford Lake

Roadford Lake is the largest body of water in South West England and is managed by South West Lakes. There’s a visitors centre and activity centre on either side of the 40m high dam. 

Birds flying against side of dam at Roadford Reservior in West Devon
Tower in Roadford Lake
View from dam
View across lake to Roadford Visitor Centre
Roadford Visitor Centre

You can camp at the Roadford Lake activity centre. Each of the 40+ pitches is no more than a five minute walk from the water.

Camping at Roadford Lake in 2020

We stayed during COVID-19 in August 2020 so things were a little different. Here’s the measures in place:

  • Contactless check in – we paid for everything and reserved our pitch online. We just needed to put our head through the door at reception and give our names.
  • The campsite shower block is closed.
  • However campers can use the activity centre changing rooms, which were cleaned three times a day.
  • Campers were encouraged to use their own facilities were possible.
  • There was hand sanitiser outside. Only two people or families were allowed in at once and a limited number of sinks, toilets and showers were open.
  • There was blue roll and disinfectant spray for campers to clean anything they’d used.
  • People visiting the lake for the day were asked to come ready for the water and not use the facilities to help with social distancing.
  • The laundry was closed but the washing up area was open.

Read about more of the campsites we visited during the summer of 2020.

Pitches 

There are grass and hard standing pitches with and without electric hook up. Each pitch is marked out along the edge of the fields.

We stayed in the field the furthest from the lake which has a large grass picnic area attached to it – perfect for kids to run around.

Camper van pitched on campsite at Roadford Lake

There are two other fields for campers which are closer to the lake plus a glamping tent overlooking the water.

You can also read about camping in a glamping pod at Wimble Lake on The Family Freestylers blog.

Shower facilities

We didn’t use the camping shower block as this was closed during our stay. 

The activity centre showers and changing rooms were great and made for easy social distancing.

Changing room at Roadford Lake Activity Centre
Sinks and toilet area in Roadford Lake activity centre changing rooms

Can you have a camp fire here?

Yes, as long as your fire is not on the ground and is at least 5m from vehicles and tents. Bring your own fire pit.

There’s also a communal barbecue area.

Barbecure area at campsite - camping at Roadford Lake

Are dogs allowed?

Dogs are allowed to join you while camping at Roadford Lake but must be kept on a lead. There are dog bins around the activity centre and a walk around the lake from the back of the campsite. 

However, if you have a water-loving hound they have to be kept out of the lake. 

Access to the lake

The lake is beautiful and somewhere we’ll definitely come back to again.

Family walking towards Roadford Lake
The Diamond Jubilee sundial next to Roadford Lake in West Devon
Diamond Jubilee sun dial beside lake
Paddle boarding on Roadford Lake

When you are camping at Roadford Lake you don’t get automatically get access to launch your own boat, paddle board or kayak. You need to buy a pass for this. We paid £8 per paddle board for each day that we used them. This is bookable online.

We usually use our paddle boards on the sea or River Dart in South Devon, so paddling on the lake was a revelation for me. It was so easy. We enjoyed quite a few hours on the water and even paddled over to the cafe at the visitor centre one morning.

There’s also a playground here.

Child sitting at picnic bench by lake with buoyancy aid
View across Roadford Lake from Visitor Centre
View across Roadford Lake from Visitor Centre

Be aware that if you want to launch your own equipment you need insurance as part of the activity centre’s T&Cs. We are members of the British Canoeing association which covers us.

If you hire equipment from the activity centre insurance and launching fees are included.

Hire equipment on lakeside

Can you swim in the lake?

No, this is not a swimming lake. We heard this was because of toxic algae in the water.

Other things to do near Roadford Lake

When we weren’t in the water we found lots to do close by in West Devon.

We visited the Hidden Valley Discovery Park near Launceston, Lydford Gorge and Widemouth Bay on the North Cornwall coast.

You can also walk and cycle all the way around the lake.

Our review of camping at Roadford Lake

Girl in wetsuit standing in front of lake

This is a great campsite in West Devon for anyone who loves getting on the water. All the facilities are good and we had a relaxing stay despite things being a little different.

Our stay in August, including electric hook up, cost £26 per night for two adults and two children.

Find out more about camping at Roadford Lake by visiting the South West Lakes website.

Find more family-friendly campsites in Devon.

Looking for campsites in Devon next to water? Why not save this post about camping at Roadford Lake on Pinterest.

Looking for an activity centre with a campsite in Devon? We can recommend camping at Roadford Lake in West Devon. Here's all you need to know #Devon #camping #travel #campsite #lake #roadford #watersports #Devonwithkids #campingwithkids #England