I found EVERYONE to be friendly and helpful. The caravan was nice and clean, there were a few shortages in kitchen equipment, but once I told them this was rectified within the hour. The maintenance man came and sorted the problem with the cooker in a short space of time. The mattresses were very good, brand new I think, such a shame that the huge delivery lorries meant no lie-in after 7am - read on to hear about that! Everyone chats, smiles, says hello, and I found the site clean and tidy, and the groundsmen do a fabulous job! All the grass neat and tidy, all the shrubs trimmed into neat shapes, the rubbish skips emptied quickly, couldn't really fault it. The shop is a little higher priced but you expect that for the convenience, and its well stocked (shame they have so much holiday "tat" though, but I expect that's popular with the kids). And here comes the BUT.....
There isn't a service road for deliveries. Some parts of the park are nice and quiet, but where we were, Cheddar Way/Dunster Court road, the huge delivery lorries started really early in the day (7 or 7.30) and, boy!, there were a lot! The Spar lorry, the Huntly & Palmer Lorry, the Wisemans Dairy lorry, the bread lorry, the beer barrel lorry, the soft drinks lorry, various catering lorries for the cafe and takeaway, and because it was also the road to the maintenance yard, we had the Jewsons lorry, various contractors, and also the vehicles of the site maintenance staff - the maintenance man's van, and the various golf carts/buggies/mini tractors of the groundsmen, many with noisy rattly trailers on them and - just my luck - right outside our front door was the sleeping policeman speed hump!! At times it felt a little like having a picnic on the local bypass!! Our caravan was placed along the edge of the road, so sitting outside the door meant I was only a few short feet from this road and the speed hump. I paid extra to take my dog, and of course I kept her on a lead, but even so the closeness of the road was very much a worry for me. What about people with young kids? With all these huge HGV lorries toing and froing all day - not ideal!
As for being a Blue Badge Disabled driver, I had asked for a caravan with a close parking space to avoid walking. The caravans are two and three deep, and there are no hard standings to parking on, and there are signs asking for vehicles to be kept off the grass. Consequently this little road was a "free for all" with people parking on both sides, half off and half on the grass, so as well as sitting on the local bypass I was also sitting in the car park, with people coming and going all day, loading and unloading their cars with stuff and kids, and when I first got there to "park on the grass outside the caravan" as I was instructed, I couldn't even get to my caravan for parked cars! It was a case of waiting for somebody to move and then jumping in quickly before they came back! Some people took their cars onto the grass next to their caravans, but if other road users parked blocking their exit, they had to drive up through the pitches, past kids playing and people sitting out in the sun, where there were no official lanes to do so, looking for an exit to escape!
Much as I enjoyed this holiday, and can appreciate how good the staff were in all respects, frankly in this day and age there should be adequate parking for each caravan and properly marked out lanes for access. And on a family park, like this one, you shouldn't have such a large number of big lorries trundling up and down all day long where kids are present and people are trying to have some quiet time. Its all about site design, and on this front, I'm afraid Haven Doniford Park is a failure. It's a shame because their excellent staff do such a good job!
I would go again, but I would use my site map (saved from this holiday) to specify exactly where I wanted to be sited! And it would be away from 3-deep caravan pitches, delivery traffic and speed humps!
- Also Known As:
- Doniford Bay Holiday Park Hotel Watchet
- Doniford Bay Holiday Park - Haven Watchet, Somerset