The Unexpected Cornwall Motorhome trip- Part One- Dartmoor Zoo
In Morwhellham Quay, we found brochures to other attractions in the area. One of these was Dartmoor Zoo, which is the actual zoo behind the film ‘We Bought a Zoo’. I confess, I didn’t know that until I picked up the leaflet but we’d seen the film and it seemed like fun to go and visit.
Unfortunately, the fog went from bad to worse, so we had an interesting drive around Plymouth- especially in the latter stages. Dartmoor Zoo is not parked in an area easily reached by motorhomes. Our satnav was determined to send us down some tiny lanes- we kept backtracking on ourselves until we realised that there was no other way to reach the zoo. We did make it- but it was very tight at times and involved lots of other traffic having to stop to let us pass.
Upon reaching Dartmoor Zoo, the fog was really thick. We were completely thrown by the fact that there was no one on the gate- but it was all still open! We set off up the very steep hill- this entrance is not for the faint hearted! It’s about quarter of a mile- completely up a steep hill. They have put a few animals and some interesting facts on the fence to keep you entertained, but we were all out of breath by the time we arrived! We’d mainly come to the zoo to see the big cats- all of us love big cats. We passed the meerkats and the birds and suddenly found ourselves face to face with a cheetah! That was so freaking cool! There weren’t many visitors- we think the park was closing early due to the thick fog- but this meant that most of the animals were outside and pretty active.
Near the cheetahs were the lions- who were making the most incredible noises! You can see & hear it on the video below but it was obviously some form of mating call. The male lion was showing his power and the lioness was matching his every call. I’ve never heard anything like it before- such a treat to witness it.
We also saw a jaguar- who just looked mean! This is the one that keeps trying to escape and the owners of Dartmoor Zoo have had to cut trees down and reinforce fences as the cat gets cleverer and cleverer. I can see why he scares them so much- the raw strength and power of him was obvious to see.
Our favourites were definitely the Amur Tigers. We watched one trying to get a treat out of a ring- the keeper was obviously used to keeping the cats entertained. At one point we thought her head was stuck in the ring, but she was just very determined to get this treat out! We couldn’t believe how close we got to these incredibly beautiful creatures- such a treat.
Watch the video of Dartmoor Zoo (and Morwhellham Quay) here:
After Dartmoor Zoo, we headed off to find a place to stop for the night.We drove west on the A38 for about an hour and crossed the River Tamar. We were now officially in Cornwall.
We decided to stop at Mevagissey, where we paid £8 to stay overnight in a motorhome parking area of a carpark. We treated ourselves to fish and chips (I know- two meals out in two days! So naughty.) Total spent including fuel, water and entrance fees to attractions: £143.50. As you can tell- we are not being frugal this trip! Mevagissey is a beautiful little village with a small harbour full of fishing boats. There are LOADS of small artisan shops here- perfect place to treat yourself or buy gifts for others. We could happily have spent a small fortune.
Just be warned- motorhome are welcome to stay overnight until 8am, but after that it is really difficult to get parking during the day. The next morning we asked the carpark attendant if we could buy a ticket and stay until 11am – but he refused & said we could stay until 9.30am only- even if we paid for 3 hours! This was a bit frustrating as we wanted to look around the village a bit more and the car park wasn’t full- I guess he just wasn’t a fan of motorhomers. But it gave us time to grab some fresh croissants for breakfast, so we should be grateful for that!