For the first trip out in the Elddis Accordo the better half booked Walnut Tree Lakes, which is a mile from the village of Sutterton, Lincolnshire. Since it was the first trip out we didn’t want to be too far from home, besides with it being a Bank Holiday weekend we didn’t have too any days to play with so a couple of hours from home seemed the ideal location.
Walnut Tree Lakes is situated just off the A17 a mile or so before the Sutterton roundabout. When I say just off the A17 trunk road I mean the site is located right beside the busy trunk road, so there is obviously a lot of road traffic going past. Being the first trip out in the motorhome I was glad all I needed to do was turn off the main road as I have not had enough hours in the driving seat to tackle narrow single-track country lanes yet.
The A17 is a road that never sleeps and the flow of traffic is constant. Okay, the traffic does die down a little late at night/very early morning but the traffic never stops completely. We had read reviews about Walnut Lakes (after we had booked it) and the only thing that people whinged about was the road noise, so we were well aware of it.
We have stayed at other campsites by main roads in the past and we are not that bothered by traffic noise. One thing I should point out (if you are bothered by traffic noise) is that it really isn’t that bad at Walnut Tree Lakes. I can think of a few sites that suffer worse road noise, and there is one VERY noisy site that instantly springs to mind – Langdale Lakes (not far from Walnut Tree Lakes), a site that not only suffers from road noise twenty-four-seven but also has a train line running at the bottom of the site with some hefty freight trains running through at high speed in the early mornings! All in all Walnut Tree Lakes is a quiet site. It is not peaceful or tranquil (you need a site in the back end of nowhere for that) but it is far from noisy.
The site is based around two lakes, Daisy and Walnut, and our pitch was on the Walnut Lake side of the site. The pitches are large, hard standing and pretty level. I say pretty level because we still needed to use our chocks (but only on the first rung) to get the level bubble exactly in the middle and get the fridge working properly.
Driving through the gate the first thing I noticed was how pretty the site was, but then all sites with a decent sized lake in the middle are. The site looked clean, the pitches well marked out, the drive way level (with no potholes) and it appeared well looked after. Yep, this site looked to be a good choice from the outset, which is always a good thing. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a site all eager, keen and happy to be away, to find the site looking tired, rundown and a bit of a dump. Fortunately, this was not the case with this site and I was more than happy driving in to Walnut Tree Lakes.
"The entrance to Walnut Lakes" "Beyond the gate - a pretty site"
There are four toilets and four showers servicing both sites, which may not seem enough for the amount of pitches there are but we never found ourselves waiting to use the shower or the toilet. The toilet blocks are large and spacious, immaculately clean and tidy and the best of any campsite I have stayed on. The electric showers are powerful, hot (I’m going to have to whinge here and say too hot for me – I like a luke warm shower though) and free. I have no complaints about the toilet/shower block at all, and admire the owners for having such high standards.
As well as the toilet blocks the site has the usual chemical toilet disposal point, waste water point etc. It does not have a designated motor home service point and whilst it is possible to get close enough to the tap to use a hose pipe of at least a meter it is not possible to get close enough to the waste water drain to empty the waste tank directly from the Accordo, and we have the waste tank tap on the side of our vehicle. If you have to drive your motor home over a drain to get the waste water out you are not going to be able to do this at Walnut Tree Lakes. A bucket to get rid of waste water is essential for this site, which (being totally new to motor homing) is not something we had on us so it was a good job we were only staying for a couple of days and did not fill the waste tank! As well as the usual facilities there is a small laundry, which is a nice touch although not a great deal of use for us at this time. Had we been staying longer this would have been different.
There are no washing up facilities at Walnut Tree Lakes at all, which gets a thumbs down from me. Even though the motor home has a sink we prefer washing up and preparing food using a site’s facilities as it is not only easier but also means we don’t add even more waste water to our tank – which at this site is difficult to deal with in the first instance, without the added pain of having to pour washing up water down it too! The lack of washing up facilities is a shame, but if you are the sort of person who uses your own facilities all the time this small point is not going to be relevant for you.
The cost to stay at Walnut Tree Lakes is £14 per night, and this includes 2 people, a unit, an awning/pup tent and a car (if you tow a caravan of course), which is very reasonable. Electricity is extra and this is supplied using prepaid cards. Many people prefer an “all in cost” for electricity however I don’t mind paying for it as we use it. My wife and I are frugal with electricity and we don’t have appliances on all the time and we don’t run fan heaters all day and night. Basically, we don’t take the p**s with electricity (unlike some people) just because it is included the pitch fee, so I actually prefer a “pay as you go” type system, and think that other camp sites should follow suite. It does make people stop and think about the power they are using, which isn’t such a bad thing.
My attitude towards electricity may make me sound like some tree hugging hippy, however I drive a diesel motor home so I most definitely am not. I just don’t like wasting resources and will only use power when I actually need it. I don’t scrimp and if I need to use the lights or an appliance I will, I just won’t leave it on unnecessarily. Back to the electricity……..
The electricity rate (whatever it is) is very reasonable and over the course of the weekend (comprising Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night) we used 3 prepaid cards and there was £0.82 left on the meter by the person on the pitch before us. When we left there was £0.38 on the meter, so the total electricity cost was £3.44. Considering most campsites charge £3 odd per night we are quids in with the pay as you go electric meters since we don’t have to subsidize the heavy users and those people who do take the p**s. Over the course of our stay we used appliances when we needed to and the fridge was constantly on, and we never went without so to spend a little under £3.50 is a bargain.
"Even the toilet block is pretty" "Large showers that are free" "Immaculately clean toilet"
The attraction of Walnut Tree Lakes for many people is the fishing, and this is one of the reasons we booked the site. The fishing is £5 per day for a single rod (only one rod/pole is allowed – which isn’t such a bad thing) which is the going rate. The weather was too poor to actually fish (so taking my gear was a total waste of time) so I never got the opportunity to drown a maggot, which is a real shame. Consequently I can’t comment on the fishing, and since no one else fished during the weekend I definitely can’t comment.
One thing I can say is both lakes are full of fish, and I mean FULL. On the night of arrival (which was hot, sunny and still) I had a wander around the lakes after we had set up and the margins were full of fish (mainly carp) patrolling the surface sucking as they went. I stood right by the side of the lake and the fish weren’t deterred at all, in fact many of them came closer to where I was opening and closing their mouths. There was a definite frenzy in the margins, which leads me to believe the owner regularly feeds them (although I didn’t witness this during the stay) and there are plenty more fish below the surface than above it.
I have a feeling this is a “fish a chuck” site, although I can’t confirm this. Some of the carp looked a reasonable size, perhaps 3lbs – 5lbs although I didn’t see any monsters. I reckon there is fun to be had fishing super light on a light margin whip but it’s not a place for the specimen or serious carp angler.
We take a TV with us but only use it to watch movies. For the purposes of this review of Walnut Tree Lakes I thought I would test the TV signal/reception since I know a lot of people like the ability to watch terrestrial TV when they go camping. There’s not much to say other than the TV signal is very good (and we only have a basic TV aerial and not one of those hi tech sat dish jobbies) and we got several channels without any disturbance at all.
Overall, Walnut Tree Lakes is a great little site and one I highly recommend. If you have read reviews about “excessive traffic noise” and the like please don’t be put off by this as it really isn’t that bad. This site is pretty, has immaculate toilets/showers, is very reasonably priced and a great base to stay for days out around the local area. The lack of washing up facilities is a pity, but it’s not a deal breaker. Just remember, you motor home owners, to take a bucket to get rid of your waste water as there is no way you’ll be able to drive over the waste water drain or get close enough to for any tap to reach.
I for one will definitely be returning to Walnut Tree Lakes at some point in the near future. I really want to have a crack at those margin carp with super lightweight fishing tackle as I think it’ll be a good crack. Next time I come to Walnut Tree Lakes I will make sure I have a bucket to empty the waste water though.
"The pretty fishing lake jam packed FULL of carp is the attraction for many campers"