"The front lake at Wyton Lakes campsite"
Wyton Lakes is an adult only campsite that is located on the A1123 near St Ives, Cambridgeshire. I’m not going to lie, the A1123 is a busy road and if you stay on this site you will hear some road noise the extent of which will depend on what direction the wind is blowing and where your pitch is on site. I have read some reviewers complaining the road noise is horrendous, but I can assure you it really isn’t that bad at all and neither me nor the better half had trouble sleeping.
Being on the side of the A1123 Wyton Lakes is easy to get to and there are no access issues at all, even if you have a huge motor home or an American RV style unit. The location of Wyton Lakes is a bit of a double edged sword and you have to take the rough with the smooth. The rough is clearly the road noise and the smooth is the ease of access and not having to navigate down single track lanes. If you want a deathly quiet campsite Wyton Lakes is not for you. If you don’t mind a small amount of road noise Wyton Lakes may be right up your street.
Wyton Lakes is a large site and there are plenty of pitches. There are three lakes on site, and there are both lakeside and non-lakeside pitches, some of which are grass and some of which are hardstanding. The hard standing pitches are fully serviced with water and EHU. The water is a nice touch, however I have never been overly bothered about having my own water supply close to the motor home. The pitches are pretty much standard sized, which is plenty big enough for a motor home and awning.
The only issue I have with the pitches is the way everything is laid out means you’re overlooked from pretty much every side. I appreciate this doesn’t bother many people, and they solve the problem using wind breaks as privacy screens, but I do like to have at least one side of my motor home that isn’t overlooked. I suppose I can’t really complain about the pitches, I mean most large commercial campsites are laid out in exactly the same way and they do try and cram as many people in as possible to generate as much money as possible – it is a business after all. In my experience if you want privacy you need to use smaller campsites and not large commercial sites like Wyton Lakes.
One thing I did notice when we first arrived was two motor homes parked just in front of reception in a holding area. It transpired this was the “pitch” for the two motor homes for the weekend, and whilst they weren’t proper pitches they did have EHU. I couldn’t ascertain whether these were make shift pitches to capitalize on the bank holiday weekend or if they were permanent pitches available all season.
There is one shower/toilet block on the campsite and it is clean, hygienic, regularly cleaned and well maintained. There are quite a few showers available although getting to use them wasn’t always easy due to the amount of people on the site. The only way to guarantee getting a shower was to go at some random time of day, and whilst many people aren’t bothered about this I have to say that having a shower in the middle of the day , just before dinner, at eleven o’clock at night or whatever doesn’t appeal to me one bit.
If the showers weren’t free this would not be an issue and I think the owners should consider charging to use the showers. When showers are free people abuse them, take absolutely ages and mess it up for everyone else. People are inherently selfish and don’t care about anyone but themselves, and whilst this may sound harsh it is totally true and camping is one of those holidays where people seem to be very selfish. If the showers were coin operated most people would be in and out in a flash, and everyone could get the chance to have a shower during a time that won’t interfere with their day. I have to say planning my day around when I could get in the shower was ridiculous. The bottom line is there aren’t enough showers for the number of pitches, but charging for showers would go a long way to easing the problem.
The facilities block also has washing up sinks, which is available to everyone staying on the campsite regardless of whether they are in a tent, caravan, campervan or motor home. Like the rest of the facilities block the washing up area is well maintained and has everything you want. How clean the washing up area was depended on who used it before me, and how well they actually cleaned up after themselves. Sometimes the washing up sinks were immaculate, other times they squalid and a health hazard. There are people out there who leave things in the state they would like to find them (not necessarily as they found it) and there are people out there who will wash their stuff, walk away and make no attempt to clean up after themselves. The type of person you come across is down to pot luck, however more often than not the place was in a disgusting state when we went to wash up – just goes to show the type of people who were at the site when we were there!
The toilet block has background music playing al the time, which is a bit of a novelty for me – I have never stayed at any other sites that play music in the toilets/showers, and I have to say I actually like it. The music isn’t classical, jazz or any other specific genre, it is just standard radio which is fine by me. The only downside to having music in the toilets/showers is that it could encourage people to spend a little longer in the facilities block than they need to or maybe not – who knows?
As you’ve probably guessed Wyton Lakes is a fishery too, and all three lakes are available to use. You can’t fish any swim behind a lakeside pitch, which means a lot of swims are unavailable during busy periods. The most annoying thing is that you can’t even fish a swim behind the unit of non-anglers. During our stay getting to fish was difficult and even though I had a lakeside pitch the two units next to me (one on the left and one on the right) jumped in the swim between my pitch and their pitch, effectively stopping me from fishing behind my unit. I nicely asked one of the blokes if they would mind moving up a little and the reaction I got was so obscene, rude and nasty I didn’t bother. When I wanted to fish I had to move away from unit and go to another swim – which was a shame. Fisherman are selfish and these “fishing battles” are common on large commercial sites with lakes. It’s a shame because if everyone stuck to the rules there would be plenty of room for everyone, but there is always a minority (although it is a huge minority!) that will wreck it.
There’s not much to say about the fishing other than there are plenty of fish to be caught in all the lakes, and whether you will get any will depend on many different factors – but then that’s fishing for you.
As well as the lakes there is a stretch of river at the back of the site you can fish in season. Our stay was during the close season so I didn’t get to toss a line in to it. The section of river is pretty and also fairly wide, but other than that I can’t comment any further.
We paid £24 per night for a fully serviced (with EHU and water) hard standing pitch, including free showers. For what you get £24 is a little on the expensive side for this part of the UK, however the cheaper similar sites offering the same facilities are only a few pounds less per night.
When I booked Wyton Lakes I didn’t have to pay any deposit over the phone, which I thought a bit strange given it was a bank holiday weekend but when we arrived on site it soon became clear. Payment for the pitches is now cash only. Yep, no cheques, no credit card and no debit card – just cold, hard cash. I don’t usually carry any cash on me (I use a card for everything as I think is safer) but fortunately me and the better half could scrape together enough between us to pay for our two night stay. Not accepting card, cheques does not make good business sense in modern times, and I appreciate it costs to take card payments and also to cash cheques but the cost isn’t that much. Besides, the owners could just add the card fees to pitch fees if it is a cost they are not willing to absorb. Personally, I would prefer to pay a few pence extra to pay by card (although I do think it’s a pretty poor show when businesses are too tight to absorb these costs) than have to carry cash around with me. Okay, it does cost to take card payments and bank cheques but it also costs money to bank cash too. Working in the job I do I am skeptical of “cash only” businesses, and in my experience people only deal in cash for one reason…….
When we tried to pay by cheque we were told by the receptionist there is a cash point at the Tesco, a five minute drive away. This is all well and good but does she really think I am going to go and do battle with the Tesco car park and the Tesco shoppers (of which there were loads – we drove past it en route to the site) on a hot Saturday morning? I would be annoyed doing this in a car so there is no way I would take my motor home in to such a scenario.
If you decide to stay at Wyton Lakes make sure you check out the tariff and have the cash to pay on arrival, otherwise you will have to do battle with the Tesco shoppers – which isn’t fun.
There are a few seasonal pitches at Wyton Lakes which, as you’d imagine are in the most attractive pitches. The Seasonal pitch holders I came across were pretty rude and frequently walked across my pitch to get to their friend’s van. I have to say I didn’t appreciate it, and whilst I should have stood up and said something I didn’t want confrontation. Besides, manners and common sense would dictate you don’t walk over someone’s pitch (it is a no no, and an unwritten rule) so I shouldn’t even have had to have a word. Maybe this was the seasonal pitch holders’ way of stamping their authority and showing that Wyton Lakes is “their site”. Who knows……..
Overall Wyton Lakes is a nice site and if you don’t mind a large commercial site it may be right up your street. Although a little overcrowded it is a pretty site that is attractive and well maintained. The facilities are clean and adequate, although the showering “fun and games” is a downside. These issues are easily rectified but whether the owners will do anything about it…. Only time will tell. If you like smaller, quiet sites Wyton Lakes is not for you.
"The view from the back lake"
"Navigating around the site"