Van Bitz was the brain child of Eddie & Lyn Jones, in 1990 Having bought a motorhome to travel with their three young children around the UK and further a field into mainland Europe, their thoughts quickly turned to motorhome security.
The founding partners are still very much hands on running the business but it looks very different today.
In 1996 the decision was made to move to Cornish Farm in Taunton from the original location of Brixham Devon.
This was a major upheaval for all of the family including the children of which there were now four.
Cornish Farm extends to five acres with plenty of space for parking and 2 workshops to accommodate the biggest motorhomes and RV’s
In 2005 Eddie & Lyn opened Cornish Farm Touring Park www.cornishfarm.com With fifty hook up points, twenty five large, level graveled hard standings. Luxury fully tiled amenities block with under floor heating for all year round use.
Inspected annually by the AA Cornish Farm Touring Park is rated as a four Pennant site scoring 89%.
In 2010 the prestigious range of guide books “Alan Rogers” inspected 2800 sites in 13 countries and Cornish Farm Touring Park was voted runner up in the “best motorhome campsite” Category .
Eddie heads up the technical side with workshop manager Dave Chambers, Andrew Harris and Nic Jones while on sales and technical support Lyn’s team are James Percival, Geoff Harper and Ashley Percival
The campsite is run by Bob and Les, a charming people that are often seen welcoming guests at odd hours.
Van Bitz have got a fantastic reputation for customer care and service and this can be seen on Europes leading motorhome forum www.motorhomefun.co.uk
Eddie & Lyn currently own a Gulf Stream Sun Voyager RV which was supplied by Tom and his team at www.oakwellmotorhomes.com
The thing that makes Van Bitz unique is the fact that we use motorhomes and we understand motorhomes. We specialise in motorhomes that is what we are geared up to work on ..Motorhomes
In 2016 Geoff was seen touring Italy and France in his Winnebago, James was in his camper in Spain, Eddie & Lyn were camping in the South of France and Dave was camping with his children along the South Coast. Bob and his wife Mary, were touring Scilly and Les and Nat were in Portugal
Eddie & Lyn have two great big hairy German Shepherds Shadow and Sabre, often seen at the Van Bitz exhibition unit at the motorhome shows through out the Country, two lovely soft and very spoilt dogs.
Holiday 2013 was an eventful beginning for some of us, but settled down to be a great motorhoming experience: Yet again. This is a copy of what was posted:-
We left Cornish Farm with out 32’ Gulf Stream with a 27’ trailer on the back, much to the amusement and interest of everyone on the campsite (we have to drive through our campsite from our house to the road) As it was only the second time that I had towed the boat and the first time on the back of the RV, the smile plastered on my face belied the butterflies in my stomach, especially as James my oldest Son who I have to say is the best driver in the family by far said “Are you sure you’ll have room to get out of the gate? Looks too tight for me!”
So with those words of encouragement, we were off. We made it through the entrance with space to spare and looked forward to the thousand mile drive ahead of us to Port Grimaud, in the Bay of St Tropez.
An uneventful drive to Dover, once we had satisfied ourselves that the trailer followed the Gulf Stream faithfully round bends and roundabouts, didn’t wander at speed and due to the weight of the Gulf Stream towed beautifully. So we soon stopped worrying about the extra length.
We arrived in Dover and parked on the seafront, rolling up quietly behind our chums Jeff and Susy, with their Winnebago and their RIB in the early morning.
Bright and early we did all the pre holiday excited hugs and kisses, jumped into our vans and headed off to the Port. All the while pretending to ignore the looks, stares and pointing of early morning walkers as 120 feet of motorhome/boat combinations drove slowly past.
Once safely on the ferry a plan of action was discussed over breakfast. Drive as far as we can first day, with a view to stopping around six for the night on an Aire for a BBQ and a couple of glasses of wine. Allowing for more friends/family to catch us up, that had taken a later ferry crossing.
A slightly later night than planned, resulted in every one tucked up in bed, with the two motorhomes/boat combos parked next to our friends car and caravan.
We awoke to the news that Andy and Sarah (in the car and caravan) had been burgled! The thief had taken the barrel out of the caravan door lock, opened the door entered the caravan, taken all the money from Sarah’s purse and Andy’s wallet. Left passports and credit cards, but even more amazingly the thief had found the car keys, opened the car, using the keys (no central locking) riffled the car and then put the keys back into the caravan! If he had taken the passports, credit cards and keys they would have been really stuck. I think that they have two small children maybe triggered a bit of guilt, who knows?
Our motorhomes hadn’t been touched, I guess the extra size and height and solidity of the RV doors and the enhanced alarm systems that both vans have (the Winnebago used to belong to Van Bitz) had been too much of a gamble form them/him
As we had one more night planned on Aires, Andy and Sarah were uneasy about spending a night on another Aire without a door lock or an alarm.
This is quite understandable so we decided that we could all stay put, and Andy drove me to a local caravan store to buy a replacement door lock, and whilst there I talked Andy into buying a caravan alarm.
I couldn’t believe that he was still sceptical about buying an alarm, after sleeping through a burglary twelve hours earlier.
To think that the thief(s) had broken into his caravan, with him, Sarah (wife) Ellie (6) and Becca (3) rummaged around and they hadn’t heard a thing! Sarah is pregnant so definitely not drinking, they simply slept through it!
So back onto the motorway and back down to the Aire. On arrival we replaced the ruined lock and fitted a battery operated alarm system on the repaired caravan door (so much for day one of the holiday lol)
Showered and changed, “Wagons Roll” was the cry from the hand held radios we were using to keep in touch with each other. Then I noticed red stuff pouring out from under the Winnebago? Was the Winnie bleeding? Looked like it! So me on the radio:-
“Jeff, what are you doing?”
“Trying to pull the slideout in, but nothing is happening” came the reply.
So two hours later, having been under the motorhome, we had established that one of the hydraulic hoses had failed, and, instead of pulling the slide out in, it had pumped hydraulic fluid out!
So we “borrowed” a hose from the rear slide to enable us to pull the front slide out “in” and then, replaced to it’s original place, fluid replaced, mess cleaned up, re- showered and a set of clothes thrown into the bin! I literally was covered in head to toe in hydraulic oil and grit from laying in the stuff. What made matters worse, was the drips! Because of the pressure in the system when the hose failed, coating the underside of the Winniebago was sprayed with the damn stuff which dripped into my eyes, mouth, ears and even up my nose! Lovely! I believe it is called a bus mans holiday !
The rest of the Journey and the following overnight stop was uneventful, but exciting as any drive South is at the beginning of the holiday, as the temperature creeps up, the landscape changes from green, lush and fertile to yellows, browns and parched, and the smells and sounds change from those that are similar to home, to the fragrance of the Mediterranean and the sound of the cicadas.
Our chosen destination was Camping Holiday Marina, in Port Grimaud, and they had asked if we could arrive about 2.00pm as they had arranged to open their rear gates to allow us easy access, and they had arranged for a couple of staff to help us onto our pitches and manhandle the boats, which had to be sorted before they could be launched.
Our pitches were fantastic, we had a chalet on the pitch was well, as one of our sons was due to join us for a week, half gravelled, for the motorhome, patio tiled and full astra turf grassed up to the block paved road! Fantastic!
Clean, level and everything we could want.
Camping Holiday Marina www.holiday-marina.com/index.php?lg=en&PHPSESSID=mbefneu5mqfgp5uqbhuke2qr 72 really is the best organised an run site that I have ever stayed on.
It is a mix of a holiday village with luxury mobile homes, some for rent and some privately owned, campsite and marina. A well run bar and restaurant complex offering a good range of drinks and a higher standard than usual menu
Everything is spotless, nothing is too much trouble, and the owners, who are English really do have their fingers on the pulse. It is a mixture of English and French staff so you can practice your French but explain any problems (if you had any) in English. There is cycle path that goes past right outside the main entrance and you can easily cycle to St Tropez, St Maxime or pop into Port Grimaud.
Although there is a small shop on site, there is huge commercial centre about five minutes, level ride along the cycle path in the St Tropez direction, so buying fresh fish, meat and dairy is an easy daily operation if you choose.
The campsite has fantastic WiFi throughout at a very fair twenty Euro a week.
The campsite had arranged to launch and recover our RIBs at the public slipway and stored our trailers for us for a reasonable additional charge. This was all arranged in advance and worked seamlessly
On our pitch we had elected to have a one bed roomed chalet as one of our sons, Ashley was to travel down with his girlfriend Laura and stay for ten days. Events overtook us and Ashley and Laura couldn’t make it as her Father is ill. In hindsight we would happily pay the extra next time for the convenience of the chalet. It had a fridge with ice box, micro wave, and gas hob, it gave us loads of storage for all our stuff and a private bathroom with large double shower so no queuing for a shower at a toilet block or having to use the motorhome and the inevitable filling and emptying of water and waste.
I cannot praise Camping Holiday Marina enough, it was excellent. To some it may be thought of as expensive, but Lyn and I still both work, we get one holiday a year so the cost of a site is less important than the position and the facilities if can offer.
We took our RIB’s because the site has its own moorings, and it is so good to get up in the morning walk down the road to your boat and take your selves off for the day.
No traffic jams, no queues, just boating in one of the most beautiful parts of the World in my opinion, and presumably the opinion of the rich and famous judging by the plethora of Super Yachts both in the bay of St Tropez and actually in the harbour.
It really is a sight to see, and I have to be honest, normally I refuse to gawp at the rich and famous and I refuse to play their games of “look at me and how wonderful I am” but alas, stood looking at lines of £60,000,000 privately owned super yacht, with a Bugatti Veyron’s and custom Rolls Royce’s park outside and helicopters on the deck it is hard not to stare!
Diving, fishing, snorkelling, reading, picnics on the boat, lunch out in little bays and inlets, a bottle or two involved lol. Sea temperature is about 24 degrees so diving was just in a T shirt, no wet suits was excellent and easy.
The water us so clear that even snorkelling in deeper waters still offers a fascinating insight into the underwater world.
Lyn got stung by a jelly fish on her left boob and shoulder, as she splashed around at the back of the boat just trying to cool off, so in effect flushed the jelly fish on her. She was fine though, and the blisters had gone down just leaving a brown mark by the evening. She declined my offer to wee on her as I was convinced that I had seen in a Ray Mears documentary!
It was just as well really, as when we got back to the motorhome and looked it up it was vinegar! Lyn has always been a brave girl so was little fazed by the whole thing, and laughed as everyone else leapt out of the water and peered at the sea nervously! Cowards!
One threatened thunderstorm, which was early in the morning and woke everyone up, but the thirty six degrees of brilliant sunshine afterwards soon dried everything up. So wall to wall excellent weather. The infrastructure on the site is superb so no issues with running Air Conditioning units or anything actually. So we could be cool when we wanted which is always important to me, if I am not on the water.
Prices varied eating out. As you can imagine there are some restaurants that are simply too exclusive to even get into, especially in St Tropez, but in the main the majority of them are reasonable and you don’t have to spend a fortune there if you do want to eat out.
If you do then I would recommend ordering a Pitcher or the House red, white or Rose as the wines of the area are superb and excellent value. Lyn who normally hates Red wine was drinking it chilled this holiday and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The drive home was uneventful, having Jim’s flashing tyre valve thingies was a God send. The Gulf Stream has six wheels, and the trailer has five. Being able to walk round and check everything visually was excellent. They do work as well. On the return journey Jeff spotted that one of the detectors on his trailer wheel wheel was flashing so a quick wheel change sorted out the problem before it, potentially became a major issue! http://www.tyrepressurealarm.com/
More and more motorway services now have height barriers for the main forecourt. Our Gulf Stream is petrol with a LGP conversion so we can’t go onto the lorry bit, which does present us with a bit of a problem. Luckily we carry about 190Ltrs of petrol and about 240Ltrs of LPG so we have a good range and don’t need to fill up too many times on the journey.
Dover to Dunkirk with DFDS was about £250 return for the motorhome and trailer, really good value in our opinion. Distance? Well Taunton to St Tropez via Dover was about 100 miles further than St Tropez via Portsmouth, however the ferry was nearly £900 with Brittany Ferries and we would have had to go around Paris, whereas via Dover meant that we went East of Paris. Total mileage from Taunton to Port Grimaud was just under a 1000 miles each way!
So back now. Would I go again? absolutely yes We went in 2004 and in 2006 and have compared everything to this area ever since.
2014? we went back again to the same site and had another fantastic holiday. Eddie & Lyn are planning going Portsmouth – Santander for Christmas and New Year, to try a little Winter sun and a quieter holiday.