What exactly is a CL, and how do I get on one? | MotorhomeFun | The Motorhome Support and Social Network

What exactly is a CL, and how do I get on one?

Aug 3, 2019
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10 years with hires, Newbie owner
We’re relatively new to motorhoming and have had our van for a little more than a year. We’ve really enjoyed (responsible) wild/informal camping. Whilst the services on ‘proper’ campsites were convenient, we found the formality wasn’t really right for us.

We want to do some short trips over the winter in the UK (Covid restrictions permitting) and would like to try some CLs which seem like they might be easier to find than decent wild spots and less formal than campsites. We can be pretty self sufficient in our van and don’t need much in the way of services.

So, I have a couple of questions:-

- Am I right that this is what CLs are generally like (accepting that I’m sure they will vary from site to site)?
- Do I need to be a member of one or other of CMC or CCC to book them?
- The CLs I’ve seen seem to often be grass pitches and I’m nervous that our 5t, fwd van might get stuck if it gets wet. Is that an issue?

Thanks
Chris
 

M-J

Jan 15, 2019
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Not all CLs are grass only and most if not all can be used without club memberships
 
Feb 25, 2018
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Or stay on a pub car park .... Some are in great rural areas so it's just like staying on a rural CL

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pappajohn

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Aug 26, 2007
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CLs and CSs are 5 van sites (5 units and as many tents as will fit.) and can be anywhere..... Next to a pub, on a working farm.... Anywhere.
You usually have to be a club member... Caravan club (CL) or camping and caravanning club (CS) but a lot of sites don't seem to care as long as you're paying.
The majority will be on grass and may have nothing more than a tap while others may have electric and black disposal.
 

Kirsten

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May 5, 2015
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There is a Facebook group for people with CLs to post adverts and vacancies - via the CMC club . Gives recommendations and last min vacancies
 
Feb 21, 2016
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Join CMC and CCC for access to CL’s and CS’s.

You normally get fresh water tap,grey water dump,cassette dump. Sometimes hard standing.
Enjoy.
 

Riverbankannie

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Look on Searchforsites app for locations red flag and green flag are the 2 main club ones.
 

TerryL

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I enjoy pubstops when the opportunity arises, not because I'm a skinflint (I'm not, honestly) but they provide what I need when I need/want it. However this (usually) doesn't include water and waste/loo facilities so then we quite often have a look for a nice convenient CL/CS. We're not into sites with bars, entertainment etc. etc. so a CL/CS is just right for us, somewhere to get rid of waste and get water, often with a really nice view and usually very quiet. Sadly we're seeing prices escalate as owners put in more facilities, which we of course don't need, until they are just mini-campsites. That said a bit of research will usually find what we need. Incidentally you should be a member of the relevant parent club, it's how the site gets its licence, however as often as not we're not asked.

As for grass pitches if you are at all concerned it's better to make a quick phone call before heading to a site and they should be able to confirm if they can accept you safely - we have been turned away a couple of times because the owner was a bit worried about our weight plus FWD. Even if they say it's okay I always investigate myself before actually driving on.

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Feb 26, 2012
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As I understand it, the owner of the cl or cs is required to keep a register of member details and length of stay.
 

DBK

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Jan 9, 2013
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As a gross generalisation CL/CSs are mostly grass and will be closed over the winter.

There are exceptions but you will have to look through the club lists to find them although if you ask on here about a specific area I'm sure there will be suggestions.

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Nov 18, 2016
297
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Norfolk
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Burstner Elegance i821
I have a 5t tag axle and love CL’s. I find mine through the CMC. They have a map and reference book to see what facilities they have and always go for ones with hardstandings. Saying that I was on one overlooking Loch Lomond thursday and some clown who’d been there before me obviously couldn’t drive ( or was a bit thick ) had driven onto the grass, done a lot of wheelspinning and eventually got stuck! You could see the tyre marks from the tractor that had to pull him out again. Muppetry at its best.
 

two

Aug 4, 2011
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CLs and CSs are sites authorised to take up to 5 units a night and are run by CAMC or CCC. It's an arrangement that avoids the need to obtain formal planning permission for a site. You ought to be a member but I don't think checks are common - it's the colour of your money that matters more.
Both clubs have roots in caravans, so their facilities tend not to be motorhome-centric:
They are often miles from anywhere, not on route.​
They are often just grass.​
They are often unlevel (auto-correct thinks "unloved").​
They don't have drive-over drains (but that's not uncommon on some sites, either).​
There are some very good ones, especially if you like to walk or cycle, and some with hard standing.
If you have RWD and diff-lock, the grass bit should not be a problem but it is something to be wary of.
Many are farms, so should have a tractor.
If you join the club, you'll get full details of where they are, their facilities, and how to contact them.
I think each club has about 2000 dotted around the country but I have memories of there being over 4000 in the CAMC (when it was the Caravan Club).
 
Feb 11, 2017
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Not all CLs are grass only and most if not all can be used without club memberships
Certainly not all are open to all! CLs are authorised by the Caravan & Motorhome Club (CAMC) and CSs by the Camping & Caravan Club (CCC). While there is a very long list (several hundred) of organisations that can authorise a CL/CS, those 2 clubs have by far the biggest networks. You have to be a member of the club concerned to use these sites legitimately.
We’re members of only the CAMC, so can only comment on their CLs - they have a searchable database of CLs which shows those with hard standing (but be aware that on some of those you may have to drive over soft ground to get onto the hard standing!). The other thing is that whereas at one time CLs were significantly cheaper than sites, nowadays a lot seem to charge £ high teens - you might almost wonder whether the clubs encourage this so as not to undercut their site charges!

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Jun 24, 2019
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Join *Britstops*
Usually pubs, leisure centres etc
No campsite fees to pay.
 

M-J

Jan 15, 2019
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Certainly not all are open to all! CLs are authorised by the Caravan & Motorhome Club (CAMC) and CSs by the Camping & Caravan Club (CCC). While there is a very long list (several hundred) of organisations that can authorise a CL/CS, those 2 clubs have by far the biggest networks. You have to be a member of the club concerned to use these sites legitimately.
We’re members of only the CAMC, so can only comment on their CLs - they have a searchable database of CLs which shows those with hard standing (but be aware that on some of those you may have to drive over soft ground to get onto the hard standing!). The other thing is that whereas at one time CLs were significantly cheaper than sites, nowadays a lot seem to charge £ high teens - you might almost wonder whether the clubs encourage this so as not to undercut their site charges!
Indeed some CLs are listed as members only but most are not, even if they are members only it would mean a premium might be paid to use it. You may even find those listed as members only of X club only would accept other bookings from non members if they have availability.

Our first port of call is normally CAMC for bookings, although normally more expensive than CLs you can guarantee the quality, cleanliness and organisation of the sites which in current times is paramount for us.

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Apr 3, 2018
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some CLs are listed as members only but most are not,
Sorry I disagree.... just because it does not specifically state "members only" does not mean it is not.
I am more than convinced (indeed certain) that you DO need to be a member of CCC or CAMC to officially use these sites even if owners rarely ask for membership cards.
 

M-J

Jan 15, 2019
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Sorry I disagree.... just because it does not specifically state "members only" does not mean it is not.
I am more than convinced (indeed certain) that you DO need to be a member of CCC or CAMC to officially use these sites even if owners rarely ask for membership cards.
The official part of this is only because they get more enquiries by being a CL for certain clubs, how many actually check?

I am a member of CAMC so not really worried but the reality of booking a site that is listed as a CL is far from members only.
 

two

Aug 4, 2011
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I believe that non-members using one of these places might cause them to lose their CL/CS status.
I'm not sure this has ever happened but, in the days I used them, I did find several places that were hosting more than their 5van limit which could also cause them to lose them their licence. As others have said, it is (was) rare to be asked for credentials and would seem that checks by the authorities are (were) not feared by those running the sites.

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PeteH

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Nov 22, 2007
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If you are worried about getting off of a grass pitch. Try parking up on Track mats, or even 4 bread tray bases. they give you the initial "start" kick, once moving, light throttle and keep the motion going, head for the nearest "hard" using the straightest route possible. Park up with your exit route in mind not the best view. If you can park with a slight down hill run off, that helps too.

This method has worked for me, on a 9t American R-V, when I marshalled at Music Festivals.

To access C/L`s and C/S`s. you need to be a member of the providing club. However, I know of and regularly have used a former C/S behind a Nice Gastro Pub, which is no longer "affiliated".
 
Nov 17, 2012
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As a gross generalisation CL/CSs are mostly grass and will be closed over the winter.

There are exceptions but you will have to look through the club lists to find them although if you ask on here about a specific area I'm sure there will be suggestions.
There are a number that are open all year but although mostly grass pitches in the summer they have a couple of hard standing pitches for the winter.

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Nov 17, 2012
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I believe that non-members using one of these places might cause them to lose their CL/CS status.
I'm not sure this has ever happened but, in the days I used them, I did find several places that were hosting more than their 5van limit which could also cause them to lose them their licence. As others have said, it is (was) rare to be asked for credentials and would seem that checks by the authorities are (were) not feared by those running the sites.
we have mostly been asked for our CMC or CC number whenever we booked. I believe membership is also related to insurance cover like the ACCI sites. Benefits are they are usually a side line for the farmer/land owner, they are keen to present themselves well and in our own experience greet you and have often been either supplied or offered eggs, honey etc. from their farm. As a concept it works pretty well much smaller that Club sites, less commercial than the independent camping sites and usually quite rural locations with a view.
 
Jul 26, 2019
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Learnt the hard way parking on grass and not thinking, thought I would spin round before getting water, small site in Scotland, very slight slope, wheels just spun on the grass and area just looked damp.... Got out with Mrs Rjcamper pushing 💪and a lot of steering wheel action.

Made a right mess (area and MoHo) call site guy as was about to leave, he was fine abut it as had only just reopened following a several year closure and hadn't clear up the area!!

Now I always think when parking about exit, carry wheel pads, and tow rope just in case
 
Nov 18, 2016
297
209
Norfolk
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46,138
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Burstner Elegance i821
What is that site called please, A S Richards ?
Hi, it’s called Small Isles CL Caravan Site. Arisaig C16. Site number 1957 in the CMC guide book. It’s next to a small caravan site but it is nice and quiet. Beautiful outlook and only 7ish miles from the Skye ferry at Mallaig.

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Langtoftlad

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Britstops is fantastic but bear in mind it's supposed to be overnight only*.
So not really suitable if you want to stay a few days in one spot.
Although not obliged to use the pub, the hosts obviously hope you do. I love going to a good pub & having a nice meal... but you're a family, the "free" stopover cost can soon be more expensive than that of a CL.

*many publicans will allow 48h if asked.
 
Jan 27, 2018
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Rapido & Bongone
As others have said, it is (was) rare to be asked for credentials and would seem that checks by the authorities are (were) not feared by those running the sites.
I have been a CCC member over 20 yrs not CC and checking was at least 80% and now 100%, twice ive been on sites during a club inspection that included "interviewing" people staying there. {my luck good or bad)
It has been indicated to me that the club also suggest when prices are too low.
As to not being found out having too many occupants , Pembrokeshire authorities have a light aircraft checking all campsites during August.
 
Apr 3, 2018
727
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So what to do??? Continue to pay our subs and therefore support the appropriate clubs and use their "members only" facilities or do what other unscrupulous people seem to advocate and don't pay the subs and gatecrash "member only" sites and to hell with the consequences because we are not going to pay and hope we dont get caught..!!!

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