Camping in Dorset
As foolhardy as it may sound, me, the husband and the dog are planning a camping trip to Dorset in the next few weeks, before the school holidays start. We’re looking for a really basic site (just a loo and water), mainly because we want as few other people as possible to be there (the dog is very anti-social and can’t tolerate people making noise or having fun, and nor can the husband and I, come to mention it). I know there are loads of farmers who open their fields, but wondered if anyone has any special gems they’ve unearthed which they’d be willing to share? I love Purbeck, but am open to suggestion – anywhere that has lots of walking (by the sea or inland) and lots of pubs, of course.
I think Steeple Leaze Farm could be the one for you! It’s a working farm with pitches scattered about in two big fields that slope up a valley side. There are fantastic vistas across the vale to the Purbeck Hills and, crucially, it’s very much a no-frills kind of place – no meddlesome management, yurts or communal activities here, thank you very much!
Honorary mentions also to Sea Barn Farm, Tom’s Field, Downshay Farm and Eweleaze Farm…
Funnily enough, we’ve stayed at Steeple Leaze before. It’s hard to live up to because, exactly as you say, Neil, you’re left alone to get on with it. But I have a thing about going back to the same place, for two reasons: what if it’s not as good as I remember and am I being unadventurous and missing out by playing it safe? Possibly there’s a whole other thread of discussion around the philosophy of to-go-back or never-to-go-back…
Going back can show you what ‘belongs’ to the place that contributed to your experience, and what you brought with you (friends/a particular mood) or was circumstantial (you got robbed/lost/lucky). Usually it’s totally different for me when I go back, although NYC has a certain consistent something…
If you could be tempted to go just a little further to the North Coast of Devon, then you’ll find my absolute favourite clifftop campsite:
Dogs are welcome and you open your tent in the morning to be greeted by a view of the sea. Right on the South West coastal path, there’s a little pub a scramble down the cliff, where you can sit in the garden and watch the sun set over the sea. The basic site is quiet and you can have your own campfire in a brazier. No stags or hens welcome!!
Funny, we’ve never been back a second time. Same reason – scared it can never be as good as the first experience. Perhaps this will have to be rectified this summer!