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Forest camping with added animals

In a land of rules, regulations, road-markings and traffic lights, the New Forest in Hampshire offers, both literally and metaphorically, a breath of fresh air. Meandering roads follow the lie of the land with their edges gently disappearing into the forest, and not a yellow line or a curbstone in sight. Horses wander freely around this wooded landscape, grazing on the roads if they so choose. They have right of way here; traffic just has to live with it. There’s something quite liberating about this arrangement. It’s as if in a very small way, we’re acknowledging that nature is the greater force. We’re merely humans, visiting for a time, borrowing these natural resources. In the New Forest, instead of dominating nature, we’re living alongside it. And it all works very well. If you can dodge the horses as far as Brockenhurst, you’ll find one of Camping in the Forests' most outstanding sites, Roundhill.

Once an airfield, it’s now a large expanse of open heathland right in the middle of the forest, with trees and shrubs breaking up this huge area to create smaller, sheltered pockets of land. There are no designated pitches; just drive around, find an agreeable spot and as long as you’re at least six metres away from the nearest tent, it’s all yours. The campsite is well laid out and well organised, so where you pitch will be simply a function of your preference for company or solitude, forest or open space and whether you want to walk or drive to the facilities.

As with everywhere else in the New Forest, animals have grazing rights here, so expect to see horses, donkeys, cows and even pigs wandering freely around the campsite. For the most part, they keep to themselves. If they get wind of your food, however, it’s a different story. The donkeys are highly skilled at unzipping tents with their mouths and helping themselves to whatever they can find. Rumour has it they can even open ring-pulls on cans! The trick is never to encourage them by feeding them and always keep food locked in the car rather than in the tent.

Other than the obvious attractions of exploring the New Forest by car, on foot or on horseback (maps and information available at reception), Roundhill is perfectly located for the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. This fantastic collection of historic vehicles includes the World Record Breakers Bluebird and Golden Arrow. Other exhibits include the James Bond Experience, where you can see a number of Q’s inventions, including the road-boat from The World Is Not Enough. Look out for various events here, including a regular farmer’s market, where you can buy fresh New Forest produce. In an area where cars come second to nature and horses rule the road, it’s entirely appropriate to see cars relegated to the status of artefacts at a motor museum. The balance of nature has been restored.

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Reviews

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★★★★★

Round hill Campsite

Great campsite with good condition facilities. Separate field for those touring on a motorcycle / not in a car or caravan. Would use again. £13 per night on an MC.

Jun 1, 2015 by Chris
★★★★☆

Roundhill Campsite

Just stayed there for one night on our cycling trip through South England. We found it amazing there. People are friendly and helpfull. The washing facilities could have been better. But the atmosphere was wonderfull. 

Aug 8, 2014 by Fboelling
★★★☆☆

Large...

I enjoyed my short stay here whilst visiting the lovely New Forest.  However, I'm only giving it 3 stars because personally I prefer smaller sites which are quirky or have other interesting features - this one is huge.  Location is handy though.  Fortunately we found a quiet spot to the edge under trees with not too many people around so we were content.

Jul 22, 2014 by Little Sheep
★★★★★

Fantastic site

Just back from a lovely weekend at roundhill. Great site in the forest, perfect location for walking and cycling. Friendly helpful staff, clean facilities and lots of space and privacy...perfect! Hope to be back soon.

Jun 30, 2014 by Sarah
★★★★☆

Great for families and groups

We stayed at Roundhill for two nights last summer and it was one of the most well equipped campsites we've stayed at. Despite it being a busy weekend, we were able to find a nice convenient spot for our two tents and our two cars. There were four adults, a baby and a dog in our group. There are plenty of showers and toilets, although it's a big site so expect a little queue at busy times. It was so lovely to see the donkeys and horses walking through the site. This is a great site for families.

Mar 20, 2014 by Kimberley
★★★★★

dan

Great site with fantastic facilities. Large enough area to find a nice secluded spot. Beware, lock food in the car overnight otherwise you may get a visit from the roundhill ponies! 

Sep 9, 2013 by dmiles
★★☆☆☆

Midges midges everywhere

Went 2nd week of June for a couple of nights. Lots of horse manure and midges. Toilet blocks and showers were clean enough. Not too busy and great for the kids being able to wander straight into the Forest. Much prefer Brockenhurst though.

Jul 4, 2013 by Phil
★☆☆☆☆

Roundhill Campsite

This campsite is in an ideal location in the New Forest, and with no set pitches you have the freedom to set up camp in a wooded or open location. However we were most disappointed with the level of service received here, which frankly was appalling. Having set up our camp, in the middle of cooking our evening meal, we were very rudely told that we had pitched in an unauthorized location and had to move our entire tent immediately. Having spent a good hour and a half setting up camp, this was most stressful and was made particularly distressing by the rude manner in which we were told to move. We had no idea we were not allowed to pitch in this area, as this was very poorly signed (as we later discovered). I would not return to this site.

May 29, 2013 by Camping Kitty
★★★★★

Roundhill Campsite

I LOVE this site! I have camped here for the last 34 years! and I still cant find other sites that compare! I think being a season camper may give me a bias, It really depends what you are looking for. For me back to nature basic facilities and being surrounded by the forest is heaven. The facilities are basic but I used to camp here when there were no showers so the showers are a bonus, Plus I also go to set thorns with no facilities and a chemical loo! The camp-site is huge and does get busy, but it is very difficult not to find a great pitch. Every year it seems to change, Its a shame you can no longer camp on the shaded area by the pond as this is now a DoE pitch. The site is fantastic for kids, who can and do ride around the side on bikes, which is brill as it is flat and the roads are hard ( a few are gravel) and the site has direct access to the old airfield which is great to cycle on. Personally i Like the fact the site is locked down at 10:30 as i feel safe. I really would recommend this site, but if you like your spas and frills this site is not for you! Its back to basics! 

Mar 1, 2013 by Julie
★★☆☆☆

Roundhill Campsite

The New Forest is a great location to go camping, but we were disappointed in Roundhill Campsite. There are only a couple of pitches where you are actually in the trees, which is what we were looking for. The staff were unwelcoming and not very helpful. While it was neat to have the horses roam freely throughout the site, there was nothing else charming about it. The bathroom/shower facilities were okay, but difficult to manage with two younger children (3yo and 1yo). Overall is was cramped, too busy and honestly there was nothing special about it. We will not be recommending the site to friends.

Feb 18, 2013 by CamWettern
★★☆☆☆

Lovely Location shame about the welcome

If it wasn’t for the wonderful location of this site I couldn’t give it any more ’stars’. The location is lovely, open fields with patches of vegetation, right in the middle of the New Forest, with ponies & cows wondering about. I was very upset by our ’welcome’ to the site. A member of staff was rude to me & embarassed me in front of other people in the booking-in queue. My ’crime’ it seems was leaving my vehicle with my child (after a 4 hour drive to get there) & going to check-in at reception before I was told to!! We had pre-booked and I had also waited behind 2 other people before I was served. The member of staff told me (after I had checked in) that " I had queue jumped & was very rude" before proceding to argue with me about it. Awful, awful welcome! It is a massive site & the toilets know it. Getting to the loo in the dark whilst dodging pot holes and horse plops is tricky, even with a torch. Will not be going back, next time we’ll look for a smaller & more friendly site in the area.
Sep 9, 2012 by The Earth Walkers
★☆☆☆☆

Roundhill Campsite

Never felt so disappointed arriving at campsite!. It was nothing like i expected, Very hard to find a pitch that was not in the middle of a mass of tents. The whole campsite looked like a refugee camp!. Pot holes full of water everywhere. Being the new forest i was hoping to be in or around the trees, but found all the under tree out of the way pitches reserved for Rally members only. Didn’t like the fact that once 10.30pm came you get locked in and you must be back at your tent before that time, which meant having to get back from evening meals etc on time. Big queues for the showers, washing up facilities in the mornings and evenings. Showers and toilets pretty grim and had to clean them before use. Certainly wont be going back.
Aug 28, 2012 by mandle
★★★★☆

Roundhill Campsite

Stayed here for the long Jubilee weekend at the beginning of June.

Pluses

- Smack bang in the middle of the beautiful New Forest

- Busy but plenty of room to find a nice pitch

- Mostly considerate campers - despite the numbers - the noise died down by not too late

- Ponies and cows wandering around freely

Minuses

- Too few facilities - around 12 male and 12 female showers for a site of 500 pitches

- Stony ground and tree roots make it hard to get a tent peg in

Jun 6, 2012 by abigailandmartin
★★☆☆☆

Roundhill Campsite

We’ve just returned from 4 nights at Roundhill. This is a very well known campsite in the Forest. The site is really nice - a good mixture of trees and open spaces; I would’ve given them fewer stars, but for this. I remember going there when I was a kid, but don’t remember the team of enforcement officers, otherwise known as the camp wardens. I can understand the need for a safe site, but coming in and out of the main gate (the only one policed) felt a bit like coming into a military camp minus the guns. The blocks were absolutely disgusting and many people resorted to cleaning the showers themselves before they would allow their children to use them, they were so filthy. There are too few to cater for the camp when it is busy; they are incredibly cramped and are only cleaned once a day. 2 or 3 times should be the minimum in peak season, given the amount of traffic in the small blocks. They charge 50p plus £1 deposit for ice blocks. Well, they would’ve done if they had any! But they did charge me £1 for a small bag of ice cubes (we were desperate)! They don’t allow you to refreeze your own blocks, like the many other sites that I’ve camped on. Overall, it was the cramped, filthy blocks that will keep me away from Roundhill, when there are plenty of other sites in the Forest that are much cleaner and friendlier.
Apr 5, 2012 by shortforbob
★★★★★

Roundhill Campsite

I have stayed at Roundhill twice (third visit coming up next week) and I love it! It feels more open and spacious than some of the other New Forest sites, such as Holland’s Wood, and really part of the forest. It is also quite reasonably priced for the New Forest. When I first camped at Roundhill 30 years ago there were chemical loos but that was pretty much all, so it was a nice surprise to find the facilities updated and showers when I came back last year. The facilities are nothing fancy but they were clean and more than adequate. I also seem to remember seeing a separate dog washing area, which seemed like a good idea. The site wardens were very friendly and helpful, and had good advice for local walks, etc. Brokenhurst has some nice shops, cycle hire and a great bakery and butcher. We had a day out a Beaulieu motor museum, which went down very well with the kids. I’d recommend this site if you enjoy camping surrounded by nature on a simple site without all the bells and whistles. It certainly suits me.
May 28, 2011 by Jo123
★★★★★

Roundhill Campsite

We stayed at Roundhill last summer and loved it so much we are going back NEXT WEEK!!! How excited am I ???! We had the misfortune of a broken prop shaft while we were there, but staff were really helpful and it was no problem booking an impromptu extra night whille we waited for repairs. It was fairly busy when we stayed (August) but never seemed crowded. The facilities were always clean, well situated and plentiful - no queuing! There is plenty to explore on site with lots of woodland walks and a wildlife display in a marquee near reception. Lymington,the coast, Beaulieu Motor Museum and the village of Brockenhurst, with local shops selling local produce and a well equipped camping shop are all easily accessible by car. For anyone who likes a relaxed, peaceful, chilled out place to camp, surrounded by heathland, woodland and wildlife, this is the place for you! Definately Cool Camping!
May 24, 2011 by sooz
★★★★☆

Roundhill Campsite

You can’t beat the New Forest for camping. There are not many places where wild horses come up to your tent looking for your leftovers. Roundhill is a really nice site. It is very well run and the staff are exceptional. We suffered from a tent malfunction and they very kindly lent us one that they had in the office. The toilet and shower facilities are really good although they do say that they close for cleaning at peak times such as between 9 and 11! Although this was stated around the campsite it didn’t actually seem to happen. The facilities are almost new and always clean. You don’t have to go far to find yourself in the heart of the forest and if you want to go slightly further the village of Brokenhurst is accessible by walking or cycling. Warning - get your supplies in early as you wouldn’t want to walk or cycle to the village late at night and there is no shop onsite. This campsite has more of a family vibe than a hippy one although there were lots of groups of young people there as well. The downside is that you are not allowed campfires and it was very crowded when we were there. Midweek outside of the summer holidays is probably a better time to go.
Aug 15, 2010 by rky

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