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Croft Cottage Camping

UK England South East England Hampshire Fordingbridge

  • Electrical hook-ups
  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Short walk to pub
  • Good walks nearby
Small-time camping with a family-friendly buzz and a warm back-to-basics atmosphere

A good campsite often comes down to good campsite owners, and Helen and Bill Waygood are no exception to this rule. Living in the 16th-century thatched cottage that overlooks their field, they can proudly claim to have one of the most unique little campsites around – and they seem just as thrilled about that as we are.

Only open 28 days of the year, it is a fleeting experience that doesn’t last long enough to lose its spontaneous feel and fall into the hum-drum regularity of a day-to-day outfit. Instead Bill and Helen open up the gates as excited about the season as their visitors. First to pick up the volleyball, yes, it’s Bill. Singing “chick, chick, chickens” with the kids as they collect a basket of eggs, yes, it’s Bill. Rallying the troops for an evening around the campfire, yes, you guessed it… Bill again. The energy of the owners helps bring a life to the site and creates a mini-community of happy Hampshire campers. It’s the same reason you’ll see them all again the next year.

Aside from the brilliant family atmosphere, Croft Cottage Camping is a small and humble spot. It is a campsite in keeping with its attachment to the oldest cottage in the village – simple yet beautiful. There is room for just 15 pitches, 12 of which have electricity, and space in the centre of the field for the famous volleyball games and kid-friendly fun. A further three adult-only pitches are tucked in the Alpaca paddock. Facilities are relatively basic – a trio of toilets, two showers and a sink – but well looked after and immaculately clean. Together it creates a rustic, traditional campsite without many frills but with a captivating ambiance.

The best part is, while you may wallow in your discovery of a small-time, countryside gem you don’t actually have to miss out on the guilty pleasures that a more commercial campsite can afford. Directly next door to the campsite, Sandy Balls Holiday Village (stop sniggering) has all the thrills and spills of a pre-organised holiday park but conveniently acts as a handy place to use the cash machine, dip in the swimming pool or stock up on camping gas (it should be noted that it does get particularly busy around August and facilities are not always available for campers to use during these peak periods). Back at camp its presence goes largely unnoticed, with just the odd infrequent bit of noise to worry about.

Down the road the Fighting Cocks pub (now seriously, do grow up) provides a proper local where you can enjoy a pint – now competing with the pair of restaurants at Sandy Balls, also a decent spot to grab some food. It’s worth heading a little further though and delving into the wonders of the New Forest, a wooded landscape with openings of rugged heathland. Wild ponies and deer rule the roost around these parts and make it best explored by foot or bike, where you can stealthily amble through the trees keeping an eye out for the wildlife. The Fordingbridge Visitor Centre, a mile and a half from the campsite, has some maps and leaflets to help you discover local routes, as well as recommendations for pubs and eateries in the surrounding villages.



15 pitches around the edge of a field with play equipment in the centre (badminton, volleyball, football goal, small climbing frame) and 3 adult-only pitches in the alpaca paddock (dogs and music not allowed in this paddock). 3 toilets, 2 showers and 1 washing up sink. There is also a self-contained lodge that sleeps 6. Raised camp fires are allowed (wheel-barrow of wood around £5). There are 4 chickens and the children are invited every morning to feed them and collect the eggs. If there is enough interest they sometimes have a campsite concert at the weekends around a fire.

Suitable For

Tents, campervans, dogs (in the main camping meadow), groups (4 pitches max.) – yes. Caravans, under 21 year olds (unless part of a family group) and dogs in the adult-only meadow – no.


Beautiful walks across the New Forest, stopping off in the many lovely pubs that sit in the small villages. Go to the Arniss Stables (01425 654114) with horses for all ages and abilities or take a bike and ride along one of the many cycle routes nearby. Sandyballs Holiday Centre (08442 491193) is next door where you can visit their swimming pool or join footpaths down to the river Avon and along its banks towards Fordingbridge (01425 654560). Fishing and many other facilities can also be used by the general public. It is a 20 minute drive to Paultons Park (02380 814442) home to hugely popular Peppa Pig World for the kids.

Food & Drink

The Fighting Cocks pub (01425 652462) is an eight minute walk and serves decent food at a reasonable price. A cross country walk will take you to The Royal Oak (02380 812606) at Fritham (1.5 hours), The Royal Oak (01425 652244) at North Gorley (1 hour) and The Foresters (01425 652294) at Frogham (40 minutes) all lovely spots on pleasant New Forest routes.

Opening Times

Open 28 days of the year: Late May bank holiday, 3 weeks from the beginning of the school summer holidays and the August bank holiday.

Are you the Owner?


Contact Croft Cottage Camping, Croft Cottage, Godshill, Fordingbridge, Hampshire SP6 2LE

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Getting There

Exit at Junction 1 on the M27 and take the third exit. Follow signs to Fordingbridge. The campsite is on the B3078 about 100 metres East of the entrance to Sandy Balls Holiday Village on the same side of the road. Nearest station: Salisbury with regular buses to Fordingbridge - Croft Cottage is 1.5 miles from Fordingbridge.


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