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One of 'Camping in the Forest’s' ten New Forest locations, Longbeech comes steeped in wartime history and brimming with rare flora and fauna

At a time when many campsites are turning their back on traditional camping in favour of more lucrative options, such as Mongolian style yurts or a renovated shepherds' huts, Camping in the Forest makes a refreshing change with its back-to-basics, conventional attitude to pitching up. Found on a beautiful open clearing, overlooked by ancient beechwoods, Longbeech is one of Camping in the Forest’s ten New Forest locations, in a spot steeped in wartime history and brimming with rare flora and fauna.

No matter how well run or welcoming a campsite may be, it’s only as good as the natural environment that surrounds it. Thankfully Longbeech is engulfed by beauty. Ponies and deer are frequent visitors to the flat, mown camping areas where visitors have the choice of shaded or sunny spaces. As previously mentioned, Longbeech is a back-to-basics campsite, so there’s no shower or toilet facilities, and your own chemical loo is essential. Whilst this primitive experience won’t suit everyone, it’ll certainly appeal to campers with a sense of adventure.

Longbeech has direct access to plenty of heathland and forest walks, as well as the New Forest cycle route, with over 100 miles of approved biking paths. Only a short walk away is the tiny, but charming, village of Fritham, with its serene lake, thatched cottages, and ponies wandering freely down the road. From Fritham runs one of the New Forest’s most favoured walks (so it can get a little crowded during summer). At just over 4 miles long, ‘The Fritham Loop’ covers woodland and a grassy heathland, with fabulous views of the surrounding forest. Afterwards, why not pop into the Royal Oak pub for a pint of local ale, drawn straight from the barrel.

It’s not often you can camp somewhere with a fascinating past. Running through Longbeech is a small network of narrow concrete roads, which were used as taxiways and aircraft hard standings during the Second World War. Understandably, all that concrete may not be to every campers taste, however strolling around the site – which is one of the New Forest’s 12 wartime landing grounds – certainly gets the imagination going. So, what looked initially like a scene from pitch-up purgatory, is actually a captivating, secluded spot with more stories to tell than an episode of Jackanory.

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