Clayford Field Campsite

UK England South West England Dorset Ferndown

  • Dogs welcome
  • Short walk to pub
  • Good walks nearby
A low-key pop-up campsite next to the woods and National Trust-owned Holt Heath

A few hundred metres from a National Trust nature reserve and on the edge of a vast woodland, Clayford Field is both a hidden gem and a rambler’s dream. Footpaths lead north on to Holt Heath, home to rare plant species and reptiles, or south in to Uddens Plantation and through the trees to the Forest Inn pub. Friendly, laid back and with few frills, it's the ideal campsite for exploring Dorset away from the more crowded coastal campsites.

Despite its low-key location, Clayford Field is secured behind electric gates and campers are given an access code for contactless entry, so you can simply arrive, thumb your way in and find a spot in the six-acre field that's right for you. Choose between sunny pitches on the right-hand side of the meadow or shady spots under the oak trees to set up your tents or park your campervan. Though the site isn’t huge, even when it’s fully booked on the hottest bank holiday of the summer, there's still plenty of room between pitches and there’s always space for games. As the dark skies set in, you’ll see the benefits of being surrounded by so many trees, with minimal light pollution, there's superb stargazing (and bat watching) to be had before bed.

Clayford is a pop-up, summer-only campsite so the facilities are all temporary. Washblocks are in cabins on the edge of the meadow (one for the ladies, one for the gents) and there's an additional drinking water tap in the field but, for the most part, it's a simple campsite that's about space and freedom. Campfires are allowed. Bring your bikes, meanwhile, and it's less than half a mile down the track until you reach the Castleman Trailway cycle route (number 256 on the Sustrans National Cycle Network), that takes you west through the Stour Valley to Wimborne Minster or east towards the New Forest National Park. The initial part is a 17-mile stretch of disused railway line that makes for flat, easy riding that's great for families. By car, meanwhile, it's a half-hour drive to Bournemouth beach and 45 minutes to the Isle of Purbeck and the best of the Jurassic Coast.

Details

Facilities

Two washblock cabins, one is the ladies (three toilets, a shower and a washing up sink) and the other for gents (three toilets, urinals and a shower) plus a family shower room and washing-up sink. There is another washing-up sink in the field (cold water only), as well as a drinking water tap. Campfires are allowed in firepits (unless it's so dry that the local council enforce a ban). Recycling bins are available onsite.

Suitable For

Tents, campervans, kids, dogs – yes. Caravans, noisy groups, hen and stag parties – no.

Nearby

The campsite is just on the edge of Holt Heath, one of the largest National Trust heathlands in Dorset and easily accessed on foot from the campsite. The heath is one of the few places where all six native British reptile species are found and it's a boon for plant and wildlife. Go for a gentle walk spotting plants that range from bell heather to sundews, while listening out for birds like the Dartford warbler, stonechat or nightjar. Around 15 minutes away is Wimborne, home to a grand Minster and pleasant market square but also a good place to enjoy the River Stour (try swimming or paddleboarding from Eye Bridge). Just beyond the town (15–20 minutes by car) is the National Trust's Kingston Lacy Estate (01202 840630). Most people who come here will spend at least one day at the beach. It's a half-hour drive to Bournemouth (home to a lively pier and a beach voted 'best in the UK' in 2020) and a little more to Hengistbury Head. It's 40+ minutes to Corfe Castle, Lulworth Cove and the beaches around the Isle of Portland.

Food & Drink

The Forest Inn (01202 894990) is a leisurely 10–15-minute stroll away, the cosy restaurant overlooks the 18th hole of their golf course and they have regular live music, tribute acts and quiz nights, always guaranteeing a fun night out. The Cross Keys Inn (01202 822555) is also a great option, less than 10 minutes away in the car, the 16th-century building is home to the friendly pub that serves lunch and evening meals alongside real ales and a real fire. A little further afield is The English Oak Vineyard (01258858205), located 20 minutes from Clayford Field, the vineyard is open for tasting tours for you to enjoy Dorset’s finest sparkling wines. You can soak up the surroundings, from the vineyard itself (some 23,000 vines) to the 18th-century farmhouse, finishing with a vineyard picnic.

Open

May–August.

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The Owner Says

A rural back to nature campsite, only 10 miles from Bournemouth, Sandbanks or Christchurch beaches and surrounded by forest and heathland.

A ten minute stroll will take you the 800 metres to the pub, serving great food and which has live bands on many weekends. There is also a great Chinese restaurant next door for take away or eat in dining.

Bring your dogs and your bicycles to enjoy direct access straight into the forest and onto the Castleman Trailway cycle route, a 17-mile stretch of disused railway line that leads all the way to Poole or the New Forest depending on which way you angle your sights.

Clayford Field Campsite is a cracking spot for those who like a bit of rural roaming on foot, as the site is surrounded by places to get out and stretch your legs.

It is reached via two miles of gravel bridleway and encircled by the woods and fields of the Holt Heath National Nature Reserve, Uddens Park and Ferndown Forest. Ferndown and Wimborne Minster are both about 10 minutes’ drive away for urban bits like supermarkets, restaurants and banks.

For nature enthusiasts, there is Holt Heath, which is one of the largest National Trust areas of its type in Dorset. Acquired by Sir John Bankes in the 1630s as part of Kingston Lacy's estate. Local plants include common heather, bell heather, cross-leaved heath, bog asphodel, sundews and marsh gentian. Birds include large populations of Dartford warbler, stonechat, curlew and nightjar. All six of Britain's reptile species are found here.

Pitches

Grass Pitch

Grass pitch Sleeps 6 30 Available
Grass pitch for your tent and car or your campervan.

Check Availability

Location

Contact Clayford Field Campsite, Clayford Field Camping, Clayford, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 7BJ

Show Map

Getting There

If coming from the direction of London, you will be traveling along the A31 towards Poole/Dorchester. When you see the sign for the Ferndown Industrial estate and the Dorset police headquarters at the roundabout, continue straight on the A31. Looking for the next right hand turn signposted Holt/Broomhill, turn right onto Uddens drive and then continue until the first bend. At the bend turn right, going straight ahead into the road marked with a dead-end road sign. Follow the narrow road, which will become a gravel bridleway, and keep following until you come to a T junction. Turn right and keep following the bridleway until you see four cottages on your left and Clayford Farm ahead of you. Turn right along the track into the forest, for around 200 metres where you will find Clayford field on your left.

Reviews

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Rated ★★★★★ over 9 reviews

★★★★★

A great experience!

A lovely and peaceful campsite. The toilets and showers were very clean and the campsite felt very safe. We had a great time :)
★★★★☆

Great little site

Great campsite if you’re after a quiet get away. Lovely location close to the forest trails. Easy walk to local pub at the golf course which is a good spot for food and drink. Facilities kept clean. No fuss checking in and out, we would definitely stay again.
Aug 25, 2021 by Anna Skelton Verified Review
★★★★★

Tranquil, spacious, calm.

This large field was very flat, surrounded by trees and the grass had been left longer in the middle, which meant that people were happy to pitch near it, resulting in a lovely spacious feel and everyone was spaced out well. The site was quiet at night apart from the owls and foxes, which was really cool, and fairly quiet during the day, with some farm noise from the fields near the site. The shower was nice and hot and clean. Check in was remote, with the gate code texted to you on the day you are due to arrive, although we didn't receive ours until 11:15 that morning! I am looking forward to the next time we can go back.
Aug 21, 2021 by Nicola Clark Verified Review
★★★★★

Fantastic. A lovely quiet site, great facilities and location.

What a great find. A very peaceful site. Great facilities and location. Loads of cycling and walking from the site without having to go on roads. Easy access to the beach and loads to do around the area. The site is very level, and easy ground. The pegs all went in beautifully. Very secure site and great owners. We will definitely be going back.
Aug 21, 2021 by Ashton Miles Verified Review
★★★★★

Peaceful, chilled

Really lush peaceful spot in the woods. Loads of space, hot showers, wifi.
★★★★☆

Great area and facilities

The field was large with loads of space between tents, no issues with the facilities and the surrounding area is really nice for walking/running/cycling and very close to Bournemouth! Did have some local residents playing music that could be heard at the top of the campsite
★★★★★

One night away as new campers

We are new, fair-weather(!) campers. We picked this place as wanted privacy, peace and quiet. In that respect the field delivers, although it’s minutes from the A31 so the roar of traffic can be heard (didn’t bother us). As stated in other reviews, the facilities are very basic and with just one shower per gender, we were certainly grateful there was hardly anyone else on site as it would have felt inadequate. Brilliant access onto the cycle and walk paths all around the forest. We were booked for 2 nights but only stayed 1 due to the rubbish weather. Sure we will return in the future but would definitely avoid peak times due to the lack of facilities.
★★★★★

Great weekend

We had a great time at the campsite, there was plenty of space for everyone, but probably could do with an extra shower to avoid as much queuing. It’s basic but provides all you need, had a great time and would go back
★★☆☆☆

Really noisy at night, large groups

We stayed at Clayford Field over a bank holiday weekend as a family of four. We booked the site for the access to cycle routes and I can't fault the location from this point of view, especially for cycling with the kids. However, there were several large groups staying, including one which had at least thirty people. It was the noisiest camping I've done since going to the V98 Leeds festival - there was music into the small hours, a lot of drunk adults and even kareoke. It was impossible to sleep until after midnight, even for the kids, resulting in very grumpy children the next day. I don't want to sounds like the fun police, if people want to party all night that's fine, I just don't want to be in the next tent along while they're doing it! From other reviews it looks like this isn't common so perhaps we were just unlucky. Clayford's website says no large groups or music after 10pm but this wasn't being enforced during our stay. We were so fed up by Sunday that we packed up and came home early. A shame because it spoiled what would otherwise have been a nice break.

Response from Clayford Field Campsite

Hi Elizabeth, i really apologise for the noise you experienced. the one group making noise were asked  to keep the noise down a few times, and they did thankfully go quite just after midnight. 

Why book with Cool Camping?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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