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Traditional camping on the Isle of Purbeck with campfires allowed and a pub next door

Situated on a road between two National Nature Reserves, it is difficult to compete with the countryside credentials of Camp Hartland. Blissfully rural and wonderfully quiet, the greens of the ancient Dorset heathland are dotted throughout the year with the ever-changing colour of wildflowers. In winter it’s the brown and white of crispy morning frosts, overlooked by circling hen harriers. Then, when summer comes, the purple haze of bell heather spreads into the grey waters of the nearby moors. Nestled in the midst of this wild and natural landscape is the 28 day pop-up site itself, a destination that clearly received Mother Nature’s memo: "Keep it simple, keep it green and keep it peaceful".

Three miles from Wareham and only a little further to the coast, Hartland Farm is a historic smallholding that is now a working stables. While horses frolic in the fields, a grassy heathland stretch is set aside for hardy campers and a couple of rustic family bathrooms have been readied for their arrival. Hot showers inside a wooden hut are accompanied by a washing up area. But beyond this there's very little onsite – just the way it should be. There are no electric hook-ups or chemical points, a positive approach by the owners to encourage only campers looking for that back-to-basics, authentic experience. And authentic it is, with the working farm on the doorstep and sheep grazing in the next-door field. Chickens scratch as they please, supplying eggs to the farmhouse, where you can also collect a morning croissant, perfect for breakfast.

While the site merits attention for its simplicity and welcoming atmosphere, Camp Hartland’s location dusts the icy on the cake. The nearest neighbour is a beautiful thatched pub that has a large summer garden, while the market town of Wareham, 5 minutes by car, boasts a 10th-century wall that give views over the medieval settlement and across the waterfields beyond. It is the dynamic heritage coast, however, that draws the crowds, with rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, secluded coves and unique formations like Old Harry Rocks. For all of these costal attractions Camp Hartland is well located and walkers can join fabulous sea-front footpaths just a stones throw from the site.

This is a campsite of old; an easy-going, peaceful place that boasts little more than what is required. Good, well-maintained sanitary facilities, a grassy patch to pop the tent and a welcome spot to kindle the campfire. While the less observant flock to their road map’s designated motorhome compound, this little gem retains its quiet charm and unpretentious beauty – a 28 day hideout in Dorset’s best position.

The Owner Says

Camp Hartland offers you a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of your busy lives and sample the great outdoors exactly as it should be.  A choice of beautiful beaches just a short drive away for you to brace yourself for an invigorating sea swim, lie on the silky sand, take country walks or sit by your tent reading a good book.  Whatever your pasttime ... we look forward to seeing you soon.

Reviews

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★★★★★

Just lovely.

Lots of nice things said and probably agree with all of them. Best shower!!!!
Sep 8, 2018 by Neil
★★★★★

Beautiful place

Lovely quite clean campsite set in a stunning location. Showers and toilets clean and great size. Great walks all around so great for dogs and owners. Very friendly owners very helpful but leave u to get on with enjoying ur stay unless u need them.. basic camping at its best only fault wish we could have stayed longer. Will definitely be back thank u x
Aug 30, 2018 by Rachel
★★★★★

Back to nature with a camp fire, eco loos in beautiful countryside it has the added attraction of posh loos and showers

Always a great welcome its a firm favorite with with family and friends. Close to pubs, beaches and country walks we love this place.
Jun 10, 2018 by Billywhizzz
★★★★★

Best campsite on the Purbeck

I've been to a few and this one offers a great central location, relaxed family atmosphere, friendly owners and luxury facilities! A short walk to the pub up the road and then back for songs around the camp fire! Well maybe not songs. I really enjoyed my 3 night stay here though I should really keep it secret, I don't want it too busy for next time! :-) 

Aug 14, 2015 by DT
★★★★★

One of my favourites

This campsite is one of my absolute favourites. You get to experience that wild camping feel whilst having the luxury of flushing toilets and showers. The campsite is one of the very few in Dorset where you can have a real fire, something that has that very special feel for the children. There is nothing more memorable that the first time you have a baked potatoes straight from the fire or toasting marshmallows on a stick. The owners are extremely friendly and very helpful in suggesting the best places to visit in the area. I would encourage anyone visiting the area to spend some time here.

Aug 13, 2015 by Conrad
★★★★★

Our place

Every year our group of friends make our way from all over the UK to Hartland to chill out and get together again for a great catch up weekend.  We know there are great beaches, the Jurassic coast and Wareham forest but we choose to stay put.  The boys love to have a proper fire to cook on and the girls love........... the proper showers!  There are some neat new Eco loos as well now if you want to avoid any morning toilet queues.  Phil and Caz are cool hosts, always a smile and a chat with everyone who wants to stop for a while.  The kids have all grown up here over the years, just a bit, every summer, now some are 18, so with good pubs from 10 min to 30 min walk away we have it all.

Aug 13, 2015 by billywizzz
★★★★★

Beautiful

We had a really lovely stay, basic campsite in beautiful surrounds. 

Aug 10, 2015 by gt
★★★★★

Friendly and Fantastically basic

We found the site by accident, assuming we wouldn't find such a great place with no loud facilities for mobile home families - which can ruin a stay. Sadly we had to leave early as our daughter was unwell. The owners were really friendly. We especially loved being able to have a campfire and the kids (we went with friends) loved being able to close the chicken coop and collect eggs. 

There's loads to see and do in the area, and as advertised the Halfway Inn is about 0.5 miles away. We found the food a bit over-priced for it's basic quality though.

Thoroughly recommend this site, and will return when we're next in the area.

Aug 5, 2015 by Mike Jones
★★☆☆☆

Could be great.....but

You arrive, sign in at a small reception(unmanned) desk and then pitch in one of two fields. One field has compost loos, the other flush toilets and showers (2 of each) and two washing up sinks. This is not a lot when you consider both fields can accommodate a lot of campers. We had a lot of waiting due to the showers etc being occupied.

Part of the campsite was cordoned off for "Private camping" which I presume were friends of the people who run the site. The sign said that although it was private camping you could still "roam" the grounds there. The lady who ran the site made a point of telling us we could walk up the small hill/mound, by the private campers, to a small bench at the top to watch the sunset. I imagine the sunset would have been lovely from up there had the private campers, quite a lot of them, not all been piled up there and being really noisy. We attempted to go there but we were not exactly made welcome, so retreated back to the tent.

On one occasion I was in the shower when one of the private campers repeatedly tried opening the door and called for me to hurry up. I had only been in there a few minutes. They kept trying the door and made me feel very rushed and awkward. When I came out I heard them mutter "take your time why don't you!" as I walked away. Worth noting that the other toilet was unoccupied at this time, so I do not really know what their problem was.

There was also a continuous bad smell within the field, rather like drains. In the tent you could not smell it, but outside you could. Not pleasant.

The toilet block had a lot of beetles in there at night, and some very big spiders.

Campfires are allowed.

The camp is near Studland beaches and within half and hour of Swanage, both of which are nice places. Also Corfe castle is nearby, well worth a visit. There is a lovely animal sanctuary nearby too. The local pub, a 5 min walk away, offers good food and ales, and there is a PYO fruit farm just down the road too.

The owners offer croissants at £1 each every morning.

I imagine if the site was not so full, and the private campers were not there then it would be a great little place. As it was, the smell, waiting for the loos/showers, and the rather rude private campers and the noise from the nearby busy road at night ruined it somewhat :(  We decided to move on to another site.

Aug 3, 2015 by WellieNellie

Response from Camp Hartland

Thanks WellieNellie for taking the time to write your review. We have to agree with you that our private party of campers were particularly noisy. We are sorry to hear you experienced rudeness as well. Camp Hartland endeavours to help people feel relaxed and at home and it is a shame this time that you did not experience that. It was a busy weekend with beautiful weather and the campsite was most definitely more vibrant than usual. The Eco Loos are a new addition and we are pleased that they do ease the queues for the loo at busy times. We try to keep the wiffy smells at bay for the most part…. It would be great if you could make a return trip and experience Camp Hartland at its most peaceful, which is majority of the time, when I am sure you will have a pleasant stay.

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