Donkey Down

UK England South West England Dorset Weymouth

  • Deep cleaning of shared facilities
  • Hand sanitising stations
  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Campfires Allowed
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
  • Beaches
  • Walking
Family-friendly, dog-friendly, campfire-friendly camping with the best views in Dorset

It’s easy to think you’d get the best sea views by pitching on the waterside. But, two miles in land, Donkey Down is proof that taking a step back makes all the difference. From it’s elevated position, high on a hilltop two miles inland, there’s surely not a campsite in all of Dorset that can match the views of this laid-back, campfire-friendly campsite. To call it scenic is an understatement. The chalky ground slopes away, past an iron-age hill fort, and down to Overcombe, RSPB Lodmoor and Weymouth Bay. Boats thread across the English Channel and, on the horizon, sits the hulking mass of the Isle of Portland. As the sun sets the lights flicker on in the towns below and the sea sparkles. On the hilltop, meanwhile, campers light up their evening campfires and take it all in.

Donkey Down is a pop-up farm campsite around for the summer only. Facilities are temporary but none the worse for it. There are hot indoor showers, well-kept composting toilet blocks and drinking water taps are dotted around the vast 10-acre meadow that has room for over 100 tents with space to spare. The neighbouring fields are all open access land, so there’s plenty of space for kids to run off steam and rolly-polly themselves dizzy down the hillside. The campsite is also a matter of yards from both the Hardy Way and the South Dorset Ridgeway – follow the latter along the ridgetop for 25-minutes and you’ll find yourself standing above the Osmington White Horse, a famous limestone hill figure, cut into Osmington Hill in 1808.

To keep campers well fed, the campsite boats an onsite bar and café and food trucks visit throughout summer, particularly on weekends. Walk down the hill to the pretty village of Sutton Poyntz, meanwhile, and there’s a lovely pub opposite the duck pond with pie nights on Wednesdays, wood-fired pizzas through the weekends and a decent garden and play area outside. It’s a 40-minute walk from the campsite down to the beach (the nearest being ‘Bowleaze Cove’, though it’s essentially all one endless beach running from Weymouth) but don’t be fooled by how easy the downhill route seems. It’s more like 45–50 minutes’ walk on the way back, particularly if you’ve eaten too much ice cream.

Details

Facilities

Composting toilet blocks. One main shower block with six cubicles and an additional three-cubicle block, plus eco showers dotted around the campsite. Drinking water points and hand sanitising stations. Campfires are permitted but must be in firepits raised off the grass (firepits available to hire and logs are for sale). An on-site coffee and cocktail bar is open on Friday and Saturday evenings and Saturday and Sunday mornings, while food vans also visit most days throughout the season and particularly on weekends.

Suitable For

Families, couples, well-behaved dogs, tents and small campervans – yes. Caravans, twin-axle vehicles, stag and hen parties – no.

Nearby

The South Dorsert Ridgeway (an inland section of the South West Coast Path) runs directly past the campsite and, if followed east, after around 25 minutes leads you to a point above the Osmington White Horse, a centuries-old limestone figure. From here, you can also join the Hardy Way, which takes you down the slope, past the figure, into the village of Sutton Poyntz and then on to Preston, where there are conveniences, a post office, a wine store, a pharmacy and a couple of good fish and chip shops. Both villages have good pubs. By car, meanwhile, it's 10 minutes to Weymouth, with its long sandy beach, Sealife Centre (01305 761070), Weymouth Pavilion (01305 783225) and boat trips from the working harbour. The Isle of Portland, 20 minutes away and so very visible on the horizon from the campsite, boasts the iconic Chesil Beach and Portland Bill. It's also home to the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy (01305 866000), where you can participate in numerous water sports. Inland, it's 10 minutes to Dorchester, a town that boasts an absolute treasure trove of museums for its size, while, to the east, the best of the Jurassic Coast is all within easy reach, it's 25 minutes to Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door and half an hour to Corfe Castle. The closest attraction to the campsite, however, though you might not notice it, is actually a mere matter of yards from the campsite. An unassuming hummock of land is actually the remnants of Charlbury Hill Fort, a D-shaped iron age hill fort (look closely and you can still see the contours of the external ditch).

Food & Drink

There's a café and bar on the campsite, open from Friday through to Sunday only, while a number of local food vendors visit throughout the summer (there's a particularly good pizza van). Nearby, children and dogs are both welcome at The Springhead Pub (01305 832117) in Sutton Poyntz, which has pie nights on Wednesdays and serves wood-fired pizzas from Thursday–Sunday and is generally more of a food-focused pub than an old boozer (though it has real ales, too, and is Cask Marque Accredited). For an alternative pub, try the family-friendly The Spice Ship (01305 835544) in Preston, set in a grade II-listed coaching house with wood panelling and low beams. A covered, elevated patio looks out over the large beer garden, which gets busy with campers from other local sites in summer. In Weymouth, The Dorset Burger Company (01305 780888) and Italian food specialists Al Molo (01305 839888) are particularly popular picks.

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The Owner Says

Donkey Down enjoys spectacular views over Weymouth Bay, Portland and the surrounding countryside. The site is situated on a gently sloping hill, overlooking the picturesque village of Sutton Poyntz.

Campers can choose their own pitch and as the site is 10 acres in size, there will be plenty of choice. For those who prefer glamping, there are unfurnished bell tents available for hire. All will be able to park their vehicles next to their tents.

The South-West Inland Coast Path passes to the south of the site, making it a perfect location to explore on foot. Along the Path are many ancient burial mounds, with Donkey Down fortunate enough to have its own Neolithic tumulus! Adjoining the site is an open access field, ideal for exercising children and dogs, both of whom are welcome here. For those wishing to cycle, the site is served by B roads which lead to Weymouth, Dorchester, Broadmayne and a network cycle paths.

The campsite has indoor showers, compostable toilets, washing up facilities and drinking water points. Campfires are allowed if raised off of the ground with firepits available for hire.

Donkey Down is part of an organic working farm and out of season, cattle graze the site. There is a strong commitment to being environmentally friendly here. In addition to the conventional indoor shower block, campers can choose to experience an eco shower, powered only by the Sun. All waste is sorted with the amount going to landfill minimised.

The campsite has a relaxed feel with a pop up bar at weekends and visiting food vans completing the experience.

Social Distancing Measures

Our facilities are frequently cleaned throughout the day and there are hand sanitiser dispensers positioned around the site. As a large site with no designated pitches, campers will be able to maintain distance from others.

Accommodation

Over 100 pitches but bucket loads of space for them all.

Unfurnished Bell Tent

Bell tent Sleeps 6 10 Available
Sleeps up to 6 people with use of firepit and one vehicle included in hire price.

Non-electric grass and earth pitch.

Grass pitch Sleeps 8 90 Available
Spectacular views, choose your own pitch with no restrictions on tent size.

Check Availability

Location

Contact Donkey Down, Donkey Down Campsite, Plaisters Lane, Sutton Poyntz, Dorset DT3 6LQ

Show Map

Getting There

From the A353, there are two main routes to Donkey Down Campsite.

From the east, pass through the village of Osmington and go down White Horse Hill into Preston (the White Horse is to the right and Weymouth Bay to the left). Once you've entered the 30mph zone, take the first turning on your right right onto Sutton Road. Follow the road and fork to the left when you reach Plaisters Lane. Continue up the hill along the narrow road and, immediately at the top, Donkey Down is situated on the right.

From the Weymouth Relief Road A354 (the main route between Dorchester and Weymouth), take the first exit on to the A353 Littlemoor Road. Remain on the A353 for a mile and a half, passing Goulds Garden Centre on the left. Head towards Chalbury Corner and take the last exit on the left, Coombe Valley Road, before reaching the roundabout. Continue on this road for just over a mile until a sharp fork in the road is reached. Turn right onto Plasiters Lane and after a few seconds, Donkey Down is located on the left hand side.

Arriving by train, Weymouth and Dorchester Station are equidistant from Donkey Down but, from Dorchester you then have to take the bus to Weymouth anyway and then another bus to Sutton Poyntz is needed. There is then a mile walk from the bus stop to Donkey Down Campsite.

Reviews

Add Your Review

Rated ★★★★★ over 17 reviews

★★★★★

Great stay at Donkey Down

Our group of 6 had a great time this weekend at the campsite. They were very welcoming and didn’t mind some of us arriving late as long as we came in quietly. The toilet facilities were clean and the showers were hot. The views were lovely all round, with a great little bar/cafe and food stall on site. They advised those in louder groups to camp at one end, so it was nice to have a bit of an option of the environment we wanted. We will definitely be visiting again, thank you to all the staff for such an enjoyable experience!
Jun 14, 2021 by phoebe price Verified Review
★★★★★

The perfect stay

Beautiful location, friendly staff, amazing views. There is a 'quiet side' and a side for noisier people so you can decide where youd like to go. Beautiful views day and night. Warm showers, toilets, bar with delicious cocktails! Would 100% recommend and stay again! 10/10
★★★★★

Amazing

My first solo camp alone just with my dog couldn't have been better. Great site with amazing views and a lovely coastal breeze to keep you cool. There is a bar and food on site but I pitched the other end of the field from this so i wasn't bothered by the noise. Shower / toilets are great. Will definitely be back 😁
★★★☆☆

Beautiful views noisy neighbours

The staff were friendly and welcoming. The views were beautiful, it was just a shame about the number of people blasting out loud music from their cars or vans and leaving litter. To be fair, the people next to us were asked to turn the music down at one point. I woke up in the morning to find them gone with litter left behind. An unaccompanied dog also stole food from the family next to us. It didn't feel very family friendly. The staff did say the lower end of the field would be quieter, but this was also on more of a slope so not ideal for camping/parking a van. I wonder if Covid has increased the number of people using this as a drinking rather than camping spot. I would love to visit again, but would probably avoid weekends. The food looked great and the toilets were nice. We were only there one night so didn't try the showers.
Jun 14, 2021 by BC Verified Review
★★★★★

Beautiful

Thank you for a great stay, we only live down the road and just wanted to get the boys out for the weekend, the view is perfect and the most beautiful sunsets, very clean camp site and Facilities, nice and quite, and will def be back again. Thank you
★★★★★

Fantastic Stay!!

I visited Donkey Down for a weekend trip as I wanted to ‘get away’ from it all. I cannot fault this campsite. The owners were absolutely brilliant; super friendly, warm and incredibly helpful. They answered any queries that I had prior to booking almost immediately. You get the most wonderful views of rolling green fields and sea! It’s a great place to go exploring (Weymouth beach is a short 10 minutes drive away, Lulworth Cove and Dudle Door a 25 minutes drive and Corfe Castle, Studland Nature Reserve and Beach a 45 minute drive)! The facilities are great; shower blocks with hot water which are cleaned regularly, washing up blocks and compost toilets which are really easy to use. You can rent out a fire pit for £10 (an initial £20 to pay but you get £10 back on return of the pit) which I made use of so I could sit by a fire and read in the evening. I love that you can pitch anywhere you like the massive field and it being non-EHU gives it a very easy feel. I do believe that their is a cafe/eatery/bar on site but I never used it so cannot comment of this. I cannot recommend Donkey Down enough. If you are hesitating or still deciding if this is the place for you, please please just go for it - you won’t regret it!
★★★★★

Excellent site, great staff

The set up was very good, great view, great showers, toilets cleaned frequently. The staff all had a great attitude and to top it off it has a great bar with h as ply hour cocktails.
★★★★★

Love Love Love

Stayed 4 nights and absolutely loved this stunning family run site. Fabulous sea views with great access all around. Super clean facilities! Toilets were great, never ran out of loo roll, shower were lovely and warm, spacious and super clean! The bar was fantastic, absolutely loved the style and the bar staff were brilliant. Super friendly leaving you smiling. And food truck was an excellent added bonus! Plus reception sold fire logs, a total lifesaver as burned through mine quickly. Love love love!!! I'll definitely be back ❤
Jun 7, 2021 by Anastasia Verified Review
★★★★★

Absolute perfection!

Fantastic campsite! The most stunning sea views and lots of open space. Really good facilities (the showers were great) and the bar is a really good touch (even served cocktails - And they were delicious!) - the bar was beautifully set up with lights around the stretch tent. The owner, Tim, is also brilliant - very friendly and welcoming. I could not recommend this campsite enough, one of the best we have been to and we will definatley be returning! Thank you Donkey Down for a perfect weekend :)
★★★★★

Stunning Location, spotless facilities

The location is absolutely stunning, the views across Weymouth Bay are superb, I could have sat there watching the channel all day. I would recommend taking binoculars. I didn't, and regretted it. I was particularly pleased that the site wasn't split into pitches, so you could pick your spot and take up as much space as required. We got lucky getting a spot with uninterrupted sea views between the pre-erected bell tents. (which looked so inviting) The staff I interacted with were super friendly and helpful, the showers were spotless with lovely hot water. The toilets were clean and were cleaned regularly to keep them that way. The composting toilets took a bit of getting used to but worked a treat once you got lined up! I will definately be visiting again and highly recommend a visit.
★★★★★

Amazing views

Simply a great location! This campsite has everything you need when camping, (which is actually not that much), however the views are spectacular. The cocktails at dusk were also a great touch as was the morning cappuccino.....just adding a few luxuries. Simple facilities, which were ideal for the purpose. A water tap at the top of the field would have been good, however if you take a water container it’s not that inconvenience.
Jun 7, 2021 by Lookstar Verified Review
★★★★★

It's a great campsite (it has all the things you need and its in a great location), we had a fantastic time!

It is a campsite, the facilities are basic but functional - I didn't want for anything during my stay. The people running the place are incredibly friendly. The views are outstanding. It's close to Weymouth and the location is very convenient for shops and beaches. I'd stay again and I would recommend it to anyone who wanted to camp in Dorset. The place is just what you want and I can't think of any negatives.
★★★★★

Best weekend!

We booked a last minute stay in one of the bell tents at Donkey Down, and were rewarded with a wonderful stay! The bell tent was clean, warm and had and amazing view of the sea. The team were really friendly and helped us out with fire pits etc, plus the facilities (toilets and showers) were cleaned very regularly. We also loved the on-site bar and food truck. All food and drinks were lovely and very good quality, more so than any other campsite we have stayed at. We’ll definitely be coming back!
★★★★★

A beautiful spot

Absolutely beautiful setting - stunning views abut so much around in easy reach. Best camping showers we’ve ever seen and really well maintained and equipped. We walked down to the beach, and there are many other options for walks and activities in easy reach. As it is on a ridge it can be windy in the evenings so bring something to wrap up warm in. But fully recommend.
Jun 7, 2021 by Ed Perry Verified Review
★★★★★

Absolutely fantastic

A little gem, such friendly staff, always willing to help, very relaxed campsite, with amazing views, can't believe the facilities considering it's more on the simple amenities, I actually preferred the eco toilets over the porter loos, little smell and it makes you realise what a Wastefull society we are, all in all we will book again
★★★★★

One of the best campsites we've visited

Really good campsite with a spectacular view of Peymouth beach and Portland. Friendly service was easy to find and approachable. The showers were amazing, much better than we have experienced at other campsites. Easy to find the south Dorset ridgeway as it runs along the side of the campsite and a half hour walk to the south west coast path. The onsite bar was also a welcome addition. We will definitely stay again soon.

Response from Donkey Down

Thanks James! See you again soon!

★★★★★

Beautiful place

Stunning views, lovely atmosphere quiet and peaceful. Loved our stay.
Jun 1, 2021 by Hannah

Response from Donkey Down

Thank you Hannah! So pleased you enjoyed it!

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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