Norden Farm, Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset BH20 5DS
Authentic on-the-farm camping on the idyllic Isle of Purbeck.
If Old MacDonald had this farm you could keep the rhyme going for hours. Home to pigs, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, alpacas, donkeys, calves and lambs, Norden Farm offers camping in the heart of the Isle of Purbeck, close to Dorset's imposing Jurassic coast.
In a peaceful, rural setting the campsite overlooks fields of grazing sheep and the rolling Dorset countryside beyond, and includes a small natural pond, good for fishing or spotting wildlife. Split over three fields (with an extra spill-over field in peak season) it offers all the facilities you need for a comfortable stay including clean, modern shower blocks, laundry and a covered washing-up area. There are some thoughtful details too like the bath in the family room for cleaning-off grubby toddlers and a 'pooch parlour' where dog owners can give their mucky pups a wash. The farm shop is reasonably priced and well stocked with local produce, fresh rolls and the farm's own beef.
The campsite lies at the gateway to the imposing and geologically significant Jurassic coast - Kimmeredge Bay, Lulworth Cove and Dundle Door (geography field-trip heaven!) are all close by and impressive sights to see. Studland Beach, a 20-minute drive away, is a 4-mile stretch of golden sand with views of the Isle of Wight and Old Harry Rocks (three chalk stacks in the sea) and is a good spot for water sports as well as being home to Britain's most popular naturist beach. There are plenty of well marked paths for walkers, ramblers and cyclists to discover along the coastline, through woodland and across heathland. The picturesque Purbeck coast also offers some of the best rock climbing routes in Northern Europe with ascents for every ability.
Corfe Castle with its iconic medieval ruins is a pleasant 20 minute walk over the Purbeck Ridge, and step back in time with a visit to the ghost village of Tyneham, evacuated shortly before the start of WWII and eerily empty ever since. The Swanage Steam Railway also offers a reminder of a bygone era - you can take the train from the small station at nearby Norden and travel to the coastal town of Swanage which retains its traditional Victorian seaside charm, complete with bathing huts, promenade and paddle steamer pier.
The Owner Says
We are a family run Touring-Caravan and Campsite, on a working farm just outside Corfe Castle, on the southern coast of the beautiful county of Dorset - England, and in the heart of the Isle of Purbeck. We have 3 adjacent level grass fields, with electric hook up, and use an additional large grass field for tents in peak season. We are a family site and welcome dogs, but ask that they be kept under strict control at all times. This site is strictly rural and may not be suitable for those who look for ready-made entertainment. The site is open from 1st March to 31st October (weather permitting)
We are set back from the main road, but with easy access. The site is within 3/4 mile of the world famous village of Corfe Castle ... the ancient town of Wareham is only 3 1/2 miles from us and we are only 20 mins drive from Studland Bay and the seaside town of Swanage.
Norden House which is adjacent to the campsite, offers Bed & Breakfast accommodation serving breakfasts, lunches, evening meals & cream teas: opening hours vary with the season www.nordenhouse.com
OK...but I'll stop elsewhere next time.
Whilst there was nothing largely bad about our time at Norden Farm, when we return to the area, it will be at a different campsite....this one wasn't for us.
There was plenty of space on the top field when we arrived during bad weather as many were leaving to avoid it! The wind really hits that top field hard as it's in the valley, and we snapped a pole during pitching, but our tent was still able to be pitched at survived the strong winds until they finally relented. My advice would be to pitch correctly to the wind and use all your guys, we saw a fellow camper lose their tent as it rolled down the field in the wind as they hadn't pegged down sufficiently. By the end of the week and the good weather back the field was fully booked and jam packed. Personally it was too many for me, and we felt right on top of each other. Others were noisy late at night and running up and down the field playing football right up to our tents once we had gone to bed (past 11pm). There seemed to be no one around to quieten noise or remind people to be considerate of fellow campers. The amount of parents and teens shouting at each other late at night was surprising.
The showers by top field/ pond field were not great either. There seemed to be no temperature control and the water was far to hot to stand under, let alone wash our young children in. We did find the main field facilities were much better with family rooms, unisex showers and male/female showers, which had temperature control and adjustable heads which were fab for washing the children. If used at the wrong time however you were in after someone who left it a bit messy then it was disappointing but the showers were cleaned regularly. The top field toilets also got extremely smelly the busier the site got near the end of the week. My other half informed me the men's smelt alot of wee quite often.
Pot washing was good, everyone left it clean which was nice. At peak times there was a 5 minute wait to wash up. But if you timed it right you were fine.
Shop was well stocked and staff friendly. Lovely cakes and bread daily. They take card payments too which was a plus. As lovely as the duck and chicken eggs were...The farm area really let the site down. The buildings housing animals looked it a terrible state of repair and they smelt awful. I know it's a working farm and believe me I've been in many, they didn't have a proper muck out whilst we were there and it looked like they were trying to deep litter by putting more fresh hay and straw on top. They also seem to be huge hoarders. There is a lot of stored old rubbish all over the farm area, clapped out vehicles, scrap metal, rusted shepherds huts, all sorts! If they scrapped in all the hoarded stuff we were retain they would have enough money to repair or even rebuild the animal sheds.
There is a lovely walk into Corfe Castle from the site, through a gate at the entrance by the main road. And the walk to Norden Steam Station is also simple and quick. The hill next the site also is a lovely position for a sunrise overlooking Corfe Castle.
On a whole there's nothing hugely wrong with Norden Farm and I can see how for others it perfectly suits their holiday. But it wasn't for us. We really want to go back to Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, but we won't be at Norden again.
One of the best campsites I've had a chance to visit. Perfect location. Shop on site is also great, you'll find everything you may possibly need there.Only 15 min walk up the hill and you'll find a great spot for some early morning photography with the view of beautiful Corfe Castle:) love it and definitely will be back!
amazing family friendly site
We have been visiting Norden Farm for 4 years, we visit at different times of the year from Easter right through to October,it has such beautiful surroundings that change all year. I am a 36 year old woman with a 7 year old son, I frequently come straight from school on a Friday with a friend and her son, we set up the tents ,have dinner and get the camp fire on, I have never felt unsafe here. We do Also come with my husband and a large group of friends for August bank holiday weekend. The site is spotless, lots of hot clean showers, toilets and washing up sinks. The safe are very friendly and helpful. The shop is very well stocked with fresh bread ,cakes,meat and the best fresh jumbo eggs, also logs for the fire. The take away van comes in very handy for breakfast on the last day before packing up. My son always takes his bike and I'm more than happy when he's riding around, as the cars drive very slowly. The steam train is only a walk from the site and Corfe and wareham aren't far. The price is very good Also. We Love this site.