Few destinations could be better suited than this bucolic corner of the South West. Hugged by the dramatic Jurassic Coastline; dotted with a multitude of quaint seaside hubs and Hardyean thatched-roofed cottages, it is little wonder why this stretch of the south west coast between Lyme Regis and Weymouth has long been a popular pitchup point for campers. Nestled on the undulating slopes of Osmington Hill, Northdown Farm stretches through a lush landscape the locals Paradise Valley. It doesn't take much stretch of the imagination to see how it earned this celestial soubriquet – with expansive views taking in the South Dorest Downs, the sparkling Celtic Sea and the famous Osmington White Horse.
Taking their cue from the sister site at Eweleaze, the folks behind Northdown Farm have created a wonderful family-friendly tents-only campsite. Facilities are ample here with toilets, free hot showers and recycling stations. In a setting this sumptuous, content campers aren't likely to be hankering for the bells and whistles. But Northdown go above and beyond, delivering a first rate farm shop stocking produce from the organic farm's own reared livestock (Aberdeen Angus Beef Cattle and Soay cross Dorset Sheep) and an organic bakery boasting all manner of pies pasties and stone-baked pizzas. Your accommodating hosts even run a courtesy bus down to one of the surrounding area's many wonderful beaches.
With a wealth of things to do in the local area
Northdown's relaxed atmosphere and old-fashioned
earthiness makes it one of the best camping spots in a region already
brimming with some splendid sites. What a shame it's only open for 4
weeks of the summer. But then, you
wouldn't want too much of a good thing now would
The Owner Says
Reviews of Northdown Farm
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Down a steep, bumpy track this campsite is huge and you can camp where you like. The first field was pretty full so we went to the second field - further to walk to the lovely wooden-hut showers, but still had four eco toilets in the field (tip - don't look down into the pit!) which weren't too smelly and had a box of bark chippings to throw down afterwards. Other campers were even further away in other fields so you can be a good distance away from others if you choose. We had a fairly spacious plot which became even more so when the majority of campers left on the Monday. The ground is flat and the grass cut short and there are washing up stations at the corners of the fields. The shop has a few basics, including booze, freshly baked bread and some barbecue meats, some produce was reasonably priced, other items were a little expensive. The same can be said for the pizzas; tasty but definitely overpriced, although having a pizza oven on site is still a novelty and handy for when you've turned up without food and are too tired to take a trip to the shops.
On two of the days we were there, the courtesy bus wasn't running to the Eweleaze beach so we didn't see what that was like. We had a trip to the nearby Bowleaze Cove which was fairly busy and pebbly but the sea was lovely to swim in and the fish and chips were delicious. Definitely worth a visit is the village of Sutton Poyntz, which is 'chocolate box' pretty and has a great pub just by a stream with ducks and stepping stones. Sutton Poyntz is only a 5 minute walk away and is clearly signposted.
The one negative point to mention about Northdown is the nearby Holiday Park which had live music blaring out on Saturday and Sunday night, it was incredibly loud! OK, so it finished around 11pm but, if you're after a camping stay somewhere which is peaceful and 'away from it all', it's not what you expect. Plus it seemed that quite a few of the other campers didn't think about others when they stayed up quite late making noise. If you're going to have a campsite that's in a location where you can enjoy being in the middle of the countryside, there perhaps should be some respectful rules?
Anyway, although there wasn't much in the way of information from the staff on reception - other campsites have told us where to go for sightseeing, walks, supplies or find dog-friendly pubs and beaches etc. - the price was good value for money and, if we want to visit that part of Dorset again then we will go back.
Campfires allowed. Toilets can be found in
every camping field. There are several free hot showers and washing-up sinks
dotted around the site. The centrally-located farm shop sells a range of
farm-reared produce including beef. lamb, eggs, bread and
milk as well as ciders and wines. It also stocks all camping essentials
including firewood gas and
barbeques. The farm's very own organic bakery serves up a range of
pizzas, pasties, and pies as well as sandwiches. There's an ice-pack exchange in the
farm shop. The site is run along very similar lines to its sister site Eweleaze
Farm. Just as at Eweleaze guests
are able to choose their own pitch so
friends and families can camp in groups. Car parking by your tent is allowed
on most of the fields. A courtesy bus runs daily trips down to the nearby
beach. There's acres of space for kids to run around, fly kites
and play ball games. They'll also love to pet the farm
This corner of West Dorset is absolutely
crammed with fun activities and attractions. Just a few minutes drive from
Northdown Farm lies some of the region's best beaches with something
for everyone. Ringstead
Bay (3 miles away) has great swimming and superb views of Weymouth; Bowleaze
Cove (2 miles) is popular with the windsurfers; while Weymouth's
bustling sands and Georgian promenade offers the quintessential seaside
experience. The sister site, Eweleaze
Farm (a walkable 1.9 miles away),
boasts its own 1/2 mile private beach. The 630 mile long South West Coast Path stretches along the shores of Dorset and one of its
loveliest streteches lies just a stone's throw south of Northdown
Farm. The path also runs along the famous Jurassic Coast An
exploration of this famous World Heritage Site is a must.
Food & Drink
With a dedicated bakery and farm shop on site offering some of the finest quality meat to stick on the barby grilling your own is the order of the day at Northdown. If you must venture out for vittles, the Springhead (01305 832117)and The Spice Ship (01305 834651) are decent local options within walking distance of the site.
It's only open for 4 weeks in the summer.
Adults: £5/night Sunday to Thursday nights and £10/night for Friday and Saturday nights. Children (3-14 years): £2.50/night Sunday to Thursday nights and £5/night for Friday and Saturday nights. Vehicles: Flat fee of ¬£10 for each vehicle brought onto site for the stay (no camper vans). No extra charge for infants under 3, pets, extra tents or gazebos.
From the West (Weymouth)
proceed through Preston and up the hill.
Soon after the sign the entrance to Northdown Farm will be seen on the left hand side.
From the East (A35) take the B3390 and A353 to Osmington. Drive through the village and out the other side past the sign.
Go down the hill for 800m, and the entrance to Northdown Farm will be seen on the right hand side.
By train - National Rail to Weymouth, from Bournemouth/Southampton/Waterloo, Bristol/Bath and other locations
By coach - National Express to Weymouth, from Bournemouth and other locations
X53 Jurassic Coastline bus which runs from Poole to Exeter. Get off at The Spice Ship, Preston (see On Foot directions below) £6.50/adult - £4.80/child, single for any distance on this service. This ticket also allows travel on the Bournemouth-Poole local bus for connections.
4B Weymouth to Silver St, Sutton Poyntz, £1.60/adult - £1.10/child, single, walk from here
X53 Weymouth to The Spice Ship, Preston, £1.60/adult - £1.10/child, single, walk from here
By taxi from Weymouth - Bee Cars - 01305 775151 or 769900. £9.00 from Weymouth train station or bus terminal.
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