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There are some campsites that merely aspire to views and others that have them in spades. Look north from Forestside, a 156-acre organic dairy farm, and you’ll enjoy a 180-degree vista that takes in both the Weaver Hills and the Peak District’s Dove Valley, and still has room for more around the edges. At night, all those distant parts that looked uninhabited suddenly switch on their lights, presumably for the benefit of those watching, enchanted, from the farm.
The site consists of a single-acre mown field with a slightly rougher field below for those who prefer their camping a little less refined. As the name suggests, the farm is right next to a wood (listen out for tawny owls in the evening) that rises steeply behind it up Marchington Cliff, giving some shelter to the south. A sort of very upmarket shed houses the facilities, which including four highly civilised shower rooms. In the tourist info room there are some laminated maps of a short, circular farm walk to sharpen your appetite for dinner or get the blood circulating in the morning.
At this tiny campsite, your most difficult decision is where you spend the rest of your day, as there are numerous attractions within striking distance to tempt you off the premises, including horse racing at Uttoxeter (4¾ miles) to the heart-stoppingly beautiful Manifold Valley cycle trail (18 miles). Don’t mention it to the kids, but you’re also just a dozen miles from Alton Towers.
Facilities2 loos and 2 showers for men and the same again for women. Showers free. A washing-up area, fridge, kettle, microwave, tourist information, recycling and chemical disposal point. Coarse fishing passes can be obtained onsite. Kids can watch the cows being milked if under supervision. No open fires and BBQs must be off the grass. The 2 insulated glamping pods feature timber decking, carpeted floors, double-glazed lockable French doors, a heater, lights and sockets – you still need to bring your own sleeping bags though.
Tents, campervans, caravans and well-behaved dogs (on a lead at all times) – yes. Sorry, no large groups.
NearbyIt's 4¾ miles to National Trust-owned Sudbury Hall & Museum of Childhood (01283 585305) – a grand 17th-century mansion that plays host to an intriguing and excellent childhood museum plus runs frequent special events. Or try Tutbury Castle (01283 812129) – a prison for Mary Queen of Scots and biffed about by the Roundheads: plenty of history to get your teeth into.
Food & DrinkThere's an old Georgian haunt – The Dog & Partridge (01283 820394) – 1¾ miles away in Marchington with a selection of exceptional local ales on tap and decent pub grub (including good pies). In the absence of easily walkable pubs, though, you could try The Barn (01283 820367), an Indian restaurant just less than 1 mile down the road towards Draycott in the Clay. Marchington village shop sells newspapers and basics.
Opening TimesAll year, subject to weather conditions
Uttoxeter (5 miles) is the nearest train station and runs on the Derby to Crewe line. The Arriva Midlands North bus no. 402 runs from Uttoxeter train station to Marchington Cliff.
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Rated ★★★★★ over 3 reviews
We nearly cancelled our weekend due to the terrible weather forecast but we're so glad we didn't.
We were lucky enough to be one of only two tents on this lovely peaceful campsite. The amenities are all clean, modern and FREE! We had an end of Summer walk (helped by the walks suggestions in the kitchen) which ended with a bbq and topped off with an awesome display of stars in the night sky.
We didn't manage to see the milking this time but hope to be up in time next time we visit
Can't fault this site we had a lovely time here at Whitsun, the weather was grim but the site was clean, quiet and well serviced. I plan to come back when the weather is better so I can sit outside my tent and enjoy the view whilst the tired out tinkers sleep after a busy day.
Sudbury Hall (and the museum of childhood) is close which is great for the kids, especially if they like ice-cream and a woodland playground.
We’ve just returned from a lovely stay at Forestside Farm Campsite! The facilities were excellent...immaculate toilet and showers with lots of hot water. Friendly, warm welcome and a wonderful peek in on farming life which was great for our two boys and which we hope to repeat! The kitchen was equipped with kettle, fridge, freezer and microwave, and obviously sink for washing up. The views were beautiful and we especially enjoyed being able to look out to the field beyond our tent pitch to see the cows in this working organic dairy farm. We had a lovely warm welcome and were invited to see the cows been milked as well as see the new baby calves in the farm courtyard.