Eweleaze Farm, Osmington, Dorset DT3 6ED
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 you?
The Owner Says
Pretty good campsite
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.