Verwood (Ready Camp)

UK England West Country Dorset

Sutton Hill, Woodlands, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 8NQ

Conveniently located glamping on the Dorset Hampshire border.

It may not be in the New Forest but Verwood Campsite still makes for its own woodland feel, nestled against Birches Copse, a bank of trees on the northern edge of the camping field. In fact, at one point this whole area was packed with dense forest – the nearby village of ‘Woodlands’ is testament to that – and it’s only in the last few centuries the trees have been cleared away. Today the area is a patchwork of fields, pimpled by small spinneys and pockets of oaks that have stood the test of time.

But being just outside the New Forest is no bad thing. The intertwining cycle paths and bounteous collection of wildlife are still within grasping distance, yet here you have the convenience of a well-connected landscape. Bournemouth is 20 minutes away, Poole is to its side and pretty rural villages like Shaftsbury and Sherborne are just a short journey in the car.

Campers looking for an easy pitch and some extra comforts can try their brand new safari tents, a real highlight of the campsite. Tucked away in their own area, away from the bulk of the caravans, they come decked from top to bottom with the likes of double beds, dining furniture and a well-stocked kitchenette. The tents are partitioned into a couple of different rooms, a kitchen and living area separate from ‘bedroom’ spaces, and the sides can be rolled up to create one larger open space.

Since the safari tents are set up amidst what is a Camping and Caravanning Club run site, facilities are, as you’d expect, excellent. Ablutions feature disabled and family facilities and there’s a games room with pool and table football for the kids. There is, admittedly, a noticeable lean towards the caravan community, with snaking tarmac linking the many hard-standings, but campers and safari glampers alike can easily find grassy space in which to kick a football around and enjoy some of that essential camping freedom.

The surroundings of the site are perfect for anyone who likes a little organisation. If you’re a list person, always scribbling out your to dos on a scrap of paper, then this part of Dorset seems purpose built for itineraries – and not in the cheesy, pre-booked tour bus kind of way. Try a New Forest day: pedalling the bridleways that lead you through the national park. Look out for the resident wild ponies and be sure to stop in one of the bolthole pubs, tucked amid the greenery. Then, of course, there’s your seaside day: Stop at Bournemouth, where you can paddle in the surf, or enjoy the old town and harbour of neighbouring Poole. The explorer’s day (okay, we have given that one a cheesy name) will see you discovering delightful little villages like Wimborne Minster, Newtown and Shaftsbury 

Finally, history day is a half hour drive to Salisbury, home to it’s famous cathedral and edged by ancient Stonehenge. Well, that’s four days covered straight off the bat, and there’s plenty more to be found – so if you’re here for the weekend you’ll have to do a little eeny meeny miny moe. At least you’ve now got one decision made: where to base yourself for the best of all the choices.

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