Maple Field Camping

UK England South East England Hampshire Fordingbridge

  • Dogs welcome
  • Campfires allowed
  • Groups welcome
  • Electrical hook-ups
  • Short walk to pub
Wildflowers, birds and butterflies abound at this traditional tent camping pop-up on the Hampshire-Dorset border

Straddling the Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire borders, Martin Down is a wild, chalky grassland that stretches for almost 1000 acres across Cranborne Chase AONB. Birds and butterflies of various song and shade can be found here, attracted to the profusion of wildflowers that pepper the sprawling meadows and scrub. It’s an ancient landscape, and while it might lack the dramatic contours and undulating slopes of the South Downs, the hand of history seems to touch the very air here, from its Bronze Age barrows to its Second World War firing range.

Set amidst this captivating backdrop lies Maple Field Camping, a three-and-a-half acre farm hosting camping for a few privileged pitches throughout the summer. Helmed by affable host Nick, this simple yet charming spot offers up to 40 informally laid-out camping pitches with scenic views towards the surrounding hills of Cranborne Chase. Rustic facilities are housed in the farm’s L-shaped barn with a basic washing-up facilities, hot shower and proper loo (supplemented by a couple of other portable varieties onsite). This cosy communal space also makes a decent refuge from the rain, but when the warm summer evenings draw in, most campers congregate around the central firepit that serves the whole site, gazing upward in awe at the pristine star-studded night sky.

Nick is a wellspring of local knowledge, and a veritable Wikipedia of the resident flora and fauna. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for blackcaps, buzzards, hawks, robins, red kites, wrens, thrushes, jackdaws, starlings, turtle doves and finches (both bull and gold) to name but a few, not to mention the vibrant Chalk Hill Blue and Adonis Blue butterflies. Nick can point you in the direction of the best walking routes and Neolithic burial mounds. Lying just outside Fordingbridge – the gateway to the New Forest – and with medieval Salisbury, Stonehenge and the sandy beaches of the South Coast lying close by, there’s enough in the region to keep you entertained. One local little gem is Damerham, the pretty nearby village set beside the River Allen (a tributary of the Avon) with thatched cottages, a Norman church, riverside mill and a lovely pub overlooking the cricket green.

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Details

Facilities

Portable-style toilets and basic shower facilities. Communal washing-up facilities (hot and cold running water) with communal fridge. A large barn is on hand for bad weather. 1 electric hook-up available. BBQs permitted and communal campfire lit in the evenings.

Suitable For

Tents, campervans, dogs – yes. No loud music please, this is a family-friendly site. 

Nearby

There’s plenty to enjoy in the New Forest. Pack a map, pick up a trail and explore the national park’s myriad woodland walks. Keep an eye out for iconic New Forest wild ponies and Goshawks circling overhead. Cranborne Chase AONB isn’t far and the campsite lies within the Martin Down Nature Reserve an almost 1000-acre chalk grassland filled with wildflowers and all manner of downland flora and fauna. Christchurch and the sandy beaches of Mudeford and Bournemouth are just 25 mins away, while the Jurassic Coast wonders of Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door and the Isle of Purbeck lie less than an hour away a little further along the coast. For a history-filled excursion, the cathedral city of Salisbury, Iron Age hill fort Old Sarum, and Stonehenge are all less than half an hour’s drive away.

Food & Drink

The nearest pub is The Compasses Inn (01725 518231) in Damerham – a stylish country inn with an equally refined menu of locally-sourced dishes. Its sprawling beer garden makes an ideal setting to while away the day when not at camp. Check their events calendar for live music. The Inn at Cranborne (01725 551249) lies 4 miles from Maple Farm – this dog-friendly local serves up pub grub favourites, Hampshire ales, cocktails and and a welcoming fireside in winter. Further afield in Fordingbridge, The George (01425 652040) is a charming riverside spot that dates back to the 1700s. Booking is recommended for dining in the conservatory with views over the River Avon. There are several supermarkets places to eat in the town – ask Nick for recommendations.

Opening Times

From late May bank holiday weekend, then summer weekends from 28th June–29th July and nightly from 2nd August–16th September. 

Why book with I Love This Campsite?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

The Owner Says

You will share the beautiful field with hedge sparrows and woodpidgeons and blackcaps that will sing you into wakefulness: with long tailed tits, robins, wrens and bullfinches: with goldfinches on the thistle flowers and wagtails on the barn roof: with rooks, rabbits and Renard the fox: with goldcrests, blackbirds and mistle thrushes: tawny owls and spotted flycatchers and jet black jackdaws: with crowds of starlings that arrive like American tourists all eager for knowledge: and overhead you will hear the cry and meow of the buzzard: watch the fork tailed red kyte and marvel at the deadly approach of a sparrow hawk: hear, perhaps for the first time, the ‘woo-wooh’ of the shy little turtle dove. The hedges that surround you were planted before 1780 and are solid examples of early Enclosure Act barriers. Next to you is the giant Longbarrow up a sweet curving lane. Within your temporary Parish are 3 other major Neolithic burial sites – King’s Barrow; Knapp Barrow and Hanham’s Barrow. The Dorset ‘Cursus’ pulls up just short of Martin Down to the south: you can walk along the magnificent earth work of Bokerly Dyke. You can follow a perfect Roman Road along the north boundary of the Parish for 2 miles, lined on both sides with wild garlic probably brought here in the clefts of the soldier’s sandals. You can go home with your head ringing with pre-history.

You are going to count your blessings in murmuring song birds and satisfying full-english breakfasts looking over Martin Down from your tent door.

Pitches

Space for up to 40 tent camping pitches.
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Location

Contact Maple Field Camping, Martin, Fordingbridge, Hampshire SP6 3LR

Getting There

From Salisbury (12 miles away), take A354 towards Blandford. After passing through Coombe Bissett, turn left down Martin Drove. After 1 mile you will see 30mph sign. Take the next left after the sign to reach the campsite. From Fordingbridge (6 miles away), follow the road out of town towards Sandleheath and then Damerham. In Damerham, take the second right signposted for Martin. Pass right through Martin heading north until you come to the Martin Club on your left. Turn immediately right into the campsite.

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Why book with I Love This Campsite?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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