Downshay Farm

UK England South West England Dorset Swanage & Isle of Purbeck

Stunning views across the Dorset countryside to Corfe Castle.

A trip to Downshay Farm is a little like embarking on a journey back in time. An ancient steam locomotive services the nearest train station to the campsite, huffing and puffing the six miles between Swanage and Norden. It’s a fitting way to arrive, aboard a relic from the bygone era of romantic and memorable travel, a time when a large part of the thrill of the trip was the journey itself.

From Harman’s Cross station, it’s a short uphill walk through narrow country lanes where you may not even see a car nor any other sign of modern life, except in peak summer. Turning right into the farm and on past the old stone farmhouse, you’ll find the camping field through a rusty, rickety gate.

Campsites with sprawling views, wide-open spaces and big skies don’t come much better than Downshay Farm. The hospitable owners – who live in the large Victorian farmhouse – have struck gold with their location, near to the historically rich Jurassic coastline in one direction and stunning Corfe Castle in the other. This is a campsite with stately views, in fact; the castle perches on the Purbeck Hills in sight of campers and looks eerily spectacular shrouded in early morning mist.

The facilities, a mixture of modern pre-fab and older-style wooden blocks, are fantastically clean (guests must mop up after their own shower and it works, the cubicles are spotless) and the pitches are sheltered and un-numbered, bordered by tall trees. It’s positively sloping in places, so finding a good pitch is key, as is pitching in a direction to ensure a good night’s sleep on these challenging gradients. But sloping campsites are often on higher ground and higher ground often means views, and so we’ve arrived at the crux of our journey. The views from Downshay Farm stretch out across the Dorset countryside like an age-old landscape painting.

Despite the gradient across much of the camping area, flatter pitches can be found on the lower ground, around the edge of the site, but the trade-off will be a lack of views. The large tent field offers about 60 unmarked pitches (there is no specific limit – the owner just brings out the ‘full’ sign when he thinks it’s time) and the field is usually left empty in the centre for games of football or frisbee.

Walks across the Vale of Purbeck also run right by the campsite, including an unmissable – if energetic – day-trek to Studland Bay and Lulworth Cove. Sadly the site is only open for camping during the school holidays, and you have to be quick or lucky to grab a decent pitch at this wildly popular Dorset haven.

Why book with I Love This Campsite?

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The campsite owner says

Spacious fields in the heart of Purbeck  allow you to spread out, relax and enjoy the views. We have three toilet blocks comprising washing up areas, 10 showers, and 16 toilets. 

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

Check availability with the Date Search above

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