Downshay Farm

UK England South West England Dorset Swanage & Isle of Purbeck

  • Distance markers in shared facilities
  • Contactless check in
  • Deep cleaning of shared facilities
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
Shepherds hut, bell tent and camping with 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.

But it isn't all about the campers here. The newest addition to Downshay Farm is a pair of gorgeous glamping abodes. The creation of the lovely Andrea Pike (daughter-in-law of Downshay's owners), Andrea's Farm Breaks sees a charming shepherds hut and bell tent plotted in a peaceful pocket of the farm for those campers who like things decidedly hassle-free. A basically-furnished but well-equipped bell tent sleeps a family of four on one double and two single raised beds. Essentials like fairylights, lanterns, and trunk for storage are supplied and extras like bedding and a gas stove can be hired too, while that all important firebowl and BBQ outside are included alongside a picnic table. The Keeper's Hut is a cosy self-contained cabin, sleeping up to two on a comfy double bed and boasting a cute kitchenette with Belfast sink and a few basic appliances (kettle, toaster, coffee machine, cutlery, crockery, glasses, cool bag and icepacks and tea and coffee) for making breakfast. There's a BBQ and firepit included outside from which to enjoy lazy al fresco lunches (complimentary fire-starter kit provided). And, perched atop a dry-stone wall framed patio, the views from the shepherds hut out to the sea and iconic Corfe Castle are cracking. 

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.

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.

(Please note, for 2020, Downshay Farm are only accepting bookings made in advance. Customers who have not pre-booked will be turned away. This is to help keep customers and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bell Tent accommodation will not be available during 2020).

Our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee

Book with complete confidence at Downshay Farm with the I Love This Campsite Coronavirus Booking Guarantee. We guarantee the following clear policy for your booking:

  • A low deposit of 30% to secure your booking
  • Balance due 30 days before your holiday
  • Complete flexibility to move bookings up to the end of 2021 in the event of Coronavirus restrictions
  • Due to the flexibility provided we are unable to offer refunds
  • This guarantee supersedes any other policies

Click here to read the full terms





The caravan site will be open from 4th July. The campsite for tents and VW sized vans will re-open on 9th July. Please click on the relevant link below for details on how to book, see our COVID page for details on how we plan to keep you safe during your holiday.

We will be taking campsite bookings via email only. We have a new email address:


The Keepers hut sleeps two with a mini kitchen and tea coffee making facilities and well appointed with Seating.

Toilets and showers are shared with the rest of the campsite; please see our Covid-19 page for further details and conditions for this year. Bedding is provided, unless you would prefer to bring your own, please add this as a note when booking if so. Towels are not provided.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic I will not be able to operate the Bell Tent this year.

Please refer to for full Covid-19 information and how to book

Suitable For

Glampers, tents, small campervans, caravans (in a separate field), well-behaved groups, dogs (on leads) – yes. Transit vans, motorbikes – no.


On sunny days head to Swanage, Studland or Shell Bay beaches or take the ferry to Sandbanks. Plus there is the evocative ruin of Corfe Castle (01929 481294). Take a steam train ride on Swanage Railway (01929 425800) to Corfe Castle. Trains depart regularly from Harmans Cross station, 5 minutes walk from the campsite.

Food & Drink

Corfe Castle’s ice-cream shop – Box of Delights – sells Purbeck specialities and Dorset cream teas (01929 481060). The real ales and ciders at The Square & Compass (01929 439229) in Worth Matravers are well worth seeking out, as are more castle views from the pleasant garden at The Scott Arms (01929 480270) in Kingston. Both are a 10-minute drive from the site.

Opening Times

For 10 days around Whitsun weekend, then again for school holidays (mid-July – early September). A separate caravan field is open April –  end October.

Why book with I Love This Campsite?

  • Coronavirus Booking Guarantee
  • 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

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. 

Social Distancing Measures

There will be floor markings in common areas. Please stay 1m distance at all times, 2m where possible. Please wash your hands regularly before & after using any facilities.
Showers/toilets/ washing up areas will be open. Be prepared to queue for social distancing reasons. Please read & observe any signs.  There will be hand sanitiser points & soap, feel free to also bring your own & masks. We clean our toilet blocks 4 times a day, with extra measures such as sanitising of taps, switches, handles. The toilet blocks will be closed from 12-1pm each day for extra deep cleaning. The play area will be closed. Children must stay in the area where your tent is. Please don’t let them play anywhere else unaccompanied.Please depart by 11am, arrivals 3-6pm. No late arrivals.

This site offers our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee


There are pitches for tents, caravans and VW camper vans, some with Electric Hook Up. There's also a Shepherds hut (sleeps 2) and bell tent (sleeps 4) (although the Bell Tents are temporarily closed for 2020). The owners also run a small 12 pitch caravan site from Easter to November.
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Contact Downshay Farm, Haycrafts Lane, Swanage, Dorset BH19 3EB

Show Map

Getting There

From Wareham, take the A351 following signs to Corfe Castle. Continue past the castle on the A351 for 2 miles. At the crossroads at Harmans Cross, turn right into Haycrafts Lane. Continue on this road for 1 mile and look out for the signs on the right.

From Wareham train station, catch the Swanage bus to Harmans Cross, or to Gallows Gore between Kingston and Langton, from where it’s a short walk up (or down)Haycrafts Lane .


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Why book with I Love This Campsite?

  • Coronavirus Booking Guarantee
  • 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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