Donkey Down

UK England South West England Dorset Weymouth

  • Deep cleaning of shared facilities
  • Hand sanitising stations
  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Campfires Allowed
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
  • Beaches
  • Walking
Family-friendly, dog-friendly, campfire-friendly camping with the best views in Dorset

It’s easy to think you’d get the best sea views by pitching on the waterside. But, two miles in land, Donkey Down is proof that taking a step back makes all the difference. From it’s elevated position, high on a hilltop two miles inland, there’s surely not a campsite in all of Dorset that can match the views of this laid-back, campfire-friendly campsite. To call it scenic is an understatement. The chalky ground slopes away, past an iron-age hill fort, and down to Overcombe, RSPB Lodmoor and Weymouth Bay. Boats thread across the English Channel and, on the horizon, sits the hulking mass of the Isle of Portland. As the sun sets the lights flicker on in the towns below and the sea sparkles. On the hilltop, meanwhile, campers light up their evening campfires and take it all in.

Donkey Down is a pop-up farm campsite around for the summer only. Facilities are temporary but none the worse for it. There are hot indoor showers, well-kept composting toilet blocks and drinking water taps are dotted around the vast 10-acre meadow that has room for over 100 tents with space to spare. The neighbouring fields are all open access land, so there’s plenty of space for kids to run off steam and rolly-polly themselves dizzy down the hillside. The campsite is also a matter of yards from both the Hardy Way and the South Dorset Ridgeway – follow the latter along the ridgetop for 25-minutes and you’ll find yourself standing above the Osmington White Horse, a famous limestone hill figure, cut into Osmington Hill in 1808.

To keep campers well fed, the campsite boats an onsite bar and café and food trucks visit throughout summer, particularly on weekends. Walk down the hill to the pretty village of Sutton Poyntz, meanwhile, and there’s a lovely pub opposite the duck pond with pie nights on Wednesdays, wood-fired pizzas through the weekends and a decent garden and play area outside. It’s a 40-minute walk from the campsite down to the beach (the nearest being ‘Bowleaze Cove’, though it’s essentially all one endless beach running from Weymouth) but don’t be fooled by how easy the downhill route seems. It’s more like 45–50 minutes’ walk on the way back, particularly if you’ve eaten too much ice cream.

Details

Facilities

Composting toilet blocks. One main shower block with six cubicles and an additional three-cubicle block, plus eco showers dotted around the campsite. Drinking water points and hand sanitising stations. Campfires are permitted but must be in firepits raised off the grass (firepits available to hire and logs are for sale). An on-site coffee and cocktail bar is open on Friday and Saturday evenings and Saturday and Sunday mornings, while food vans also visit most days throughout the season and particularly on weekends.

Suitable For

Families, couples, well-behaved dogs, tents and small campervans – yes. Caravans, twin-axle vehicles, stag and hen parties – no.

Nearby

The South Dorset Ridgeway (an inland section of the South West Coast Path) runs directly past the campsite and, if followed east, after around 25 minutes leads you to a point above the Osmington White Horse, a centuries-old limestone figure. From here, you can also join the Hardy Way, which takes you down the slope, past the figure, into the village of Sutton Poyntz and then on to Preston, where there are conveniences, a post office, a wine store, a pharmacy and a couple of good fish and chip shops. Both villages have good pubs. By car, meanwhile, it's 10 minutes to Weymouth, with its long sandy beach, Sealife Centre (01305 761070), Weymouth Pavilion (01305 783225) and boat trips from the working harbour. The Isle of Portland, 20 minutes away and so very visible on the horizon from the campsite, boasts the iconic Chesil Beach and Portland Bill. It's also home to the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy (01305 866000), where you can participate in numerous water sports. Inland, it's 10 minutes to Dorchester, a town that boasts an absolute treasure trove of museums for its size, while, to the east, the best of the Jurassic Coast is all within easy reach, it's 25 minutes to Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door and half an hour to Corfe Castle. The closest attraction to the campsite, however, though you might not notice it, is actually a mere matter of yards from the campsite. An unassuming hummock of land is actually the remnants of Charlbury Hill Fort, a D-shaped iron age hill fort (look closely and you can still see the contours of the external ditch).

Food & Drink

There's a café and bar on the campsite, open from Friday through to Sunday only, while a number of local food vendors visit throughout the summer (there's a particularly good pizza van). Nearby, children and dogs are both welcome at The Springhead Pub (01305 832117) in Sutton Poyntz, which has pie nights on Wednesdays and serves wood-fired pizzas from Thursday–Sunday and is generally more of a food-focused pub than an old boozer (though it has real ales, too, and is Cask Marque Accredited). For an alternative pub, try the family-friendly The Spice Ship (01305 835544) in Preston, set in a grade II-listed coaching house with wood panelling and low beams. A covered, elevated patio looks out over the large beer garden, which gets busy with campers from other local sites in summer. In Weymouth, The Dorset Burger Company (01305 780888) and Italian food specialists Al Molo (01305 839888) are particularly popular picks.

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The Owner Says

Donkey Down enjoys spectacular views over Weymouth Bay, Portland and the surrounding countryside. The site is situated on a gently sloping hill, overlooking the picturesque village of Sutton Poyntz.

Campers can choose their own pitch and as the site is 10 acres in size, there will be plenty of choice. For those who prefer glamping, there are unfurnished bell tents available for hire. All will be able to park their vehicles next to their tents.

The South-West Inland Coast Path passes to the south of the site, making it a perfect location to explore on foot. Along the Path are many ancient burial mounds, with Donkey Down fortunate enough to have its own Neolithic tumulus! Adjoining the site is an open access field, ideal for exercising children and dogs, both of whom are welcome here. For those wishing to cycle, the site is served by B roads which lead to Weymouth, Dorchester, Broadmayne and a network cycle paths.

The campsite has indoor showers, compostable toilets, washing up facilities and drinking water points. Campfires are allowed if raised off of the ground with firepits available for hire.

Donkey Down is part of an organic working farm and out of season, cattle graze the site. There is a strong commitment to being environmentally friendly here. In addition to the conventional indoor shower block, campers can choose to experience an eco shower, powered only by the Sun. All waste is sorted with the amount going to landfill minimised.

The campsite has a relaxed feel with a pop up bar at weekends and visiting food vans completing the experience.

Social Distancing Measures

Our facilities are frequently cleaned throughout the day and there are hand sanitiser dispensers positioned around the site. As a large site with no designated pitches, campers will be able to maintain distance from others.

Accommodation

Over 100 pitches but bucket loads of space for them all.

Unfurnished Bell Tent

Bell tent Sleeps 6 10 Available
Sleeps up to 6 people with use of firepit and one vehicle included in hire price.

Non-electric grass and earth pitch.

Grass pitch Sleeps 8 90 Available
Spectacular views, choose your own pitch with no restrictions on tent size.

Check Availability

Location

Contact Donkey Down, Donkey Down Campsite, Plaisters Lane, Sutton Poyntz, Dorset DT3 6LQ

Show Map

Getting There

From the A353, there are two main routes to Donkey Down Campsite.

From the east, pass through the village of Osmington and go down White Horse Hill into Preston (the White Horse is to the right and Weymouth Bay to the left). Once you've entered the 30mph zone, take the first turning on your right right onto Sutton Road. Follow the road and fork to the left when you reach Plaisters Lane. Continue up the hill along the narrow road and, immediately at the top, Donkey Down is situated on the right.

From the Weymouth Relief Road A354 (the main route between Dorchester and Weymouth), take the first exit on to the A353 Littlemoor Road. Remain on the A353 for a mile and a half, passing Goulds Garden Centre on the left. Head towards Chalbury Corner and take the last exit on the left, Coombe Valley Road, before reaching the roundabout. Continue on this road for just over a mile until a sharp fork in the road is reached. Turn right onto Plasiters Lane and after a few seconds, Donkey Down is located on the left hand side.

Arriving by train, Weymouth and Dorchester Station are equidistant from Donkey Down but, from Dorchester you then have to take the bus to Weymouth anyway and then another bus to Sutton Poyntz is needed. There is then a mile walk from the bus stop to Donkey Down 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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