Within a short walking distance of the legendary Square and Compass pub in Worth Matravers in Dorset, the National Trust has opened a family friendly campsite for the summer.
There’s been a campsite at Weston Farm in the Purbeck village in the past, but it stopped operating when the farm went up for sale. Now the National Trust which bought the land from the Strange family in 2022, has reopened the site to campers.
At the start of the season the field was marked out for bell tents and camping pitches, with views across the fields
Orientated towards families and walkers
The campsite field is open for 28 days from Monday 31st July to Sunday 27th August 2023. It’s orientated towards families and walkers and bookings can be just for one night which is suitable for those walking the South West Coast Path
There’s a number of bell tents to book with wooden floors or people can erect their own tent within an eight by eight metre allocated pitch.
Mindful that in the past, the campsite could be extremely popular, there’s a limit of 50 pitches to prevent the site from feeling too crowded. The basic price is for two adults, one child and a dog, with an additional charge for more people.
The bell tents are for up to four people and include beds, bedding, seating, an ice cooler and the essential lanterns and fairy lights!
Facilities include toilets and showers, a cooking area, a communal space to socialise and a van with food and drink available to buy, including pizzas, crisps, snacks and hot drinks.
Inside one of the bell tents
Hot food and drinks are available
Food preparation area with running water with the former radar station in the background
The loos and showers with accessible toilets
There’s plenty to explore
Running the campsite on a day to day basis is National Trust outdoor holidays operations assistant Jack Woodrow, ably assisted by his dog, a border collie called Tuk. He said:
“It’s an amazing place to stay with beautiful views, so close to the sea and surrounded by wildlife. There’s plenty to explore, so we’re organising walks twice a week led by National Trust rangers where there’s a chance of spotting things like hares and glowworms.
“There’s also the well known Square and Compass pub to visit, which can be reached by walking across the fields from the campsite, avoiding the country lanes.”
Jack Woodrow with his dog called Tuk is living on the site for the summer
The Square and Compass in Worth Matravers is a walk across fields from the campsite
Bats, rare orchids, butterflies and migrating birds
The National Trust purchased Weston Farm – one of the last along the Purbeck coastline in private ownership – with the aim of returning the fields to wildlife-friendly grassland and protecting the wildlife.
The 350 acre farm extends from the village down to the Jurassic Coast, including Winspit Quarry. To the east, it adjoins the land already owned by the National Trust which includes Dancing Ledge.
It’s populated with 15 species of bats, rare orchids, butterflies and migrating birds and the plan is for that to be boosted.
Tuk enjoying the surroundings
Cathy Lewis from the National Trust with information about the local wildlife
“Income will be invested back into Weston Farm”
National Trust senior marketing and communications officer for Purbeck Cathy Lewis said:
“The National Trust is about people and nature and having access to wildlife and this is a way for people to immerse themselves, listening to the barn owls and skylarks.
“The more people who enjoy our countryside, the more they will care about nature. It’s all about education and our nature walks are part of that. Our rangers can get you excited about the tiniest of spiders!
“We’ll keep the numbers on the campsite small so that everyone can enjoy the countryside and the income will be invested back into Weston Farm and the restoration of the local environment.”
Across the road from the campsite is the old farmyard that will be opening soon for campervan parking
Campervan parking with seaviews
Alongside reopening the campsite, the National Trust is looking at utilising the old farmyard for campervan parking. The plan is to start taking bookings for this autumn for this hardstanding area with beautiful sea views.
The National Trust is also working out a future plan about what to do with the rest of the farm buildings – essentially a brownfield site in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – and have started local consultations on the best way forward.
- Weston Farm Campsite is at Renscombe Road, Worth Matravers, Dorset BH19 3LL. More about how to book