GO & STAY
On the outskirts of Wimborne Minster, perched above the beautiful Stour Valley in Dorset, is the most enchanting campsite called Farrs Meadow. We discovered it a few years ago and fell in love thanks to its beautiful setting and ‘back to basics’ approach. It’s how you imagine camping was in the ‘good old days’.
Camping gear is ferried up to the site by quad bike which means the meadow is free of cars and beautifully calm and kid friendly. While grown-ups go about lighting fires and boiling kettles, children roam free, making dens and climbing the ancient trees that surround the meadow.
The facilities on site are ingenious and really add to the charm of the whole place. Old horseboxes have been converted into showers and compost loos while a huge communal sink has been made out of a drinking trough. Our boys love it so much they actually do the washing up!
As the sun sets each day everyone gravitates towards the communal fire pit in the middle of the field. Here, with our fellow campers, we once held a campfire toast-making contest, challenging the kids to make contraptions using string and sticks to toast slices of bread. The winner got a leaf wreath and extra lashings of homemade jam on their toast.
At dusk, bats dart around the tents looking for insects so we always take our bat detector which proves a source of much fascination. We also discovered the site is home to glow-worms, making those trips to the loo after dark really quite magical!
SEE & DO
The River Stour is just a short five-minute walk from Farrs Meadow, and a great place for a wild swim on a warm summer’s day. We’ve picnicked on the riverbank, watching the local children swimming in the pool above the weir, squealing as the fish tickled their toes.
Further afield, head to Poole Harbour and catch the ferry across the channel to Swanage on the Isle of Purbeck. It takes minutes but is all part of the adventure. Between the ferry and Swanage town stretches Studland Beach and Nature Reserve, which is always worth a stop and has a lovely National Trust café too.
Another favourite is the steam train trip from Swanage to Corfe village. We always try to get a compartment on the train to ourselves, pressing our noses against the window so as to catch a glimpse of the plume of steam as the train whistles around bends. Arriving at the station in Corfe is like stepping back in time. The village is touristy but picture-perfect and the climb up to the castle is always worthwhile.
Hidden away a few miles outside of Corfe Village, between Swanage and Corfe, is the small village of Worth Matravers with its famous pub, the Square and Compass. The pub serves thirsty tourists and walkers hearty pasties and pints through a hatch. There’s also a tiny but excellent fossil museum at one end of the pub. It’s worth the trip alone to see what amazing fossils have been found on the nearby Jurassic Coast.
EAT & DRINK
You don’t have to venture far to eat and drink really well. Tucked away in Wimborne Minster is the Squash Court shop and café. Dating back to the 1930s, the squash court was originally part of the beautiful Deans Court estate next door.
Today, it’s a general store packed full of practical and quirky finds; from local honey from the Dean’s Court beehives to unique vintage furniture. On Fridays throughout the summer months you’ll also find bunches of hand cut flowers and vegetable boxes sold outside in the lovely courtyard.
Their wonderful café is housed just opposite in a converted 1930s garage and features a mouthwatering menu and fun and eclectic interior. The food is simple, healthy and delicious, grown just a wheelbarrow’s walk away in the walled garden. Think broad bean, feta and mint tart and delicious homemade cakes decorated with edible flowers. Being able to feast here, just a short walk away from camp, is always a real highlight of our stays at Farrs Meadow and one of the many reasons we keep returning to this great little spot.
Images by Emma Bradshaw