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The Inside Park, Blandford Forum, Dorset

New season, NEW ADVENTURES!

Loaded & Ready

Although we’ve been out and about in Tallulah already this year this was the first opportunity we’ve had to go camping. We had plans to meet up with some friends on the Devon/Somerset border but as it was the Easter weekend we decided to take our time and break up the journey with an overnight stop in Dorset, on the western edge of the New Forest.

We left around midday heading almost directly South-West via Andover and Salisbury, at a very leisurely pace and arrived at the camp site in a little over 2 hours. We had chosen the The Inside Park due to it’s open woodland location and large adventure playground, ideal for our 6yo son, and it didn’t disappoint!

Adventure time!

The site is set well back from the main road along a narrow tree lined lane, within the gently undulating grounds of the former 18C Down House Estate with around 120 pitches, most with EHU. The reception, toilet and washing block is all housed within the former stables, along with a games room containing pool and table tennis tables and the surrounding grounds are very well maintained.

We hadn’t booked in advance – which might be an issue in peak season – so we were allocated a pitch with EHU roughly in the centre of the camping field and set about levelling and plugging in. The large adventure playground entertained our 6yo for ages, returning to us only when hungry. We then cycled 2 different mountain bike trails (maps and trail guides provided at reception) and properly wore him out so we would all have a great nights sleep.

Tallulah's new friend Thomas

Other features:

  • Well maintained toilet, shower and washing up facilities.
  • Indoor games room with pool and table tennis tables and table football.
  • Picnic benches, free to use and relocate next to your pitch.
  • On site shop well equipped with all the normal ‘essentials’.
  • ‘Late arrivals’ area so the remainder of the site remains undisturbed after 10pm.
  • Take away menus available at reception for the local delicacies of Blandford Forum!

If you are looking for a relaxed, child friendly site on the western edge of the New Forest then I can highly recommend The Inside Park, just minutes from Blandford Forum.

Wyke Down Touring Caravan & Camping Park

A 40 minute drive south west from Reading would take us to the outskirts of Andover and Wyke Down Touring Caravan and Camping Park. Sorted.

We left at 2pm Friday following what is now our favourite route, the A4 out of Reading, the A340 through Aldermaston then smaller A roads through Kingsclere and Whitchurch.

A great drive through some amazing countryside with fabulous views and 40 short minutes later we arrived at Wyke Down.

As well as the touring and camping site, Wyke Down is also a working farm with cows, chickens and ducks, a fair sized pub and a well regarded restaurant – book early to avoid a long wait.

The site itself is well laid out, reasonably flat and has good, clean, well maintained facilities that include everything you would expect plus a good (although small) children’s play area and an outdoor swimming pool.

Oli’s bike was the first thing unloaded so while he went exploring, Tallulah was levelled, plugged in and attached to her awning. It was a gloriously sunny day so after all the hard work we relaxed with an ice cold cider – so glad Tallulah has a fridge!

We had booked ourselves a table in the pub when it opened at 6pm and enjoyed a very nice meal, then relaxed with more cider – this time from the bar – while Oli made new friends in the children’s play area.

The site was almost fully booked so it was noisy until quite late, not helped by the owners deciding to empty the bins after 9pm and wheeling them along the road, the grass would have been much quieter choice. Not the best with a 5 year old who is trying to get to sleep, but he eventually fell silent so after a few games of cards and a read of a good book we turned in ourselves.

After our usual bacon and egg breakfast we went for a wander to check out the swimming pool. Still a bit chilly for anything more than a paddle, but we would come back later when the sun had warmed everything up and have a proper swim.

We have friends who live nearby in Whitchurch so they came to meet us late morning for a catch-up and kick about with a football, then we had a late lunch in the pub and went for longer walk.

The weather changed in the afternoon, becoming increasingly windy and cloudy, the weather forecasts were changing every few minutes and not looking good, so we decided to make a head start on the packing up. It’s easier to pack a dry awning than a wet one even when windy and it would help us get away earlier in the morning.

We ate nice meal in Tallulah while watching others struggle to pack up their tents in the increasingly stormy conditions, played a few games and settled in for an early night.

Our first thunder storm! Lots of lightning, plenty of very strong winds, a bit of thunder yet no rain. Not that it mattered, we were snug an warm in Tallulah.

Coffee, light breakfast and finish the packing and we were on our way at 8.30 in the morning, heading back to Reading to unload, freshen up and head out again to the VW Rally at Stoner near Henley.

A great campsite only 40 minutes away with good facilities, definitely a place to go back to.