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Bakesdown - the long story

Back to nature – nearly wild – eco camping – nature therapy – sitting in a field

These are the phrases we enter into those forms that will apparently help you to find our site online. They are all true, but the best one (and the one which is most useless for those forms) is the last. That is largely what we have to offer you here; a chance to sit in a nice field. We take great pride in knowing that this is a very marvellous thing to offer indeed.

What Bakesdown Farm Camping is all about...       

Bakesdown's camping spaces have been evolving over the past 10 years or so. ‘Eco tourism’ is an interesting balance between maintaining the natural environment and providing beautiful, safe havens for that perfect restorative holiday.

The countryside is fabulous, we know this. However, in its natural state it is also often prickly, muddy and certainly untidy. Many of us have become accustomed to a strange, sanitised version of the countryside, where there is always a path to follow and that patch of stinging nettles will be removed at once! It is sometimes difficult to keep our wildlife and human habitats coexisting in harmony.

The first attempt at providing holiday accommodation at Bakesdown was made with the goal of creating one of those ‘perfect’ slices of the countryside. We had a lovely showman’s wagon, we put it in a lovely field and we advertised on a very expensive ‘glamping’ site. It was all really rather unsuccessful. We spent a few years desperately trying to keep up with expectations, then called it a day and sold the wagon on.

Those years had involved much apologising for the apparent disappointment of our farm and the inadequacies of our facilities. We thought our facilities were fine and we knew that the farm was beautiful, so why were we apologising? For not having concreted car parks, lighted walkways, hot tubs and televisions on our 'eco campsite'? It was time to stop apologising.

This is how we realised that our first allegiance was with the farm and all its wild inhabitants, and that our holiday spaces would need to work around that. We also discovered how proud we were of these values, and that by explaining them properly to our guests, they would be too: and enjoy their holiday all the more for it.

So, in practical terms, what we're saying here is: you are NEVER getting a hot tub (the power needed! The gross chemicals! The waste of water!). As a trade off, you can enjoy the richest of dawn choruses each morning and spectacular displays of butterflies and beasties; all the while feeling safe in the knowledge that your holiday is treading lightly upon our planet.

Since the wagon days, things have marched steadily towards the holiday spaces that we offer today. We tried a tipi for two years, a yurt for five, and now we have our beautiful Great Orchard Cabin. Exclusive Camping and Exclusive Too allow you to bring your own tent, but still enjoy a private field and facilities, and are now our most popular camping spaces. The Simply Camping field (with four well-spaced pitches) is still going strong. We do not overcrowd the farm, with at least two fields between each holiday space. This provides corridors for our wildlife and privacy for our guests.

In the fields we use compost toilets and gas-powered showers. A future plan is to try to use solar powered showers instead, but we’re hoping that the technology will advance first; nobody likes a tepid shower.

We are pleased to offer you no WIFI and a very limited phone signal. There is a charging point in the yard, but otherwise no electricity across the fields. You have very little choice but to slow down and enjoy your surroundings and it is a privilege to provide a space that can allow you to take that break.

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