Location:Near Winchester in the middle of the South Downs National ParkSee map here
More info:Open from the 1st of March to the 30th of November.
Responsible tourism: South Downs farm camping & caravan site, England
As farmers we are well motivated to protect the environment and the wildlife around us. We maintain the hedges and surrounding areas in a way that encourages wildlife and are careful in our use of fertilizers and sprays. We have been rewarded with an abundant array of animals from the red kites that circle over head and nest on the farm to rabbits, badgers and a variety of farmland birds. Some lucky visitors have surprised the occasional deer while walking on the farm. We know and love the land we work and live in. A little extra space for nesting and feeding alongside the hedges seems to have benefited wildlife enormously.
We source as much as possible of the produce and items needed for the farm from the local community including the village butcher and shop. Our houses are heated by wood-burning stoves which use wood from the locality and are highly efficient. We also have some solar panels to provide electricity.
Travelling around the area can be easily done by bus, cycle or on foot. The village with its shops, cafe and prize-winning pub can be reached in ten minutes and the walk is a lovely stroll down the old disused railway line which has become an attractive feature of the landscape.
The farm and caravan site are worked and managed by local people, providing some local employment. Our farm buildings are rented out to local businesses and we now have a flourishing saddlery.
We have a notice board at the entrance to the campsite with useful information about local places to visit including the village pub. This is a lovely pub in West Meon which serves local food and beer and we have a champion butcher and community village shop. We recommend them all highly to anyone coming to stay. We will also happily recommend local horse riding and fishing for anyone interested.
We are involved in the village community, helping out with church flowers, sports club and the annual village fete. We are also members of the local horticultural society. We are always happy to display notices about local events and visitors are given a leaflet with information about the local amenities and a map and guide to the farm itself.
Culturally there are many local places for people to visit, such as the home of Gilbert White - Selbourne House, Uppark House and the well known Goodwood House. These are all within a short distance and are well worth a visit.
The farm is located on chalk downland, with varying field sizes and pockets of tree cover. It rises to the prominent ridge line joining Butser (with its ancient farm), Old Winchester Hill and Beacon Hill, from all of which there are panoramic views. There are many ancient features in the locality including long barrows, round barrows and the hill fort at Old Winchester Hill. There is also a nature reserve at the top of the farm on Old Winchester Hill which we recommend to anyone staying. This is a beautiful spot with dry and warm slopes which are south facing. On the other side facing north, which is steeper, the ground is damper providing a great variety of habitats. Flowers are numerous even though the ground is made up of fine chalky soils that do not carry many nutrients. Sheep are allowed to graze in the reserve to maintain its unique system.
The flowers are varied including a few different types of orchid. For example the bee, fly, frog, common spotted and fragrant orchids are all to be found on the hill particularly in the early summer months of May and June. In addition a very local species, field fleawort, can be found if you look carefully amongst the cowslips. Elsewhere, scrub and woodland provide a valuable contrast for wildlife.