Lucy and I have been slowly building up our camping supplies, and we finally purchased a tent this summer. In September, we went on our first ever family camping trip! We have been glamping, but we had not yet tested Wilbur in a tent (apart from sleeping in the back garden). Our trip went really well, and thankfully the weather cooperated as it had poured rain the previous weekend. Here are some of the highlights from our overnight camping trip to the South Downs.
We stayed at Woodlands Camping, which is an eco-friendly (leave no trace) campsite near Winchester. This campsite is suitable for tents and small camper vans. It’s a “no-frills” site with water access and compost toilets, plus a “douche rustique” a.k.a. outdoor shower. You can rent a fire grate and buy logs and the pitches are well-spaced, though I would say the meadows where most people were camping was a bit too busy for my preference. We stayed in the woodlands, as opposed to the meadow, and there was only one other occupied pitch so we basically had the woods to ourselves! They also have a no music policy, and the site was very peaceful. It was noticeable how well-maintained the site is and they give good attention to conserving biodiversity; they even had a wildlife corridor close to our pitch.
The Owls and my Dad
The highlight for me was the owls . Directly overhead of our tent was an owl burrow (nest?) and they were hooting to each other all night! I’d never heard owls that close before and, although it wasn’t the most peaceful sleep, it was very cool. Judging by their calls, they were tawny owls. My dad and I shared an affinity for owls and it felt very special listening to them, almost as if I had a my dad with me. It is a year since my dad’s death, and although the grief has subsided and life goes on, I think about him every day and miss him terribly. He loved reading my blog, so I share this highlight about the owls for him.
Dog-friendly Walks and Horses
Another highlight of the site is that fact that it was dog friendly! Wilbur needed to be on the lead when near to the other campsite, but otherwise he just booped around playing with sticks and stiffing things. The site is a working equestrian farm and there were some good paths for walks, including along some of the fields. The horses were friendly and happy to get their noses scratched, though I think they mainly wanted hypothetical treats from me! Annoyingly, I didn’t think to take any photos of the horses…
The food was of course another highlight; who doesn’t love camping food?! Since we rented a fire pit, we were able to have some smores. Honestly, they were not as good as Canadian smores because I can’t get graham crackers here and the marshmallows taste different, but they were still decent with digestive biscuits.
This was a great site for camping with Wilbur as it was only an hour’s drive from home, and we only stayed one night in case things didn’t go well. Now that we know Wilbur can cope, we will try out a 2-night stay, and perhaps somewhere that is a bit busier to get him used to other people being around. He is very friendly, but insists that all land belongs to him and therefore barks at anyone nearby – total dachshund! All and all, we had a wonderful time and can’t wait to go camping again. For more posts on glamping, see: