A magical riverside retreat near Dorset’s Jurassic Coast
Few outdoors experiences satisfy our appetite for adventure like a spot of wild swimming. On a balmy summer’s day, there’s nothing quite like a cooling dip in a tranquil lake or sun-dappled swimming hole. Waterside campsites – amongst the most magical of settings for a night under canvas – are rarer than you might expect in the UK. So on first hearing about this East Dorset campsite in 2018, right beside a river, we knew we had to dive straight in. A few years on it’s become a go-to destination for a summer camp and ‘dip-nic’.
Set on a dairy farm just outside the historic village of Moreton, Frome Meadow Campsite spans some 12 spectacular acres bordered by wildlife-rich woodland. Like all things beautifully ephemeral, it only pops-up for the month of August, so be sure to book well in advance. Campers lucky enough to secure one of the privileged pitches in this sprawling space enjoy unparalleled access to the River Frome. Exclusively accessed by patrons of the campsite, this private stretch of river is perfect for paddling and swimming for the more able (and more cold-hardy). The current can be quite strong in places and campers are reminded to take the usual common-sense precautions (particularly in the deeper areas), with children needing to be supervised at all times. But with a bit of food packed and jelly shoes on feet, the little ones will be content for hours splashing about and spotting minnows and frogs beneath the surface.
The camping experience, itself, is what you may expect of a rural site that only opens for one month each year. It’s simple, off-grid and off-the-beaten-track but highly suited to the sort of character that likes swimming in rivers rather than swimming pools. Facilities-wise, you’ll find eco-friendly compost loos, hot showers and a washing-up area but little else besides. Owner Catherine’s encouraging attitude to wild swimming extends to her general outlook on camping too. Campfires are more than allowed, so you can spend evenings toasting marshmallows and regaling friends with tales from the riverbank, and there’s a relaxed ‘pitch-where-you-like’ policy. She does, however, draw the line at a certain number of tents tents, being careful to avoid any danger of overcrowding despite all the space.
Follow one of the many bridleways emanating from the campsite and you’ll soon end up at Moreton. This charming village is steeped in history, with its most famous son T.E. Lawrence (more commonly known as Lawrence of Arabia) commemorated in the heritage trail that takes in his rural retreat and grave at St Nicholas’ church. And if you haven’t sated your watery desires back at camp, the Jurassic Coast – including Lulworth Cove and iconic Durdle Door – is just 20 minutes’ away by car.
Dorchester, England, United KingdomTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Catherine C.Joined in July 2018
86 Ratings · 103 reviews
August 16, 2022
Lovely site, all amenities well maintained. Catherine was super responsive to a couple of problems we had. First our car battery went flat. Her son came out within 20 minutes. When our logs and kindling were mistakenly taken, a phone call and Catherine drove out in the evening to bring us some more. Fantastic. Heartily recommend.
August 16, 2022
Camping with a river!
We loved our camping experience. Highlights: close proximity to lovely village, beautiful river on camping site, and we especially liked the amount of space we had.
August 15, 2022
Stunning location next to a wonderful river . Peaceful & clean .
August 15, 2022
Peaceful beautiful sunrise sunsets
A truly wonderful campsite Well set out clean facilities.Very helpful staff
August 14, 2022
Local and perfect
Perfect!! Super chilled super friendly and super hot when I was there.. the wild swimming was amazing too! Definitely will be going back soon 👍
August 14, 2022
Brilliant campsite, the river is stunning especially in this hot weather. Would highly recommend
From the host
We invite you to camp in the meadows alongside the beautiful River Frome, we welcome tents and trailer tents, sorry no campervans or motorhomes.
You can go wild swimming in this private stretch of the river and cook over a campfire in a peaceful green space normally only enjoyed by local wildlife and the cows. Please bring a firepit for your campfire in the hot dry weather.
You may pitch where you like, and set up camp with your friends. This unspoiled site provides the essentials; compost loos, hot showers, a washing up area and a small shop selling logs, charcoal and marshmallows. We offer nearly wild camping where you can enjoy the simple life - swimming, paddling, stargazing, and seeing wildlife in a natural setting. The river is not suitable for kayaks or paddleboards due to shallow areas.
Moreton is a popular destination for visitors, it is a 15 minute walk from the meadow and has miles of walks and cycle paths nearby.
There are many local attractions including Lulworth Cove, the Tank Museum, Monkey World, the seaside towns of Weymouth and Swanage, and lots of pretty Dorset villages to explore.
Although when you are settled in this quiet field in the middle of our family- run dairy farm, you may not want to leave.
Moreton village is 15 mins walk way. This charming village is synonymous with T.E. Lawrence, more commonly know as Lawrence of Arabia. Visit his rural cottage Clouds Hill (01929 405616), now maintained by the National Trust, and his grave at St Nicholas’ Church where you can also view the ornately stencilled windows. The churchyard backs on to The Walled Garden (01929 462243) a lovely spot for a stroll or a spot of afternoon tea. Also nearby, Sculpture by the Lakes (07720637808) is a tranquil art-filled haven that hosts regular events and courses. For a day out with the kids, Bovington Tank Museum (01929 462359) and Monkey World (01929 462537) are both within 3 miles of the campsite. For a day at the beach, Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door and the Jurassic Coast are about 6 miles away, while Weymouth is a little further along.
Food and drink
There are plenty of pubs within easy reach of camp. The nearest local is The Frampton Arms (01305 852253) a 2-minute drive away. The Countryman Inn (01305 852666) at East Knighton is famed locally for its Sunday carvery, while The Blue Vinny (01305 848228) serves an array of dishes including wood-fired pizzas. The Wise Man (01305 261970) serves an inventive menu of locally sourced dishes, and for a slice of a cream tea or a spot of lunch head to The Dovecote Café (01929 462243) in Moreton’s Walled Garden.