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Small-time camping with a family-friendly buzz, a walk away from the beautiful New Forest
A good campsite often comes down to good campsite owners, and Helen and Bill Waygood are no exception to this rule. Living in the 16th-century thatched cottage that overlooks their field, they can proudly claim to have one of the most unique little campsites around — and they seem just as thrilled about that as we are.
Only open 28 days of the year, it is a fleeting experience that doesn’t last long enough to lose its spontaneous feel and fall into the hum-drum regularity of a day-to-day outfit. Instead, Bill and Helen open up the gates as excited about the season as their visitors. First to pick up the volleyball? It's Bill. Singing “chick, chick, chickens” with the kids as they collect a basket of eggs? Yes, it’s Bill again. Rallying the troops for an evening around the campfire? Yes, you guessed it… Bill. The energy of the owners helps bring a liveliness to the site and creates a mini-community of happy Hampshire campers. It’s the same reason you’ll see them all again the next year — as Bill proudly notes, the grandchildren of those who first stayed at the site when it opened 23 years ago now pitch their tents here, too.
Aside from the brilliant family atmosphere, Croft Cottage Camping is a small and humble spot. It is a campsite in keeping with its attachment to the oldest cottage in the village — simple yet beautiful. There is room for just 12 spacious pitches, each with an electric hook-up, and space in the centre of the field for the famous volleyball games and kid-friendly fun. Facilities are relatively basic — two units each housing a flushing toilet and hot shower, along with a sink and chemical waste disposal — but all are well looked after and immaculately clean. Together it creates a rustic, traditional campsite without many frills but with a captivating ambiance, providing a safe and welcoming environment for families and couples alike, where the kids can wake up and feed the alpacas or collect eggs from the chickens.
We kindly ask you to bring your own 20m lead with a camping connector.
The best part is, while you may bask in your discovery of a small-time, countryside gem, you don’t actually have to miss out on the guilty pleasures that a more commercial campsite can afford. Directly next door to the campsite, Sandy Balls Holiday Village (stop sniggering) has all the thrills and spills of a pre-organised holiday park but conveniently acts as a handy place to use the cash machine, dip in the swimming pool, or stock up on camping gas (it should be noted that it does get particularly busy around August and facilities are not always available for campers to use during these peak periods). Back at camp, its presence goes largely unnoticed, with just the odd infrequent bit of noise. You can also walk directly from the site into the beautiful New Forest and be surrounded by ponies and wildlife.
Down the road, the Fighting Cocks pub (now seriously, do grow up) provides a proper local where you can enjoy a pint — now competing with the pair of restaurants at Sandy Balls, also a decent spot to grab some food. It’s worth heading a little further though and delving into the wonders of the New Forest, a wooded landscape with openings of rugged heathland. Wild ponies and deer rule the roost around these parts and make it best explored by foot or bike, where you can stealthily amble through the trees keeping an eye out for the wildlife. The Fordingbridge Visitor Centre, a mile and a half from the campsite, has some maps and leaflets to help you discover local routes, as well as recommendations for pubs and eateries in the surrounding villages.
Fordingbridge, England, United KingdomTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Helen W.Joined in January 2015
43 Ratings · 24 reviews
September 4, 2023
Grass Pitch 11
Best small site
Such a great site, safe for children. Showers and toilets are so clean, you can have a campfire too! Helen and Bill are so helpful and friendly, you should definitely go here if you want to camp in the New Forest
August 22, 2023
Grass Pitch 11
Bill and Helen are great hosts, the campsite was really good fun in a great setting, cand my kids were busy the whole time, we would love to stay again in the future👍
August 22, 2023
Grass Pitch 9 - No dogs
Fantastic campsite. We enjoyed our stay. The hosts were helpful and the kids liked the animals.
August 21, 2023
Grass Pitch 7
This is am amazing site for camping Helen and bill are very caring for people's individual needs . The site is lovely and clean I would highly recommend it to couples and family's well worth a visit .
August 20, 2023
Grass Pitch 12
Little gem of a campsite
Hard to imagine a more lovely campsite. Bill and Helen create a lovely space for everyone to enjoy. This is a return visit for us with our two children (4 and 9). They love feeding the chickens and alpacas. The site is a lovely location and Bill makes sure there’s loads of room for each pitch so you have your own space. It’s always clean and well kept. A beautiful spot in the New Forest - thank you both!
August 14, 2023
Grass Pitch 1
Friendly family campsite
Really lovely, friendly campsite. The kids loved playing with the other children and feeding the animals. Location was great for exploring the New Forest and the site had everything we needed.
From the host
It is a small beautiful site hidden away behind our historic 16th Century thatched cottage. We are in the New Forest National Park with stunning walks directly from the site and we are usefully situated next to Sandy Balls Holiday Village. (Please note Sandy Balls swimming pools are very busy in July and August and they are unlikely to allow non members to use them). This makes us ideal for couples and families and we have friendly alpacas and chickens on site. You can only book up to 2 pitches online, small groups need to contact us for advice.
Beautiful walks across the New Forest, stopping off in the many lovely pubs that sit in the small villages. Go to the Arniss Stables (01425 654114) with horses for all ages and abilities, or take a bike and ride along one of the many cycle routes nearby. Sandy Balls Holiday Centre (08442 491193) is next door where you can sometimes visit their swimming pool or join footpaths down to the river Avon and along its banks towards Fordingbridge (01425 654560). Fishing and many other facilities can also be used by the general public. It is a 20-minute drive to Paultons Park (02380 814442) home to hugely popular Peppa Pig World for the kids. The New Forest Water Park is a five-minute drive away and is very popular. Bournemouth beach is about 30 minutes drive and the historic Cities of Salisbury and Southampton are about 30 minutes drive.
Food and drink
The Fighting Cocks pub (01425 652462) is an eight-minute walk and serves decent food at a reasonable price. A cross country walk will take you to The Royal Oak (02380 812606) at Fritham (1.5 hours), The Royal Oak (01425 652244) at North Gorley (1-hour walk), and The Foresters (01425 652294) at Frogham (40 minutes walk) all lovely spots on pleasant New Forest routes.