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The Old Airfield

· Burley, Hampshire, England
30 acres hosted by Vivien S.
15 glamping pitches · 99 motorhome/tent pitches
Staff verified
Accuracy verified by Hipcamp's on-the-ground team.
A New Forest airfield that's been overtaken by nature, less than 10 minutes' drive from the coast

This old RAF base in the south eastern corner of the New Forest was so vital to the Second World War it used to operate under a code name. Today the tarmac's been torn up and grass and shrubs have taken over but its main merits as an airfield turn out to be just as convenient as a campsite. It's incredibly flat (great for pitching a tent), it's spacious and open (ideal for enjoying big blue skies) and it's just three miles as the bomber flies from the south coast.

The 30-acre space is reliably run by the family behind two other popular campsites in the New Forest (Harry's Field and Harry's Meadow), so the team know a thing or two about pleasing campers. Everything here is temporary but it's also very thoroughly thought through. There are piping hot gas-powered showers, good eco-friendly loos and a number of food trucks visit the campsite throughout the summer. And though campervans and motorhomes are welcome, the focus here is very much on back-to-basics family camping, with tents dominating the scene and more bicycles about the place than there are cars.

Perhaps the nicest thing about the campsite is the fact that, though it's vast, the make up of the former airfield breaks it all down into a series of small spaces. It's easy to arrive with friends, take off across the heathland and find a place to make your own. At the southern end, for example, there's a copse of beech and oak trees, where manager Vivien has set up a stretch tent and some of the facilities are found. In the middle of the site, meanwhile, there are two small segments drilled by the local farmer and full of standing wheat (or stubble in late August). It's as though there's a tiny patch of farmland within the campsite, framed by the grassy lines of the old runway.

While the campsite is wonderfully open – great for enjoying sunrises and huge summer sunsets – it's not long before you get into the trees if you want to. One of the best ways to get around here is by bike. Route 2 of the National Cycle Network runs directly past the campsite gate and you can venture north along car-free trails in the Holmsley area or cycle south, towards the coast on a series of quiet lanes. There's an easy route to Burley – one of the most quaint and popular villages in the whole national park – that's about four miles long. Take your time and you'll see plenty of New Forest ponies along the way, as well as potentially deer and other wildlife too. Or head off to Highcliffe Beach. There's less wildlife there but plenty of seagulls and a good number of fish and chip shops where you can find some tasty supper.

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97 Ratings · 80 reviews
Karl J.recommends
June 3, 2024
Grass Pitch
Our camping stay
Such a great time had camping in beautiful surroundings and the peaceful countryside. Just the break away that we needed. The campsite had clean, well replenished toilets, hot running water to clean our dishes after cooking outside and showers on site. We hired one of the fire pits which was great to sit outside and toast marshmallows on. A great stay!
Frankie D.recommends
July 9, 2023
Grass Pitch
Great place to camp! Plenty of space without having pitches on top of each other. Good facilities including warm showers! Also easy to get food delivered if needed, would stay again!
Heather O.doesn't recommend
July 28, 2022
Grass Pitch
Not at all the idyllic, peaceful campsite we expected. Hard pressed to describe this field as a campsite at all. Temporary (though clean) portaloos & washing up tables were provided. Traffic noise could be heard at all times & generator from showers disturbed the peace too. Not worth £38 for the night
Sue C.recommends
July 13, 2022
Grass Pitch
Beautiful spot although nearby road a little noisy. We arrived on the first day of opening so shared the site with less than a dozen others. Great composting toilets and amazing showers. Recycling bins would be good. Loved the sunset and sunrise. Super helpful host and family. Fire pit and wood available for £15. They collect fire pit when you’re done. The bell tents looked great. Expensive but I think worth it.
Daniel J.recommends
June 13, 2022
Grass Pitch
Well run, well set up friendly site
Had a great time. This was our first time camping and everything was so easy. Super friendly staff, lots of clean loos, good showers and plenty of space. Would highly recommend - we will definitely be back.
Penny F.doesn't recommend
June 12, 2022
Grass Pitch
Great pitch, hot and clean showers and perfect location to explore the New Forest - I couldn't ask for more.
Burley, Hampshire, England, United KingdomTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking

Hosted by Vivien S.

Joined in April 2016
From the host
The team behind Harry’s Field, one of the New Forest’s most celebrated and established campsites, are pleased to reveal The Old Airfield in the south of The New Forest. We are near Burley and four miles from the sandy beaches at Mudeford and Highcliffe. If you are desperate for open space and endless skies, The Old Airfield has both in abundance. Escape the house and venture into the heart of the New Forest. Just a few miles from Burley, an ancient village with a history of local witches and sprightly fairies, The Old Airfield is a vast, 30 acres of well-drained and flat camping ground, but we have chosen to limit the capacity – so you won’t struggle to claim your corner of the countryside. Overlooked by nothing more than a smart copse of beech and oaks, at The Old Airfield, the only distractions come from the forest’s wild inhabitants, the New Forest ponies and their foals will be watching from the surrounding heathland, as you relish the great outdoors. But it wasn’t always this way. As the name suggests, in the 1940s The Old Airfield was an RAF airstrip, perfectly situated for reconnaissance missions over continental Europe. The proximity to the coast brought planes to Burley. They may have gone; mother nature has reclaimed the land and just a short four-mile jaunt from the campsite, some of the New Forest’s best beaches are to be found. In terms of facilities, The Old Airfield offers best-in-class pressured hot showers, compostable eco loos, portaloos, sinks and hot water for washing up, fire pits to hire along with an impressive range of onsite food options including morning coffee and pastries, pizza oven, cocktail truck and beer tent. We are avid recyclers and there are 8 recycling bins on site as well as plenty of general waste bins so that the countryside is not spoiled.
Nearby attractions

The best way to explore the New Forest is undoubtedly by bike. You can hire bikes from Avon Tyrrell (01425 672347) or just bring your own and ride straight from the campsite – the National Cycle Route 2, which follows the entire south coast of England, passes metres from the campsite. It's only a couple of miles on the route before you hit the old railway station house that was formerly Holmsley Station. It's now a lovely tea rooms (a great place to stop if you're already puffed out). From here, a huge stretch of the former railway line is now a car-free greenway that's great for family cycling. Look out for deer and the famous New Forest ponies as you ride. If you want a quicker way to find the dear, head to Bolderwood (20-minute drive), one of the most beautiful forests in the area, where you can watch the fallow deer being fed (it's has a large picnic area amongst the tall trees, alongside which is a New Forest Information Centre). Perhaps the best thing about choosing a campsite in this southern stretch of the New Forest National Park is that you're also so close to the coast. It's a 10-minute drive to Mudeford Beach, Avon Beach and Highcliffe Beach, backed by magnificent Highcliffe Castle, and, on hot days, it's a great alternative to days inland.

Food and drink

For pretty village pubs and free-roaming New Forest ponies in the streets, drive the 10 minutes to Burley. For convenience, though, Bransgore is closer and also has plenty of pubs. Try the thatched, 17th-century Three Tuns (01425 672232) – good food, dog and family friendly and cask-ale accredited. The closest supermarket is also in Bransgore, where there's a decent sized CoOp.

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