If you’re one of those people who lie awake at night fretting over whether you prefer camping in a field or in a wood – there’s no shame in it, there are millions of us out there – you’ll be relieved to learn that there is a select posse of sites that offers both, one of which is Welsummer.
On arrival, the site appears quite conventional: a short track off a minor road leads up to two small, flat camping fields. However, go through an unobtrusive gate underneath a beech tree and you enter a dense dark wood harbouring half-a-dozen pitches, which can only be described as naturalistic – the owners, Laura and Med, may have to point them out to you before you realise where they are. This is quite deliberate as Laura used to camp in these woods as a child and her aim is to offer others a taste of the joys she experienced back then. Situated on a smallholding with chickens roaming around a copse, bees zipping in and out of hives, and a miniature orchard containing native English apples, Welsummer is a laidback campsite that wears its quirky touches lightly (rainbow-coloured windsock, anyone?).
For those wanting more than a traditional grassy camping spot there is also a charming old Wendy's House that the couple have converted into a cosy glamping den. With its proper bed, table and chairs, this tiny hut has everything you need to stay warm and dry. The green, wood finish allows the exterior to blend subtly into the surroundings, while the inside is small without being cramped. A cluster of bell tents mean any remaining glampers are catered for too, with a few different sizes to match your needs.
Prepare to make friends here. This is the sort of place where meals are shared with strangers, especially with those who make the schoolboy error of not lighting their fire early enough in the evening to cook their jacket potatoes by a reasonable hour, so end up stuffing themselves with that haut cuisine of al fresco cooking: the half-incinerated marshmallow.