On the 9th-11th of August Brent, my brother Mark, cousin Liam and I all set off for our second camping adventure this year. After Dartmoor we really had the travelling bug and couldn’t wait to go somewhere else. Originally we wanted to go to Brecon Beacons in Wales, then it was Lake District, then back to Dartmoor but due to heavy storms forecast over our weekend in all the above areas, we decided to go closer to home and somewhere that didn’t require major hiking to look for a campsite. We settled on the New Forest as we had all been there before when we were younger. We booked a private campsite and set off early Saturday morning.
It only takes about 2 hours to get there from our house which is great and although we were bummed at first about the campsite (we were told no-one else was there and there was) we actually really liked it. Unlike Dartmoor where there aren’t any facilities, this site had a little area for washing up and also a converted horse box for a bathroom. Minus all the spiders, it was nice.
At this site, we were supplied with everything we would need for a fire which is great. There’s nothing more amazing than sitting around a camp fire with some mulled wine and a game of cards. By the end of the trip, Brent and I had mastered the art of using our flip flops to keep the fire going. On the second night, it rained just as we were trying to start our fire. Everyone else gave up on it but I went over to it armed with my flip flop and got it going again, after it had rained! I was pretty impressed with myself. I was then in charge of the fire all night.
We of course roasted marshmallows both nights whilst camping, it’s not a camping trip if this isn’t done.
We spent the first day just having a walk through the common behind our camp site. There are wild ponies, goats and cows everywhere you look and we came across two ponies on our walk. Although it was lovely and the views were nice, you’re bound to see someone else about whereas Dartmoor it felt as though you were totally alone, scary sometimes but amazing.
It rained pretty hard on the Sunday morning but I came up with the idea of draping a tarp over mine and Brent’s tent and shutting the other end in the car doors as a shelter. This way we could still cook our breakfast. Baked beans with mackerel in curry sauce sounds gross but it was amazing! It’s crazy how you just eat anything when there isn’t an option.
Once the rain had passed, we went to a holiday park, a bit like Centre Parks, and rented some bikes to set off on a 20 mile ride. Yes 20 miles. I hadn’t ridden a bike properly in about 14 years and by 2.5 miles I was already working out my route back. There were so many hills and most of it was on a track so it was really difficult, but I powered through!
Due to the rain in the morning and this losing us 4 hours, we decided to cut the 20 mile ride in half. There was a pub on the map and once we got there we decided to have a little drink and set off home. Although it wasn’t the 20 miles, it was so enjoyable. On foot you don’t get to see as much as if you were on a bike and it was so much fun cycling down huge hills and just feeling the wind pass me. Although I was trying my hardest not to fly over the handle bars as well!
Both nights we found ourselves in the bar in the holiday village, having a drink (I had a slush puppie every time haha) and playing endless rounds of Jenga. Who remembers that game??
On our way home on Monday, we made a day of it. We spent the morning playing cards in our tent, had a nice big breakfast and started packing away. I forgot to mention that there was a really cute Jack Russell dog named Milo who spent most of his time with us at our site and peeing on my brothers tent haha, he was so cute, I really miss him.
We drove towards the forest, parked up and went on a hike off the trail. They had set up lots of little dens everywhere and I of course had to go inside one. We then hid ourselves in the forest away from any trails and had a sit down. Mark draped a tarp above us to stop the rain (it was raining really hard at this point) and we had a hot drink and some lunch. It was a lovely little shelter and we made sure that we didn’t leave any rubbish or damage anything.
Finally, we moved from that spot and moved to somewhere else. We wanted to leave at 6pm to beat the traffic and so we set up a little area into another section of woods in a clearing. I had a quick read of my book whilst the boys were off searching for things. There’s huge trees that have collapsed all over the forest and this one was surprisingly comfortable to sit on. We had another round of cards and set off home at about 7pm.
Although it was a completely different experience from Dartmoor, it was still a lot of fun. At the time I was struggling but I really enjoyed the bike ride. I love the outdoors so much and can’t wait to go away again. We are hoping that maybe we can climb Snowdonia in the Winter. I have an unrealistic dream of climbing Everest but Snowdonia will be a good start. I would love to go back to Dartmoor at some point too. If I could, I would quite happily pack up my things and move into the wild. Here are my previous post – Dartmoor Day 1 and Dartmoor Day 2.
Do you like camping? Where are your favourite places to camp?