Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Summer travel | Bloomfield Yurt camping, Dorset

bloomfield yurt camping dorset review

A couple of weeks back, we spent the weekend in Dorset under canvas. I KNOW! For this review, I'll hand over to Mike who'll tell you all you need to know about yurt glamping at Bloomfield Camping in Dorset...

As a wise woman once said, I'm not one for camping. A couple of instances aside more out of necessity than choice, me and canvas have yet to properly meet. I'm no hater but, well, it's not for me.

Thing is, the same is almost the same for glamping – true, I love a disgraceful luxury as much as the next idiot but I'd deffo swap the prosecco hot tub and artisanal s'more workshops for a fire pit and some non-snobby neighbours to burn food with. Luxury? Good. Mad luxury? Look, just get a hotel.

bloomfield yurt camping dorset review
Which brings us nicely to North Dorset and Bloomfield Camping. Is it glamping? Yes, but with an honesty and simplicity to it – the beauty here isn't in the choice of complimentary hand lotion, but in the gorgeous location, the sensitive planting and the abundant wildlife.

bloomfield yurt camping dorset review
Some details first. Bloomfield is just outside Child Okeford, near Blandford Forum and well away from traffic, noise and passing trade. Whilst the site is a massive seven acres, there are only four sizeable pitches. Each features a yurt and a separate shed-cum-kitchen which features a full-sized gas cooker, crockery, tableware, kettle etc plus a small refillable water butt and a coolbox with ice blocks available.

bloomfield yurt camping dorset review

Each pitch has its own fire pit with accompanying 'pub picnic table' and spare chairs. We only stayed the one night and so kept ourselves to ourselves (for once) but, as departing chats with friendly neighbours and our affable host Jon showed, you can see how this would inevitably turn into everyone taking turns to cook while all the kids played together.

bloomfield yurt camping dorset review

The yurts themselves are in excellent condition – a recent upgrade from the site's original bell tents. Clean and well appointed, the king size oak-framed bed is good and sturdy while two single futons will accommodate most families. There's plenty of bedding for all, with blankets and hot water bottles (yes!) for when the evening chill arrives. Do remember to take towels though – the voice of experience speaks here.

bloomfield yurt camping dorset review
Lottie's new favourite shirt and sandals c/o Joules

It must be said that, at present, the yurt's decor is basic. A borrowed clothes rail with retail hangers, rough cut carpet just about reaching the yurt edges, some questionable bedside furniture and bedlinen… It's a long way from scruffy (think mis-matched IKEA) but you can see how some attention to detail, smart vintage purchasing and a more stylish eye could really take Bloomfield up from basic to brilliant. It's not scruffy but a stylist could really make it shine.

bloomfield yurt camping dorset review

Like the yurts, the main toilet/shower block is spotless and well stocked – plenty of hair dryers/straighteners, charge points etc will keep you looking good and connected. Everything's been built by Jon's team (photos of the building process are hung up everywhere) so expect painted breeze blocks and chipboard over scatter cushions and sheepskin throws. Again, just like the yurts, it's simple over stylish but when do you go glamping to spend hours in the loo? Exactly.

bloomfield yurt camping dorset review

And that's all the dull bits out of the way because the real story is the site itself. Lined by fruit trees, small paths (both mown and permission) wind you gently through the site to your pitch – and it's stunning. The shared pond area, featuring hammocks to wallow in and rope swings to goon on as you take in the surrounding willow trees and water lilies, is a thing of absolute beauty. Company there and around the site is provided by countless ducks, geese, two peacocks (sometimes prowling around your yurt, sometimes up in a tree - who knew?!) plus a well-stocked chicken run. Thanks to Jon for the eggs that added to our Sunday morning fry-up.

bloomfield yurt camping dorset review
Lottie's new favourite skirt c/o Joules
As you stroll around the Green Tourism-approved site – rabbits following you as you locate the compost toilets for late night loo treks, flick a Swingball in the small games area plus remember to close the kitchen door given the badgers who come looking for a midnight feast – it's definitely the location itself that makes Bloomfield Camping a restful and highly recommended visit. After a stressful few weeks, Lottie and I totally relaxed as soon as we kicked off our Birkies and felt grass underfoot.

bloomfield yurt camping dorset review

More time, and we would have explored further – a well-researched visitor's book details all the local town amenities plus the local Dorset Trailway for cyclists and walkers. For those staying longer and requiring a paddle, Poole, Bournemouth and Weymouth are all nearby whilst the beautiful Bere Regis will please any passing literati. Us, we doglegged south to Dorchester on the way back to Bristol to take in the bonkers Curiosity Centre (result? A vintage WWII French flag with accompanying spear and a Steve Hillage record - don't ask…) but genuinely, if you lucked on a week of good weather there's little reason to venture too far beyond the gate although the nearby Hambledon Hill just has to be climbed. An ancient Iron Age hill fort now overgrown, it's a stiff stroll to the top – with a current record from site gate to the peak of 13 minutes. Maybe we'll just wait for the mobile chippy, parked outside the local pub every Thursday night…

As a wise woman once said, I'm not one for camping – and despite the name, Bloomfield Camping definitely isn't camping. It's not quite glamping either, but just a bit more attention to detail and a stylish eye would solve that. Right now though, if you want whittled bedlinen and a granny tent for the au pair, this may not be the place for you – so head elsewhere and spend double your budget for half the beauty and twice the noise. Me, I'll be here with the peacocks. Peacocks!


Thanks Mike!

Are you yurters? Or do you prefer your hols with a bit more tarmac? Let me know in the comments...

With thanks to Bloomfield Camping and for inviting us to review the yurts!

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