Camping can be daunting and scary, especially if it is your first time.
With proper planning and preparations, it can be really rewarding and a great time to reconnect with the environment.
In this article, we particularly zone into the gorgeous camping sites at England’s New Forest National Park.
So if this is on your bucket list, this is definitely a sign to start planning your next camping trip here.
For those of you hearing about the New Forest National Park for the first time, it’s an amazing forest and coastline loved by many.
Iconic for its numerous hiking trails and adorable ponies (you read that right!), it draws in many campers.
It is important to note that wild camping is still prohibited in this national park and campers are encouraged to stay within designated sites.
However, if you do not stay near the park and have access to a place where wild camping is allowed, you can still read on for helpful tips.
This article will mostly detail the beautiful campsites at New Forest National Park, which are safe for campers to set up at.
They have different price ranges and can cater to any type of camping vans too.
We’ve gone ahead and done our research on key sites that are close to trails.
A good planning tip would be to set up camp at a site near a trail so that the next day you have something to do on your itinerary.
It’s also a good idea to have a couple of copies of a map of the national park when you go there in case you need help navigating.
So let’s get started!
Back in the day, this was the site of a World War II airfield.
Don’t worry, nature’s taken over and you won’t see the industrial remains.
It has ample field space for camps and is close to various trails.
If you like the idea of cycling or hiking around these historical grounds, put Holmsley down on your list.
If you’re still wondering about the ponies we mentioned earlier, this is the site to be at.
It’s great for family camping trips and has tons of trails near it too.
Right next to the campsite, there is the Godshill Village which houses many lovely ponies, donkeys, and cattle that go around the place as and when they like.
You’re sure to take an awesome photo, but do remember to be polite and respectful.
While it may be exciting to see cute ponies, your safety is more important.
Do not taunt or get too close to the animals and clean up after yourself when necessary!
Green Hill Farm Camping & Caravan Park
This site is great for those new to camping thanks to its many amenities.
Great for family camping trips too!
This gives you a lot of activities to partake in.
There are many lakes to fish in, an outdoor gym, a segway rental — it almost sounds resort-like!
It’s a great start to ease yourself into camping without entirely alienating yourself from the authentic camping experience.
This has more of a “wild-camping” vibe thanks to its closeness to nature.
This site is recommended for more experienced campers as there are no near facilities.
In fact, it’s so close to nature that the ponies might come to you.
You’ll be surrounded by majestic beechwood trees, which would be ideal for those looking for a closer connection to the environment.
Essential Camping Tips for New Forest Camping
If you are not staying at an official campsite, and want to wild camp I’ve got some bad news for you, wild camping is illegal.
Many still undertake in this type of camping.
Permitted or not, it is important to remain discreet, respectful, and leave the site in the same state you entered it.
You may never know if you are venturing into private land or native land, so it is with utmost importance to stick to these guidelines whenever you go camping.
If you are wild camping, the most you can set up is for a single night only.
Stay discreet and try not to damage the land when you are setting up your tent.
Whenever you can, try to contact landowners or rangers for further clarification on the site you plan on camping on.
In my experience, most will allow you to camp, so long as you are gone early and leave no trace and cause them issues.
In fact, I’ve had some great experiences with farmers over the years, from enjoying a beer or two on an evening with them, to once being invited into their family home and cooked the most amazing stew.
That being said, you would need a handy tent that efficiently sets up quickly and is easy to take down too.
Again, the keyword here is to be as lowkey and discreet as possible.
You don’t want to draw too much attention from hostile beings or even worse, predators.
Hence, only set up your tent when the sun sets, and immediately take it down when the sun rises.
This requires a lot of commitment to staying as discreet as possible, so let “wild camping” be the last option to resort to, especially when you don’t know if the site is safe for camping.
Additionally, campfires are not permitted.
If you’re already going through all the work to remain unnoticeable, might as well skip the campfire.
A good alternative for cooking food is to use a storm cooker instead. There are fuel- and solar-powered options for you to pick from too.
Remember to always be prepared for wet weather and pesky mosquitoes wherever you are.
A durable tent roof and a mosquito net will help keep you dry and comfy for the night.
When setting up your site, keep a lookout for animal defecation too, as this could signify where the animals frequent.
If you miss it, you may run into a herd of them in the middle of your camp — whether they’re kind or friendly towards you is a wild card.
Most importantly, always ensure that you are properly hydrated at all types.
While some sites may have water cooler facilities, it’s always handy to have a backup bottle handy just in case you stray too far from the path.
If you have to go to the loo, do not do it near bodies of water and bury them after you do the deed.
Besides keeping a lookout for poison ivy and dangerous animals, make sure you do the research on the site you visit. While there are no really dangerous animals in the UK, even animals like cows can become aggressive if you don’t respect them, especially if they have yong nearby.
National parks tend to have rangers nearby, and the main facility to educate visitors on the trails.
Camping is a huge activity to commit to, so do not do so half-heartedly as you may regret it.
We hope this article has helped you with your camping preparation and inspired you to visit gorgeous sites like the New Forest National Park.
Let us know in the comments below your favourite hikes and camping spots in the new Forest.
Hi, I am Amy I have two loves in my life camping and writing. When I am not writing for The Expert Camper, I am usually camping. Lake District is one of my favourite spots, but really anywhere in the UK under canvas I am happy.