Summer 2020 - Ain't no stopping us now...
Well here we are again, back in Bolan, one weekend later. We have vowed every spare time we can get we will get out and about. Now after booking last weeks trip and booking our big holiday at the end of August is was looking like pretty slim pickings for a quick weekend getaway; until I stumbled across Camp Hartland. Nestled next to Stoborough Heath and a stones throw from Corfe Castle, Arne and Studland, Camp Hartland is a rock up and pitch place, no bookings are taken so you just need to chance your arm, we were lucky. The Friday night was about half full, but it did fill up on the Saturday. All Covid precautions in place and lots of space for the children to roam we felt that we were as good here as anywhere.
We were worried at first as we were the only ones with young children, and one three year old that can well compete in the whingebag olympics, but then more families joined, couples young and old, it was a very eclectic mix of people but all very friendly and some good conversations and socially distanced night time drinks were had. I felt like I was at a festival, and I enjoyed this very much. The site itself is part of a Stud farm so you can walk and see the horses. The site also provides freshly baked pastries and coffee in the morning which is a welcome treat. There is also some good biking trails within camp for the children and a brook and bridge swing that the children enjoy.
The weather was to dictate our plans this weekend as it was looking to rain a bit on the Sunday, so on the Saturday we wanted a beach day on Studland Bay in the sun. Slightly more braver from our last trip we knew this was a sandy beach and likely to be busier but it is a long bay so I was prepared to trek the whole family to the furthest point if I had to so we can get some socially distanced beach fun. We did have to trek a bit but if you take the sand dunes walk to Knoll Beach along the back of the bay it is quiet and you avoid the crowds so you can walk further up and get a quieter spot.
Knoll Beach has a lovely shallow sea so you can walk out for quite a way. I felt totally safe for my 7 year old to go in and play, to which he was in there most of the day. The usual beach fun was had by all, and nearer tea time the sea was going out a bit so more paddling in the shallow waters ensued and as some point I looked down and thought: those shells are not moving with the rhythm of the sea! Upon inspection from my eldest with his snorkel it turned out they were little hermit crabs! I have never seen those before at the seaside like that. That send my eldest on a crab mission and after me going back for a little relax in the sun, up he pops with a much bigger crab in a bucket! After basking in the sun all day we head back to camp for some tea.
The next day we did wake up to rain, however I planned for us to go for a bike ride around Arne and a bit of birdwatching. Sadly this was not meant to be, when we got there a big fire engine roared past and there was a relatively big fire there and people were being turned away. So instead we took our bikes and decided to go mountain bike trailing around Stoborough Heath. We could have if we wanted driven back to camp and taken out the bikes directly as there is a gate leading out to the heath but we needed lunch at some point so kept Bolan with us. The heath, bursting with heather, has some lovely trails and you can see all over Poole Harbour and Corfe Castle. We all enjoyed this. We then remembered that Camp Hartland is almost right next door to Lenctenbury Farm, famous for their Dorset blueberries so we cycled there to see if we could pick some, again today not being our lucky day despite advertising they are open every day in July they were in fact closed to allow the fruit to ripen! A bit gutted we cycled back for our lunch sans our blueberry dessert, determined to camp here again and get those darned blueberries!
However we did have another lovely off-the-cuff weekend and hurrah for non-bookable pitches to allow such spontaneity!