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Acton Field, Langton Matravers, Swanage, Dorset
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Acton Field, Langton Matravers, Swanage, DorsetHidden behind a discreet residential slip road in Langton Matravers, random tufts of wild Bowers adorn the natural bumps and curves of Acton Field on the Purbeck Hills. The unspoilt - verging on wild - terrain comprises a wide, sloping, grassy campsite, with a view of Swanage Bay glistening in the distance.

Arrive early in peak season to claim the best-sheltered and flattest spot you can find, as exposed parts can get very windy. Advance booking is essential from late July to the end of August, and outside those dates campers need to be members of DEFRA-approved clubs such as the Camping and Caravanning Club. It's worth the joining fee for this beautifully rugged camping experience that not every man and his dog can overpopulate.

Essential day trips include the scenic cliff-top walk from the village to swim at the Dancing Ledge tidal rock pool and caves. In 40 minutes you can walk down to Swanage Bay for a fish-and-chip beach supper, or to the famous Square and Compass in Worth Matravers. Buy a pint of cider and a pasty through a hole in the wall before relaxing on the pub's little slope... it could be a long stagger back.

Acton Field, Langton Matravers, Swanage, Dorset


COOL FACTOR Expansive, no-frills camping with sea views on the horizon.

WHO'S IN? Everyone.

ON SITE Campfires allowed at certain times - inquire with the owners. An unlimited number of pitches on the (sometimes steeply) sloping field. No hook-ups. Basic but spotless hut with showers (2W, 2M; 20p for 3 minutes). Two washing-up sinks; freezer for ice packs only. A mobile grocer visits every morning selling essentials and fresh bread.

OFF SITE Steam trains at Corfe Castle (01929 425800; www.swanagerailway.co.uk), big pasties at the Square and Compass (01929 439229), or cliff-top walks to Dancing Ledge, Seacombe Cliff, and Winspit - what will it be?

FOOD AND DRINK Delicious Jamaican food with a side of reggae and calypso tunes: weekends only at the Jerk Shack in the garden of the Scott Arms (01929 480270).

GETTING THERE Take the A351 to Corfe Castle then the B3069 through Kingston towards Langton Matravers. The campsite is on the right as you enter the village.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT As opposite. Alight at Capstan Field.

OPEN Spring Bank Holiday week, then late July-late August. Members of DEFRA-approved clubs Easter-late October.

THE DAMAGE £ 6 - £ 12 per adult, per night.



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