We spent two nights at Bush Farm Bison Centre campsite in Wiltshire at the start of June. Once a year we meet up with the same group of families for a camping trip. As we only see each other a couple of times a year and we’re a group of 17 adults and children, it’s important we have the right sort of campsite. I found Bush Farm on the Cool Camping website which I have used quite a bit before. As the name suggests, Bush Farm Bison Centre farms bison as well as a range of other animals including elk and goats.
The campsite adjoins the farm with pitches dotted through stunning woodland. There are also a couple of fields for caravans (and tents if you would prefer not to be in the woods). We had one non-camper in our group so she took advantage of the “pod”, a wooden hut with a mattress which is situated in the corner of a field next to woodland pitch number one where we were located.
The woodland pitches are spacious; we had four family tents and two gazebos which fitted in the designated area. It felt really secluded as we could only just see our neighbours. Our pitch was in a great location as the children could take a short path through to the field where the pod was located. Here they were free to play and run around, the space was very liberating. We were also close to the small play area which had a tyre swing and a small climbing frame and sandpit plus two sad looking owls in a cage. I expect in the middle of summer the two fields may be a bit busier but I doubt the modest facilities would allow too many more people.
Each of the woodland clearings has a fire pit so we were able to have a campfire each night. Typically, there were rain showers during our stay but the density of the trees meant that we were pretty sheltered from the elements. It also meant that the sun didn’t wake us at 5am as it has a habit of doing when you’re camping; but it was a bit chilly in the mornings whereas the fields were wonderfully warm and sunny. However, we lit a fire each morning which more than made up for the lack of rays. The pitches each have a picnic table which is handy if you’re travelling light without table or chairs.
The campsite has a wash block with separate facilities for men and women. There are two toilets and a shower in each plus two washing up stations. There is a track winding through the woodland for cars to reach the pitches and there are also pathways which made for lovely walks for the children. I could see that the woods had been filled with bluebells a few weeks previously, I’d like to return for a stay when they’re flowering.
The farm has an onsite shop (unfortunately it doesn’t open until 10am). It sells the all-important bison burgers which we barbecued, they were delicious. We also tried the elk burgers which we all agreed, as new burger-consuming experts, were not quite on a par with the bison. Sausages, steaks, eggs and milk plus café-style refreshments are also available. There is a small Native American museum at the farm which seemed slightly bizarre in the midst of the English countryside.
The farm is extensive with a mapped-out walk which passes through fields, past streams and ponds and through woodland as well as through a more landscaped area. There are various animals aside from the bison such as racoons and guanaco and there is a viewing platform and a duck hide.
The walk is really enjoyable but it is overpriced in my opinion: £8 per adult and £4 per child (aged 4-14), under 4s are free. We paid half price as we were staying on the farm but we all agreed we wouldn’t have considered paying the full amount for the walk given the impressive Wiltshire countryside which is visible in all directions.
If the farm walk had been free I expect we may not have strayed from the campsite. However, there are plenty of attractions close by. We avoided nearby Stonehenge and headed instead for Old Wardour Castle, an English Heritage site which is one of the best castles I have visited in the UK. I’ll write more about that in a separate post.
All in all, it was a great stay and I’d definitely consider returning to Bush Farm. The woodland setting is stunning and the space and tranquillity make it a special place. Bush Farm camping prices: £8.50 per adult, £4.25 per child, under 4s free. The pod is £40 per night
Location: not far from the A303 and A350, halfway between Warminster and Shaftsbury, about 20 miles west of Stonehenge.