Clarefield Copse Wild Camping (South Downs)
Farlington Nature Reserve (Portsmouth)
27th September 2019
On the evening of the 27th of September 2019 myself and Jade (A friend that I had met at Camp Wildfire) had dinner together and decided that we both wanted to go camping….
No time like the present!
We looked online for campsites that had available pitches that night and found Clarefield Copse Wild Camping in Petersfield (South Downs).
We needed a campsite that allowed dogs as we were taking Jade’s Staffie, Rex.
The pitch cost £20 for the night so we paid online using Pitchup and off we went!
The drive took just under an hour (29 Miles) and we arrived in the area at around 21:45. It was dark and the campsite itself was not particularly easy to find.
We went down every country lane we could find, the car seemed to find every possible patch of wet mud for the wheels to spin in!
Eventually we gave up and although it was late we called the phone number that had been provided on the booking receipt. The phone was quickly answered by a very helpful man that asked where we were and gave us very precise instructions that got us to the entrance of the campsite without issue.
We were informed that the member of staff would not be onsite when we arrived but that there was only one other group camping and that we were welcome to pitch up wherever we liked and help ourselves to a fire pit if we wanted.
The only signage for the campsite was a small wooden plaque nailed to a tree which was not the easiest to find, especially in the dark!
We set up camp using the headlights of the car so that we could see, We collected a fire pit and filled it with what little wood we could find. Unfortunately due to the rain all of the wood was wet and would not light no matter how long we tried to dry it out on the camp stove.
The tent was now set up by 11pm and the sky was clear so naturally that meant laying in the porch of the tent and looking at the stars.
I wish I had taken my proper camera as my phone was unable to capture any of the stars and wouldn’t do the sky justice.
Finally it started to get cold so we jumped in our sleeping bags and went to sleep… I slept surprisingly well compared to normal and had set an alarm so that I could be up in time for the sunrise.
The sky had clouded over during the night but the sunrise wasn’t any less spectacular.
The only noise that could be heard from the campsite was a light breeze and the tweeting of birds
The ground was wet with morning dew but this didn’t stop us from packing away the tent and getting ready to explore. Even rex seemed to enjoy the morning sniff around.
There were portaloo toilets on the campsite which were not fantastic but were definitely clean enough to be useable and had plenty of toilet roll available in them.
There were taps that appeared to have running fresh water but the other group that had set up camp were right next to them and I wasn’t brave enough to venture over and check them out.
With the car packed we were on our way and decided to drive to Portsmouth and visit the Farlington Marshes Nature Reserve to take rex for a walk.
It was a lot bigger than I expected it to be with lots of different routes to take that will bring you back to where you started.
Again, I was left wishing I had my camera with me for the amount of wildlife that you come into close proximity of and there were a lot of small pond areas.
Plenty of benches along the routes and a very comfortable wall to sit on where the water in the dock meets the sea.
The swans here were very friendly but I still kept my distance as I don’t trust swans…. I’ve seen the videos. I know what they’re capable of.
There were a few places that had specially made wooden plinths for bird watchers and these provided great views. The weather wasn’t bad but for some reason this place just didn’t seem to have many people wandering around. A bonus for us but a shame for the nature reserve!