Things To Do
On the farm
The tent is set in a spacious field planted with native grasses that are a magnet for insects, birds and other wildlife. There is plenty of space to run around, relax and enjoy the open space. Along one edge is an area of woodland, perfect for exploring, building dens and collecting wood for the campfire.
Many of the fields on our family 260-acre farm have private grass tracks left along the edges, so that you can walk the Hampshire countryside in peace without having to go anywhere near a road. Step out in a different direction and you can stroll along the Meon Valley Trail and into the picturesque village of West Meon in about 20 minutes. The Nature Reserve and hill fort of Old Winchester Hill – with views across the Solent – is also a popular route.
Walking and cycling
The South Downs Way and Old Winchester Hill are accessible from the top of the farm. It is also possible to reach the Monarchs Way, Wayfarers Walk, Hangars Way and Staunton Way as well as many other footpaths. Maps are available in the tent. For nature lovers the nearby Chappetts Copse is worth a visit in late May. It has the largest population in Britain of the rare sword-leaved helleborine and other rare orchids flowering at that time.
Bikes can be hired here . Part of the South Downs Way are cyclable and there are other cycle routes nearby, including the Meon Valley Trail which is ideal for children because it is so flat. There are mountain bike trails at Queen Elizabeth Country Park and around East Meon.
Places to eat
If you can tear yourself away from the barbecue and home-cooked meals there are some good local pubs. The Thomas Lord is named after the founder of Lords Cricket ground, who is buried in the village. They serve delicious locally-sourced meals and have a beautiful garden with pizza oven.
For a more casual meal or snack Springs Café behind the village shop is the place to go. Here you can get an all-day breakfast, tasty soup or quiche for lunch and the best freshly made cakes.
Both The Shoe (at Exton) and The Hurdles at Droxford can be reached from the Meon Valley Trail and make good refreshment points on a longer walk. The food at both is excellent. The Shoe has a waterside garden which is a delight on a sunny day.
Walk (or drive) eastwards and you can find Ye Olde George Inn at East Meon, another pub that serves good food.
Within 10 miles of Brocklands Farm you can try your hand at fly fishing, visit Hinton Ampner House with its beautiful gardens or explore the market town of Petersfield with the Flora Twort Gallery and Farmers’ Market. For families Butser Ancient Farm, with its chance to get hands-on experience of the Iron Age and a ride on the Watercress Line are both extremely popular.
Other places to explore locally are:
- West Meon and its history (a blog) – discover more about this picturesque village
- West Meon Tennis Courts: contact Buffy on 07802 684909
- The Sustainability Centre – explore sustainability and their lovely site
- Moorhen Farm Trout Fishing – see if you can catch your supper!
- Farmer’s Markets (Petersfield & Winchester) – great for locally produced goodies
- Queen Elizabeth Country Park – over 2000 acres of woodland & downland to enjoy
There are so many exciting places to go as a family. For a relaxing time try going crab fishing at Emsworth (30 minutes), where there is a lovely walk, great ice-cream café and a pontoon to crab off or play on the sand at West Wittering. A visit to the Victory and Mary Rose (40 minutes) at Portsmouth is a great day out and if you have time you could climb Spinnaker Tower for an impressive view of the Solent and Isle of Wight. The wonders of the natural world can be enjoyed at Marwell Zoo (20 minutes) and for bird lovers Bird World (30 minutes) has penguins among its many birds and the Hawk Conservancy has flying displays and the chance to hold a bird. The rescued medieval houses at the Weald and Downland Museum are great for exploring and they often have special activities on.
Other places to go are:
- Winchester Science Centre – fantastic interactive activities and the largest capacity planetarium in the world
- Go Ape, Farnham – try your hand at the high wires
- Milestones Museum, Basingstoke – Bring Victorian and 1930s streets to life
- Paultons Park – Theme park for mid-age children with the popular Pepper Pig
- Portchester Castle – a ruined castle to explore and play in
The historic town centre of Winchester is full of interesting streets and ancient buildings. Of particular note are the Cathedral (make sure you find the statue of the diver who stopped the building sinking into the marshes), the working Water Mill and King Arthur’s Round Table and Great Hall.
- Uppark House (NT) – beautifully restored Georgian mansion with a very impressive 17th century dollshouse
- Hillier’s Gardens & Arboretum, Romsey – beautiful gardens with exciting play areas for children
- Mottisfont Abbey, Romsey – A romantic house and gallery set in beautiful riverside gardens
- West Dean Gardens – 90 acres of beautiful gardens
We are conveniently placed for many local events. The West Meon Book Festival is growing in popularity and each year attracts some well-known authors to speak about their work. The Music Festival is hosted by the Primrose Piano Quartet and the music is superb. There is so much to do at the free Watercress Festival that the whole family will be entertained and you get a chance to taste all things watercress – extensively grown in this area. In Winchester the Hat Fair also offers great free family entertainment and the Festival of Speed at Goodwood and Carfest South are also within easy reach.