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And Then The Stone Room

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One day, during the restoration
period, Sarah found John in a state of concussion as he had fallen from a ladder and had no idea what day of the week it was. This was the day before we were due to set of to the Scottish Highlands for a walking holiday. Surprise, not all campsite owners wiz off to sunny climes in the winter! Some, perhaps misguidedly, spend the winter either up a ladder or up a mountain in the snow walking in unforgiving territory. Fortunately he recovered to enjoy the freezing conditions near Aberdeen

 When the builders had finished installing the internal facilities of the restored Nissen Hut, Sarah and John said ‘Goodbye see you around’ ‘ No,’ they pleaded, we don’t want to see anything ROUND for a very long time.


The Stone Banker Room
No, this is not where the piles of money are stored. Some campers fantasise about the life of the campsite owner. A common fantasy is that they jet off to sunny climes when the season is over. The reality, most often is, that the wint…

The Walkers' Barn

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The site had been a smallholding until it became a campsite. There are several old quarry heads and the recently restored Stone Room was once used as a Banker for the dressing of the stone. The shop was built from a Marley Kit in the late 1960s?

When the we took over the campsite all those years ago no one could deny that the Nissen hut was dilapidated. It was almost full floor to ceiling with piles of unimaginable rubbish and rats that nested happily and cosily in the rotting heaps.  The predecessors had purchased the hut sometime after the war [second world] for the purpose of keeping chickens, a sort of deep litter arrangement, deep litter was a habit they found to break! When it rained it was wetter inside the building than out. It was close to being derelict. It was clear, however that permission to demolish and rebuild would not be given. It had to be reconstructed. The particular construction was double skinned to give some element of thermal insulation. It was not obvious to u…

Communications

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That caravan was replaced by a newer one in 1998 about the same time the opening times  for the site were extended until the end of October.  This caravan was much more salubrious.
There was, and always have been, many loyal customers who came for the place, for Tom and the delights of Purbeck. The site is in such a perfect situation surrounded as it is by fields and leading via pathways to the extraordinary Dancing Ledge, Seacombe and Winspit and , of course the famous Square and Compass Public House in Worth Matravers. Many of the customers come purely for the joy of visiting that famous hostlry and stumbling back along Priestway to the campsite.

However there was another range of visitors who maybe did not look on themselves as customers, they, sadly, took advantage of Tom’s galiant efforts to manage on his own. These people were proud to recount to others that they had stayed  and not paid, they would lose themselves among the holiday makers or drift into the area right at the to…

A Change of Ownership

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A Change of Owners
It was a daunting prospect to take on this well loved place. To retain the character, charm, customers. Part of the charm for people lay in the neglect and quant old-fashioned air added to by the rat chewed electrical cables in the shop .
 We set about this, as sensitively as possible, aware that there could be resentment to fundamental change and, after all, why did they love it so much. We knew that Tom was well loved by many people as a unique, unrepeatable person. We also knew that he had found it increasingly hard to manage on his own which is he had done for the last few years


So we attempted to make change slowly and preserve those things that have added to the magical qualities of the place.
Because it was impossible, financially, to knock down the existing toilet block we set about reconstructing from the inside, thus there has been an organic growth rather than a fundamental change.

This was not easy as so much was so badly neglected and run down, we were …

Campsite Development

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Tom obtaineda few suitable frame tents, four to six person size. To make them comfortable he laid down some wooden floor boardsmade of demolition floor boards and sheets of ply these were then covered in groundsheets that were tacked down. The tents were duly erected.
At this time Caramarine supplied equipment to fit out holiday caravansand supplied Tom with camping goods . Tom asked Graham, the owner of Caramarine to supply interior furnishings. Each tent was supplied with a camp kitchen, table, two burner and grill cooker, gaz bottle, cutlery, plastic Twinco plates,bowls and mugs, pots and frying pan, bucket, bowl and cooking utensils etc. Tom was then ready to commence operations as a ‘rentatent’ operator. Tom did not spend much on advertising this venture, indeed healways advised us only touse the free entries in the camping literature, but to start with it met with a degree of modest success. However it soon became apparent to Tom that the operation required a lot more attention t…
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Tom’s Field is a little over 4.5 acres and was used for stone quarrying having heads for three underground workings. When underground working became less attractive the land became used as a smallholding for cattle, chicken and pigs.
The whole of Tom’s Field Road once belonged to the Bower family but was gradually sold off as building plots.

Toms Field was first used for casual camping in the late 1950s at that time part of the land was still used as a small holding. Tom and his father developed the site and had some interesting and innovative ideas. There was Tom’s venture into pre- erected tents. This took place in  the mid seventies.  The concept of  tent camping as an inexpensive family holiday was facing increasing competition from caravans both static and touring. The cheap package holiday in Spain was enjoying a massive boom with the advent of Laker Airways and other such all  inclusive operators. In France there were large camps that operated tents for camping holidays with th…
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Tom’s Field Campsite

So how did Tom’s Field develop as a campsite-?
Well the history of how this piece of land first came into the hands of the Bower family is contained in the following information from Reg Saville of Langton Matravers
‘For many hundreds of years the principal occupation of England was subsistence farming.
During the early Saxon period (c650 AD) the land was divided into strips of equal length and width, called 'hydes' or 'hides', and each family was given one strip, on which they had to live, cultivate crops and pasture their animals. Many of the straight stone wall boundaries stretching southwards from Langton village street to the cliffs date from this period.
During the late Saxon and early Norman periods those who had served the king loyally in war or peace were given several of these hydes, creating small manors. As time went on, these families, which had become rich and famous, purchased more lands, thus creating very large manors, such as the …