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Article: Camping at Red Shoot 2012!

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Red Shoot Camping ParkThis year our summer holidays with the kids consisted of, among other things, a four day camping trip with our friends
at Red Shoot Camping Park in the New Forest.

Our main reason for choosing this particular site was because it was the first one I came across that didn't require us to book for a whole week - restricted by finances and work schedules we were looking for a long four-day weekend, and whilst Red Shoot was certainly not the cheapest pitch for pitch, it catered perfectly for the available dates we had. 

Never having been to the site before, we were of course slightly apprehensive as to whether it would offer us all weRed Shoot Camping Park were looking for - after all we had a total of five children under the age of seven to keep fed, washed and entertained. But on arrival we were very pleasantly surprised...

The location of the Park is beautiful, set right in the heart of the New Forest and reached by peaceful country lanes filled only with the sound of wildlife. Plenty of New Forest ponies are to be found roaming, frequently blocking the roads in their family units - although this made a pleasant change to being held up by traffic on the motorway, and the kids found much amusement in our feeble attempts to shoo them onto the side of the road (yep, they're definitely stubborn alright!). The ponies are also frequent visitors to the campsite entrance which they can be found gathered around the adjacent Red Shoot Inn, making for a very picturesque scene.

The staff were very friendly and welcoming on check-in, and despite our early arrival our pitch was available for us to access. The site is deceptively large with several adjoining fields branching off the main one (which we were on), and cars can handily be parked next to your tents.

Red Shoot Camping Park

The pitches are not well defined like some other campsites we have been on, so the layout seems a little disorganised, with the large majority of pitches in the centre and some around the perimeters, but everyone has the same amount of space to utilise. The motorhomes are also mixed in with the tents (there is no separate area for them) so you can feel a bit boxed in, however the site's high turnover of visitors means you'll never have the same neighbours for very long!

Nonetheless, we had more than enough room to erect our new and rather humungus tent (complete with electric hook-up and nearby water tap), and upon booking we had specified two adjacent plots so as to be pitched next to our friends, resulting in a surprisingly large outside area between the tents for us to occupy with tables and chairs, windbreak, barbeque etc, plus lots of space for the kids to run around and play (gentle) ball games! 

The campsite facilities are excellent. The shower/toilet blocks (both the gents and ladies) are wellRed Shoot Camping Park maintained and always clean and fresh, with a constant supply of hot water. The blocks are modern, with a good number of toilets, shower cubicles, basins and mirrors, and underfloor heating provides a lovely touch first thing in the morning. There is a hairdryer in the ladies (which is coin operated), shaver points in the mens, and a bucket and mop is at hand in case you fancy cleaning up after yourself. The campsite also has separate facilities for the disabled, as well as a large family shower room with a baby changing area.

The outside washing up area is undercover, and has several large sink units complete with adequate draining areas and hot water on demand (washing up bowls not provided). There is also a laundry room which houses washing machines and tumble driers that you can use at a cost, as well as a large amount of information on local attractions to see and do. 

The on-site shop, located next to the reception, is open every day of the week. It is a little pricey as is Red Shoot Camping Parkto be expected, but is very well-stocked with everything you could need: groceries, freshly baked bread and croissants, newspapers, camping equipment, toy, gifts and even alcohol. If you want to do a bigger shop, then there are a couple of large supermarkets about five miles away, but if you don't fancy cooking, then the Red Shoot Inn mentioned earlier is very family friendly and on the doorstep, offering a really convenient and comprehensive food and drinks menu to suit all, as well as a large tiered pub garden.

In terms of activities, there is a dedicated on-site play area for kids, which includes climbing and activity equipment as well as a sand-pit - great for keeping younger children amused but may have limited appeal for older children. There is however a large open area opposite the pub ideal for playing football and other ball games, along with a tree swing which seems to be a popular activity for both children and adults! If you fancy a family walk, then the Red Shoot Camping Park has direct access to the Forest, with many Red Shoot Camping Parktrails offering opportunities for gentle strolls or more ambitious hikes, and there are also numerous on-road and off-road cycling routes.

If you want to go further a field, just a short car journey away are a number of sandy beaches including Bournemouth, Sandbanks and Studland, as well as a nearby Ford suitable for paddling. In addition, Moors Valley Country Park is very close and a great day out, offering loads of activities to wear the kids out (some free and some paid for), including play areas, cycling and walking, themed trails, zip wires and a railway. 

All-in-all we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Red Shoot Camping Park, helped partly by the great weather and company, and we found the campsite to be friendly, well-equipped and great for families....definitely looking forward to going again!

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