Located in the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Thistledown is a family run farm which has been managed organically since we moved here in 1994. Thistledown offers an alternative approach to camping: green values are emphasised, campfires are encouraged, the lower fields are car-free and we have no allotted pitches.
Our farm offers more than just a spot to pitch a tent. Footpaths wind their way through 70 acres of ancient meadow and woodland; past streams, woodland ponds, Roman troughs, animal paddocks, picnic spots and land art. We have set up a farm shop so that visitors have an opportunity to buy local produce from small scale suppliers (ourselves included), as well as local art and crafts. We are developing a clay oven and café space, which we hope to use soon for pizza evenings and slow-cooked lunches.
The farm has a rich and varied history. We have found neolithic hand tools, a rare iron age storage pit, the remains of various roundhouses, and evidence for Roman occupation. In later centuries, the farm was part of the Woodchester Park Estate. You can still see the remains of the seven mile-long deer wall that enclosed the valley. After purchasing the farm in the 1990s we re-instated the green-top organic dairy and also established the largest elderflower orchard in the world in partnership with Bottle Green Drinks! The old pastures are now car-free camping fields, whilst clearings are mown into the elderflower orchard for campervans and those who prefer to be near their car. Our focus is now primarily on camping and environmental education and management, and we no longer accept day visits from the general public. We are keen to establish more courses using the land, and we are also a wildlife receptor site, rehoming species that have been disturbed by development.
The lower pastures have better facilities, whilst the Elderflower Orchard is accessible by car. The Orchard only has events toilets, but you are welcome to walk (4 mins) to use the washing up, composting toilets and showers in the lower pastures. Please ensure that you’ve read The Rules before booking. If you’d like to see the site map then visit Map and Arrival, and to find out what you can do with your time during your stay, then please visit Onsite.
We don’t have any allotted pitches, but the camping fields are very large and we restrict numbers so you will definitely be able to have your own space and camp as a group if required. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of space you’ll have! Campfires are encouraged and you can have your own if you’d like. Firewood is usually delivered in the late afternoon, but this may not be the case midweek – it’s best to check at the shop if you are unsure.
Camping prices vary depending on the area – the Elderflower Orchard is £5 per tent rather than £10 in the lower pastures. You pay per tent, adult, child and dog. Groups of up to 5 tents are welcome and can be booked via the booking system – if the dropdown list shows less than 5 tents then availability is limited. Please contact us via email if you’d like to make a private hire booking for a larger group.
Please note that booking is essential – we are fully booked most weekends and do have to turn people away so that we aren’t in breach of our camping licences. The minimum booking is two nights over weekends from May – Sep and occasionally holiday periods, and three nights over Bank Holidays. The booking system will offer a shorter stay if availability is limited. You may have a few day visitors during your stay. These are charged for and numbers are limited, in order to keep the site spacious.