A NEW campsite has opened at Portland Bill in a bid to reduce 'wild camping' in the area.

Based in a field near Portland Bill lighthouse, 'Portland Bill Camping' opened this month and is being run by the owners of Fancy's Farm.

Joint owner Su Illsey said: "We've toyed with the idea for several years - with the Covid situation there's been a lot more people looking to camp and we've been inundated outside the farm - we just thought this needs to be sorted out really.

"People would be camping and leaving their toilet all over the place - we renamed one particular tree the 'poo tree'."

Fortunately the campsite has water, waste and toilet facilities for campers - and an all-important emptying point for motorhome toilets.

Su added: "We have spoken with the council and our landlord to make sure everyone's happy. On the whole there's been a lot of support - about two per cent of people are saying 'not in my back yard'."

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It is already proving a hit with many locals and people from further afield - one camper travelled just minutes up the road from Easton - while one man had come from Switzerland.

"Our first Friday was ridiculous - we had about 27 pitches," Su said.

"The next day was even busier - but we could have comfortably accommodated more, even with social distancing.

"We've got a good cleaning schedule, hand sanitiser points and everyone is spaced well apart - but to be honest people are being really sensible.

"We're not aimed at young people who want to party into the night - it's more for families, older people and climbing and water sports enthusiasts. People are just really glad they've got somewhere legal to camp."

As well as helping to provide an income for the farm after a difficult four months, there is a benefit to the community, as, according to Su, people are leaving their vehicles on-site and walking around the island, spending money in local take-aways, pubs and cafés.

"Hopefully now we're open people can see how it's being run - at the end of the day this is our grazing field and we're looking after it."