About Cameron's cottage

RSPB Franchises Lodge

Cameron’s Cottage is based at RSPB Franchises Lodge nature reserve, a dramatic woodland in the New Forest National Park. The abundance of unusual wildlife on the reserve has earned it the name ‘the secret forest.’ Cameron’s Cottage has all the facilities that guests need to stay comfortably for days at a time. Visitors can meet likeminded people, relax and get stuck into a host of activities tailored to them.

Why visit?

Franchises Lodge is a haven for wildlife, from birds of prey to unusual fungi, orchids and loads more. In this setting, young people can come together to take part in sessions provided by the centre team including:

  • Fun sessions (wild art, campfires, storytelling)
  • Training in practical conservation skills (tackling invasive species, reserve management, grazing infrastructure).
  • Wildlife surveys and experiences (moth trapping, bat detecting, wildlife walks, pond dipping, newt watch, bioblitz, camera trapping).
  • Team building (spiders web, blind fold trail, slacklining)
  • Survival skills (outdoor cooking, navigation, shelter building, pioneering, tracking)

Relationships are being developed with external providers who may be available to offer additional sessions including forest bathing, FSC certified courses, mental health training, willow weaving, art workshops and nature writing workshops. These will follow their own pricing structures. Please speak to us about your specific requirements and interests and we can build a bespoke programme together.

 

What could your stay look like?

A standard 2 night stay could include different activities to offer a truly immersive and diverse experience. Arriving before dinner, young people will start with a site tour followed by an outdoor cooking session and bat and moth detecting at night. Then a survival skills day to develop skills in navigation, shelter building and fire lighting followed by team building activities after the evening meal. Day 3 could start with an early morning wildlife walk followed by breakfast and checking out of rooms by 10am ready to finish with a conservation session to support nature.
Please note: Many activities are seasonal due to wildlife life cycles and site sensitivities. Please discuss options when making your booking.


Find out all the details on how to book with your group for a day visit or for a residential stay or discuss stay options.

Essential info

Check in to the Cottage is after 3pm but visitors can visit and be involved in activities beforehand.

Check out is 10am but visitors can stay on site all day and use the other facilities.


An overnight stay is:

  • £15 per young person with a minimum Cottage hire of £120
  • Free for up to two group leaders


RSPB trained session leaders:

  • £100 per half day per session leader 
  • £200 per day per session leader
  • Some activities will require multiple session leaders


Specialist session leaders:

  • Prices available on request

Facilities

The Cottage sleeps up to 19 people in four dormitories of varying sizes and one accessible single room. There's one accessible dormitory with bunk beds, which sleeps 6. There's a fully-equipped kitchen and facilities for indoor or outdoor cooking. The showers and toilets are on the ground floor. There are communal places to relax in the cottage and outside. Outside there's an open-sided wooden shelter as well as a garden area with fire pits and logs to sit on. There's also a study centre that's ideal for outdoor lessons or to support field study work. Tramper hire is available to provide access to the wider Franchises Lodge site.

A lesser spotted woodpecker perched on a tree near a nest hole

Give us a helping hand

Could you spare some time to help as a volunteer at Cameron's Cottage? Or could you make a donation to help support this important place for young people?