Close to Brockenhurst in Hampshire sits the Poppy Pod Village – a holiday and respite facility in the heart of the New Forest. Julie Mounfield, AFF’s Regional Manager South, went along with her family to find out what it’s like…
MY HUSBAND is no longer serving, but the beauty of the Poppy Pods is that they are for veterans and serving personnel alike, writes Julie.
Now, no-one will ever tell you that I am a fan of camping. I will, however, glamp and that is what appealed to me. The pods are, in the words of my sons, “awesome”!
Sturdy wooden habitats that look like a cross between a tent and a Hobbit hole, the 20 pods are sited in an oval formation around a central covered structure which is used by all guests for cooking and socialising.
Our neighbours to our left were Navy and – wouldn’t you know it – an old friend from our Catterick posting in 1998 to our right.
The first evening passed with a barbecue and a huge game of cricket with all the kids and parents joining in.
Even into the dark hours, Cyalumes could be seen bouncing around the area as the kids played until it was finally time to crash.
We tried the climbing provided on site the next day and spent the rest of our time exploring the splendour of the New Forest.
Inside the pods is like something TV presenter, George Clarke would appreciate in Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces. It’s certainly minimalist, with a table between two bench seats which winds down into a double bed. There are also two cot beds, which makes comfortable sleeping for four.
A solar panel charges a small lamp on the wall and a USB port is supplied for phone charging – that’s it!
The showers and toilet facilities are similar to any modern campsite, functional but immaculately clean. You also have access to a fridge, freezer, sinks and cold water points.
What does it cost?
This is the really good bit. Your £15 membership fee covers a three-year period when you can go as often as you like at no extra cost, subject to availability.
Pods can be booked at weekends for two nights or during school holidays for a maximum of four nights.
The project was made possible with the help of the Armed Forces Community Covenant, The Royal British Legion and Hampshire County Council. Find out more at hants.gov.uk