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.’ Franchises Lodge is a working reserve, providing plenty of opportunities for exciting conservation activities that make a difference.

Activities during your stay

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 and external providers 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)

Please speak to us about your specific requirements and interests and we can build a bespoke programme together.


Cameron’s Cottage is off grid, with heating and electricity provided by solar energy. Groups are able to monitor their energy use and adapt their activities according to the amount of energy being generated or stored.

The timer used to renovate Cameron’s Cottage and build the outdoor study centre comes directly from Douglas fir trees on Franchises Lodge and the cottage itself is a haven for wildlife with wildlife-friendly features built into the design. This includes swift bricks in the walls, house martin cups in the eaves and bat entrances in the roof slates enabling bats such as greater horseshoes to roost in the roof.

A firepit near to the cottage provides ample opportunities to explore cookery and give guests an exciting outdoor experience. There are also outdoor taps with water supplied from a well, which can be used to wash off boots.


  • Sleeping facilities for up to 19 people in four dormitories of varying sizes
  • Two accessible rooms – one single and one with four accessible beds
  • Fully equipped kitchen and facilities for indoor or outdoor cooking
  • Accessible toilets and showers
  • Communal areas inside and outside cottage, including outdoor fire pit with logs to sit on
  • Outdoor study centre that's ideal for outdoor lessons or to support field study work


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


RSPB trained session leaders:

  • £100 + VAT per half-day per session leader 
  • £200 + VAT per day per session leader


Some activities will require multiple session leaders

Specialist session leaders:

  • Prices available on request


*Cameron’s Cottage is a not-for-profit enterprise, meaning that any profit we generate goes straight back into our facilities and providing the best experiences in nature that we can.

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?