After arriving and parking at the reception and amenities area, occupying the various nondescript buildings of the now defunct garden centre previously located here, visitors grab a wheelbarrow, load up their gear and follow the grassy path up and over an old brick railway bridge. (The railway underneath has long gone, leaving a beautifully overgrown pathway to explore). Accessing the site from the bridge makes it feel isolated, secluded – and just that little bit secret. From this vantage point, it’s easy to take in the features of this place: just fifteen hugely spacious pitches cut in to the long grass of this secluded meadow, interspersed with a scattering of recently planted saplings and all encircled with a backdrop of ancient oak and hornbeam trees. Wild flowers are bursting to show off their colours, while the woods beyond are ripe for exploration. In fact, the plan is for plants to be a big part of this site. Tim is a botanist and wants to turn this place into the UK’s first ‘edible campsite’ – a planting programme is underway, with an increasing array of berries, edible shrubs and flowers growing freely, ready for campers to pick fresh and add to the saucepan.
In the meantime, there’s something else growing quickly – and that’s the reputation of the Secret Campsite. Secret? Glamping won't be a secret for very long!
(info supplied by the campsite)
The Secret Campsite is a peaceful tents only site where you can enjoy campfires as well as the wildlife that we have encouraged into our woodland camping meadow. The meadow itself is surrounded by ancient woodland and a Site of Nature Conservation Interest, SNCI. Knowlands Wood which borders the site is managed by its owner as a private nature reserve and we see barn owls, deer, stoats, foxes, grass snakes, dragonflies, goldfinches and glow worms during the year as well as hearing the nightingales singing in the spring.
The campsite is kept free from cars and dogs which has created a wildlife rich habitat where children can explore and build dens in safety. Our 18 camping pitches are extremely spacious and well screened from each other by the wildflower meadow and the 1000+ trees that we have planted around the site, in part courtesy of a Woodland Trust grant. These trees and plants provide a rich environment for numerous species to live in, and more selfishly, interesting produce for campers to forage for as you slow down and discover the site.
We have three new and well appointed hot showers as well as great toilets, including one disabled toilet and a pair of compost loos tucked away in the field for midnight emergencies. The fantastic, Holmansbridge farm shop is just a 5 minutes walk away along the now dismantled railway line which forms the SNCI on one side of the site and the exciting town of Lewes is just a mornings walk away along the River Ouse. We encourage quiet exploration of the local area which includes the nearby South Downs and Ashdown Forest but we avoid large groups so that you can enjoy the ink black night sky, the croaking frogs and an uninterrupted dawn chorus.availability
It's always worth calling for availability in our Tree tent and the soon to arrive Gridshell which will be appearing from May 2014, although you can book online through the website.
Have your saySign In to add a review.
I really wanted to find somewhere as wild as possible to camp, within a short distance of London, and managed to find this special place! The guy who owns it, Tim, was so lovely and welcoming and saved us from the cold by lending us some extra sleeping bags. The surroundings are wonderful and it made a great base to explore the South Downs. It's very peaceful, eco-friendly and has a great atmosphere. The facilities are clean (shower/toilets/fridge/washing up sinks) and the area is great for walking and biking. We will definitely be going back (when it's a bit warmer!) and would love to try out the tree house! My only tip is to choose a pitch away from the main buildings if possible as they have a much more secluded feel. Thank you to The Secret Campsite for a lovely escape from London!
We booked the tree tent for 2 nights at the start of the Easter break. Not regular campers, we were able to borrow the basics from Tim. It was a fabulous couple of days - our 6 year old loved every minute. The tree tent is great - on the flight path for local owls ! We walked to the local pub down the disused railway track on the first night at dusk which was great fun. On our second day we walked to Lewes which took us through great countryside. The hamper was great so we had to make another visit to the farm shop. Loved the whole set up and the lovely family who run the campsite. Will definitely go back.
My boyfriend and I chose this campsite just for a night, Tim was so welcoming and really made you feel safe and looked after. It was at the end of March and the weather was still pretty chilly, especially at night. So Tim provided us with two spare sleeping bags, which were absolute life savers! We were the only people there, with only the sound of Woodpeckers and Owls, magical!
We had a fire (wood is £6.50 a bag from Tim, you can't pick wood up from the surrounding Woods because they are private and the owner leaves the fallen wood to preserve the natural cycle of the Woods, although you can bring your own or buy it from elsewhere if you wish). You get a large space to yourself (could fit 4 or 5 tents, maybe more) and a fire pit, with wooden logs to sit on. There are lots of baby trees that have been planted on the campsite that have tree protectors on and they separate each plot, it would be prettier without protectors, but in a few years it will be the most beautiful campsite.
Would highly recommend staying here, we can't wait to go back sometime.
My then-fiance and I stayed at The Secret Campsite during Pride last summer. As soon as we got there, it felt like home. Tim, the owner, is super friendly and helped us load up the wheelbarrows to take our things across the grassy bridge to our pitch, which by the way was huuuuge. Surrounded by long grass, fledging trees and the faraway sound of other campers, we set up camp on one of the hottest days of the year, and started a fire on the designated fire pit.
We spent an idyllic few days on the campsite, where the facilities are basic but clean. The compost toilets stink mind, but hold your nose and remember it's environmentally friendly! (There are "normal" toilets closer to the office, don't panic) I only used the hot (not-free) family shower, because I am completely fussy, but hubby used the normal ones and said they were fine. There's a fridge so you don't get food poisoning from trying to keep your sausages cool.
I would always recommend staying in the meadow, rather than closer to the office. You really feel away from it all, in some kind of fairytale land. I could see how it would be amazing for kids, and we definitely plan to come back if/when we are blessed with our own.
The bell tent, shepherds hut and the weird ball thing in the trees looked brilliant, and if we get rich will we be trying one!
Apart from the obvious pull of Brighton, try smaller Lewes as well. Very cute and friendly, with a lovely flower shop cum tearoom that makes its own gorgeous loose tea blend (I think it's called Lewesiana, or something to that effect). I was very thankful for the open air pool in that ridiculous heat as well - freezing but lovely.
We will return :-)
I took my daughter camping for a little us time and was greeted by one of the friendliest campsite owners you could meet. Tim is a delight, and couldn't try hard enough to settle you in or to make the place special. He really believes in people's experiences and working towards the perfect site. He has some great ideas. My only comment would be that there is little shade on the pitches. We hit the hottest weekend for a few years and it was sweltering. However, the pitches are very generous in size, there is good scope for meeting others but also getting away from it all. There are some great walks with lovely wildlife and some good woods to play in too. Its local for us, and a great place for me to spend time with my girl. Perfect!
Stayed here in late September with a friend so we could do some hiking along the South Downs. Perfect location to set off for some great walks and easy to pick up the South Downs Way. Tim and Lisa (and the girls) were very helpful, providing maps of the area and some excellent pub recommendations. Thoroughly recommend the local real ale pub, great ales and the best homemade burger I've eaten.
After a perfect first evening with some beers by the campfire the weather turned thoroughly nasty on our second day and Tim was very accommodating in allowing us to take shelter in one of the outbuildings for the evening. Just what was needed following a hot shower having been drenched on the Downs.
The pitches are very generous and secluded, though we had the place to ourselves anyway with the kids back to school. The wildlife is very much in evidence and there were a number of owls hooting through the night in the adjacent woodland. Will definitely return.
Great site and everything you expect camping to be. Plenty of space to put your tent and still have space for playing in - helped by there being no cars on the site. Campfire pit for sitting round and enjoying the really peaceful site. Enough facilities to wash, shower etc.Totally recommended esp for first time camping with kids - maximise your chances of them getting the camping bug!
I wanted a two day fix of Swallows & Amazons experience for my three children and I definitely got it at the Secret Campsite. From the off, the owner and his young daughters were friendly and helpful, and the site was as idyllic as you could imagine - a large pitch surrounded by long grass with a small forest as a backdrop packed full of wildlife, and quiet as well, which is important. Lots of stuff to do in nearby Lewes including outdoor swimming and boating down rivers. Only a couple of hours from London, it's definitely worth a weekend.
The best campsite we've ever stayed at - lots of room, very few pitches, brilliant hosts and in a great location. Open fires allowed, great walks and things to do locally. Unimprovable
I took my niece to the secret campsite in July for 3 nights, we stayed in the Arken for 2 nights, it was beautifully made, and as with all the pitches, had a carved wooden table and a couple of chairs, most importantly there was a fire pit so we could have a proper campfire. The last night we spent in the tree house which was also beautiful, and a real treat, it's very spacious, with some pretty lighting and little zip open windows so you lay back and gaze at the stars. The pitches are cut into the meadow which is teaming with butterflies and fruit trees and a very spread out so that you retain a great deal of privacy but you also feel part of a community. Tim was an amazing host and greeted us as soon as we got out of the car, he made us feel at home instantly which was important. We were given everything we needed in a welcome box as well as a delicious cake! The showers are good and there is washing up facilities a fridge and freezer. Easy access to lots of local attractions and Brighton, I highly recommend The Secret Campsite.
We have just returned from 2 nights at the Secret Campsite. We contacted the owner Tim at the last minute when after finding a nearby campsite unsuitable. From the outset Tim couldn't do more to help. Although the campsite was fully booked, he offered the option of a pitch next to one of the fantastic bell tents followed by a different pitch the following night, or he said we could stay on his 'emergency pitch' for 2 nights. We opted for the emergency pitch as we didn't want the hassle of moving again.
Even the 'emergency pitch' was lovely. We were close to the reception block but had a view over the meadow. We were able to have a real fire at night time.
The site is just beautiful surrounded by woodland and with beautiful flowers and plants everywhere. There is a lovely garden area teaming with sunflowers and butterflies as well as little herb garden that we used. The main camping field is idyllic (the no cars policy makes a difference) and each pitch is spacious and nicely spread out. We took a walk from the campsite down the disused railway track next to the site and again found ourselves surrounded by butterflies and flowers (as well as blackberries that our little one loved eating).
The shower block was nice and it was lovely to have access to a washing up room with a fridge.
We will return and look forward to camping on the main camping field. Tim and the whole campsite made a great impression!
We have camped all over the world, and we agreed that this is one of the best sites we have ever stayed at. Lots of space between tents, no cars in the camping area, quiet at night, friendly, helpful staff, lots of wildlife and camp fires. The facilities are simple, but are everything you need. We just wished we'd arranged to stay for longer because this is a brilliant camp site.
Fantastic campsite, the enormously helpful & generous owner Tim made our stay an absolute pleasure. To be able to chop wood and burn it freely was a joy. Massive secluded pitches and great facilities (fridge, loan of a hatchet, power to charge phone if needed etc) make this a benchmark by which all campsites should be judged.
We have been holidaying in caravans for several years and decided to try camping this year. The Secret Campsite was our very first camping experience, and we stayed for just one day/night as a trial. It was lovely, plenty of space between pitches, toilets were a very short walk away and clean. We had a good night's sleep, it was so quiet and we woke up to see rabbits and wildfowl outside our tent in the morning. The best part was the log fire, we cooked our dinner and breakfast on the fire, and even the weather didn't disappoint. We plan to book a tent pitch and the tree tent next time, Tim really made us feel welcome
Stayed at the Secret campsite for 2 nights in August, I can't fault anything about it, great hosts, facilities and the pitches are huge and really spaced out. We booked with friends with a total of 4 children aged 18 months to 7 years and all of them had a fab time in a very safe environment, us adults enjoyed ourselves as well particularly the glasses of wine round the open fire. Would highly recommend!
We stayed in May and this is a fantastic campsite. Tim is so helpful and makes you feel very welcome. Our three year old had a great time. The pitches are spacious and you get the privacy you don't expect camping. Really great camping trip and we will be back.
This was our first family camping trip - Mum, Dad and 6 and 2 yr old children. We have spoken to people who have told us about their camping trips where they took everything apart from the actual house with them, relying on electric hook up when they get there. The idea of a camping trip in a packed camp site with dogs running about, lots of cars and sitting in your tent with a TV on would not be our idea of a good time. This is why the Secret Campsite was so perfect for us.
We thought the location of the site was really quiet and peaceful, where each pitch has loads of space and 'nature' dividing them. Tim, the owner was so friendly and enthusiastic. he found out our names quickly and used them from then on - a good host.
Our first day there we walked along what was the old rail track and have never seen so many variety of butterfly. It was a site to behold and I'm not exactly a nature freak.
The whole thing encouraged a great mood amongst the campers and with the sun shining it reminded me of childhood memories - a world where the sun always shone.....discover the secret...
Lovely, spacious site, so much room between pitches! Fantastic facilities in gorgeous countryside. Tim and his family felt like friends as soon as we arrived, which is handy when you realise you've forgot to bring something to sit on! Great to have access to a fridge. Sitting around the camp fire was the perfect end to each day. Compost loos, solar heated shower and recycling bins It was so relaxing we did nothing but eat and sunbathe! Can't fault a single thing - will be back soon.
The woodland setting, with only just enough facilities, lets you feel like you aren't really staying on a commercial site. The large, spread out pitches with a fire pit, combined with the hospitality of Tim and family, ensured that will be back next year. Can't fault a thing!!!
We had a fantastic time and we will defiantly recommand the site to our friends and hopefully come again soon!
The atmosphere is great, and it is lovely to be in a campsite with space from one pitch to the other and no cars so the children can safely ran around.
The showers, toilets and kitchen are very clean.
It was lovely to be able to go for a walk from the campsite to the village without needing the car
Tim and his wife were very kind and helpful and our children enjoyed using the wheel barrows.
Thank you for a very nice vacation
We had a fantastic two night stay at The Secret Campsite in July. Online booking was very straightforward and we got confirmation straight away. The campsite was fantastic! The pitches are very generous, we had loads of space and the surounding meadow grass is lovely. The campfire area is a brilliant addition and we loved having campfires which we haven't been able to do at other campsites. The whole area is very pretty and the owners are really friendly! Overall we loved our stay and would highly recommend it!
I stayed one night in the Tree Tent, one night in the Arkette, with my nine-year-old son. He adored the Tree Tent, I fell in love with the Arkette. Both are absolute works of art. The site itself, as you can tell from the other reviews, is something special. Amazingly generous plots, made private by wonderfully clever planting and landscaping. So many highlights. Walking though the butterflies' playground of unmowed meadows, spotting pheasants and rabbits, enjoying bacon sarnies cooked on the fire pit with the delicious produce from the farm shop next door. This place is a winner.
With out a doubt the best campsite ever where the quality of the experience is carefully and considerately managed by Tim the warm and friendly host. Pitches are virtually private and exclusive unusual in my experience.All those things that can make camping really enjoyable are to had for the asking,woodland to explore,decent pub 25 minute walk from campsite and my personal favourite campfires.Above all it is the thoughtful layout of the site the impressed me.
I booked a surprise weekend away to The Secret Campsite for my wife & daughter. It was the first time we've stayed there and we'll definitely be going back. Tim immediately makes you feel welcome. It's a stunning site, well thought out, with every effort being made to create a 'back to nature' environment. Secluded, spacious, grass pitches are set amongst the tall, wild purple thistles, giving you the perfect screening from neighbouring pitches. Surrounded by woodland and teaming with wildlife my daughter loved the various types of butterflies, and my wife spotted a deer in the woods nearby. Holmansbridge farm shop is just 5 minutes down the road selling local produce and everything you'll need for your trip, and there's some great pubs nearby as well! All in all a great little find.
We've just returned from a weekend at the Secret Campsite and had an amazing time. It's a beautiful spot with large pitches, well spaced apart, in a gorgeous field surrounded by trees. The owners are very friendly and helpful.
There's an amazing farmshop just down the road and beautiful countryside all around. Great facilities including composting loos and solar showers. I can't recommend it enough and am looking forward to going back already!
Our stay at the Secret Campsite was an incredible experience. The campsite itself is absolutely beautiful with views of the South Downs poking out through the trees. There is a vast array of wildlife in and around the campsite and you can hear the sound of nearby farm animals amongst a golden silence.
The facilities are fantastic - always clean toilets and hot showers. There are many woods/grasslands you can go walking in direct from the campsite and along the old railway path.
Campfires are encouraged within the campsite which is fantastic. We did have some difficulties lighting the fire, but Tim was on hand to ask if we needed an axe or kindling material. Tim is a fantastic campsite owner and introduced us to the whole family who were all lovely. We asked Tim about his edible plants and he showed us round the plants he had growing in the campsite and also in his own back garden; he is very enthusiastic and we learnt an awful lot from him! Tim is also always on hand to offer advice of places to go, how to get there and will go over and above to make sure you have everything you need.
For 2 nights we stayed in the famous tree tent which was absolutely fantastic. It is hidden behind the trees with a beautifully hand-made wooden staircase leading up to it. The tree tent is absolutely huge - when I first booked I couldn't quite gauge the size of it, but you will have more than enough room! There are 2 oval shaped, very comfy beds inside and the tree tent even has LED lights all the way round which you can light or dim. The view from your zip up windows in the morning is incredible and an experience not to be missed. You even get a marquee at the bottom of the tree tent with hand-crafted wooden furniture (which I didn't realise until arrival) and a whole box full of utensils, appliances and even a welcome cake. Who could ask for more!?
We stayed our final night on a normal pitch in the meadow to get the full camping experience. Our pitch was absolutely huge and had everything we needed including small tree stumps to sit on around our campfire. Tim allowed us to choose whatever pitch we wanted. I couldn't rate the Secret Campsite highly enough!
Not only does the campsite make your trip but the surrounding area is fantastic and you will not be short of things to do; Lewes is a beautiful town and I would recommend taking a car in order to visit the beautiful South Downs and surrounding areas.
The campsite itself is car free but you will have absolutely no problems parking your car at the entrance and making a short walk to the pitches. Thank you to the Bullen's and we will certainly be back one day!
Took my daughter and her friend for their first camping experience, and everything worked out just great, so much so that we cannot wait to go back.
Tim the owner was incredibly helpful – the pitches are very well spaced out and he likes to keep it that way so campers have an easy experience . We stayed on the Bank which overlooks the main camp building, but didn't notice it as the South Downs in the distance were the main attraction. Only one other tent in this huge field. We looked at the main meadow on the other side of the disused railway which is now a great nature walk and it too had very well spaced pitched.
Lots of trolleys available to get the gear from the car to the pitch, solar powered showers gave great hot showers for free. Toilets and all facilities very clean along with good washing up area with lots of useful info and maps for walks. Good supply of great quality wood for just over a fiver – enough for us for a couple of fires. Lots of wildlife and beautiful flora - kids were transfixed by the toads on the way to the loos!
Return visit is already being planned, but best to book in advance.
I booked to stay at The Secret Campsite as I was attending a 'Hunter, Gatherer, Cook' course in the wood nearby with a couple of friends. We had never heard of a tree tent before, but it looked very interesting, so it was great that it was available the weekend we were staying! The tree tent was perfect, it was lovely being able to relax up in the tree canopy in relative luxury (proper beds!!!). The whole feel of the campsite was really friendly and relaxed, I thought it was great how spacious the pitches were, with space for our own fire and lovely wooden chairs to relax in.
The facilities were brilliant, having access to a fridge and washing up facilities was great, and Tim provide a box of equipment on arrival, which meant we didn't have to bring much with us at all! I will definitely be recommending this to friends and family, Tim has created a really lovely place here!
My husband and I camped at The Secret Campsite this past weekend (14 – 16th June 2013), and it was a lovely experience.
From the moment you arrive you are made to feel welcome. The owner, Tim, is an incredibly nice man who remembers everyone’s names. He is always willing to lend a helping hand, be that by helping wheel your stuff to your pitch or by helping unfortunate campers when their tent breaks in the wind! He was very helpful in giving directions for a walk into Lewes and recommending local pubs (obviously very important!). You can tell that Tim is passionate about making the site a success and genuinely wants people to enjoy their experience there.
The campsite facilities are very good. There is a fridge and freezer for you to use in the washing up building along with sponge, hot water, washing up liquid etc (plus mint grown on Tim’s land which you could help yourself to for tea). The showers and toilets were very clean and pleasant to use and fires are absolutely encouraged. We toasted marshmallows to our hearts content; it was brilliant (and they were very tasty).
I loved the fact that the actual campsite was free from rowdy groups, dogs and cars, and that the pitches were large and set well apart from one
another. It really made the experience a lot more relaxing and enjoyable. You felt at one with nature.
We will be going back for sure, and I would highly recommend The Secret Campsite it to anyone.
Thanks for a great weekend Tim :)
We stayed at The Secret Camp site last weekend, after seeing the tree tent in a newspaper article. We thought it would be a great experience to stay in something so different. We were not disappointed! I went with my 2 children, one 13 and the other, 9 years old. There was plenty of room for the three of us in the tent, with one of us sleeping on the floor on the extra mattress that Tim provided. The tent itself is ingenious and a fantastic piece of engineering that not only looks great but is very cosy to stay in. It's a soothing feeling to hear the breeze rustling the leaves all around you and little else, as you settle down to sleep.
We were given a box on arrival full of kit, ranging from a stove through to utensils, bowls, plates and a tea towel, not forgetting the kettle! We lit a fire as soon as possible after arrival and set the seen for a great weekend. The facilities are perfect, clean toilets and hot showers along with a room with a sink, to clean your dishes kitted out with a fridge for people to share. The farm shop down the road is really worth a visit, for the tasty fresh food on offer. The disused railway track that runs through the site, is perfect for short walks or bike rides.
Anita was filling in for Tim on the weekend that we were there, she was extremely helpful and made sure that we had all the information that we needed to settle in and enjoy the weekend. Needless to say, we would highly recommend Secret Camp Site. We found ourselves planning a return trip, as we pulled away for the journey home.
Stayed at The Secret Campsite last weekend with my 12 year old son. Chose the campsite because of its location, the positive reviews and the ability to have an open fire. Taught my son how to split wood with a sharp knife and how to start the fire, he loved it. Lovely location, lovely site and lovely people, highly recommended. Would definitely stay again.
This place is camping perfection. Camp fires, meadows, huge pitches spaced well apart and nice facilities. We (three families) had the two pitches that aren't in the main meadow - while the view isn't as pretty as the meadow, I'd really recommend them if you have small babies that cry at night or get up v early, as we did, as you don't have to fret about disturbing anyone. Tim is super-friendly and helpful, and there's plenty to do nearby plus nice pubs to eat in. We're definitely booking again for next year.
We discovered the Secret Campsite last year just as it opened, we had never camped before and were somewhat apprehensive.... five stays later, not bad going in less than a year, i cannot sing Tim's praises highly enough, nothing is too much trouble, the site is so peaceful and well kept, the only down side is he is now so popular it has put an end to impromptu stays, never mind will just have to get more organised!
tree-tent, a wonderful new secret!
We had a really lucky chance to be the first visitor of the newly installed 'tree tent' on the site. My wife and I planned this camping for our 21st anniversay and the two nights in this unique tent were a fantastic gift to us. I felt a bit dizzy at first because the tent is suspended between the trees by wires and trembles a little. But we were soon accustomed to it and even began to enjoy the moving. The inside was spacious and cosy for a couple, and the two single beds were comfortable enough to have good sleep. In the day time the tent was cool with nice views from the above through the two windows, and at night the inside was quite warm. Basically you don't have to bring the cooking stuff because the site provides all the equipment necessary for cooking although the cooking is allowed only outside - below - the tent. Additional pitch around the tree tent is provided and I brought my own for cooking and eating. My wife still misses the romantic campfires we enjoyed between the two tents - one in the air and the other on the ground.
Thanks Tim! He is really super nice and kind. We already started to spread the secrets of the secret campsite to everyone we meet. And we will definitely visit again, hopefully when the tree is covered with fresh green leaves.
Getting your own space, separated off by longer grass is so amazing. It feels like you're totally on your own. You can have fires, with wood provided which is great on those cooler evenings or just for staring at the stars. Really useful advice from Tim and family on what do in the area. Can't really think of anything I'd change there!
A lovely site, peaceful and full of wildlife. I had a great weekend here despite the April showers. Super friendly owner, welcoming and helpful. We'll be back.
As our first tenting experience with small ones (4 and 14 months) we couldn't have chosen a better site. We didn't feel that our early risers ever disturbed anyone too much as the pitches are far away from each other to feel private and secluded. Ours were able to run around naked and didn't offend anyone as no-one could see us! The site was very family friendly and down-to-earth, the entertainment was nature, trolley rides and Tim, the owner (who was great and welcoming and even let my son take his photo first thing in the morning!).
We are booking again for next year and are so pleased that the site is popular without this threatening the nature of the place – you know even at full capacity you can still enjoy seclusion and peace which is a rarity today in our "pack-em-in" society. I'm glad we came across this gem.
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
We stayed in the Bell Tent at the end of July (just at the end of the heatwave) and had a fantastic time. We were originally staying for 3 nights but added an extra as we didn't want to leave!
The Bell Tent was roomy enough for us (2 adults, 3 children) and had the advantage of the cooking area next door. It was also a short walk to the toilets and shower block - a definite advantage with younger children. Mine wanted to keep going in the middle of the night with their torches to look for wildlife, as we would cut through the flower/herb garden. The meadow around the tent was alive with butterflies and the children also had a great time spotting them both there and down the abandoned railway that can be accessed from the site.
Tim the owner is very friendly and his enthusiasm for the site is infectious; you can see his vision for the place and there are lots of clever touches. The "Secret Teapot" where his daughters can provide coffee or hot chocolate in the mornings, the fact that campfires are positively encouraged and the size of the pitches are all real positives.
There is local food to be had at a farm shop a short walk away (great for your bacon and eggs in the mornings) and Lewes is a 10 minute drive with its vintage and antique shops, castle and funky independent cafes. 10 minutes further and you can be on the beach at Seaford, a quiet beach with a couple of cafes, a museum and long stretches of free(!) parking.
We will definitely be back!
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
We stayed at 'The Secret Campsite' in June and WOW....what an amazing place! The site is fantastic, pitches are really spacious and the facilities are kept clean and tidy. Facilities are easily accessible from all pitches. We were warmly greeted by Tim (and the girls) and were shown to our pitch and the told about the facilities onsite. Tim was fantastic especially after our first night had been blighted by almost gale force winds - Tim even kept an eye on our tent (which I thought at times might collapse under the pressure of the gusts) while we went off to Brighton for the day (Brighton is around 30mins away in the car). I cannot recommend this site enough, the customer service is outstanding and the facilities are fantastic.
We cannot wait to return!!
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
Its just perfect. Open fires, so well spaced. Tim is a very generous host. We walked down the old railway and swam in the River Ouse. Only problem is I fear it wont stay a secret for long.
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
My boyfriend and I recently stayed Thursday and Friday night at The Secret Campsite. We arrived by taxi (it's about £25 from Hayward's Heath) and sat and ate our lunch while we waited for Tim to arrive as promised at 3pm.
Our first impressions were just amazing- there were bees everywhere and rabbits hopping around while we just sat and watched. Tim showed us the showers, toilets and washing up area (so useful!) and then we set up camp over the disused railway bridge into our own piece of heaven.
I've not been camping properly apart from at a festival, however luckily my boyfriend is a whizz with putting up a tent so we quickly got set up and went for a walk into the nearest village.
I'd definitely say that the farm shop is a great place to get scotch eggs (amazing!) and meat. They also sell pasta, sauce and all the other helpful types of camping stove food you can buy.
We absolutely loved our stay and will definitely come back. One thing I'd say is that if you are a couple/older group and want to be relaxed then try to go in the week. On Friday night the families all started to arrive and while you definitely have enough space to relax and are far enough away from each other not to hear much, you do have to contend with the showers in the morning :)
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
I have camped at The Secret Campsite twice now and both times its been fantastic. In my opinion, the campsite has all the key aspects of camping that make it an enjoyable experience. Some of the people in my group had never been camping before and they have all come away wanting to go again.
The pitches themselves, as other reviewers have said, are spaced enough distance apart that even when the campsite is busy, like on the bank holiday weekend that we stayed, it doesn't feel crowded. My children loved the freedom and the safety of the campsite and enjoyed being able to explore the wood on their own, knowing that we were only a short distance away. Being able to have campfires for me is the icing on the cake for camping
and creates a great communal area. The logs can be bought at the campsite for a reasonable price so it really is effortless.
The facilities are fine and are definitely much better than other campsites that I have been to. Showers are hot, toilets work, both are clean...what more do you want!
The campsite has evolved since the first time I went what with the new trees that have been recently planted and the brilliant tree house. I was lucky enough to be shown around the tree house before its first occupants arrived and it really is completely unique and amazing.
Tim has an incredibly welcoming approach and really can't seem to do enough to make your stay enjoyable. He has a wealth of experience of the local habitat, wildlife, history and will help with directions to pretty much anywhere! It is a credit to Tim that in less than a year, his campsite has managed to get in to The Guardian top 10 best UK campsites. Great job!
I will definitely go again but I suspect that booking well in advance will become a necessity!
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
This is a brilliant campsite. I chose it because it was advertised as being peaceful, with pitches well separated, no large groups, it had great reviews, good location. It didn't disappoint.
We were welcomed by Tim, the owner, who's very proud of his latest business venture. We loaded our kit on to trolleys and followed Tim down a path over an old railway bridge (over the site of the old Bluebell railway) into the camping meadow. Pitches couldn't have been much further apart. There were about 12 pitch locations in this part of the site, each separated by newly planted trees, grasses and other planting - so not the usual open field. Trees/woodland surround the meadow - and you can access the walk where old railway once ran.
We had a great weekend. The site was very chilled. The no large group policy certainly paid off. A local farm shop was a quick walk down the disused railway line and over a field. There are some great pubs within a short drive. The site is set in the south downs - so some great walks are easily accessed. Lewes is 5 miles away.
The facilities, although basic, are exactly what I was looking for - hot solar showers, in a very clean toilet block. I think the toilet block must have been cleaned pretty regularly during our stay. There is a fridge in the wash room.
I went with a couple of school friends who were in no way seasoned campers (nor I am), but all thought it was a great site. I shall be returning later in season with my family. I know my kids with love the site.And, oh yes they allow camp fires!!!
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
If camping means having a fire, with seclusion and space, surrounded by nature, and limited numbers, this will definitely appeal. It's as close to wild camping as you can get when staying in a campsite (but with loos and hot showers).
I stayed a few times in 2012 when it opened, and, despite living very close by, still felt like I'd been away on holiday to a new area. The tranquility of the site makes for a very relaxing time. Surrounded by lovely countryside and walks, local pubs, the chance to go rowing nearby or to just hang around the campfire, there's plenty to do without having to get in the car.
The owners, Tim and Lisa are really, really lovely, very friendly, helpful and enthusiastic. They're full of information on things to do and places to go. You can buy firewood direct from them, there's recycling facilities if you happen to have a tipple, and a local farm shop a few minutes walk away.
Think those spontaneous camping jaunts may have to be a bit less last minute and more per booked now.....
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
Stayed here just after it opened last summer. With 4 children we have a massive tent, but fortunately the pitches are really big and nicely spaced out, so we had lots of room and I don't think that we disturbed the neighbours. The owner Tim is very helpful, suggesting good local pubs and excursions - can recommend a walk up on the Downs from the Half Moon Pub in Plumpton. He also sells firewood to burn in the firepit on each pitch, kids really enjoyed caramelising/burning marshmallows.
Good local farm shop at Holmansbridge and lots of places to explore. Hope to visit again soon, but I will book early this time, as I can't imagine that such a great campsite will stay secret for long.
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
We stayed at The Secret Campsite for one night in February. It was a surprise for my husband's 40th birthday and Tim could not have been any more helpful in helping me plan the trip.
Given the time of year, we were unsurprisingly the only campers and it was paradise...a very chilly paradise. We had our pick of pitches, which are sited either side of the now disused Bluebell railway line. The campsite is beautiful, the pitches are very generous and even when full you would have plenty of space and privacy from other campers. Our pitch was called 'Mulberry' and backed onto woodland, overlooking the meadow. We had our own fire pit which was just lovely.
The facilities were limited, due to the season, but we were able to wash up and have a hot shower which is all we needed. Tim is currently putting lots of hard work into preparing for the upcoming season, including a new shower block, planting 500 trees and lots of exciting new secret places to stay in on the site!
A really lovely campsite, run by a really lovely guy. We will definitely be coming back...probably at a slightly warmer time of year though!
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
Blackberry WoodStreat Lane, Streat, nr Ditchling, East Sussex BN6 8RS
Magical, pagan woodland camping at it’s finest. There’s heaps of flora and fauna to keep you bewitched, not to mention the encouragement of big woodland campfires.
Dernwood Farm Wild CampingLittle Dernwood Farm, Dern Lane, Waldron, Heathfield, East Sussex TN21 0PN
Secret, hidden camping gem, nestled sweetly in the Sussex Countryside
Heaven FarmFurners Green, Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 3RG
Heaven? maybe not…but you won’t remember the hells of mundane life when you stay at this quaint little retreat.
Spring Barn FarmSpring Barn Farm Park, Kingston Road, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 3ND
All the fun of the farm on this East Sussex site the kids will simply adore.
St Ives FarmButcherfield Lane, Hartfield, East Sussex TN7 4JX
As close to Hundred Acre Wood as you’re going to get. No-real life Pooh bears, but the kids don’t need to know that.
Woodland CampingAshwood Farm, West Hoathly Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 4ND
Lord of the Rings eat your heart out, because the true elven Rivendell lies deep in the enchanted marrow of Ashdown Forest...
Hook FarmHook Farm Hook Lane West Hoathly West Sussex RH19 4PT
Blissfully back-to-basics camping in the heart of the West Sussex High Weald.
Wowo (Wapsbourne Manor Farm)Sheffield Park, East Sussex TN22 3QT
This rural wonderland is filled with rope-swinging fun. Not to mention the smoky campfires and evening sing-a-longs. “Kumbaya….”
A special hideaway, almost cut off from the world and only an hour from London.
16 pitches plus the Tree Tent and the Gridshell
Tents– yes. Caravans, campervans, big groups, young groups, dogs – no.
Campfires allowed. 12 large pitches in the main meadow; another 3 on the car-park side of the bridge. Three newly-built showers occupy an old stable block along with new toilets; compost-loo shacks are nearer the pitches. Trolleys are available to transport your gear to the main meadow. No shop as such, but you can buy firewood at reception..
There’s plenty to do in Brighton, 13 miles away,but don’t overlook the delights of Lewes, a pretty market town nestled in the South Downs just 5 miles from the site. There’s a farmer’s market on the first Saturday of the month and an outdoor lido (www.pellspool.org.uk ) for hotter days You can walk there from the site – ask at reception for the route.
Lewes is a very independently minded town with its own currency, an amazing fireworks festival, and a friday food market as well as a farmers market on the first saturday of the month. Glyndebourne Opera House is just a few miles away and the South Downs National Park is a 3 mile stroll to Offham. Finally, Middle Farm and Drusillas Park are a great morning out for children which can be combined with walks around the Friston or Ashdown Forests to wear everyone out ready to collapse back at The Campsite around a fire to tell stories and play cards.
Food & Drink
Tim, the owner, knows all the best places to get fresh, local produce, including the Holmansbridge Farm Shop (01273 401964) in Town Littleworth which is a 5 minute walk away. Pub-wise, if all country pubs could be as good as The Griffin at Fletchling (01825 722890), with its delightful garden and exceptional food, the world would be a happier place. Lewes is home to the wonderful Buttercup cafe, which is located in a courtyard that it shares with an antiques business, and for the more adventurous Chaulas Indian Restaurant is heaven for gourmets of Indian cuisine.
We have a number of pubs that are walkable from the Secret Campsite. The Royal Oak is a 20 minute walk away along the dismantled railway line that links the campsite to the village of Barcombe. The Horns Lodge is a 20 minute walk through Balneath Woods and Markstakes Common and serves great beers and tradfitional pub food. The Five Bells and The Rainbow are a half an hour walk away along country roads, and the Half Moon and The Jolly Sportsman are great pubs that you will need your bikes or a car to get to, but their food and hospitality are wortn the trip, and they make a great pace to return to after a brisk walk on the South Downs.
21st March until end October
Children 5-16 years £7
Under 5's Free
Head north from Lewes on the A275 and 1/2 a mile after leaving Cooksbridge turn right at The Rainbow Inn onto Deadmantree Hill. Follow the road for 2 miles to Holmansbridge Farm Shop. The campsite is the fourth turning on the right after the Farm Shop and we share the driveway with a house called ‘Woodside’.
There are limited means of public transport direct to the site, although you can catch the bus to Barcombe from Lewes or from Cooksbridge, and then walk down the old railway track to Town Littleworth. Alternatively you can get off the bus at the bottom of Deadmantree Hill at the start of Town Littleworth road. This is a 25 minute walk along a quiet country road to the campsite.
Cooksbridge Train station is open during peak times on weekdays only. This is a 45 minute walk from the campsite or you can catch a bus from here although they are very infrequent so worth planning in advance.