Secret Campsite

UK England South East England East Sussex Lewes

  • Campfires Allowed
  • Walking
Just outside Lewes, this East Sussex glamping and camping site is a wonderful place to get back to nature.

Owners Tim and Lisa call their Secret Campsite 'Real Camping with Nature', and when you get there you will see what they mean. The Secret Campsite is, of course, not really very secret, nor do Tim and Lisa want it to be. But it retains the feel of somewhere deep in the country that you may just have stumbled upon by accident. Arriving here is exciting, and a part of you will want to tell your friends. But another part of you will want to keep it to yourself.

Happily for us all, the word is out about the Secret Campsite. However, it definitely retains its 'secret' vibe, tucked away beyond an old railway cutting in a particularly picturesque part of East Sussex. After arriving and parking at the reception and amenities area, you just grab a wheelbarrow, load up your gear and follow the grassy path over the old brick railway bridge, and - hey presto! – you're there!

It feels isolated and secluded, with 18 very spacious and separate pitches for campers cut in to the long grass of a hidden meadow, interspersed with a scattering of recently planted saplings and encircled with a backdrop of ancient oak and hornbeam trees. Wild flowers burst show off their colours, and the woods beyond are ripe for exploration, with an increasing array of berries, edible shrubs and flowers growing freely for you to to pick fresh and add to the saucepan – Tim is a botanist and works hard to encourage a wide array of wildlife into the site for campers to enjoy, from snakes and great crested newts to dormice, hedgehogs and glow worms plus a huge array of butterflies and moths. There's lots of space, and good facilities on hand too, with hot solar-powered showers, both conventional and compost loos (with loo paper),  washing-up sinks and fridge-freezers. There're even 3 EV car-charging points in the car park.

Tucked away in the orchard, behind the main meadow, the site's 'secret shelter' glamping options include the 'Okra" – a super-snug wooden cabin with a mezzanine floor that can sleep 2 adults and a child, the 'tree tent', and the Gridshell, a pod-like structure made of wood and heavy-duty canvas that can comfortably accommodate 5 people in a simple and cosy carpeted interior. Most exciting of all, Secret Campsite's Tree Tent was England's first such structure – featured back in the day as one of 'George Clark's Amazing Spaces'. Suspended between three sturdy oak trees on the edge of the site's ancient woodland, sleeping up among the tree canopy really is something special, with views across the campsite and over the the South Downs beyond. No surprise then that there are now tree tents all over the country!

Each of the glamping options has its own firepit and BBQ but in any case campfires are allowed on the site so there's no excuse for not cooking up an an al fresco feast come the evening. The Secret Campsite doesn't have a  shop as such, but you can buy firewood and campfire items at reception, and they also sell drinks and ice lollies, hot and cold drinks, meat boxes and local cider, gin and beer – plus there's a terrific farm shop a 5-minute walk away.

Details

Nearby

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 for hotter days. You can walk there from the site – ask at reception for the route. 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. The Royal Oak (01273 400418) is a 30 minute walk away along the dismantled railway line that links the campsite to the village of Barcombe. The Five Bells (01825 722259) is a 40 minute walk through Balneath Woods and Markstakes Common and serves great beers and traditional pub food. 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 Cafe du Jardin, which is located in a courtyard that it shares with an antiques business, and for the more adventurous Chaula's Indian Restaurant (01273 476707) is heaven for gourmets of Indian cuisine.

Open

Open March–October

Pricing

Tree Tent £125 a night, The Gridshell £125, Tree Tent £130 – each rate for 2 people. Camping pitches adults £22, children (3–16 yrs) £11, under-3s free,

Accommodation

15 pitches plus the Tree Tent, Okra & Gridshell

Location

Contact Website  01273 401 100  Secret Campsite, Brickyard Farm, Town Littleworth, Cooksbridge, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 4TD

Show Map

Getting There

Head north from Lewes on the A275 and half 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 shares 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 the site although they are very infrequent so worth planning in advance.

Related Guides

See Glamping in Lewes

See Sussex

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