Camping in High Weald AONB

Country wanders, delightful pubs, and leisurely horse rides await in England’s lively southeast corner.

97% (1177 reviews)
97% (1177 reviews)

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Camping in High Weald AONB guide

Overview

Covering almost 1500 square kilometres of bucolic countryside across Sussex, Kent, and Surrey, the High Weald (England’s fourth largest AONB) is dotted with elegant manors, ancient castles, and National Trust gardens. It’s also packed with adventure, from lake swimming and kayaking to refreshing walks across wide-open heaths or through dense, ancient forests. May to October are the best months for outdoor wandering, whether you’re heading for a coastal campsite, a glamping tent on a family-friendly farm, or a secluded treehouse escape for switching right off.

Where to go

East Sussex

The bulk of the High Weald AONB sits in East Sussex—a rolling southern landscape of mediaeval villages, chalk cliffs, mist-wrapped forests, and open heathland. Highlights include walking, cycling, and horse-riding in Ashdown Forest, known for inspiring AA Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories; dipping into lively south-coast towns such as Brighton and Eastbourne; and for climbers, tackling sandstone outcrops including Harrison’s Rocks. Pitch your tent by a gurgling river, overlooking moody woodlands, or by the sea near Camber Sands.

Kent

Southern Kent’s swathe of the AONB extends around the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. There are miles of cycling trails and a scented pinetum to explore in Bedgebury Forest; gorgeous protected woodlands to wander such as Hargate Forest and Tudeley Woods; and all kinds of water sports on Bewl Water, from kayaking to paddle-boarding to wild swimming. Camping delights include off-grid farm sites, glamping tents in flower-filled meadows, and shepherds’ huts gazing out on undulating hills.

Surrey & West Sussex

The western part of the High Weald AONB is all about restful valleys and rippling hills that give way to the peaceful West Sussex coast. Chichester, Arundel, and Hever Castle (where Anne Boleyn grew up) are regional showstoppers, and birdwatchers adore Weir Wood reservoir. Across this go-slow region you can set up camp everywhere from a safari-style tent in a lakeside field to a glamping pod on the fringes of the South Downs.

South Downs

A hop south from the High Weald lies the view-drenched South Downs National Park, a 1600-square-km southeastern wonderland stretching from Beachy Head near coast-hugging Eastbourne to Winchester in Hampshire. Some 3000 km of delightful rambling trails crisscross its chalk hills, including the long-distance South Downs Way, and adventure opportunities are endless, from mountain biking to paragliding.

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