A not so secret campsite in East Sussex with camping and glamping – and campfires encouraged
The Secret Campsite Lewes is, of course, not really very secret at all. Nor does owner Tim want it to be. He wants people to know about it, to come and support his fledgling business and the rural economy nearby. The real secret is just how unique and special this campsite is.
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 15 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? It won't be a secret for very long!
England, United KingdomTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Tim B.Joined in February 2016
49 Ratings · 221 reviews
June 7, 2022
90 - Meadow Camping Pitch
This was either our third or fourth trip to the secret campsite. We love it so much. Tim is very friendly and it is really well thought out. The kids love helping with the wheelbarrows emptying the car and washing up at the washblock. The pitches are spaced out and quiet so you really feel like you are immersed in nature! The wash block is rustic but I think adds to the natural charm of the place. We have already booked to go again next year. Perfect for families.
June 7, 2022
151 - The Bank Camping Pitch
What a totally fabulous stay
What a site! Our first camping trip alone and we survived putting our tent up! Tim was a legend, offering help if we had needed it but was also a wealth of knowledge not just on the local area but recent wildlife spottings. Very laid back place and Tim has set the tone perfectly here. It was a joy to wake to the sounds of the dawn chorus and to hear the owls after dark. Just what we needed to shift down a gear and would highly recommend to anyone else wanting the same. We shall definitely be back before the year is out
June 6, 2022
146 - Orchard Camping pitch
A really beautiful campsite with lots of trees and plants. Pitches were spaced far apart which meant it felt really private and secluded.
The staff and owners are friendly and wonderfully helpful. I highly recommend this place.
May 31, 2022
30 - Meadow Camping Pitch
While the pitches are fantastic the facilities, especially showers should be improved. Additionally it would be nice if they provided some fresh bakery products in the morning (pre-booked a day before, many other sites do it).
May 29, 2022
Site 14 - Meadow Camping Pitch
Private and beautiful site
Fab campsite, very private pitch with a lovely area for a fire. Also met some lovely astronomers from Seven Sisters Astronomical society who showed us some stars through their telescope. Lovely weekend, would definitely go again.
May 23, 2022
161 - The Bank Camping Pitch
We booked last minute and were super pleased that we did. The campsite is great quiet and remote with all the things youwould need. Nice surrounding area and lots to do.
Tim was great and very helpful, we would definitely go back there and look forward to booking another trip.
From the host
The Secret Campsite is a small campsite focused on nature, peace and space.
The campsite is a peaceful, campsite for nature lovers, real campers and their families, who are looking to explore Sussex, Brighton or Lewes. Our woodland meadow camping pitches are large and secluded and come with their own camp fire pit and free hot showers. We also have a number of unusual shelters where you can spend the night.
We have 3 EV charging points and all hot water is produced by a large solar PV array.
By keeping the meadow car and dog free we enable wildlife to flourish, and this increases the number of encounters that you and your family will enjoy. It also ensures that it is a safe place for children to roam freely and explore, and we have an area of woodland where dens can be built and trees climbed.
We are located in a beautiful and sparsely populated part of East Sussex, and our camping meadow is enclosed by both private and public nature sites. These include great stands of ancient and coppiced woodland, and a site of nature conservation interest, SNCI. This mosaic of habitats is incredibly rich in wildlife and The Secret Campsite Lewes is lightly managed to create an environment where wildlife can thrive.
The surrounding ancient woodland has been encouraged to advance at the edges of the camping meadow, which ensures an ever changing diversity of animals and plants for you to watch, hear, eat, smell and touch. Catch glimpses of deer, hunt for slow worms, wake to the dawn chorus, build dens or simply enjoy each others company at the end of a busy day.
We also have three secret shelters, The Tree Tent The Okra and Gridshell. These are fantastic quirky accommodation options for your stay in our beautiful site. Each shelter was designed by local inventor and designer Jason Thawley and the Tree Tent appeared in an early episode of George Clarke's Amazing Spaces.
Camp with us as you relax and explore Lewes, Brighton, the South Downs and the Sussex coast
Please note we are a peaceful family site and do not allow groups or any cars in the camoing areas.
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 and 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.