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The Secret Campsite

· Lewes, East Sussex, England
8 acres hosted by Tim B.
2 tent pitches
Tim is a Star Host
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Recent Hipcampers say this Hipcamp is great for families and kids.
Best in South East England: Finalist
Named one of the best Hipcamps to visit in 2023.
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!

The Camping meadow is approached over an old bridge crossing the now redundant railway track that bisects the campsite. The meadow is surrounded by ancient woodland and a Site of Nature Conservation Interest. The pitches are large and well spaced and we allow camp fires. Firewood and charcoal are available for sale from reception. The Meadow is car and dog free and we have great shower, toilet and washing up facilities. The Meadow is alive with wildlife, from nightingales in spring, glow worms during the summer and owls and deer in the adjoining woods during the autumn. If you would like two adjoining pitches please contact us.
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81 Ratings · 244 reviews
Julian S.recommends
June 1, 2024
Meadow Camping Pitch
Lovely campsite, very friendly staff. An amazing experience all round!
Jennifer S.recommends
August 25, 2023
Meadow Camping Pitch
There was loads of space between pitches, we never had to queue for showers or washing up and we loved sitting by the fire each night listening to the wildlife and looking up at the stars
Rebecca S.recommends
August 18, 2023
Meadow Camping Pitch
Perfect location for exploring the South Downs. The campsite was just what we wanted: plenty of space and sufficiently distant from neighbouring campers. Good fire pits on our site. Washing up, showering & loos were great too & clean. We’ll go again!
Nita N.recommends
August 14, 2023
Meadow Camping Pitch
New camper!
My daughter and I decided to camp without the expertise of my family who are regular campers. So despite our appreciation Tim and the staff at reception were supportive, encouraging and helpful, nothing was too much trouble for them. The pitches are positioned well, they are big enough and spaced out enough for some privacy yet close enough to know you are not alone in the middle of the night! The washrooms were spectacular and provided everything you needed. Being a new camper I have the confidence I will return on my own for a weekend of solitude knowing if I need anything there is always Tim there to help and share advice and his experience. Thank you to all the staff at reception also.
Max T.
August 7, 2023
Meadow Camping Pitch
Not quiet or private, but enjoyed
Overall a good experience, but the pitches were closer than expected to each other. As an adult couple without kids, we were after more wild camping experience, but this wasn't the case. Evenings and mornings were spent listening to large family groups shouting. Screaming children running around the pitches. We took a risk, and sadly wouldn't stay here again unless... they planned an adults-only weekend or split the lovely meadow into families/couples to isolate the noise? This all being said, staff and facilities were perfect and clean. The whole reception was cute and ideal and made arriving and leaving a painless experience.
Angela P.recommends
July 30, 2023
Meadow Camping Pitch
Brilliant secret camping spot
We absolutely adored this campsite. The team running it on the days we visited were amazing and welcoming and it's incredibly child friendly. We loved that it was arranged with limited pitches per area so it was peaceful and quiet at night without a party atmosphere. The toilet and bathroom facilities were brand new too. All in all, it was absolutely brilliant.
Lewes, East Sussex, 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
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.
Nearby attractions
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.

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