Camping, bell tents, and a shepherd's hut in a 12-acre field on the edge of the Ashdown Forest, less than 40 miles from London
The 12-acre field on the edge of Tinkers Wood has been ploughed, furrowed, and grazed for nearly a thousand years since it was recorded in the Domesday Book. And yet, after all that time, little seems to have changed. Walk up the incline to its northern edge and you’ll have uninterrupted views of fields and trees all the way to the distant South Downs. Although it’s only 40 miles from London, modern life is hidden in this vista and it’s easy to imagine that people have been gazing at a similar scene for centuries. Now it’s your turn, thanks to a little pop-up campsite that’s setting up for summer.
Nowadays, long grasses and wildflowers will tickle any bare knees as you make the five-minute walk from the farm car park to the level area at the top of this sloping field. It’s been left to grow wild, attracting not only campers but deer, birds, and dragonflies too. Thankfully one of Tinkers Wood’s trio of enthusiastic hosts, Emma, Rollo, or Ben, will drive your kit up in the farm Land Rover so you can enjoy the stroll. In Lower Hilltop you'll find five camping pitches with a communal fire pit; and on the plateau of 12 Acre Field at the top of the farm sit three bell tents and a single shepherd's hut.
While some campsite owners insist that their provided accommodation is glamping, here the opposite is true. The aim is to provide back-to-basics camping and something akin to it; simple, informal retreats in nature made easier with the bell tents and hut. Although beds are made and plenty is provided, you still know you’re camping out. There’s no electricity, loos are composting and bell tents are pitched on the ground. If you want a campfire you'll have to light one in your fire bowl, or get the communal fire going. That’s not to say it’s without comfort; there are woodburning stoves, comfy beds, two hot-water showers and a field kitchen for food prep, and the bad-weather boiling of kettles.
Behind the site is the woodland the place is named for and there’s a gate to lead you there. In spring, it’s bluebell filled, and in summer a shady retreat. At night it's a perfect spot for star-gazing (including the odd shooting star). This is the edge of the Ashdown Forest. It’s an underrated open-access public space in the southeast, a mixture of heathland and woodland, crisscrossed with trails within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It's easily reached from London and, from here, it’s easy to reach the south coast. It’s also home to places that inspired one-time resident AA Milne to write his Winnie the Pooh stories. The surrounding East Sussex countryside has plenty more to explore: National Trust properties, a steam railway, and lovely pubs with great food and beer gardens. Much of it is historic and scenic, like your perch in the 12-acre field.
Nutley, England, United KingdomTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Ben M.Joined in June 2021
From the host
Welcome to Tinkers Wood! Our farm has been here since the Doomsday book. Today we're family-run, using regenerative principles with a small flock of sheep and a community veg patch. We invite you to join us for a simple, informal retreat at the top of our historic Twelve Acre field, with spectacular views across the South Downs.
Our pitches are set in a wildflower meadow where we often see deer, buzzards, owls, badgers and once saw 48 shooting stars in one night! The site backs onto a bluebell wood and we’re surrounded by great walks and really great pubs. We offer five tent pitches, each with a fire bowl+grill and access to a communal fire and games. We also offer two bell tents and a shepherd’s hut, all with wood burners and deep memory foam mattresses - perfect for a couples retreat.
The site is on the edge of the Ashdown Forest (with a visitor centre four miles from the site at Wych Cross; 01342 823583) and in the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which means there's plenty of walking, woodland exploration and cycling in the vicinity. Pooh Bridge and other sites associated with Winnie the Pooh are within a short drive. It's a five-minute drive to the quaint village of Fletchling which has a great pub, shop, and cafe (see below), and just over a half-hour drive (25 miles) to the south coast with the closest beaches at Pevensey and Seaford. For more action, bustling Brighton is just 45 minutes away with its famous pier and Royal Pavilion among the sites. Closer to the site, you can jump aboard the heritage trains of the Bluebell Railway (01825 720800) and visit beautiful houses and gardens, including Sheffield Park (five miles away, with the Bluebell Railway's closest station nearby; 01825790231) and Wakehurst Place (01444 894066). There's more walking in the South Downs National Park (12 miles away) with the South Downs Way passing through on top of the hills and the town of Lewes (14 miles) is worth a wander for its independent, antiques and book shops. In the other direction, to the north, Forest Row village is closer and a nice place for a mooch about.
Food and drink
The village of Fletchling is a five-minute drive (three miles) and has a little shop, cafe, and a pub that's recommended for food and views from the garden, The Griffin Inn (01825 722890). Also recommended are the Hop Yard Brewing Co (01342 824272), a pub and microbrewery in Forest Row, and Giggles (01825 713322), a family-run pub with a huge garden and Caribbean menu, just a mile down the road. Also close to the site are La Casa (01825 713566), which claims to serve the best pizza in Sussex, and Haathi Indian restaurant (01825 713287) both are a 5-10 minute walk from the site. Plaw Hatch Farm (01342 810201) is a community-owned biodynamic farm with a shop, dairy, butchery, and coffee about five miles from the site. Tablehurst (01342 823173) is another with a similar ethos and also has a cafe and butchers. For local wine, head to the Bluebell Vineyard (01825 791 561) for a tour and tasting, and for a recommended coffee (a Co-op and independent shops) try Lindfield and the Lindfield Coffee Works.