We called ourselves Wild Camping when we first started in 2008, really because we had absolutely no facilities, bar a tap in the field. I’d hand people a shovel when they arrived and off they went! Then we went all upmarket and put in one loo, then two and a washing up area, and new in 2014 we put up a sparkly new shower block, so definitely less wild than we were, but no need for all those baby wipes. And lets face it, deep in the ancient woodland, a mile from the nearest road, you’re still not going to get much wilder than that in this busy little corner of England.
At Little Dernwood Farm we have one of the largest areas of coppice woodland in East Sussex. They are formally identified as semi-natural ancient woodland being the vestige of the dark and forbidding forest that covered The Weald in ancient time, and the camping field is set within the very heart of these 70 acres of woodland. The woods are ablaze with anemones and bluebells in the early spring moving to green and lush in summer – great for camp building – and finally late summer early autumn it’s a foragers’ delight with fruits of the forest from blackberries to chestnuts and a variety of mushrooms to stock up on.
The opportunities for wildlife ‘safaris’ are endless, from your run of the mill rabbits and normal woodland birds to badgers roaming at night from the large sett in the woods to the south of the field, to sightings of our resident herd of fallow deer and huge buzzards flying overhead.
Camp building was clearly a very popular pastime last season and some were really very impressive, not sure how much was kids and how much was dads though!
We allow camp fires and we have nets of logs and kindling for sale at our shop, you are very welcome to bring your own wood or buy it from other sources but we do not allow foraging for firewood, it is one of our planning conditions and we strictly enforce this. We also sell our home produced meat to cook on your fire, I know this is always a highlight for many people, being able to see the cows, pigs and sheep out in the field and then cook steak and sausages from the farm; the ultimate in food traceability and provenance.
Stuff You Need To Know
- Car free tent only site – 10 minute walk (400M) from car park to field
- No electronic music
- No partying groups
- Dog friendly, but kept under control please!
- Please click here for a full list of important site information – Things to Know before you book
- Prices are £10 for adults, £5 for children 5 & over, £2.50 per night for parking, lovely hot showers are free!
- Check in from 2pm, shop & reception are not always manned, if we are closed there are instructions and maps by the door.
- 2 night minimum on a weekend, for bank holiday bookings you need to select 3 nights, starting on a Friday.
You can book up to 6 pitches per booking. For groups larger than this or if our booking system has you confused please call me 01435 812726 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements.
This means that if your idea of fun is drunken rowdy nights then please go somewhere else; there are plenty of camp sites who welcome the partying groups – we do not.
Please come and have fun, enjoy a glass around the camp fire but please just be respectful of others – and me – I do not relish the prospect of traipsing down to the field in the dead of night to tick people off.
You are immersed in the woodland, able to reconnect with nature, unplugging from technology and finding refuge from urban existence and everyday life. As one recent Tripadvisor reviewer put it “re-wilding the children at Dernwood”, I couldn’t have put it better myself.
There are 3 toilets and a covered washing up area (cold water), in the camping field and in 2014 we built our lovely new shower block up in the carpark. The field is a car free site, which is perfect for families, it’s a 7-10 minute (400m) walk from the car park through the woods to the entrance of the field. We have a fleet of wheel barrows and trolleys for you to ferry your gear. Those with accessibility concerns should call me before booking for more information. We’re 40 minutes away from Brighton, and 25 from both Eastbourne and Tunbridge Wells.