The Secret Campsite is a peaceful, tents only 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 keep the campsite free from cars and dogs, but happily embrace the need for great toilets and shower facilities.
Catch glimpses of deer, hunt for slow worms, wake to the dawn chorus, build dens or simply enjoy the unique flavours of fresh and foraged produce at the end of a busy day.
Camp with us as you relax and explore Sussex, and you’ll leave wanting more.
Please note we are a peaceful family site and do not allow groups.
Camp fires, wildlife, spacious pitches, a secluded meadow, great showers and edible plants
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 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. Be it a glimpse of the deer processing through the woods, watching a sparrow hawk hunt along the hedgerows, a glow worm late at night, or hearing the nightingale sing after sunset accompanied by the frogs chorus you will leave Sussex with great memories and experiences.
The secret campsite is a chance for you and your family to connect with nature whilst enjoying access to great shower and toilet facilities. A sense of discovery awaits as you cross the old bridge and the camping meadow slowly reveals itself. Its seclusion ensures ink black night skies and moments of silence, coupled with a chance for you to wake to an uninterrupted dawn chorus.
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 landscaping the campsite using a wide variety of native and non native edible plants. Throughout the year these plants will start to reveal their hidden qualities and create an ever growing delicatessen of produce for you to pick and try. But please only ever eat plants that you can positively identify. Tim and Lisa Bullen take no responsibilty for any adverse effects from the use of plants.
Ultimately we are a campsite and not a theme park, but when you return each evening to the campsite from an exciting day exploring the Coast, the South Downs, the local towns of Lewes and Brighton or the Sussex countryside, you can relax around your campfire, and enjoy the tranquility of nature.
We have discovered a few unusual places where you can spend an exciting night or two with us, and these Secret Shelters have been designed by engineers, artists, and inventors who love creating beautiful structures that can be slept in. Each Secret Shelter comes equipped with crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils, a hob and a small welcome hamper for refreshment on your arrival.
Our Secret Shelters all have their own cut grass space for you to relax on with its own campfire space. As with all of our pitches, there is space for a maximum of 6 people on each pitch including the people in the shelter, so friends or family can camp alongside you during your stay. We charge normal camping rates for any extra guests that join you on your pitch.
In the highly likely event that you fall in love with your Secret Shelter, they are all for sale. So once we have honoured our commitments to the other adventurous guests who have booked to stay in them, we will deliver it to you at your home, or to your own Secret Hideaway. We are always on the look out for other unique spaces for our guests to stay in, so if you have made something unusual, or just have an idea that you would like to develop, we would love to hear from you.
The Tree Tent
Our Tree Tent is similar to a Harvest Mouse nest, and it is the first one to go up in England. It recently featured in George Clarkes Amazing Spaces and has been lovingly created by Brighton based designer Jason Thawley.
Access to the Tree Tent is along a raised wooden walkway, and the tent is suspended between 3 sturdy oak trees on the edge of the ancient woodland that surrounds the camping meadow. From the two windows in the Tree Tent there are fantastic views across the campsite and on to the South Downs National Park. Inside you will find two suspended single beds with warm, organic wool mattresses enabling you to relax and take in the canopy view, whilst gently moving to the gentle sway of the trees. The Tree Tent has its own grass pitch where you can chat and enjoy a campfire at your very own fire pit. The Tree Tent is designed to sleep 2 adults but can also accommodate a child on the floor. If you want more people to join you on your trip, up to a maximum of 6 including those in the Tree Tent, for an extra charge you can bring your own tent, and pitch it on the grass below. The charge for this excludes the cost of the guests in the Tree Tent.
What is provided
We provide 2 single beds (but no sheets or pillows), plus crockery, cutlery and utensils for 3 people and a small gas hob for you to cook on. We have washing up facilities on the site and there is a small welcome hamper on arrival.
What you need to bring
Your own bedding for two single beds or sleeping bags plus pillows and towels and all the food you will need.
The Arkette is a contemporary twist on the old fashioned Shepherds Hut and was created by brilliant designer James Noble at his workshop in Wiltshire. There is a beautiful arching shape to the structure and the windows with a neat covered porch outside. The striking roof has been hand crafted from recycled aluminium drinks cans, which creates a beautiful and very appealing finish.
James manages woodland for a number of large estates, so wood is very much in his blood, and he adds a charming twist to it’s use in all of his creations. The Arkette is no exception. It has the air of a mobile chapel destined for a small gathering of shepherds huts congregated together on the windswept and open chalk grassland of the South Downs which lie just a few miles to the South.
The Arkette comes with a retractable double bed and a drop down table, for use once part of the bed has been stowed away. There is a small work surface which is home to a hob, with an open space to store food or clothes, you’d be unlucky to have mice in this kitchen. A delightful, petite but efficient woodburner sits in the corner, for those chilly spring and autumn evenings and outside is a small covered porch area. The accompanying grass pitch has a firepit and a covered area to provide shelter from the sun on those hot summer nights camping in balmy Sussex.
The Arkette sleeps a maximum of 2 adults but if you would like more people to join you on your trip, up to a maximum of 6, including those in the Arkette. For an extra charge you can bring your own tent, and pitch it on the cut grass alongside.
What is provided
We provide a retractable double bed and mattress (but no sheets or pillows), and a large drop down table plus crockery, cutlery and utensils for 2 people with a small gas hob for you to cook on. We have washing up facilities on the site and there is a small welcome hamper to refresh you on arrival.
What you need to bring
Your own bedding for a double bed or sleeping bags, plus pillows and towels and all the food you will need.
The Bell Tent
We have a large 5 metre Bell Tent that you can hire for the duration of your stay. It can accommodate up to 6 people and is equipped with 2 double Futon beds to sleep 4 people. We also have 2 padded sleeping mats for any extra members of your party. The Bell Tent is permanently sited on its own large grass pitch which is on the edge of our small orchard and near to the little pond and The Arkette. It is the closest pitch to the showers and the toilets at the Secret Campsite.
What is provided
We provide foam futons to sleep 4 people with one double and two singles as well as 2 padded sleeping mats (but no sheets or pillows). The Bell Tent is furnished with a low coffee table and a number of cushions and throws for your comfort. There is a small covered cooking area by the tent and a picnic bench plus crockery, cutlery and utensils for 6 people with a small gas hob for you to cook on. We have washing up facilities on the site and there is a small welcome hamper to refresh you on arrival.
What you need to bring
Your own bedding or sleeping bags, plus pillows and towels and all the food you will need and a torch.
Lots of space for a big tent
Each of our pitches can accommodate most sized tents, up to a small circus marquee and they are flanked by trees which, in time, will provide plenty of dappled shade. To ensure that you have the space and peace to enjoy your stay here, each one is increasingly well screened from neighbouring campers.
With no cars, caravans, motor homes or trailers allowed into the meadow there is a relaxed and independent feel to the setting. We have 12 pitches in the main camping meadow and a further three on the western side of the site near the showers. Two of these are amongst the fruit and nut trees making up our disorganised orchard, and one pitch is on a south facing bank near the buildings with views to the South Downs.
Campfires are an integral part of camping. Not only do they offer warmth, and an atmospheric backdrop to an evening’s games and discussions, but they also provide plenty of heat for cooking.
Each pitch has its own fire pit with access to a good supply of firewood which you can buy daily on site. Be it baking potatoes, toasting marshmallows or just boiling the kettle, as the stars start to twinkle, the camp fire becomes the centerpiece of your evening.
Solar hot water arrives at the Secret Campsite
The Secret Campsite has teamed up with Lewes based OVESCO and installed a 19.5 kWp Solar PV array at our campsite between Barcombe and Chailey in East Sussex.
Community energy group OVESCO commissioned leading solar company Southern Solar to instal the system at Brickyard Farm, which is home to The Secret Campsite, on behalf of OVESCO’s investors. The work was carried out in record breaking time, and now provides energy to heat water for some of the showers in the new shower block at the campsite which is located 5 miles north of Lewes. The excess energy generated by the solar panels is sold back to the national grid by OVESCO and is used by Good Energy to deliver on their commitments to renewable electricity. This work is one of two projects in Barcombe, the other is at Barcombe Nurseries who supply us with veg boxes.
Holmansbridge Farm shop
Town Littleworth has its own fantastic farm shop, which is a 5 minute walk away.
It is open from Tuesday until Saturday and has a butchers, as well as stocking a wide range of produce. The Thomas family have lived in Town Littleworth for a number of generations and they sell their own free range eggs, turkeys at Christmas and also run incredibly popular wood fired hog roasts throughout the summer.
Barcombe is a busy and very energetic village and is just an 18 minute walk away along the course of the old railway, or 5 minutes in the car.
It has a shop stocking most every day items as well as an off licence. It has various sports teams including cricket (perfect to watch on a sunny afternoon), stoolball, a popular Sussex sport, tennis, bowls and football, as well as a fantastic village recreation space, Wild About Barcombe. There are three churches, an energy club and a Village Hall, designed by a firm of sustainable architects. Barcombe has one of the most successful Scout Groups in the county, but perhaps best of all is the eccentric fancy dress shop, Sublime to the Ridiculous, located on the outskirts of the village, which is perfect for an impromptu wig.
Great fresh food is an integral part of camping and we are lucky to have some brilliant and dedicated suppliers on our doorstep.
Apart from Holmansbridge farm Shop, you can catch or buy fresh fish at the harbour in Newhaven or from Terry’s Fishmongers at the Riverside in Lewes. On Fridays we can arrange salad and fruit boxes from Barcombe Nurseries in the village, as well as fresh eggs and game and there is a small smokehouse nearby. Good fresh and foraged food is something we are very interested in so I am always happy to discuss what you are looking for and where you might be able to source it. Our landscaping plans are focused on planting edible perennials, trees and shrubs around the site, so in time you will be able to enjoy plants and ingredients that you have just picked.
We have have a number of excellent local pubs catering for a wide range of beer or epicurean tastes and budgets.
The Royal Oak in Barcombe (Harveys of Lewes) and the Horns Lodge in South Chailey (Harveys and Dark Star plus 2 guest ales) are the two closest pubs.
The Half Moon at Plumpton, and The Five Bells at Chailey Green offer very good pub meals at reasonable prices as well as a good selection of beers and wines, and you may have passed the Rainbow Inn at Cooksbridge which has a small bar and a good menu.
The Griffin Inn at Fletching and The Jolly Sportsman in East Chiltington both offer the highest quality menus with a fantastic choice of dishes on a daily basis accompanied with great wines.
Finally, The Anchor Inn at Barcombe Mills is very popular in the summer for boating on the River Ouse.
We will very happily recommend which pubs would be best for your specific requirements for any lunchtime or a night out during your stay, and you may see us in there.
Travelling from the South:
Leave Lewes heading north on the A275 ½ mile after the Cooksbridge train crossing, turn right at the Rainbow Inn, signposted to Barcombe. Stay on this road for 2 miles to Holmansbridge Farm Shop and we are the fourth turning on the right. The Secret Campsite at Brickyard Farm shares it’s driveway with a house called Woodside.
Travelling from the North:
Follow the A275 South through North Chailey. Continue through Chailey Green with the Five Bells pub on your right. ¼ mile after leaving Chailey Green, and just after you enter South Chailey take the first turning on the left, Markstakes Lane. Follow this lane for about 1 mile and take the first turning right onto Town Littleworth Road. Follow this road for ½ mile and take a left into Brickyard Farm just after passing White Lodge on your left, where you will see a blue sign for the Secret Campsite.
If you reach Holmansbridge Farm Shop you have overshot. From the shop go back up the road and we are the fourth turning on the right. We share our driveway with a house called Woodside.
For those with sat nav Brickyard Farm is at BN8 4TD
On arrival find a space in the car park and then head to reception. As the field is car free we’ll help you unload and transport your belongings over to the meadow.
Lewes has a busy train station and is approximately a £15 taxi trip away. There are usually taxis waiting here or pre book with Lewes taxis 01273 48 32 32
Alternatively, Haywards Heath, is around a £20 taxi ride away. Again, there are normally cars waiting here, or you can book ahead with Haywards Heath Taxis 01444 420 004