Pegs & Pitches in Wild Boar Wood, Sussex

By Lyn Funnell

In Wild Boar Wood, Horsted Keynes, hides a wonderful camp site.

It’s right next to the Bluebell Railway track, it’s totally safe and it’s completely off the grid.

We spent the day there at the weekend, and daughter Rana and granddaughter Isabella spent the night in one of the large bell tents.

There are 9 tents, well spaced out in the woods so that each tent has complete privacy. Music is banned and so is any noise after 10pm. Wonderful!

In the car park, across the road, are wheelbarrows to carry your supplies to the site, which is across the road, through a gate, over a field, through another gate and then through the woods to Reception and your tent.

Yes it’s a long way from the road, and very relaxing, quiet and peaceful.

Outside each tent is a fire pit with a shelter over it and a waiting sack of wood. Matches are in the tent.

There is also a small wood burning stove for a kettle or a saucepan. I’d never seen one before.

Each guest has to bring their own bedding and towels, and food, of course, but everything else is provided.

I was surprised at the large selection of pots, plates and utensils provided.

Although there’s no fridge as there’s no electricity, there’s a cool box outside the tent. And a wind-up lamp. There are candles in the kitchen.

The kitchen has a small stove that guests can use.

There is fresh running water from the nearby High Weald Dairy’s bore hole, and the loos and shower are immaculate, cleaned by manageress Anna Cartwright and Alice Halik. They live on the site in a Shepherd’s Hut.

Like the guests, they have no electricity or bathroom. There’s a solar panel on their hut roof which charges the vacuum cleaner to clean the tents.

In the two showers are bucket-like containers. You collect the hot water from the outside tap, fill the bucket and stand under it, pulling on the rope.

There is hot water from a wood-burning stove and battery-powered calor gas.

Along the path are a couple of huts. One contains extra chairs. Another one is a small storeroom, with books, children’s books and games, maps and other useful information.

Although there is no phone or wifi reception, texts do work. And phones work up the path and across the road in the car park.

We laughed at two teenagers walking around, hunched in horror over their phones. How will they manage for 24 hours with no phone?

One shelter is larger than the rest. The cover is an old parachute.

Three of the tents surround it. They’re used for group bookings if necessary.

In the daytime, we explored the woods. Isabella hunted for hidden clues around the camp to find wooden animals.

Every half an hour or so, a steam train chugged along the Bluebell Railway track at the bottom of the wood and we all rushed to the fence at the sound of a distant hooting.

As the sun set, we lit the fire. Bonfires are so hypnotic and we all silently gazed at the flames.

Anna toasting Halloumi. Halloumi cheese is a salty brined ‘squeaky’ cheese that originates from the Mediterranean. It is traditionally made from sheep milk which gives it the pure white colour. See High Weald Dairy.
They also make a blended variety using cow and sheep milk.
Available as a pack of 7 x 150g slices or as “offcuts” ready to add directly to your recipe.
The cheese’s resistance to melting when fried comes from the curd being reheated before being shaped and placed into brine.

When the flames died down a bit, we began to cook our food. Why does everything taste so much better, cooked over an open fire?  Rana and Isabella are vegans, so we had vegan burgers, sausages and bacon, with jacket potatoes, corn on the cob, beans and salad.

As it grew dark, we lit the candles and we’d also brought torches. But the fire lit up the area enough to see our food.

At around 9pm we left our family to enjoy the rest of the evening and we walked back across the field to our car.

Home to electricity, TV and the fridge.

Rana and Isabella relaxed by the fire and saw the lit-up train go past again.

They both slept very well, although they did hear the sound of wildlife in the night. Deer have been seen in the camp.

In the morning they walked around the wood, hunting for more clues to find the listed animals.

Nothing was too much trouble for Anna and Alice, who were up very early to start cleaning after the guests had left.

Isabella said she felt at home there and she wants to go back.

So do I.



Beech Estate & Wild Boar Wood Campsites

‘a little adventure’
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  • Lyn Funnell

    Lyn is the co-owner of Unknown Kent and Sussex. She lives in Sussex. Lyn has been writing for most of her life, both Fiction & Non-Fiction. She loves cookery & creating original recipes. She's won a lot of prizes, including Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu & on BBC The One Show as a runner-up, making her Britain's Spag Bol Queen! She has had nine books published so far. History, Travel & Restaurant Reviews are her main interests.

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