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Wild events, weddings and glamping getaways in the Essex countryside
There’s something beautiful about the way Nat and Archie Browning's glampsite has grown. Borne out of the pair’s childhood escapades in the woods beyond their 15th-century farmhouse, the site offers not only luxury outdoor accommodation but also a real sense of fun and imagination. It was here that they once climbed trees, built dens or clambered down the riverbanks to try and leap across the water. Now it’s exactly the same carefree, outdoor antics that they want to inspire in other people – that is, after all, what camping is all about...

The accommodation itself is an eclectic mix. There are yurts and bell tents – all sleeping up to four people and each looking thoroughly at home in the setting – plus tall, North American tipis, erected in the hight of summer for use as atmospheric chill out areas. Inside each bell tent there’s a double bedstead with two mattresses either side, while carpets, rugs and throws create a snug feel. The two Mongolian yurts, meanwhile, have a little extra space with a fantastic central crown that pools in natural light by day and creates a stargazing port-hole by night. One of the two yurts is also positioned at the very far end of the site – the best for maximum privacy.

For couples there are two more luxurious options. An authentic shepherd’s hut that was bought by the brothers’ great grandfather sixty years ago and left dilapidated in the farmyard until its recent refurbishment. It now features a small wood burner and a snug double bed. The grain silo, however, is the most imaginative space. Tucked away in the woods at the back of the site, the round, pillar box-style building once stored the annual grain harvest at the end of each summer. Today it is perhaps the site’s most romantic option. There’s a double bed, bedside tables, furnishings, drapes and throws, while it’s skylight, in the centre of the high, sloping ceiling, allows you to fall asleep beneath the stars.

The partially wooded setting means you have a sense of privacy around your pitch, while the site still has a fantastically warm and welcoming feel. In the centre a communal fire pit brings families together, toasting marshmallows or hosting gargantuan BBQs, while through the summer guests can also hire out the entire site for glamping parties or outdoor ‘wild’ weddings.

Appropriately, though, it’s the more natural pleasures of the land that make the Browning Bros’ site so fantastic. Yes, they have great facilities, yes they have a covered outdoor kitchen, yes they have indoor games when the weather gets bad, but really this is the sort of place where there’s no harm in getting a little muddy. Two small rivers run either side of the site and converge just beyond the farm and there’s a small pond you can fish in, with rods available to hire. The woods just seem to draw children in, lost from the moment you arrive playing hide and seek among the trees, and the footpath into Great Tey is buzzing with wildlife, fledglings darting in and out of the hedgerows as you walk. It’s little wonder the Browning brothers spent all their time outside when they grew up. And what a joy that they now invite you to do the same.

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