Blackberry Wood, Streat Lane, Streat, nr Ditchling, East Sussex BN6 8RS
You can stay at Blackberry Wood any number of times, but each visit is likely to feel completely different – partly because the secluded woodland changes with the seasons, but mainly because owner Tim is so focused on expanding his unique range of glamping accommodation, that there’s no anticipating what weird and wonderful structures you might find next. On our first encounter, a double-decker bus poked from a clearing and an assortment of revamped old caravans and bell tents were available for hire. Today, there are also the likes of an ex-RAF helicopter and a brand new treehouse with a shower room built inside its wonky turret!
It’s the ‘proper’ camping, though, that’s the real heritage of this site. Nestled on the South Downs, the place is almost lost among the native woodland. Follow one of the footpaths leading into the rambling straggle of thicket to find twenty of the most coveted pitches, located in individual clearings with a firepit, some rudimentary seating and enough space for a medium-sized tent. Each spot feels gloriously secluded and, with so few pitches in this part of the site, there’s a rare and special kind of peace among the trees, enhanced each evening by the soporific soundtrack of campfires gently fizzing.
On the opposite side of the road a second wooded camping area with a ‘no kids and no groups’ rule also does a roaring trade during peak season – it’s popularity only waning as couples return the next year to splash out on one of the glamping options instead. Indeed it’s impossible to visit once and not return again to try out something new. The options just seem endless.
‘Bubble’ the 1960s caravan and a brightly-painted gypsy wagon have a particular air of romance, while the red Routemaster bus, equipped with a kitchen/diner downstairs and a kids’ soft-play area upstairs is on the more eccentric end of the spectrum. The full-sized RAF chopper with rotor blades still attached is an even more bizarre find still. It’s Tim’s new treehouse, though, completed in 2016, that is perhaps his biggest pride and joy. It sleeps up to four adults (or two adults and three children), with a double bed and a snug loft bed, as well as featuring a well-equipped kitchen, a wood-burning stove and a sun terrace outside. Its higgledy-piggledy shape formed by the naturally irregular branches gives it a charming, storybook quality.
All these contraptions can be found scattered around the first small field when checking in at the reception caravan. Of course, reception was in a caravan at the time of writing, but we hear that NASA is selling off de-commissioned space shuttles, so next year’s check-in experience might be altogether quite different!
The Owner Says
Magical, pagan woodland camping and glamping at its finest. There's heaps of flora and fauna to keep you bewitched, not to mention the encouragement of big woodland campfires! Blackberry wood campsite is situated in beautiful, quiet Sussex countryside at the foot of the South downs, in the National Park.
Stayed for two nights and had a lovely time. Our pitch was on the 'wild side' and really peaceful. Great facilities and helpful owners. Hopefully coming back to stay in a glamping pod soon
Perfect in Every Way
Have stayed at Blackberry Wood twice now and each time has been fantastic. All the amenities you could want without being "in your face". I've camped in the wood each time (first time in Bunny, second in Witchwood - if you've been there, you'll understand!) Such a great experience. The campsite is only a short walk away from the South Downs and me and my little boy, Jasper (the 4-legged barking variety) have thoroughly enjoyed our stays. We will be back!
What a gem!
Read some great reviews and some not so great reviews. My verdict? It was amazing! Since it's off season, only the main site was open and not the Blackberry Wood on the Wild (adults only site). Toilets and shower facilities are very basic but kept clean at all times. Shower cost 20p for about 10 minutes. Each pit has a fire pit with a couple of benches and chairs. It's a quiet site, with no music and radio policy. Only down side to this place is - the cost. I found it quite expensive compared to other sites I've been around in the country. But overall, it was good fun and I would definitely visit again.
We stayed in the teeny weeny 2 person 1960s caravan last summer - before the schools broke up with my husband. It was perfect. The outdoor kitchen was quaint and functional. The sun shone, we took woodland showers and cycled and thoroughly enjoyed the quirkyness and the sound of young children playing in the central area.
Want to love it...but
So off we went for an Easter weekend camp. Read all the positive reviews for Blackberry Wood and had high hopes. Arrived and had a little difficulty finding the reception, which was sign posted but not obvious. Met by and older gent who was welcoming but not very chatty, almost as if I was disturbing his day. Not a great start. Taken to our pitch in the wood. We had a pitch named Sirius which could accommodate our large tent. Got all tent up and went to have a look around.
The idea behind the site is sound with individual pitches for each camp separated by foliage and trees. Some pitches are a bit too close and the couple who pitched up in the dark next to us to then shout at each other for about 3 hours before going to bed and then shouting some more obviously had no respect for anyone else but heh that's not the site's fault.
There is a shower block next to the reception and one nearer to the pitches. This pitch block was in terrible order. The lights in one of the toilet wasn't working, it wasn't cleaned for the whole weekend, no hot water to wash up with at all and really tired looking. The showers cost 20p and just about dribbled out. Also the shower area here doesn't have cover over the whole shower cubicle and as such your clothes will get soaked if the weather's poor outside. The shower at the reception was fine and much better standard. Strange really.
The "shop" on site wasn't staffed and felt like a very poor after thought, it's a shed with nobody in it and may as well be in the reception.
I honestly think with some basic maintenance and elbow grease the site would be outstanding but it appears they are living off past glories and are spending all there time and effort building an extravagant tree house.
Would I go again? Maybe, but I wouldn't whole heartedly recommend it unfortunately without the aforementioned effort from the owners.
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Loved it! Intimate, cosy, beautiful and the fact you can have a campfire makes it a top trump for me :)
Wonderful stay in this intimate, cosy woodland campsite :) lovely little woodland glades offering privacy and larger more open areas for families or small groups. Excellent for children to explore, but I loved doing so myself! Cut off from everyday life and the hustle and bustle, yet close to beautiful towns such as Lewes, where I spent the day wandering around whiling away the hours in the little shops and shopping for food supplies. Would most definitely recommend to anyone, although would also love to keep it as my little secret.
Blackberry Wood's pitches are set in "glades" or clearings in the brambles are lovely as you can eat and camp and relax with nobody looking on. Pubs a nice walk (2.5miles) in Dtchling.
It is quite back to basics even in the non-wild side camping - walking to the toilets in the dark through the cleared pathways is a bit I a challenge thought I do think we came just after a growth spurt as the overhanging branches and nettles were a bit too overgrown.
There was also a bit of rubbish in the bushes near our fire- but more the fault I previous campers. That said I'd happily deal with this then an overly rules driven campsite and the people running the place did create a lovely atmosphere, were easy to find and helpful.
We stayed here with our two young children in the winter on the double decker bus. It was such an amazing stay and the kids have still 6 months later not stopped talking about it. They now want to go back to stay on the helicopter. Even in the winter we was perfectly warm with two oil radiators which are on the bus. The owners are so friendly and welcoming and even made sure the drivers cab was open so the kids could get in to pretend being the driver. Highly recommend
Blackberry Wood | Wild Side
We spent a nice weekend staying on a plot in The Wild Side. Really nice and secluded clearing in the wooded area. Would highly recommend. In fact we going back again shortly!
So great we're going back
The world is a big place and as such I've always questioned why people are so keen to keep going back to the same destinations. With Blackberry Wood I get it!
Rustic camping in relatively secluded plots, and only an hour from home saw us re-booking for end of May bank holiday the day we returned from the early bank hol.
We're a couple with no kids and still managed to enjoy a campsite during half term. Miracle!
Great pubs in walking distance, nearby Lewes has everything you need and fab far shops nearby.
Though we enjoyed sitting round - and cooking on the fire - so much we barely left the site.
A must for people whi enjoy proper camping!
Nigel and Margaret were wonderfully welcoming and friendly, greeting us when we arrived, showing us around and letting us know how everything worked (and kindly lending us a pan as I had managed to leave ours behind). Our pitch was a large secluded glade with a brilliant rope swing and a fire-pit surrounded by rustic wooden benches - it was even better than we had hoped - plenty of room to pitch the tent well away from the camp fire and a real feeling of woodland camping.
During the day our boys (6 and 9) roamed around and explored - there's a great little woodland adventure playground just beyond the camping glades and we spent ages there each day - finally managed the tight rope on the last day :)
The little shop sells all sorts, from marshmallows to sausages (very good ones, incidentally) and you can order freshly-baked croissants and pain au chocolat (we had these on the last day...should've started earlier ;). Not sure what to make of the reviews saying the toilets and showers were dirty...everything was lovely and clean - the shower was nice and hot and lasted for ages and the washing up station is really well designed with hot water and plenty of space.
Blackberry wood is a campsite for people who love camping and want to enjoy nature - music isn't allowed and it wouldn't be the place to choose if you want to stay up late laughing and joking but it's a perfect place for parents to sit together gazing into a camp fire and quietly chatting/getting sloshed while the kids snore in the tent nearby.
The site is blissfully quiet, and after about 10pm the only sounds are the crackling of camp fires and occasional startling noises from the pheasants and foxes that live in the woods.
There are so many little things that I'll remember about our trip - the boys proudly unloading the car with the rickety wheelbarrows provided....lighting our own fire and cooking on it.....tiny rabbits running about everywhere...a brilliant holiday and a brilliant site!
Even better than imagined
After wanting to go for years (since buying my first copy of "cool camping"), we finally got organised and booked (well in advance, as is necessary here) to camp in the summer last year. I wanted to know what the fuss was about and if the photo's were as good as the real thing, but also half expected something trendy and perhaps a little pretentious: it's not! This is a beautiful down to earth and simple site with lovely attention to detail in the little statues and wooden wash/toilet facilities. These little details appear to have evolved over time and found there place in the site rather than having been placed there by design.
The pitches are wonderfully secluded and all options you could wish for: shady, sunny, tucked away, on the path, near the facilities, near the fields with views, near the kids play area (which is wonderful... even I couldn't resist a go on the zip wire when no one was looking). There are other kids toys (trikes little houses etc) on the reception field which are great for littler ones.
We had a lovely secluded one with an opening in the tree canopy to see the stars. We set up fairy lights and candles and had our own fairy glade. A pheasant (I think: I'm no expert) visited, which was a treat for the kids.
Yes, the manager/owner was a little noise sensitive, but more as a warning than because our kids were actually noisy. I don't have a problem with children making a noise and having fun - that's what camping is all about, but I also don't want to feel conscious of my own children being a nuisance... luckily for us there were others noisier, so I didn't let his "truth in jest" remarks bother me.
The facilities were spot on and really cute. Hot water was on and off that day due to utility issues rather than a fault of the camp site, I believe, but we were warned at arrival, which was helpful to plan our shower times accordingly. Little shop sells everything you need even warm brekkie croissants (which you should book the day before, but we didn't and were still accommodated). I recall a large fire pit in the main reception field where the quirky helicopter/retro campervans/huts etc are. These too look wonderful, but are perhaps a little under the watchful eye (or ear) of reception. There's a great walk to a nearby pub which we did (in the rain, with a buggy) and it's close to loads of kids/or other attractions in the area.
But mostly we just relaxed. Such a special site, despite the weather we had. We will be back as soon as we can get booking far enough in advance!
March 2014, we have just returned from a lovely weekend staying at Blackberry Wood Campsite and would recommend it to other campers looking for a secluded and peaceful getaway.
The pros would be the location, being a short walk from the South Downs and a lovely pub up the road. Because the pitches are well spaced (on the whole) and leafy, you really get the feeling of wild camping.
The cons would be the facilities as the toilets, showers and washing up facilities are very basic. We went off season and the washing up station closest to the campsite simply didn't work which was a shame.
Upon arrival we were given the chance to choose whichever pitch we wanted which was great, however we weren't given any kind of map of the site so had to make our own way into the woods. It would be good if they provided a little map of the site as there is no fencing so it's hard to tell where the boundaries are in some places and on our last morning during breakfast 4 large dogs from a local farm jumped across the stream and into our breakfast!
It also would have been nice to receive a map of local walks and directions to the pub. Perhaps some of this was due to the fact that we went out of season so the campsite was quite quiet.
September 2013. On arrival hosts were grumpy and off hand (end of season?). Didn't even have a smile when we arrived. Also we were not aware how far it would be to take our kit from the car to the site in wheelbarrows. Quite fun but would be good to know in advance. The toilets and showers were the grottiest/most basic of any camp site we have stayed in and we have camped all over the UK France and NZ over the last 15 years and are pretty basic campers. We are all for nature and not getting too commercial but a basic clean area to shower and a loo in a building that was not a damp smelly crumbling cobweb filled hut would be appreciated! Bring your own loo roll too.
That said the location was magical camping literally in the woods, the woodland playground was fabulous and it was a very pretty walk to some local pubs and walks in the South Downs. Would we go back and is the place worth the hype and advanced booking - all 3 families who we were with agreed no! Glad to have had the experience but plenty of other charming camp sites in this area.
Camping as it should be!
Just back from a great few days at Blackberry Wood. Wonderful place - each pitch has its own identity and is reached by little pathways through the trees. We were allocated a lovely little wooded glade called Bramble Hide that was nicely secluded, yet just a stroll to the washing facilities. We did have 'glade envy' for those in a sunnier spot as ours was heavily wooded and therefore a bit dark, though looked magical when the sun was shining through the leaves. I like the fact that you couldn't see the cars from the pitches, and that campfires were encouraged. Facilities were rustic but fine - always hot water for showers and washing up, and the fairy lights in the loos added a charming touch. Great for kids as there is a little play area in one of the glades with tyre swings, a mini zip wire and things to climb on. Lots of wildlife to be seen on the site - bunnies, butterflies, dragonflies and lots of birds were seen and heard - but there were also rather a lot of rats running around. There were bait traps but if you have a phobia of long-tailed brown rodents then this is not the place for you! Despite this we loved it and hope to be back soon.
Idyllic Cool Camping
This was our first camping trip away this year. Finding Blackberry Wood was as easy as it gets from the instructions on the website. This matched our experience so far from viewing the website to booking to leaving special instructions for out 5 metre bell tent.
Upon arrival at Blackberry Wood we were warmly greeted by the owners and shown around the wooded glades to allow us to chose our glade for the 4 days of our stay. We chose 'Sirius'. A circular glade with a small path running through it and surrounded by trees. The car parking is but a short walk from all the glades and thanks to the woods is perfectly screened from the glades, adding to the real sense of wild camping. Wheel barrows are provided to transport your camping gear to your chosen site.
After setting up we took our dogs for a short walk around the surrounding countryside which is almost entirely farmland and woods. The owners kindly supplied us with a map of all the local footpaths of which there are a fair few. Enough to fill a weeks worth of walking.
The campsite allows campfires and kindly sells bags of logs with kindling thrown in for just £5 a bag. Plenty for an evenings fire. Each glade also comes with it's own campfire grill to allow you to cook over an open fire. We cooked everything from Mackerel to Burgers. All with that magical ingredient of woodsmoke. You also notice whilst you are in camp the abundance of birdsong and wildlife that meander in and around the site. Presumably they have become used to us temporary guests and are on the lookout for any scraps of food you may have dropped from your campfire bbq.
All in all Blackberry wood is fantastically priced for such a wonderful tranquil experience. There are above average basic facilities such as a solar shower open to the air (wonderful) and our hosts were simply fantastic. Will I come here again? Absolutely it is one of the best campsites in Sussex without a shadow of a doubt. A tip though, if you are planning a weekend book way way in advance it fills up extraordinarily quickly. If you can go Sunday to Thursday in term time you should be fine.
Coming from Canada, this is as good as it gets!
I'd like to think that coming from Canada, I know what a good, back to the basics campsite is. Forget the open fields where all you see are other tents and builders cracks everywhere! This place is for those who like to be in the woods, back to nature, and build fires with their little ones.
We stayed on the Dumpty Humpty pitch which was actually only two pitches down from the second parking lot but you couldn't tell as we were surrounded by beautiful woodland. Actually most of the pitches here are surrounded by woodland and have their own private fire pits. It doesn't get any better than this! Trust me, I've probably spent about a week researching for campsites that allow campfires ( not fire buckets, blah!), in a wooded area, quiet ( my 3 year old doesn't appreciate techno at midnight), and that's within a 2 hour drive from London. This is the perfect place.
But for those of you who would like a bit more comfort, well, these guys have showers, hot water, sweet toilets with paper and fairy lights, two play areas for kids to play, a cute shop that has ice cream and marshmallows. They even have converted caravans, a wooden cabin, a helicopter and a double decker bus which actually has a mini built in soft play room upstairs which I guess, could be used as a large sleeping area for babies.
I only had the chance to meet Eva, who was lovely and baked ( maybe you bought them) croissants for one of our lazy mornings. Nigel, the park warden was super friendly! I don't think he had a minute to sit down though as he had someone new going up to him for wood or something else, every second! They'll both stop what there doing to help you out and you feel so welcomed.
If the privacy of your pitch is too lonely, no need to fret, there's an open space between all the converted helicopters and buses, where there's a communal fire pit and picnic tables where people go to chat and let the kiddies run.
Can you tell I love this place? It really is a wonderful place.
Little peice of heaven
I have just returned from a delightful 4 night stay at this wonderful site and I can honestly say that if I could have stayed for longer I would have.
I was pitched up on Hawthorne, which was a good sized pitch in the middle of the site. Our pitch was probably the most surrounded of all the pitches and although we could hear people (especially some suitably excited young campers) first thing, it was very peaceful overall. The nature of the woodland clearing pitches seems to promote a private but friendly campsite. It was a pleasent pitch that easily accomodated our standing height, 4 man tent. It was well sheltered with a clearing through the trees that allowed for a small amount of sunlight to shine through throughout the day. This week was exceptionally hot, but the forrest was refreshingly cool. This was my first visit so I cannot say what it is like camping here on colder days, but with a firepit on each site you can keep warn and suggly in front of the fire each night.
A few small things to bear in mind, the floor in the forrest is quite hard so do bring camping rolls or mattresses. The forrest is very dark at night and if you need to run off the the loo at least 10 times every night like me then you will need a reliable tourch to get you there. The washing up facilities were very good, with plenty of hot water. The showers are 20p but lasted a good amount of time and were reasonably powerful. The site was full for most of our stay and we did not have to queue at any point for the toilets or the showers. I have to say that I did prefer the showers nearer the caravan site as the roof covers both the shower and changing area rather than just the shower area like the woodland ones. Yes there were a few cobwebs or insects occasionally in the cubicles, but then this is the forrest.
Overall a great campsite that I will visit again in the future.
My first visit here after trying to get in for quite some time! It exceeded everyone's expectations - fantastic setting, the individual 'glades' in the woods are the perfect mix of a bit of privacy but with a sense of community. Re the one or two negative reviews, I'd say this is no place for a team building day - it's a quiet, peaceful, family site. And I thought the facilities were charming - rustic for sure, but clean and functional. We'll be back!
Just left after yet another wonderful break at Blackberry Wood Campsite (my fifth stay). Located in excellent untouched surrounds with a combination of tents, and novelty indoor options including a London bus and new log cabin to name but a few. Very relaxed overall atmosphere and everyone is very friendly and helpful. This is the perfect spot for relaxation and unwinding. Ok, so they are strict on no noise after 11pm but this is one of the reasons we like it here. Great walks in the surrounding areas, and very close to the fabulous south downs. Will be booking my spot for next year soon.
This is a really nice campsite in a lovely part of the world. The problem here is the owner. We were down on a team building day and had a booking for 15 people. A group of 15 people will make noise, this is just a fact. The owner started screaming at us like a banshee at 1030 pm for making too much noise ( we were having a silent disco at the time!). He is an annoying little man and the way he spoke to paying guests was ridiculous. If you want a silent break, this place is perfect. Should you want to talk past 10pm, avoid.
We absolutely loved it here. We camped over the road in the ’No kids’ area in a little clearing. The shower facilities might not be to everyones liking, very basic, home-made outdoor shower from a water tank heated (or not) by the sun but we thought that was a lot of fun. Would love to go back but so hard to get a pitch.
I have been on several camping trips this year, and this is by far my favourite site.
Each pitch is in a clearing which is spacious and feels very private. Campfires are encouraged and the rules are minimal, which adds to the free and easy fun of camping. The facilities are good, 20p for a shower which is annoying but not enough to spoil the magic of Blackberry Wood. Logs are £4 a bag and there is a small shop, which like all campsite shops has a wonderfully selection of goods. The bus, caravans and helicopter add to the eccentric feel to the site.
We walked to the Half Moon Inn in Plumpton and it was a great (flat) walk through fields and woods.
The downside to this campsite is the difficulty in booking a pitch - its already fully booked for every weekend in June and July 2012. I wish the secret wasn't out!
What a campsite! Even better than we expected even after all these positive comments! Worth waiting for and booking in advance. I loved to see the campfires shimmering through the trees and people talking, cooking, drinking by their own fire even in the rain.... Pitches are very different in size and location, some are huge and very shady, but it is a great place to stay.
It really is a very nice place and I agree with most of the Cool Camping review. I do think it is important for people to know that the owners are VERY sensitive to any noise. Granted we were a large group of dads and kids but we are not a rowdy bunch. We were told off 3 times for just sitting around the fire having fun. The last time he came over to "shut us up" he was really worked up. We all thought it was unreasonable. So if you have kids I would NOT recommend BBW. If you are a small group who like to have hushed conversations and go to bed at dusk then this is the place for you.
6 of us pitched up at the lovely Blackberry Wood and stayed in a clearing called ’Wobble’! We all go camping together several times a year and are always on the lookout for a campsite with a difference - and Blackberry Wood hit the spot for us! It’s a beautiful site where you can collect your own firewood, have the privacy of your own clearing in the wood, enjoy the luxury of hot showers and compost toilets - perfect for those eco-minded amongst us! When we felt more adventurous we set off on a walk to the train station and headed off to Brighton for the day - a great place to pick up some fresh fist to be cooked on the open fire later! The trick for getting into this much sought after campsite is to book a year in advance - which is why our next visit is 2012! We have recommended Blackberry Wood to all our friends - it’s a lovely tranquil place where you can spend your time spotting the local wildlife, or simply indulging in some relxation.
Thank you! We stayed for one night this week as a test for camping this year. Our goal was to see if we could get everything we thought we needed on out motorbikes and camp. Verdict - yes - brilliant. As for Blackberry Wood - what can we say - we are in love. We pitched in Cosy and had such a lovely evening, a good night’s sleep, were woken by the dawn chorus, had 2 great camp fires on whcih we did all of our cooking. We also had an outdoor shower which was magical, yet quite surreal under the blue sky and trees. The facilities were clean, basic and provided everything that you would need. We will definitely be back.
Great fun site - the pitches are lovely in the woods and my boys enjoyed taking our stuff from the car to the pitch in the wheel barrows provided. The facilities are VERY basic, but there is a certain maddness in open air showering.