Swallowtail Hill Glamping

UK England South East England East Sussex Bodiam

  • Short walk to pub
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
Sustainable glamping in cute miniature cottages on a working East Sussex Farm

'Idyllic' doesn't do this East Sussex hideaway justice. Nestled within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Swallowtail Hill Farm is 40 acres of tranquil wildflower meadow, ancient woodlands, verdant valley, and vibrant wetlands, cultivated and conserved for your off-grid glamping pleasure. For all the seemingly unspoilt nature of this Wealden hillside, the farm is the result of owners Sarah and Christopher Broadbent's 20 years of hard graft and an acute understanding of the local environment.

Sustainability is a central tenet of the Swallowtail ethos which is why they still produce farm-reared meat, fruit, vegetables, hay packed with natural herbal medicines, and copious quantities of timber for building, fuel and fencing. For those with a real interest in conservation, the new Forest School and Wild Woodland Club for kids further encourages eco-education, bio-diversity and traditional woodcraft methods.

And then there's the accommodation. Beside the farm's central woodland, at the foot of a hillside ('a natural amphitheatre') beside a moorhen-inhabited pond, sit the twin timber cabins. These cosy abodes are perfect for a family of four, complete with wood-burning stove, kitchenette and firepit for some bonfire grilling under the stars. Resourceful to the last, the quirky double beds have been hand crafted using local wood and you’ll find old apple crates as bedside tables, antique trunks for storage and handmade coffee tables.

But the main characters in this fairy tale are the two whimsical wooden cabins on wheels. The Meadow Keeper's and Woodcutter's Cottages are straight out of the Brothers Grimm. Masterfully crafted by using locally-sourced timber, these enchanting cabins score a perfect 10 in the 'unique sleeps' stakes. The former is the 'gingerbread cottage' of so many children's story books. It sits in perfect pond-side seclusion between two wildflower meadows, while the latter lies tucked away in a dell at the end of The Dean Wood, an eight acre chestnut and oak coppiced woodland surrounded by hornbeam, holly, hazel, oak and chestnut hedge lines. Whichever cottage casts its spell on you, a truly special time is assured. Just ask TV architect George Clarke, who recently featured the Swallowtail cottages on Amazing Spaces. The site is also just five miles from Rye – arguably England's loveliest medieval port town. So a charming traditional farm in East Sussex that's easily placed to access the South Coast's many delights, AND you can even have your wedding/hen/any-excuse-for-a-countryside-celebration here – ticks all boxes really, doesn't it?

Details

Facilities

The cabins and cottages each sleep up to 4. Each contain one double bed plus two seating areas that double up as single beds at night. The cabins have a shared outdoor covered dining and fully-equipped kitchen area (complete with utensils, cool box, cutlery, crockery and gas cooker). Both cabins also have a small indoor kitchen with gas hob. Wood burning stove also provided. The cottages have small indoor kitchens with gas hob, cooking kit, log-fired shower and private compost loo (away from the accommodation). The cabins share compost loos and outdoor wood-fired showers. Rechargeable lanterns are also provided. Fires permitted in the firepits provided and all accommodation comes with Bon-Fire kitchen equipment for campfire cooking and BBQ’ing. Nature walks and bushcraft sessions are also available subject to weather and availability.

Suitable For

Glampers, hen parties, weddings, celebrations – yes. Additional tent camping is permitted if all four glamping units are hired exclusively. A small nominal charge applies.

Nearby

Just five miles north lies the historic medieval port town of Rye. Its quaint cobbled streets are aligned with many famous buildings including Ypres Tower (01797 226728) and Lamb House, one-time home of author Henry James. If you've not had your fill of picture-postcard castles, Sissinghurst (01580 710700) and Bodiam are both but a short drive away. Further afield, be sure to visit charming Winchelsea, Rye Harbour Nature Reserve (01797 227784) and the sweeping beach at Camber Sands. Further along the coast lies Hastings Old Town – home of the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in Europe. The iconic black net huts make for a great holiday snap. On a beautiful summer's day, there are fewer settings lovelier than the gorgeous gardens of Great Dixter (01797 252878) – former home to one of the country's finest gardeners, Christopher Lloyd.

Food & Drink

BBQ and breakfast packs can be pre-ordered and campsite catering is offered. Your thoughtful hosts also provide glampers with a welcome pack of groceries and basic provisions upon arrival. The nearest pub in Beckley is the popular village boozer The Rose & Crown (01797 252161). For a wealth of charming drink and dinner options head to Rye. The New Inn (01797 226 252), Playden Oasts (01797 223 502), and Ypres Castle Inn (01797 223 248) are all suitably olde worlde settings. For some of the south coast's legendary seafood, The Beach Bistro at The Gallivant Hotel (01797 225 057) takes some topping, not least for the views of Camber Sands' iconic dunes.

Opening Times

End of March–end of October.

Accommodation

Two timber cabins, plus a pair of whimsical wooden 'cottages-on-wheels' (all sleep up to 4).

No availability showing at Swallowtail Hill Glamping.

Location

Contact Swallowtail Hill Glamping, Swallowtail Hill Farm, Hobbs Lane, Beckley, East Sussex TN31 6TT

Show Map

Getting There

Exit M25 at junction 5 – get in lane for Sevenoaks/Tonbridge A21. Join the A21 and head for Hastings. You will pass exits for Sevenoaks and Tonbridge, Pembury and Tunbridge Wells. Keep going straight. You will automatically join a stretch of bypass (which avoids Lamberhurst) heading for Hastings. Keep going until you get to the Flimwell crossroads/traffic lights. Turn left – marked for Rye/Camber/Hawkhurst (A268). Keep on this road for around 10 miles. You will pass straight through the villages of Hawkhurst, Sandhurst and Newenden. When you get to Newenden you’ll pass a village cricket green to your left and then go over a hump backed bridge across the river. A little after that you’ll drive over a level crossing. You’ll then see a big toy museum on the left called The Mill. Take the next left after the pub  – the A268 to Rye. You are now in Whitebread Lane – it’s a very twisty, turny road. Follow this for approx 3 miles. There’s a sign on the left saying Beckley. Slow down. Take the next (sharp) left onto Hobbs Lane. (This turning is immediately before the mini roundabout -if you reach the mini roundabout you’ve gone too far!). Continue down Hobbs Lane for EXACTLY (and we mean EXACTLY!) half a mile. Swallowtail Hill Farm is on the left hand side, at the top of the hill, slightly hidden by a hedge.  There is a sign just by the gate. Please pull into the little layby on the left and come and knock on the farmhouse door. You'll be checked-in and shown where to park.

Trains from central London run from St Pancras to Ashford International Railway Station. From here, there is one train an hour to Rye Railway Station. The site is six miles from Rye. You can get a taxi (01797 224016) from the rank outside the station – the journey will cost around £15 one way. Alternatively you can get a bus from Rye in the direction of Northiam and alight at Beckley Four Oaks. Swallowtail Hill is then a half mile walk along Hobbs Lane and you’ll find it on the left hand side.

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