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St Ives Farm

UK England South East England East Sussex Crowborough

  • Campfires allowed
Secluded, lakeside, countryside setting with the added bonus of campfires. Come during the week and have the place to yourselves.
‘Three Cheers for Pooh! (For who?) For Pooh! (Why, what did he do?) I thought you knew…’ Of the many things that the great Winnie the Pooh did and didn’t do, the most significant, as far as this little corner of East Sussex goes, is that he chose to spend his entire fictional life around the unassuming Surrey village of Hartfield. What’s not known is if he ever chose to stay at St Ives Farm, a quiet, idyllic countryside campsite just outside Hartfield, the village where A. A. Milne penned these famous stories. Hartfield, a one-street hamlet with a tiny village green and ivy-covered pubs, is the centre of Pooh Country. The old sweetshop where Christopher Robin used to buy ‘bulls eyes’ survives to this day, re-named as Pooh Corner and now does a roaring trade in cream teas, pots of honey and general ‘Pooh-phernalia’. You can also pick up a map that will direct you to all the haunts frequented by the loveable yellow bear himself, including 100 Acre Wood, Galleon’s Leap and Poohsticks Bridge. If you can bear to drag yourself away from all this nostalgic childishness, St Ives Farm is to be found just a five-minute drive north of Hartfield. After following signs for St Ives Tea Rooms, you’ll need to take a last-minute diversion across a farmer’s field and circumnavigate some long-stay caravans before finding the small camping area, offering about 20 tent pitches beside a picturesque fishing lake and surrounded by arable farmland. Be warned, with a limited number of spaces, it’s usually booked out by regulars at weekends, so a midweek break may be the only realistic option in summer. Being so far from the road, St Ives has an unusually peaceful ambience, an atmosphere enhanced by the fact that campfires are allowed and which scent the air with the fragrant smoke of sizzling sausages and melting marshmallows. The only activity on-site is coarse fishing for carp and perch in the well-stocked pond. However, the St Ives Tea Rooms at the farm next door seems to have an impregnable power over visitors to this place, who gravitate helplessly towards the flowerfilled tea gardens for scones and jam at least once in their trip. So, it’s three cheers for Pooh and for St Ives Farm, too. (Why, what did they do?) I thought you knew…



Other than making campfires, the only other conventional onsite activity is fishing. The lake is stocked with carp and perch and costs £5/£9 per day for children/adults. Almost onsite is the adjacent tea garden, which serves tasty cream teas and light lunch snacks against an Ashdown Forest backdrop. The basic facilities suit this rustic place; just three chemical loos and six showers.

Suitable For

Dogs are welcome, and are free to frolic in their very own designated dogwalking area.


Do as Pooh would do – eat honey, play Pooh Sticks and wander around in the woods. In Hartfield, the old sweetshop where Christopher Robin used to buy bulls’ eyes survives to this day, re-named Pooh Corner and now doing a roaring trade in cream teas, pots of honey and general Pooh-phernalia. If you’re not too Pooh-ped after all that, then you can go walking with llamas (no, really) at the Ashdown Forest Llama Park (01825 712040) in Forest Row. One llama each is £30; 2 people sharing a llama is £50. Bizarre, but true.

Food & Drink

For top-notch food, with an emphasis on locally sourced, seasonal produce head for The Hatch Inn (01342 822363) at Colemans Hatch. It’s a quaint little country pub on the edge of Ashdown Forest, a 50-minute walk or 10-minute drive from St Ives Farm and handy for Poohsticks Bridge. French and traditional British influences feature on a changing, innovative menu served in a snug restaurant or in the beer garden. The ivy-covered Anchor Inn (01892 770424) in Hartfield is a 15th-century free house with an unusual, old-fashioned, flowerfilled veranda, as well as a pleasant beer garden and a selection of local ales.


April – late October.

Family Friendly

The lake is not fenced and there are campfires everywhere. So the kids will love it, but protective parents may not.

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Contact St Ives Farm, Butcherfield Lane, Hartfield, East Sussex TN7 4JX

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Getting There

Follow the A22 southbound through South Godstone. Shortly after Brindley Heath, take a left onto the B2029 (Ray Lane) towards Lingfield. The road turns into the B2028 (Race Course Road). Turn right when you reach Dormans Road, which eventually becomes Hollow Lane and then meets the A264. Turn left onto the A264 for 1.4 miles then turn right onto Cansiron Lane, which turns slightly left, becoming Butcherfield Lane. The campsite is a little further on the right and is clearly signed.


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Rated ★★★★★ over 23 reviews


Relaxing site with firepits

My family and a group of friends We have come to this site each year for the last 5 years. The owner David is very helpful and has created a beautiful friendly site. We have not found noise or rowdiness to be a problem. The showers and and washing up sink always have adequate hot water and are cleaned regularly. He provides generous Bags of wood for the fire at a reasonable fee..
Aug 31, 2018 by Mark

Nice distance to the pub

Camped 21/22 July 218. We had a very noisy party on the field who played disco music till 4am. Told the owner who just said they were regulars and didn't seem to care.
Aug 16, 2018 by Mr J


Great little site that we visit every year with a large group. Basic facilities, but always clean showers etc with hot water. Owner comes round daily with firewood. The kids love playing around the lake, running through the fields and taking a walk across the fields to Hartfield where there's a good pub and home to Winnie the Pooh. Can't wait for this year's visit...!
Apr 23, 2017 by DanM

peter storey

Very lovely friendly site but you need to check with the owner for weekends. Its lovely and quiet during the week.

Jun 9, 2015 by peter storey

Wonderful potential. Needs some TLC

Lovely site. Quiet by the lake in wonderful forested area. Very friendly owner David who supplies logs for campfires. But there is no attempt at recycling and the bins were overflowing from when we arrived on Sunday to leaving Wednesday morning. The very very basic showers were in need of some regular checking for debris left around the shelves etc. And the loo block had not seen a mop on the floor for some time. As the refuse and shower/toilet facilities are the only things needing maintaining it seems a wasted opportunity not to do so regularly. The Tea Rooms have closed. A good relaxing break but wouldn't go back unless the facilities were updated a bit.

Jul 31, 2014 by Wizzo

Just bliss

We have just returned from a lovely weekend at this campsite. The weather was forecast to be heavy rain all weekend so lots of people cancelled-more fool them as the weather was bright and sunny, meaning it was nice and peaceful for us.

The views all around are staggering, we found some lovely walks and a fab pub called the Gallipot Inn which served awesome Hake. Gorgeous sunny garden too.

Over the entire weekend we stumbled across so much wildlife, deer, foxes, bunnies etc, it was one of the best weekends camping we have had in a long time.

The facilities here are fine, showers and toilets are clean. My only concern was the portaloos that had one too many spiders for my liking but I just used the main facilities instead.

Pooh country was great fun aswell, worth picking up some sticks on your way to Pooh sticks bridge as there weren't many around when we got there.

Book up now and enjoy the beautiful countryside. Thanks for a great stay! We will be returning again this year!  

May 12, 2014 by tashy33

Authentic Feel

My husband and I (fairly inexperienced campers) took our just turned 2 year old there earlier this week (midweek) and had a lovely holiday. The campfires and gorgeous countryside/lake views made it feel like the authentic camping holiday I was looking for. Admittedly I wasn't a huge fan of the main toilet facilities, but they were functional and the very pleasant owner said that the toilet floor will be replaced soon, which I do think would be an improvement. The showers were also fairly basic, but in the dedicated shower cabin there was no charge for hot water and it didn't ever run out while I was using them. There were also some portaloos between the two camping fields, but I didn't use them much. Our toddler outright refused to go into the shower cubicles, so as the weather was hot we bathed her outside in a portable sink we took with us.

The site was relatively quiet while we were there (term-time Mon-Thurs morning) and there was no noise that actually bothered us.  A group of young people were shushed by an adult there with them when it got to about 11 and some fisherman had a radio on until maybe a bit later, but it wasn't at a volume which we found unacceptable. The whole place does have a nice laid back vibe as someone else mentioned.

The location was fantastic too.  We enjoyed a cream tea at Pooh Corner in nearby Hartfield, and a fun afternooon at Groombridge Place with its Enchanted Wood full of outdoor activities.

We have lots of beautiful memories of blue tits perching on our guy ropes and of eating dinner outdoors admiring the views and our campfire.

Jul 12, 2013 by Tenty

Decent Stay

Stayed there this weekend and overall it was a good experience.. I dont camp much so am probably not the best to judge but this is what I thought: From the town (hartfiled) it is closer to 45 minutes than 20 minutes walking Those coming by public transport - it is tough - a taxi to east grensteid is minimum £15 pre booked Place is very scenic with nice places to go for walks Warm showers which you use by paying 20p coins The owner - David is a nice guy although dont count on a quick reply or a reply at all - better off calling if you are looking for info/booking/direction I would recommend it so long as you have a car
Oct 7, 2012 by aaron

St Ives Farm

Well I had a lovely pleasurable stay here and will definitely be staying again. Beautiful lake and woodlands to walk around and a real friendly owner who is more than helpful and makes best efforts to make sure you have a good stay. I was quite surprised that there were negative comments about this site as I comeback yearly and have had no issue with noise etc only the noise I make (snoring) mainly and the occasional Beatles tune on the wireless. I think if you like a laid-back campsite with open fires and friendly faces, then Mr Dohdy says come HERE. HAPPY CAMPING !
Jun 5, 2012 by dohdydave

St Ives Farm

We love this campsite! It’s beautiful, friendly, great for kids and a lovely setting. We look forward to going back every year and we’re never disappointed. Highly recommended!
Jun 5, 2012 by Christy

St Ives Farm

Just spent yet another blissful weekend at St Ives farm with the family. À perfect environnent for a family weekend. The kids happily explore around the pond or play football. Lots of great walking in the area and best of all everyone can relax around a campfire at the end of.the day. Highly recommended.
Jun 3, 2012 by MikeE

St Ives Farm

We’ve stayed at this lovely campsite several times over the years with our children and it has never disappointed.The pleasant wooded site has a quiet, laid-back atmosphere and children can roam freely - happily ’going feral’ for the weekend. Ashdown Forest and the surrounding Sussex countryside is great hiking territory but if you don’t feel like getting in the car during your stay there’s a whole variety of walks and trails that you can take from the campsite.The owner is helpful & friendly.In addition to supplying logs for your campfire he knows the area extremely well and can suggest local activities should you need help planning your stay. Facilities are basic but more than adequate and the toilets & shower areas are regularly cleaned. Booking ahead at weekends is essential but that’s partly due to the fact that the owner regulates the number of people camping so it never feels cramped or too busy. We’ve just had a fab weekend’s camping and look forward to our next stay at St. Ives sometime soon.
Jun 3, 2012 by Catriona

St Ives Farm

I stayed here last week and it was one of the best campsite that I have ever stayed in. It fulfilled my criteria list of somewhere pretty, quiet and chilled. One thing I hate about camping is being given a pitch and you have no choice where you go.. which was not the case here. You pitch where you want. The site is basic - I give you - but its a total break. The owner was friendly and helpful and he gave us directions to a disused railways track for cycling. The area is really stunning - lots of nice pubs and countryside. I can’t recommend it enough. Just go and see for yourselves.
Jun 1, 2012 by Annal

St Ives Farm

Initially had reservations about staying here given its three out of five score, but when we looked a bit closer saw that all of the negative reviews had been left by one person following a single stay, and related mainly to the behaviour of her neighbours as opposed to the quality of the site. Deciding that the author was being a bit vindictive we gave St Ives the benefit of the doubt we headed for Sussex and are glad we did. The site is small and situated off the beaten track on the edge of some farmland, its small and picturesque with fantastic panoramic views across the Sussex Downs. Theres no gate, no noise curfew, shop or power, the facilities are basic and there isnt a lot to amuse the kids so you need to arrive with realistic expectations, that said, the lack of these things gives charm and a relaxed feel to a site that is clean and beautifully kept, add to that that you can build yourself a camp fire and you have a recipe for total escapism. We found the owner friendly and helpful and he was to point us to some local beauty spots. Following his directions we took our bikes and were able to cycle along an old disused railway at the bottom of the road, we took in a couple of nice pubs ( Try the Crown at Groombridge ) as well as visiting the local village. Thoroughly enjoyed or time at St Ives and will stay again, would definately recommend it.
May 31, 2012 by 1788santacruz

St Ives Farm

I’ve camped at St Ives farm two years in a row now as it has everything you look for in a genuine countryside British camp site - beautiful surroundings that stretch for miles around you, a laid back atmosphere and a real log fire perfect for a family or group of friends that want to be amongst nature and eat lots of marshmallows! The owner is very helpful & friendly and can supply you with firewood at a very reasonable price, he also has great knowledge of the local area and can advise you on places to go if you want to get out and about a bit more. A personally love this place as it is so much more about the atmosphere than the facilities. There may not be luxury loos but you have a bluebell wood and picturesque lake right on your doorstep & get to eat breakfast with the ducks. Will definitely be going again!
May 28, 2012 by kadykate

St Ives Farm

I stayed here with my sister and couldn’t recommend it more. Beautiful surroundings and a friendly owner, always happy to help out (if needing wood or advice about the area). I disagree with recent comments about it being "uncool" for kids, as my sister is a regular camper with 2 kids and a dog and has never complained about St Ives. Yes, there are some groups of people who like to play music and have a bit of fun in the evening, but there are also families with children who like to run around and scream first thing in the morning. What’s fair is fair - it is camping after all! That’s what it’s about. You never know who you’re going to meet or who you’re going to be sleeping next to, this is why we all love it so much! I think St Ives is a lovely spot to camp, with plenty of facilities nearby and a friendly owner who accomodates all.
May 24, 2012 by Sasha Coe

St Ives Farm

Fantastic facilities and a warm welcome! St Ives is one of the most beautiful campsites I have stayed at. The ownwer is relaxed - we had a fire which for me is a must when camping. It is great value and I would highly recommend this site!
May 24, 2012 by lovecampingbecs

St Ives Farm

Parents please be aware that this campsite is used by large parties of adults. The behaviour I have witnessed when staying this weekend is as follows: Urinating on campsite Dogs allowed to roam on campsite without leads and free to foul the camping area The unrestrained use of drugs and alcohol, noise of partying all night accompanied by loud music, swearing,and loud talking through to dawn When contacted the owner responded by suggesting that this is a self policing campsite and that we should call the police not him. The use of drugs on his property did not seem to concern him . I suggest that Cool Camping for Kids review this campsite. I shall certainly not return with or without children. We were booked in for a weekend but stayed for one night only. The noise, space, and drug polluters were planning another party that evening, as we left!! Parents, the choice is yours.
May 20, 2012 by Kate Clark

St Ives Farm

This is an excellent campsite, it ticks almost every box. I would normally give this type of site a 4 star rating, but given the unfair rating that Sherry gave it before I will correct this mistake. The site itself is in a fantastic setting of beautiful landscape with plenty of footpaths around that you can take. The small pond in the middle of the site is a plus. This is the kind of place that naturally attracts the right crows, plenty of families (those that don’t shout at their kids) and there seems to be a secluded ground for those who don’t wont to be bothered by the kids screaming :) There is a real bive to the whole place. If I were to make a suggestion to the very kind owner that goes around in his 4 wheel bike making sure everything’s fine, that would be to improve the service areas. While portaloos are ok, they don’t add to the experience, and the lack of a sheltered area for the dishes should be improved.
Jun 27, 2011 by pedroreyna

St Ives Farm

As experienced campers, we visited this campsite as our first camping trip with our young family (two girls age 3 years & 16 months). We stayed 2 nights midweek as it was a fairly last minute trip and they were all booked out on the weekend. We found it quiet and pleasant. The first field where the toilets and the caravans are situated is quite an ugly spot but when you walk through to the camping area, it is really nice. We were kindly assisted to put up our brand new family tent (you can imagine the challenge with 2 VERY excited children running around!) by a fellow camper - for which we were immensely grateful. There also seemed to be quite a few mums or dads who had come out with there kids for a bit of special time with one parent.There were some very ’cool campers’ who had gone as far to put bunting up around their tent and camper van - all very impressive, stylish and chic! We found everyone relaxed and friendly. Theres a massive field (which I think grows wheat or barley....something like that!) we camped by this and our children had the most wonderful time playing on the haystack and straw (climbing, hiding, burying themselves - endless play opportunities!) We appeared to be the only family with very young children and had to keep a VERY close eye on ours because of the fishing lake being so close to tent pitches - where ever you pitch. This did pose a challenge for us from a safety point of view and it did mean we were on high alert whenever they were in that area. Another reason to be grateful for the large field which did give them the opportunity for freedom to run around without us stalking them all the time. The other children at the site during our visit were around 7-12 years and they were having a brilliant time playing together with lots of freedom to run around and explore. The man who runs the site was very friendly and helpful. We spent the entire time on the site and didn’t venture to any local attractions, except to pick up some food from the nearby East Grinstead - which has everything you could want and was easy to navigate around. However, a family could easily find plenty to do for a few days. I would return to this site mainly because it is within easy reach of London and the South. It provides simple camping and is peaceful midweek (though it has a reputation for being busy at weekends). It was wonderful to be able to have a campfire and peaceful time away from the rush of daily life. For us it is the perfect site to spend a few days chilling out midweek at a good price.
Jun 26, 2011 by betsydoda

St Ives Farm

As a newcomer to camping, I was surprised by what a groovy bunch of campers we were sharing the site with. The St Ives Farm punters turned out to be a friendly mix of London and Brighton people, some with kids which made for a pretty easy going experience. One weekend, a convoy of Camper Vans arrived which was a delightful sight particularly as they’d formed a circle around the open fire. People were smoking mackerel on their campfires, playing guitars and seriously chilling out. I agree with the other review that on first encounter the field can look bleak especially when it’s so dry, but once you drive up to the actual camping area, the lush campground under the trees and next to the ponds makes for a very relaxed setting. The best thing about this campsite is it’s location: on the High Weald Landscape trail there is a hiking path from every corner with spectacular views and it’s all so safe and pretty which helps the stressed city dweller unwind. The site is Goldilocks size, not to big and not too small so while you are close to other campers you don’t feel crowded. Up until recently I have avoided camping for the mere fact that I miss my home comforts, but the facilities are perfectly adequate, particularly the lavendar smelling loos. The portacabins aren’t pretty I will agree, but they are always clean and well maintained. St Ives Farm is basic camping, not the yummy mummy desres yurt infested campsites that appeal to some. If you want the Selfridges version of camping, you won’t get it here but if you want to get away from it all and relax around a bonfire - this is the place. I’m going back with a bunch of friends in the summer - can’t wait!
May 23, 2011 by colettereekie

St Ives Farm

After having seen the photos, this campsite looked like the perfect place for us to spend a couple of nights. However, when we arrived we took one look around saw the portaloos, the brown patchy grass and turned around. It seemed very soul-less and bare.
Apr 24, 2011 by Sarah Sherry

St Ives Farm

Roasting marshmellows and collecting wood was the most fun. Wish we had a fishing rod. The very friendly farmer came around every evenig and sold us firewood. Hever Caste was lovely epsecially the fun water fountain maze. We do this every year - giving us daddy daughter time... cooking breakfast and supper on an open fire... loved every minute of it with my daughter who thorouggly enjoyed it as well.

Jul 26, 2010 by dveldtman

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