A family-run, working farm in East Sussex offering spacious, traditional camping with no set pitches
It’s a storybook image: the farmer walking the yard, bucket in hand, tailed by a pair of chattering geese. At Hale Farm in East Sussex this scene has been given a curious twist. Ruth rises early, and heads out to feed the animals one by one – the gorgeous Sandy and Black pigs, Tilly the friendly pony and a couple of playful donkeys – but instead of geese, she’s tailed by chattering children, a herd that’s usually five or six strong. The picture seems to sum up this family-run site; Famous Five-esque in its attitude to camping. If you thought the days of back-to-basics, pitch where you like sites were over, then think again.
Perfectly pinned between the South Downs National Park and Kent’s High Weald, this 56-acre working farm offers camping as it used to be in a large, open meadow, where thin threads of campfire smoke drift lazily into the sky. There’s a standing tap for water, showers, toilets and a couple of washing up sinks but otherwise don’t expect to find a playground or onsite WiFi. That’s not really what they’re all about.
The meadow itself is surrounded by mature hedges and trees, with grass levels managed throughout the year by a flock of Ryeland sheep who shift to a neighbouring field during the summer. Space is certainly not an issue. The farm’s self-imposed limit of around 20 pitches keeps numbers down, while the tents-only rule gives the place a thoroughly traditional feel. Kids roam, safe from roads and vehicles, and adults convene around their evening BBQ (you can buy the farm’s own sausages on site).
Luxury lovers can find one exception to the basic-camping rule, a refurbished shepherd’s hut of the kind often found on the Sussex hills during the 19th century. Inside, it features a full-size double bed and a fitted kitchenette, plus a toasty log burner that warms its wooden interior into a couples’ cocoon of loveliness. It has a real air of romance about it and offers homely comforts to those leaving the tent at home, yet still has enough history and tradition to feel apt on such a rustic campsite.
Aside from losing the kids to the farmyard – prepare yourself for days of hearing their favourite animal stories – there is plenty nearby to keep you busy. A footpath alongside the site connects you quickly to The Weald Way, a scenic long distance route that leads you further through the Cuckmere valley, or you can walk the 10 minutes into the local village of Chiddingly. Simply head for the pointy church spire and the village eventually comes into view, blessed with a convenient local shop and an even more convenient pair of pubs. Re-hydrate in the beer garden and ponder the wonders of Persil. If the kids don’t end their weekend here covered in grass stains then they’re doing something wrong!
Compost toilets, gas-powered hot showers, undercover washing up areas and standing pipes providing fresh, mains drinking water. Campfires are welcome, each pitch has its own fire pit. Logs and fire starter packs (kindling, matches, firelighters & newspaper) are available to purchase. Raised campfires are also allowed (they have bricks you can borrow if necessary).
Each of our luxury Emperor Bell Tents sleeps up to 6 and include:
A double mattress, luxury bedding, cushions and a throw
A triple bunk bed and a further air bed, if required
Hand crafted bedside tables and a storage box at the end of the bed
Two interior battery powered lights
Exterior fairy lights and bunting
Games for children
A kitchen box with crockery and cutlery
The Shepherd's Hut features:
A full-sized double bed,luxury cushions and a throw
Micro kitchen with a small sink, smev oven, crockery and utensils
Table and chairs
The site is also shared with animals, which can be discovered with a short wander around the farm; flocks Lleyn sheep, chickens, geese and ducks, rare breed pigs, pygmy goats, donkeys and a ponies.
Tents, glampers, families, couples – yes. Caravans, motorhomes and dogs – no.
Nature lovers will be in their element here. Head north east for walks on the High Weald (01424 723011) or south to the South Downs (01730 814810) – though the footpaths directly from the site are not to be sniffed at! Arlington Reservoir is about a 10 minute drive, a good spot for bird watching, while a few hundred metres further is Drusillas Park (01323 874100), a small 10 acres zoo mainly aimed at children. National Trust owned Batemans (01435 882302), former home of Rudyard Kipling, is around 15 minutes in the car, as is Alfriston Clergy House, the very first property the Trust bought back in 1896, before becoming the cherished charity it is today. There's plenty more besides: Knock Hatch Adventure Park (01323 442051), Ashdown Llama Park (01825 713698), Herstmonceux Castle (01323 834457), the Observatory Science Centre (01323 832731), Sheffield Park and Lewes Castle (01273 486290) – all of which are within half and hour. Take your pick!
Food & Drink
Hale Farm's free range eggs, sausages and bacon are available to buy onsite. Any other produce and essentials and an excellent cafe be found at the local village shop, a 10-minute walk away. There are also two excellent pubs in the village, The Six Bells and The Gun.
Camping: April 1st to October 31st.
Shepherds Hut: All year round.
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Rated ★★★★★ over 29 reviews
Have stayed camping at hale farm before and thought it was really good then. This time we stayed in the shepherds hut. This was a truly amazing experience and couldn’t have asked for anything better. The owners Ruth and Scott are happy to help in anyway that they can. It really is so cosy and warm and you feel like you are a million miles away from everything but the sheep :) Would highly recommend. Massively good for the sole whilst also having lovely luxuries such as running water over gas stove etc and toilets and hot showers only a short distance away.
We’ll be back!
This is the third year in a row we have camped at Hale Farm and each time, despite the weather, we have a great time. Scott and Ruth are extremely helpful and ensure that we feel welcomed on their evening visits. The facilities are kept incredibly clean and the site kept tidy. The food they sell is reasonably priced, great quality and the eggs are fresh as can be. The children love to visit the farm in the mornings and explore the woodland which boarders the fields. All being well, we fully intend to return next year with our friends!
Peaceful and relaxed
We really enjoyed the welcoming and relaxed feel to this campsite. Letting people go into the farm itself for an hour was a really nice feature.
Away from it all...
Beautiful field, uncrowded, and with the most wonderful sunset light on the trees. Facilities are well kept and pleasant, and access to the farm right next door is brilliant for the kids - a firm favourite for us and we’ll keep going back...
This is the only campsite we have ever returned to, which should tell you everything. We love the relaxed vibes, very spaced out feel of the field really pretty good facilities and all round positive atmosphere. The other campers are friendly, Scott and Ruth are always super helpful, and the kids love this site. It's also great that it's so close to a number of attractions nearby. I highly recommend it - I think they are under pricing it to be honest!
We had a great couple of days camping with two families. Large field with not too many pitches which meant you had plenty of space. Each pitch has its own fire pit and you can buy a fire-pit bundle from the friendly farmer who comes round about 5pm every day to check on pitches, sell firewood and tell you about the farm and local area. In the morning you can buy eggs, bacon and sausages from the farm and visit the chickens, lambs, Pygmy goats and Shetland ponies which is great with kids. The facilities are very clean with compost toilets, showers and washing up areas. The Weald Way is close by as is the village of Chiddingly with local volunteer run shop and cafe and the Six Bells Pub. Top-tip get to the pub around 5.30pm-6pm for food as it soon fills up with friendly locals and you won’t get a table otherwise. In the opposite direction to Chiddingly is a brewery and Gastro Pub which we plan on trying on our next visit. Can’t wait to go back.
Truly Great British camping
We stayed for a week at Hale Farm in the summer and had such a wonderful time the children still ask when we can return. We were blessed with blue skies throughout which always helps, but even without the glorious weather the children would have happily spent hours exploring, climbing trees and visiting the animals each morning. Showers and toilets were always spotlessly clean (although the water in the showers wasn't very warm - not that it was a problem given the scorching weather) and everyone very friendly. We're seriously considering making the 4 hour drive to return this year!
Great Campsite with fire pits
Great location, beautiful surroundings and excellent facilities. Would be more than happy to go back.
Great family friendly camping!
Simple camping at it’s best - spacious pitches, loads of space for kids to run, play ball games & explore. Clean toilets & hot showers. Campfire logs are delivered daily to your pitch by the friendly owner along with local sausages and bacon - delicious! Each morning you can feed the chickens and visit the farm animals - a big hit with our children! Highly recommend and will definitely be going back.
Clean, family friendly Campsite.
Had a lovely couple of days at Hale farm for our first family camping trip. Although we are quite local it was still nice to explore a new part of Sussex, we all really enjoyed walking up to see the Long Man of Willmington. This is no frills camping at its best. Kids loved having our own fire pit for roasting marshmallows and wide open spaces to play. The farm animals to visit were an added bonus, as was the firewood (and eggs and bacon) bought to your tent door to buy every evening. If you want open spaces and to not to feel crammed in this is the place for you. The toilets, washing up areas and showers were clean and well looked after. AND two pubs within walking distance.... Perfect!
Great family campsite
Lots of space to camp and play even though it was peak season. Toilets and showers kept clean and well maintained. Lovely little farm that our son enjoyed walking around, he was most taken with the chickens. Could do with a map on the notice board of how to get to the two local pubs on foot. We asked some friendly campers and luckily they knew. Will certainly return soon.
Really good family campsite
We had a lovely time here with our family. The owners are really friendly and there is ample room to camp and the kids to play. Would definitely recommend and will be coming back soon.
Great campsite, I would definitely stay again. It is one big meadow with lots of space and trees for shade/shelter. Located right on a footpath (Weald Way) so handy for walks. Facilities were really nice and clean - composting toilets and pretty decent hot showers in wooden cabins. There were a fair amount of big groups and families but it wasn't noisy at all and the meadow is so huge it felt really spacious and relaxing.
It was very nice and quiet
Just a simple good farm campsite with very nice hosts.
Gorgeous little hideaway
We have just returned from a 2 nights in the Shepherds Hut - private, secluded, peaceful, lovely amenities, attentive owners, a whole field to ourselves, just blissful, didn't want to leave, will be booking again very soon. Thank you
Simple camping at Hale Farm
I came with a friend on Thur 12 July, on a mini cycle camp tour. We'd spent the afternoon cycling in the Pevensey Levels, and cycled over to Hale Farm for the night. We had a lovely peaceful evening and a slow start on Friday before heading off at lunchtime to Sheffield Park. Good simple site, clean toilet and wash facilities.
Lovely little farm campsite
Great weekend stay here, simple site, very uncrowded, even though they were booked up, with plenty of space between sites. Good clean simple facilities, and with the limited capacity they allow, never really much of a queue for showers or loos. Great sausages and bacon from the farm as well, highly recommended, and our kids loved seeing and feeding the farm animals. Scott, the farmer was very happy to chat about the farm, and gave the kids some hay to feed to the rescue donkeys. Even saw some little kittens that had just been born to the farm cat. Would definitely recommend!
The other reviews pretty much cover the sentiment that fills people after a visit to Hale Farm; the location is rural and away from the frustrations of life, the field is adequately sized and despite being 'full' still felt like we had our personal space, the facilities (showers, toilets and kitchen areas) were all immaculate despite the numbers of people using them, the proximity to TWO PUBS was great and the walk through the corn fields to The Gun was a treat to be only surpassed by a great pub and wonderful views and for this weekend, the weather was perfect. Additionally to the place, facilities etc, Scott who not only does the meet-and-greet but also delivers wood, doubles up as a shop-boy AND farm expert was a lovely engaging guy to meet. Gold stars all round. It was our first time camping, the experience Hale Farm provided help sell us on the activity and certainly would return here for sure!
Wonderful Family Campsite
Brilliant campsite based around a single large field. big enough to have great facilities and other kids to meet but small and private enough so you didnt feel overwhelmed by hordes of people. Long may this last. I counted about 30 pitches in our field which was just right Designated firepits and great showers and toilet facilities. Some of the best we've experienced for a campsite of this size. MY daughter loved the animals and great to be able to buy bacon and eggs on site. Really helpful owner and 2 pubs within walking distance. We will be back , loved it.
Perfect, unspoilt campsite
A single beautiful large meadow with nicely built composting loos and showers. Unpretentious and unspoilt with kids running about doing kid stuff. There was loads of room and it's great that the owners recognise that just cramming as many people as possible into a field is not the way to make your site special. The countryside around the site is stunning and it's an easy walk along a footpath in either direction to a choice of 2 pubs! Scott the owner was great when I realised that I'd buggered up the booking and let us stay on for another night. Cheers!
Fab all round
Stayed here with our toddler and some friends - great location - an easy but scenic walk two lovely pubs, lovely clean facilities and plenty of space for the toddlers to play, and everything very relaxed and easy. We especially loved the farm and meeting all the animals. Great campfire breakfast of the farm’s own eggs, sausages and bacon 😊
We stayed here over the scorching hot early May Bank Holiday weekend, together with another family. What a really lovely place Scott and Ruth have created! The field is huge, they keep the tent numbers very limited, so it's wonderfully spaced out. All the kids had a fab time, making friends with all the other children around the site, and the adults made some new friends too. All thanks to the very relaxed vibes. The facilities are also first rate, cleaned often. We agreed this is our favourite campsite we've stayed at and the first we are likely to return to. Very highly recommended for families.
This is the Garden of England
Excellent location, fantastic campsite, makes we want to do more. Welcomed as soon as we arrived, instructed to drive around and choose a pitch, fire pit's well marked We arrived late in the day, but still able to get a nice quiet pitch. 2 bags of wood and kindling for £5 and our pit which was a little water logged was cleared for us. The composting toilets at each end, even Kitchen washing facilities and showers Excellent site would book again
What more could you want!
What more could you want! We just had a fabulous weekend. A group of us pitched around a fire pit for the night and had a fantastic evening in this wonderful spot. It was a bit chilly in the evening so having a camp fire was most welcome! It's great to have the freedom to spread out and be far enough away from other campers to be able to relax and not worry too much about disturbing others with the loud laughs of some members of our group. That's what I hope any way! When you're there listening to the sheep and birds (yes we did hear an owl) without a building in site, it's very hard to believe you're only half an hour from the city and it was a great escape from hectic life. It's another World. You can't fault the facilities and we thoroughly enjoyed a big fry up in the morning consisting of the eggs, bacon and sausages from the farm. Oh, and did I mention the local pub? The Six Bells is a 10 minute walk away across the fields and it's a proper pub, full of locals, great beer and has bands on every weekend. And lastly the walking. Not that we did much walking this weekend, but there's great walking in the area too. At the moment the bluebell woods are amazing. Will definitely be back! Thanks!
Perfect birthday getaway
Last summer I asked my son, then 8, if he wanted a party or to go camping for his birthday, he chose camping! Together we trawled the net for the ideal site for an almost 9 year old, his younger sister and a his friend. We found Hale Farm and we were all very glad we did. So much space for children to run wild and be safe, more than adequate facilities ( we all got the hang of the composting toilets), the visits to the animals each morning including Tilly ( my daughters namesake) and beautiful countryside and coast within a short drive. Couldn't have asked for more but we got it in the lovely welcome and log delivery every evening. " The best birthday ever"
Weather and more
You can't pick the weather but we were truly spoilt for three nights in April. On two of the mornings my children went to see the animals to find newly born piglets and lambs. The owners are very welcoming and kind. The facilities are immaculate with warm water in the sinks and showers. Hale Farm is in an idyllic location, has a laid back atmosphere, with really easy access to the Downs and beaches. There's a community shop nearby in the village in the home of Lee Miller. It was really lovely. Highly recommended.
Perfect Idyllic Camping
We stayed for three nights at this lovely little campsite, a party of 2 adults and 3 children. You can pitch anywhere in the field and each plot has it's own fire pit. This is rural and natural camping at it's best. Composting toilets that were cleaned regularly (good job as it was busy when we went!) and gas fired showers. I only have one minor criticism which is I think they could do with at least one more washing up sink, there's only 1 available which means there were queues to use it at peak times. You can feed the chickens and pigs on the farm each morning 8.30 - 9.30 and bags of feed are 20p. You can also buy eggs, bacon and sausages on site. The local village of Chiddingly has some lovely walks around it and a great country pub, The Six Bells. We also went to Pevensey and Eastbourne for a day out which is easily accessible by car. Absolutely lovely site, very pleasant owners - book it!
We left Hale Farm yesterday and we miss it already. A great clean site and the added bonus of visiting the farm and feeding the animals. You can choose your pitch and you have a fire pit. You can borrow bricks to use for cooking on the fire. They visit you early evening for you to buy logs and fire starater packs. Local village shop is well stocked and the sausages were delicious! Great local produce. Very friendly people too! Two pubs nearby too and local pathways to cut the walking time down by half! Great location with activities and attractions nearby. We are planning on returning at our earliest time. Highly recommend this site to beginners or professional campers.
Lovely peaceful site
Spent a lovely night in this huge grassy meadow with 2 young boys this weekend. There is plenty of space for the children to play (and pitches are miles apart) and spotlessly clean composting toilets and washing up facilities. All the pitches have fire pits and fire packs are available to buy on the 5pm rounds along with sausages and free range eggs. The farm is on the Weald Way and a river and bluebell-filled woods are within easy amble. In the morning the farm is open to go and see the animals and bags of feed are for sale (20p) to feed the chickens and pigs. They also have sheep, donkeys and goats. It's a peaceful and friendly place to spend some time, I'm sure we will be back for another weekend soon.