Love wild camping? This self-sustained campsite in the heart of rural Sussex is as close to wild camping as you get, but with (very) basic ablution facilities to ease you through the experience.
If you fancy the freedom of wild camping but the thought of no shower or toilet for a few days makes your blood run cold, then you may find yourself in a camping quandary. However, here at Cool Camping we think we’ve found the solution in the form of the wonderfully secluded Wimbles Farm. With room for only five or six pitches, this self-sustained campsite in the heart of rural Sussex is as close to wild camping as you get, but with basic ablution facilities to ease you through the experience.
The family-run Wimbles Farm feels incredibly rural. Nestled by a meandering stream in a secluded flower meadow are two well maintained pitching areas, each with their own fire-pit, compost toilet and access to a shower tent. As mentioned, there’s only room for half a dozen or so tents, so there’s no danger of feeling crammed in here. As well as farming and camping, a recently renovated shepherds hut can be found in a quite corner of the field, and comes kitted-out with a double bed, pillows, furniture and rugs.
As for things to see and do, you can start right on the farm. Coarse fishing is available from the site's private, spring-fed lake where campers can enjoy peaceful days amongst the ancient natural woodland. Bike hire and guided cycling tours are also available – perhaps the the perfect way to explore the many secrets of East Sussex. Qualified tour leader Mark tailors outings to your particular interests, with the South Downs National Park and Pevensey Levels (exploring its ancient dykes and castles) proving to be fabulous days out.
Wimbles Farm isn’t so much a campsite, but more a place to camp. If you’re squeamish about compost toilets (we did say basic!), or loathe the idea of unzipping your tent at first light to find yourself face-to-face with a nosey donkey, then best you look elsewhere. Wimbles Farm is all about reacquainting yourself with the great outdoors and blending in with the local surroundings, which just so happens to be a playground of stunning natural beauty.
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Perfect down to earth getaway for 2
I wanted to take my boyfriend camping and fishing for his birthday as a surprise since he’s always talking about this. After some research I made a quick phone call to the owner Mark who said this could be arranged and also gave me helpful guidance on how to get from London to the farm with public transportation. (We took a train from Victoria to Polegate a Friday afternoon and took a taxi from Polegate via a little taxi service office right by the station. Whole trip took about two hours and taxi was around 15 pounds for 20 mins.) Mark welcomed us and showed us around, and both him and his wife were very kind, helpful and nice to us without being to snoopy during our stay. Mark was lovely enough to put out his fishing gear for us by the lake on site in the morning so that I could take my boyfriend to the lake and he could just start fishing without any hassle. Mark offered him some handy advice on lake fishing. He almost caught pike a couple times, and was very happy with the whole experience. Their cute border collie kept us company all day as well. I chose to book the Higlers Hut since I’m not an experienced camper and wanted us both to have a good time. And I definetly recommend the Higlers Hut for a very romantic but rustic getaway. We came here in the beginning of April and had some wind and not the warmest weather, but we stayed warm enough with the fireplace inside. The Hut has about all the basics you need, a grill, a gas stove, cutlery, plates, pans, salt, pepper, oil etc. When we left on Sunday we followed the cuckoo trail, access close to the site, to Polegate which was really nice. Overall we had a very pleasant and easy stay here and would recommend for an outdoors couple who wants an intimate getaway without necessarily going to Paris. Thank you Wimbles Farm!
Wild Camping or how to run a campsite on the cheap....Not for everyone....
I'll start with the positives....beautiful location, secluded pitches, great location…umm are there any more? I think the description about Wild Camping dresses up the fact that this is basically a few fields a farmer has spare and wants to make bit of extra cash over the summer. There are no decent amenities, no basic shop or focal point such as a washing up area. Each group is provided with a pump to wash their own dishes, ours was full of green slime when we opened it. The toilets are like no other compost toilet I’ve used before whereby you have separate buckets for ‘poo’ and ‘wee’. The solar shower is NOT a solar shower. There are multiple steps involved which heats the water including obtaining the water from the cold water tap across the field in a watering can, to then pour into a container which feeds the solar panel. The solar panel is covered up when not in use, so it takes a while for the water to heat (even on a hot day), you then pour this water into a watering can which you then take to the shower and pour into another bucket which services the shower. I would suggest that this process puts most people off even attempting to shower and thereby somehow conserving the potential power of the solar panel. There are no bins, so you have to take your rubbish home with you. Given that you generally overfill your car with camping equipment in the first place this makes rubbish disposal is a difficult process. From the other reviews I’m just glad that the owner was away when we stayed, I fear he would have been the type to snoop around making sure his rules were strictly adhered to, rather than giving you space to enjoy the countryside. In fact someone had mentioned that he would be back later to ‘do his rounds’. When you stay somewhere you don’t want or expect this type of attention. What you want to know is that the owner is there if you have any questions/ issues but other than that they leave you alone. When you stay at a hotel, the manager doesn’t constantly knock on your door checking that you are ok and following hotel policy, so why a farmer with a field feels the need is beyond my comprehension. We won’t be going back and I wouldn’t recommend, if like our group, you just want to be left to your own devices and enjoy a campsite with more facilities.
Response from Wimbles Farm
Hi Jonny, thanks for your thoughts and comments, I'm sorry we did not have a chance to meet during your stay. It seems from your comments that you were after a big campsite with shops and full facilities and may not have read our campsite description. Had I been there I would have offered you an immediate refund . We get lots of returners and give people what they want, helping them to get the most out of their stay, so really sorry that it was not for you. Mark Ramsay-Smith
Relaxed and easy going.
Relaxed and easy going. Fun fishing and great bike ride to the nearby vineyard. Loved cooking on the firepit and the owner was extremely friendly.
Really quiet and secluded
The best feature is definitely that there are only a limited number of pitches and everyone is well spread out. It's a bit like wild camping, as no cars are allowed in the camping fields (there are barrows to move your stuff) and no unsightly modern conveniences. The toilets are the composting type and pleasant to use once you get used to it. There are quite a few site rules (quiet time, where to park, use firepits, etc) but these are only common sense. Mark, the owner, is friendly and is frequently around to help anyone.
What the Wimbles Camping website doesn't tell you (perhaps they'll add it after this review) is about the RULES. On arrival we discovered that 9.30pm-8.30am is 'quiet time' and this is strictly enforced. As we'd all been looking forward to evenings round the campfire with a guitar & ukele, in our secluded corner of the field, this was annoying. The owner prowled about the field at night & his complaints about our 'noise' (though an accurate description of our musical efforts) were charmless and passive aggressive. Another strictly enforced rule we found irritating was the one about the meadow. Basically the entire field is a meadow with a narrow mown strip around the perimeter on which you camp. Our group included 7 kids aged 8-15. We had assumed on booking that among all the acres of land there would be somewhere for the kids to run around. No! No one and nothing is allowed on the meadow. The kids were ordered repeatedly not to go on the meadow even to fetch a football so sadly we never even unpacked the rounders set we'd brought with us. All the other campers on our field (& other reviewers) had complaints from the owner about their kids straying on to the meadow. We all understand that meadows are precious areas for environmental development but equally camping is a precious experience for most kids & one in which they should be given some space (not just a track) to play freely. Our group goes camping regularly and we've always had good relations with campsite owners but Wimbles was simply too uptight & not suitable for families (unless your kids - or dogs - are content to run round & round a field perimeter). Neither is it suitable for anyone who wants to stay up beyond 9.30pm.
Response from Wimbles Farm
Thanks Clare for your comments and leaving the hut so tidy- We are very clear about this being a quiet family campsite on the booking process. Sadly when other campers requests for quiet have not been met, and they are reduced to phoning me, I have to come out and have a word.
A wonderful stay in an idyllic setting
We spent 4 days at Wimbles Farm staying in the Higler Hut and enjoyed it to the fullest. What a quiet and idyllic setting in beautiful countryside! The hut - with a romantic double bed, cooking facilities, eco-toilet and outdoor shower - combines the pleasures of simplicity, comfort and nature at its best. The surroundings offer so much to explore, with abundant villages, countryside and seaside. The ever so friendly owners provided us with all that we needed. One of the highlights was cycling the Cuckoo Trail from Wimbles Farm to the coast, a beautiful ride through lovely countryside all well paved and indicated. What a lovely place - to which we surely will return!
We stayed there this weekend - what a beautiful place! we stayed on sweet meadow with a group of 5 families. We knew that there were other people/ groups staying at the campsite but we honestly felt all alone. There was a beautiful stream flowing nearby that the children played in and the buttercups were in full bloom... it was heaven and the english country side at its finest. We saw the owner Mark when we first arrived and again when he delivered some wood to us and he was more than lovely both times - we were happy to be left to our own devices the rest of the time. We went to the local pub The Black Duck for dinner one night and it was super delicious (you need to book well in advance) We would 100% recommend this camp site - it was so beautiful and natural and the nearby country side was stunning and a wonderful escape from London life.
Beautiful site - be aware of access and rules
We stayed here in May, it really is a beautiful site in the middle of the countryside. Very quiet and private pitches - a lot of space between the pitches so you feel like you’re totally secluded. The is NO vehicle access to the camping grounds though and the owner is very strict on this point (and gets a little tetchy if you ask!) All camping gear must be carried/wheelbarrowed from the car park. We did find that there were rather more rules for this site than we’re used to eg. Don’t walk on the meadows - Probably more a site suited to adults than children.
Great time !!!!
We went camping for the first time and it was amazing. We were three families with kids, the weather was lovely and the kids had so much fun, we all loved spending time there. We will definitely go back again. XXX
Wimbles Farm Campsite
This campsite was placed in a beautiful setting, the pitches are well spaced out so it feels very private and there is no noise from others. Mark was kind enough to lend us his map and we went on a lovely walk in the stunning surrounding countryside. There is a lovely pub nearby called the Star Inn which serves excellent food. The campsite charges £15 per night for fire wood which we thought was quite expensive. We struggled to get the fire going and went looking around the campsite for small branches that we could use as kindling, however we were told by a lady (who we assumed was the owner) quite rudely that we had taken some wood and we were not allowed to do that without permission and were told to put it back. We thought this could have been handled in a better way. We would have liked to have had the opportunity to have a shower on site, however our pitch did have its own toilet which was a bonus.
A wonderful spot
We stayed in the old Shepherd's Hut at Wimbles in early April 2017 and can report it lived up to all expectations: peace and quiet, comfortable and well equipped, wildlife abounding, family friendly and a genial host! My two young daughters had a whale of a time and the owner, Mark, was an engaging and personable presence whenever required. The comments in the guestbook in the Hut suggested we were not alone in our appreciation of the site and it's host. The children absolutely loved helping out with the daily routine of the animals at the farm. The Hut was comfortable, lovingly decorated and well equipped for a short stay. Mark provided all the basics we needed for our visit. The whole experience was wonderful and the site itself is located in a lovely part of the world in beautiful rolling countryside. I couldn't fault the site. Thank you
Beautiful,relaxing camping trip.
My husband and I stayed at Wimbles Farm for 3 nights in July 2016. We are not experienced campers, so wanted a few conveniences like our own toilet, access to a shower, and firepit/wood provided! The campsite itself was really beautiful, all of the pitches in the buttercup field were very secluded and there was no noise even though all 3 pitches were occupied. The private compost toilet was fantastic, there was no odour even in the 30 degree heat, and the outside solar shower was a real treat! We rented bikes from Mark and cycled on the Cuckoo trail to Eastbourne one afternoon, which was a really nice experience. He was very helpful and friendly, and we felt Wimbles provided the best of both worlds - a secluded, relaxing camping experience with help on hand if it was needed. We will definitely be returning to Wimbles, we enjoyed it so much. Thank you!
I have just returned home from a fantastic weekend at Wimbles Farm celebrating my 30th with friends. We arrived at the farm and were greeted by Mark the owner, who was extremely friendly and welcoming. He showed us around and made us feel very at home.
The large plot that we stayed in was perfect for our larger party and was situated in its own area of the field away from others, which made it all the more perfect for our stay.
The surrounding area was beautiful and peaceful and at the same time allowed us to have fun and games being a larger party. Mark recommended a great pub and was very informative and helpful, bringing us new wood for our fire pit and creating pleasant facilities for our stay.
I would highly recommend this campsite to others and I will most certainly be returning in the future.
A beautiful first trip of the season
We arrived pretty late in the day at Wimbles farm and were greeted by Mark the owner who could not have been nicer. He showed us to our pitch which could not have been more idyllic, almost completely private, big fire pit., a pretty stream for us to paddle in and cool off too!
I really cannot fault anything about the site, the facilities are basic - but thats never bothers us, there didnt seem to be a shower anywhere but we were only staying one night s it didnt matter.
The only down side to this lovely site it the price. We love to have a campfire, and only camp in site that allow one, so when we were told it was £15 for the fire wood we were a bit shocked. Luckily we had bought our own. However we were told that if we wanted the fire that was the price, bumping our stay upto £45 for the night!!! We did pay it as it was our first camp of the season and could not face not having a fire, but if we had to pay £15 a night for fire wood for two or three days it would be an expensixe stay!!
Beautiful, fantastic setting, lovely people who run it, Donkeys and pigs on site, and real find - as long as your happy to pay a bit more than usual!
My perfect campsite
I think when you have a campsite on here with very few (or no) reviews it means one of two things; either it's complete rubbish and people who've been there want to erase it from their memories, or it's completely amazing and they want to keep the secret to themselves lest it become too popular. Well it's with a heavy heart that I have to report that Wimbles Farm is most definitely the latter. There's no way I'd be sharing how good this place is if I'd not given Mark my solemn word that I'd write a review. Beautiful setting, wonderful welcome and really well thought out pitches. There's a huge amount of space but because they don't try to cram loads of people in, we felt like we had the place to ourselves (i.e. we couldn't see any other tents from our site). In the morning Mark came around with donkeys to say hello which the kids loved and then he took them off for a spot of fishing by the lake where they caught loads of fish (and let them all go of course) which is more than can be said of any time I've taken them fishing. A couple of good pubs within walking distance and literally nothing to dislike, what a lovely place - we'll be back for sure.