Spacious, nature-friendly camping with campfires on the banks of the River Rother
Rare, elusive but wonderfully beautiful, there aren’t many otters in the south east of England. But when one was first spotted, for the first time in over 50 years, it was the River Rother that it called home. It’s a prime patch for it to have chosen, the waters glistening, the shaggy grass banks providing hiding nooks and shade. What a joy then, down river, on the quiet banks of that same waterway, to find another rare and beautiful thing: a low-key campsite with nature at it’s heart.
On the edge of the High Weald, three miles from Rye, the Otter Channel is a great escape for those looking to step away from their phone and enjoy the wonder of wildlife. There are less than 20 pitches here in total, but oodles of space, and the site offers splendid views over open farmland and the hills of the old shoreline that was once Romney Marsh before it joined the sea. It’s a great home for local wildlife, with grass left long around the edges, surrounding trees to climb and the flowing Rother alongside. Just sitting by the river is a great way to spend an afternoon, spotting the dragonflies, rising fish and, if you’re lucky, the piercing blue Kingfisher.
The site feels as natural as its setting: Campfires are allowed, there's a shop inside a horsebox and adventurous campers can try the three ‘Hot Bucket’ showers. Bathing under the stars with water you’ve boiled on the campfire is an experience to remember and, if you’re brave enough to rise to the challenge, you get to wear it like a badge of honour for the rest of the trip. There’s a real technique to the process but learning it is just as fun as the shower itself and if you’re feeling, well, a bit boring, then there are normal showers available too.
Kayaks and paddle boards are available to hire to make the most of the river during your stay but, for those looking to explore further afield, Pett Level beach has amazing cliff lines and is a great place to go crabbing. Some of the beach isn’t suitable for small children – it’s very rocky and bruised knees and feet are somewhat unavoidable – but it’s a fun day out for older kids and adults, and historic Hastings, Battle and Bodiam Castle are also within a half-hour drive too.
There are toilets, showers (‘normal’ and bucket type), a basic washing up area and a small farm shop operating from inside a horse trailer. Grills and fire pits are provided and firewood is available to buy from the shop.
Tents, groups, kids and dogs – yes. Caravans and campervans – no.
The River Rother itself offers huge amounts of fun, from paddle boarding and kayaking to swimming – equipment is available to hire from Epic Life (07377184505). If you take a ten-minute drive to the town of Rye, you’ll be able to explore it in all its medieval glory. One of the most complete medieval towns left in England, its cobbled, windy streets are perfect for history buffs with its various antique shops, including The Mint and its fascinating Rye Art Gallery (01797222433). If that’s too much, climb to the top of St. Mary’s Spire for views of the whole town in one place, plus the estuary leading to Camber Sands. Once you see Camber Sands you might as well go there, it’s a short distance from Rye (or a fifteen-minute drive from the campsite). The beach is backed by cafés and restaurants and can get very busy in the summer months but it’s great for sandcastle building and a swim.
Food & Drink
There are several scenic walks across farmland to the local village of Peasmarsh. It’s about 20 minutes to The Royal Oak (01797 230494) and The Horse and Cart (01797 230034). Both are dog friendly and have beautiful gardens and the latter serves fine pizzas. In Rye, try Webbe’s at The Fish Café (01797 222210) set inside a characterfully converted warehouse space and with a focus on fresh, local seafood and sustainable cookery.
Add Your Review
Rated ★★★★★ over 22 reviews
We had a lovely stay
We had a lovely stay, visiting Camber Sands and swimming in the Otter Channel. Facilities could be better, the shower bucket had a hole in.
Very relaxing picturesque camping, loved it
If you like walking, playing around in open water and driving down country roads going from one village to the next this could be for you. The site is eco friendly so the toilets may not be for everyone and the showers aren’t Power Showers but the novelty makes both an experience. We may of been lucky with the other campers on site during our stay but the children played, the dog’s played and the adults spoke to each other around camp fires or whilst washing up. The owner, Katie and her off spring came to the site four times each day and carried out there duties tidying things up and I guess checking that everything was okay. Katie gave her time to those that wanted it and was always available via phone. Great atmosphere and a genuinely positive feel to the site, well done Katie and family 👏
Lovely little site
Really nice site - good fun bucket showers and the toilets were clean and didn't smell. The smell when we arrived wasn't pleasant and the midges were out in full force. We adapted the smell and battled the midges. Having been to much busier sites this one is really quiet. The horsebox was stocked with wood for fires and the location is great for exploring this part of East Sussex/Kent.
Lovely, peaceful site by the river
This is a hidden gem of a camp site for camping. No electric hook ups so real back to basics. Had a great 2 nights with my family. Katie was super helpful and friendly and visited the site at least twice a day to make sure everyone was happy. Even though we had wanted to go off grid completely, in the end it was useful to be able to use mobiles etc to look up fun things to do. Kayaking and paddleboarding on the river and a good fish and chip shop in Tenterden!! There is a very basic little shop on site so go with some provisions. Compost toilets were fab - but could probably do with a few more but all in all was a really fantastic few days together. Thank you Katie 😊
Perfect for the simple life
Great spot near the river. We enjoyed a lovely 5 days at the site. The owner was charming, friendly & helpful. Some of the sites had an uneven pitch but luckily our was fine. Also there was only one toilet (2 toilets)/shower (3showers)/washing (2 sinks) up facility-which was more than adequate when we were there, but could be challenging if it were busier. We loved the lack of electricity & on tap hot water, but understand that would be hard for a novice camping crew. Chapel Down vineyard is 10mins drive away & the wine helped out evening bbq & s’mores enjoyment! A very family friendly, respectful, thoughtful crowd. The honesty shop provided all the marshmallows & fire wood we needed. The compostable toilets were super clean & well maintained & we never queued for them. We did paddle boarding lessons with cliff from epic life on the river 2 mins away. We swam in the river & jumped from the bridge into the river-it was such fun! I can’t recommend this site enough! The breakfast croissant/pain u chocolat were an unknown treat (to buy every morning) if desired! Happy camping!
A very basic but beautiful site
This was our first experience of camping and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The pitches were well spread out, giving each group plenty of space. The compost toilets were an experience, we had no problems with these at all. They were kept clean, tidy and well stocked with loo roll. The bucket showers were a bit of a faff but overall did the job. The honesty horse box is a great idea, it would have been good to know about this in advance so we could have been prepared with plenty of change to pay for items. Loved the location, so much to do in the surrounding areas. Katie was on site everyday checking in with everyone. Thanks for a lovely few days.
Great basic campground
Really enjoyed our two night stay. Compost toilets worked very well and were kept very clean. When booking it said normal and bucket showers were available but on arrival only bucket. The bucket showers worked really well but were a bit of a faff when you've got 2 small children as it takes a while to heat the water. Provision of fire pit and wood was great. Looking at the other reviews and people asked to park away from the tent - we were not told this so parked next to our tent which we always find useful when camping.
Nice small site
Great small site with large areas for pitching tents but the facilities let it down a bit. For a site that holds 20 pitches - many of the pitches were taken by large groups - the toilet facilities (2 x compost toilets) was not adequate at any point of the day. Always a queue. It confused me that there was running water in the same area as the compost toilets and hot bucket showers but there was not a plumed in shower or toilet unit.... I get the environmental reasons but it just seems strange when the drainage and running water is already available - Would have helped with the lack of number of facilities to just have one extra toilet and shower. We were contacted by the site owner and sold a breakfast box for the day that we arrived. From the details we received I was expecting a farm shop products but was disappointed to be presented with a box of value Tesco eggs, shop brought bacon and an unsliced loaf of bread. Bearing in mind we don't tend to take a bread knife when camping - this was also challenging! When speaking to the site owner on the day we were leaving it was confirmed the only farm product was some sausages and the rest were brought at the local super market - disappointing as we could have brought this ourselves for a fraction of the price and would have sliced bread. We were not told until calling on the day of arrival that you could not leave the car next to your pitch and had to park in another field. We would not have selected this site if we had known this as 2 of our party had mobility issues. Overall, the site is quiet and basic but the facilities need to be increased and some more clarity on the parking within the sites details and the breakfast box contents prior to booking or purchasing would be suggested.
Superb Weekend Stay
A superb experience from start to finish. Great communication from Katie with all you needed to know prior to arrival and a call to her as requested an hour from our arrival and she clarified final directions and the number of our pitches. Easy access on arrival and all spotlessly clean. The camp has two regularly cleaned compositing toilets and three showers which were great fun to heat water, fill the buckets and pull above your head and a well stocked horse cart for logs, lighters etc . Loads of space, 2 mins walk to the river and easy access to launch kayaks and paddle boards which was great as didn’t have to deflate each day. Wildlife a plenty, beautiful views and walks of you want to. A perfect weekend spent with great friends summonsed by the kids asking to stay longer. Well done to Katie for providing a superb environment and beautiful and well maintained site
Relaxing By The River
This has to be one of the most relaxing campsites I’ve been on in years. Wide open green fields with views across the salt marshes and farmland with the river close by. This is a beautifully basic campsite, two wooden composting toilets that were clean, you didn’t have to hold your nose to go in them. And three very well thought out bucket showers that were clean and efficient and actually worked. There is a small kitchen area with two sinks and the most helpful thing for us was the three ring gas stove. Water is not on tap but from a row of water butt’s and the horse box shop was stocked with the basics, wood, kindling and marshmallows etc. We were a group of three families with 12 year olds who loved it, swimming in the river, visiting the sea at Pett Level and a walk around nearby Rye. We had a fantastic summer break, much needed after lockdown in London.
Spacious camping field
We had a lovely few days camping at Otter Channel - there was lots of space for the kids to have light sabre battles, the river and bird life was great, the compost loos didn’t smell, and the bucket showers were fun. Katie was very helpful too. A great, back-to-basics family camp site.
Perfect chilled family camping
We have had the most perfect camping holiday here. A relaxed and friendly vibe, where facilities are minimal but clean, and the setting couldn't be better. Pitches are spaced out around a big central area, backed by the channel on one side and trees on the others, so that it forms a natural space for the children to play together. Katie is a lovely host, and the location is brilliant: we visited five different castles, two beaches, and went canoeing on the river. We plan to return!
lovely few days
We had a great few days camping here with our friends and kids. Large tree lined open fields, well-spaced camping, right next to the River Rother where we canoed and swam. The bucket showers were great. It could perhaps benefit from one more sink for washing up / hands. If you want a simple back to basics campsite where the kids/dogs can play while the adults enjoy a drink around the campfire this place is perfect. Great location within easy reach of Rye, Camber Sands and Dungeness (by car). Highly recommend the Horse and Cart pub for great food, beautiful pub garden and lovely service.
Perfect riverside weekend
Camping here was perfect; great toilets and the showers really are easy (altho there are no electric ones!). The river is amazing, sitting around the firepit in the evening with friends and dogs was just what was needed. Will definitely be back.
Relaxing and peaceful campsite
A lovely weekend at Otter Channel. Very peaceful campsite perfect for a chilled camping trip. With just 2 fields and limited pitches it meant it didn't feel busy and we weren't on top of anyone! Very accommodating owners and happy to put our 3 pitches together in a great area of the campsite so our group could be together. Would definitely recommend.
Peaceful small campsite with loads of space
This is a great place to stay for a few days for a back to nature camping experience! Lots of space in two fields, composting loos, bucket showers. Could hear birdsong all the time - cuckoos, warblers, and a wonderful starling murmuration the first night we were there (end june). will definitely be back!
Perfect campsite for wild swimmers and paddleboarders
We had a lovely weekend at the Otter Channel. The River Rother is beautiful, I would recommend this campsite to people who enjoy wild swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, dog owners and families. The campsite is small and the pitches are well spaced. Katie was very helpful and we hope to visit again soon. :)
A delightful small campsite next to the River Rother with quirky hot bucket showers and compost toilets. The birdsong was amazing to wake up to and the river was fantastic entertainment for the kids - warm to swim and paddle board in! Pleased that dogs were welcome and open fires were encouraged.
Lovely lowkey campsite perfectly situated
We enjoyed the views over the wheat field; the quiet - not many people in the campsite and nicely spaced out; the proximity to the river - we brought our paddleboard and had a great time there; we love Pett Level beach and we enjoyed a meal in one of the lovely local pubs. Katie was extremely helpful and the compost toilets, showers and washing up areas were all really well kept. Lovely place to stay and loads to do.
Relaxed, peaceful, back-to-basics camping
We’ve just come back from a perfect camping mini-break here. Katie was super helpful from beginning to end, with timely communication about our booking and arrival, and she was on hand for questions and local information. The site is idyllic, relaxed and unfussy, with views across farmland and walks along the river. The pitches are very well spaced so that even when it was busy it never felt crowded. Everything was impeccably clean and tidy, with a large sink for washing up and a gas stove for heating water for the showers. There are so many things to do and places to see nearby but we (my teenage daughter and I) actually just did very little. It was a simple two days in the end, mostly eating and reading, with a wonderful long walk to Rye thrown in, and we left feeling like we’d been on holiday for a week!
Lovely location and helpful host
Peaceful and beautiful location with lots of bird life to enjoy. Children loved exploring the riverbank. The covered washing up area has a gas stove to heat water for showers and cooking - very helpful, especially in the rain! Katie, the host, sent us a list of places to eat locally ahead of our trip and met us on arrival. Fire pits can be hired and firewood, kindling provided. We had a lovely weekend despite the British weather!
Lovely setting and really accommodating campsite
We had a brilliant weekend at otter channel. The surroundings were beautiful! A lovely river running by and some great walks to the nearby pubs. A short drive to Rye which is worth a visit. The owner was incredibly hospitable and friendly and the facilities were all really clean! Would highly recommend a stay here.