Tinkers Wood

UK England South East England East Sussex Uckfield

  • Campfires allowed
  • Campfires Allowed
Camping, bell tents, and a shepherd's hut in a 12-acre field on the edge of the Ashdown Forest, less than 40 miles from London

The 12-acre field on the edge of Tinkers Wood has been ploughed, furrowed, and grazed for nearly a thousand years since it was recorded in the Domesday Book. And yet, after all that time, little seems to have changed. Walk up the incline to its northern edge and you’ll have uninterrupted views of fields and trees all the way to the distant South Downs. Although it’s only 40 miles from London, modern life is hidden in this vista and it’s easy to imagine that people have been gazing at a similar scene for centuries. Now it’s your turn, thanks to a little pop-up campsite that’s setting up for summer.

Nowadays, long grasses and wildflowers will tickle any bare knees as you make the five-minute walk from the farm car park to the level area at the top of this sloping field. It’s been left to grow wild, attracting not only campers but deer, birds, and dragonflies too. Thankfully one of Tinkers Wood’s trio of enthusiastic hosts, Emma, Rollo, or Ben, will drive your kit up in the farm Land Rover so you can enjoy the stroll. In Lower Hilltop you'll find five camping pitches with a communal fire pit; and on the plateau of 12 Acre Field at the top of the farm sit three bell tents and a single shepherd's hut.

While some campsite owners insist that their provided accommodation is glamping, here the opposite is true. The aim is to provide back-to-basics camping and something akin to it; simple, informal retreats in nature made easier with the bell tents and hut. Although beds are made and plenty is provided, you still know you’re camping out. There’s no electricity, loos are composting and bell tents are pitched on the ground. If you want a campfire you'll have to light one in your fire bowl, or get the communal fire going. That’s not to say it’s without comfort; there are woodburning stoves, comfy beds, two hot-water showers and a field kitchen for food prep, and the bad-weather boiling of kettles.

Behind the site is the woodland the place is named for and there’s a gate to lead you there. In spring, it’s bluebell filled, and in summer a shady retreat. At night it's a perfect spot for star-gazing (including the odd shooting star). This is the edge of the Ashdown Forest. It’s an underrated open-access public space in the southeast, a mixture of heathland and woodland, crisscrossed with trails within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It's easily reached from London and, from here, it’s easy to reach the south coast. It’s also home to places that inspired one-time resident AA Milne to write his Winnie the Pooh stories. The surrounding East Sussex countryside has plenty more to explore: National Trust properties, a steam railway, and lovely pubs with great food and beer gardens. Much of it is historic and scenic, like your perch in the 12-acre field.

Details

Facilities

Everyone has access to two powerful warm showers, two eco-toilets, and a covered communal camp kitchen with a gas hob, tables, and chairs, and some cooking kit. Pitches, bell tents, and the shepherd's hut all have an off-ground fire bowl and grill. The shepherd's hut and bell tents are kitted out with a double bed, bedding, and towels for two people and each has a log burner. Futons or air mattresses can be supplied for children in the bell tents, but guests will need to bring their own sleeping bags for these. There are two bikes and yoga mats available to borrow on-site too.

Suitable For

Campers, glampers, couples, families – yes. campervans, motorhomes, caravans, dogs – no.

Nearby

The site is on the edge of the Ashdown Forest (with a visitor centre four miles from the site at Wych Cross; 01342 823583) and in the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which means there's plenty of walking, woodland exploration and cycling in the vicinity. Pooh Bridge and other sites associated with Winnie the Pooh are within a short drive. It's a five-minute drive to the quaint village of Fletchling which has a great pub, shop, and cafe (see below), and just over a half-hour drive (25 miles) to the south coast with the closest beaches at Pevensey and Seaford. For more action, bustling Brighton is just 45 minutes away with its famous pier and Royal Pavilion among the sites. Closer to the site, you can jump aboard the heritage trains of the Bluebell Railway (01825 720800) and visit beautiful houses and gardens, including Sheffield Park (five miles away, with the Bluebell Railway's closest station nearby; 01825790231) and Wakehurst Place (01444 894066). There's more walking in the South Downs National Park (12 miles away) with the South Downs Way passing through on top of the hills and the town of Lewes (14 miles) is worth a wander for its independent, antiques and book shops. In the other direction, to the north, Forest Row village is closer and a nice place for a mooch about.

Food & Drink

The village of Fletchling is a five-minute drive (three miles) and has a little shop, cafe, and a pub that's recommended for food and views from the garden, The Griffin Inn (01825 722890). Also recommended are the Hop Yard Brewing Co (01342 824272), a pub and microbrewery in Forest Row, and Giggles (01825 713322), a family-run pub with a huge garden and Caribbean menu, just a mile down the road. Also close to the site are La Casa (01825 713566), which claims to serve the best pizza in Sussex, and Haathi Indian restaurant (01825 713287) both are a 5-10 minute walk from the site. Plaw Hatch Farm (01342 810201) is a community-owned biodynamic farm with a shop, dairy, butchery, and coffee about five miles from the site. Tablehurst (01342 823173) is another with a similar ethos and also has a cafe and butchers. For local wine, head to the Bluebell Vineyard (01825 791 561) for a tour and tasting, and for a recommended coffee (a Co-op and independent shops) try Lindfield and the Lindfield Coffee Works.

Open

July-September.

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The Owner Says

Welcome to Tinkers Wood! Our farm has been here since the Doomsday book. Today we're family-run, using regenerative principles with a small flock of sheep and a community veg patch. We invite you to join us for a simple, informal retreat at the top of our historic Twelve Acre field, with spectacular views across the South Downs.

Our pitches are set in a wildflower meadow where we often see deer, buzzards, owls, badgers and once saw 48 shooting stars in one night! The site backs onto a bluebell wood and we’re surrounded by great walks and really great pubs. We offer five tent pitches, each with a fire bowl+grill and access to a communal fire and games. We also offer two bell tents and a shepherd’s hut, all with wood burners and deep memory foam mattresses - perfect for a couples retreat.

Accommodation

Five camping pitches, two bell tents and a shepherd's hut Check Availability

Location

Contact Tinkers Wood, Hole & Alchorne Farm, Bell Lane, Nutley, Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 3PD

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Getting There

From London and the north head towards Eastbourne on the A22. From the south coast use the same road to head north. This will take you through the centre of Nutley. By St James, the Less Church (on the right if you are heading south, left if you are heading north) turns into Bell Lane. After about half a mile you'll find Tinkers Wood on the right.
Haywards Heath and East Grinstead train stations are both about 10 miles from the site and both have good connections to London. From East Grinstead the 261 bus towards Uckfield passes Nutley with a stop about half a mile from the site. Trains to Haywards Heath, on the London to Brighton line, are more frequent and faster (15 minutes to Brighton, 45 minutes to London) but the onwards journey would need to be by taxi.

Reviews

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Rated ★★★★★ over 11 reviews

★★★★☆

Calming setting with beautiful view

A lovely weekend spent at Tinker's Wood. We stayed in a bell tent with a little wood burner for warmth and heating water. Very well equipped tent and kitchen field tent for cooking and washing up. Composting toilets better than I imagined and showers are basic but practical for off grid. As first timers of off grid, it made us wanting to do it again. Very friendly and welcoming hosts. Was lovely to see a wild deer cross the field on our arrival. I felt calm and relaxed after our visit. Would camp/glamp again at Tinker's Wood.
Sep 27, 2021 by Emma Leech Verified Review
★★★★★

Beautiful spot, happy campers :)

Located on a stunning part of land next to a working farm, sprawling green fields and an abundance of nature, we felt welcomed with open arms to Tinkers Wood Campsite. Beautifully built compost toilets and a lovely shower block with views of bambi bouncing through the field. Ben was very accommodating and responded quickly to WhatsApp messages if we had any questions, including lending my partner some wellies :) We will be back!!
Sep 27, 2021 by Maya Jones Verified Review
★★★★★

So peaceful and beautiful

We were warmly welcomed by Emma who showed us to our lovely shepherd’s hut. The hut was cosy, comfortable and secluded with everything we needed for a comfortable stay near the woods. We enjoyed two wonderful campfire evenings and the early morning view of the hills. The sheep in the adjoining field were so cute and fluffy! There are plenty of brilliant walks in the area and friendly farm shops to have coffee and cake or buy what you need for an evening barbecue. J&M
Sep 20, 2021 by M and J Verified Review
★★★★★

Beautful, peaceful rural escape

We had an amazing time visiting tinkers wood. The location is perfect with beatiful views and great forest trails. The bell tent was comfortable and had everything you need. The owners were also extremely nice and helpful. Highly recommend throught the summer months.
Sep 19, 2021 by Aiden Bennie Verified Review
★★★★★

One of the best

This campsite is set on top of a hill overlooking a lovely vista with an incredible woods behind it. The yurt was very well furnished with pleasing touches. Very grateful that the owners have opened up this beautiful site for the public!
★★★★★

Beautiful and peaceful with exceptional views

WOW! I was completely blown away by this special place. The bell tent was situated in a wild flower meadow with sweeping views across the south downs and incredible stars at night. It was beautifully decorated and we cooked each night over the fire grill. The hosts were so helpful and kind, and made us feel very welcome. We borrowed their bikes and cycled to the local vineyard one morning. We wish we could have stayed longer and will definitely be returning!
★★★★★

Great nearly-wild camping experience

Booked a grass pitch for me and my tent. Ended up being joined by a field mouse scurrying around under my groundsheet feeling safe from all the owls hooting outside. A lovely campsite in a lovely part of the UK. Loads of space, peace and quiet, and perfectly constructed and working composting loos and hot showers. Surrounded by gastro-pubs, farm shops and woodland walks, and not too far a drive to the white cliffs of the Seven Sisters. A great nearly-wild camping experience!
Aug 23, 2021 by MarkR Verified Review
★★★★★

Relaxed

We have had the most wonderful time at tinkers wood campsite with the perfect balance of back to basics and luxury. The hosts Emma, Ben and Rollo are so friendly and welcoming. The bell tents are beautiful, really comfortable and well equipped. The views are amazing and it's the perfect place to do some star gazing. The woods are magical to explore and it was incredible to see the wild deer. We would definitely recommend a visit and can't wait to return.
Aug 20, 2021 by Ruth Kenney
★★★★★

Lovely location and warm hosts

We stayed for three nights in a Bell tent in Tinkers Wood and the experience far exceeded our expectations. The Bell tent was really well equipped and comfy and plenty of room for our two boys (5&7) as well. The surroundings are beautiful and peaceful. We walked around the woods for hours. The boys loved bug hunting - I have never seen as many (friendly) grasshoppers! The hosts are amazing. Ben and Rollo made us feel so welcome, they are relaxed and if feels like you have known them for years. There are plenty of pubs in the local area, serving delicious food. All in all a perfect few nights away from the hustle and bustle, we could all have stayed longer (which I don’t often say when camping!)
★★★★★

Fab getaway

My husband and I spent our 5th wedding anniversary here for 1 night (away from our two kids under 3yrs and the first time without them in over a year woohoo!!!) The views at Tinkers Wood are mesmerising, the Bell Tent was absolutely perfect. So peaceful and relaxing. Ben and Emma were brilliant during the booking process and welcomed us warmly on our arrival. I would highly recommend staying here if you would like a quiet stay away from the rat race (or the kids LOL)
Aug 17, 2021 by Jo Chellingworth
★★★★★

Unplugged perfection

We visited soon after opening and Ben, Rollo, Emma and Nick were great hosts. It is a working sheep farm and this is them diversifying, it has kept the authenticity of the farm and the warmth of the hosts. Comfy bed, amazing views, well equipped bell tent and we came away well rested and all the better for the kids unplugging from their tech! We will return. Thanks
Jul 28, 2021 by James Verified Review

Why book with Cool Camping?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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