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Lordswood – a camping unplugged site

UK England South East England Kent Maidstone

Ashdown Road, Maidstone ME17 2ER

Space and simplicity at this meadow and woodland site in Kent, 10-minutes from magnificent Leeds Castle
“Who cares about flushing toilets!” exclaims John on the Camping Unplugged website. It’s not normally the sort of headline you expect to attract people in their droves but it is a fairly accurate reflection of the ethos here at Lordswood. Simplicity is the core criteria for facilities. A large empty field (albeit a field situated in the stunning Kent Downs AONB) is essentially the only thing to describe about the campsite, with just a few portable events showers, composting toilets and sacks of dried logs for sale. Oh, and there’s a sign at the entrance gate too. After all that, what more do you need?

Surrounded by trees on all sides, and with a large section of woodland at one end, Lordswood is an ideal site for large family groups. There are no set pitches and cars are welcome to park wherever, so you simply drive in, find a flat spot among the gently rolling slopes and then begin pitching your tents. Campfires are welcome, though it’s strongly encouraged you try and light them on patches of previous fires, so as not to endlessly scar the grass. And ball games, frisbee or den building in the woods are all encouraged too. The long term plan is to begin opening up the woods for further pitches, so campers can set their tents up in among the trees. For now you’ll have to make do with all the branches lying around, building your own camp-fort for the kids to defend.

Forts of a more formidable kind can be found off-site. It takes just over 10 minutes to drive to magnificent Leeds Castle (no, it’s not in Leeds), a turreted, picture-perfect castle, islanded in the middle of a lake. It is, in fact, a wide moat, dug out when the castle was built over 900 years ago. It’s the crowning glory in the park, which extends far beyond the castle itself to include sign-posted wildlife walks, formal gardens, a maze and a large playground – castle themed, of course – plus, throughout summer, they run various activities and regular falconry displays.

The result is attractions and entertainment off-site, within easy driving distance, but a sense of remote, ‘wild’ camping on the campsite itself. It’s nothing fancy but it’s spot on for those seeking the authentic, basic camping of old.

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