Knepp Wildland Safaris and Camping

New Barn Farm, Swallows Lane, Dial Post, West Sussex RH13 8NN
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It all started with a vision. The sprawling grounds of the Knepp Estate – centred around the imposing John Nash-designed castle – had, for over 220 years, been devoted to traditional arable and dairy farming. But with the UK's number of farmland birds, insects and other rare species of plant life dwindling, the team behind the West Sussex manor house embarked upon an ambitious project to reintroduce native flora and fauna back to this bucolic corner of the county. With the clay-heavy soil unsuitable for intensive agriculture, the novel idea of using grazing animals as conservation management was hit upon. Now over a decade later, the largest privately-owned 'rewilding' project of its kind in Europe has transformed the Knepp Estate into a veritable Eden of biodiversity. 

Herds of free-roaming horses, Exmoor ponies, Longhorn cattle, Tamworth pigs and even red and fallow deer rove the estate's 3,500 acres – where natural history meets living landscape. This unique environment is a magnet for nightingales, purple emperor butterflies, owls, snakes, and lizards. The Knepp Wildland Project's expert ecologists offer a range of guided safari's around this sprawling site. So if you're batty about bats, or the bees get you buzzing, you can choose the tour that suits you best. Or if you'd prefer a more bespoke experience, the dedicated team here are happy to accommodate. What could be more awe-inspring than experiencing the wildlife up close? Camping here, that's what!

While the setting feels every bit as wildly exotic as the Serengeti, camping at the Knepp Estate is far from a primitive experience. There's a dizzying array of fabulous glamping abodes available, from shepherd's huts, yurts and bell tents of all shapes and sizes (think of it as wild camping, with a little 'w'). But we reckon for a true sense of getting back to nature, the off-grid camping pitches can't be beaten. And they allow campfires! And as for the key ingredients for that all important campsite barbecue, you can't get more free-range than the very livestock roaming this unspoilt, herbaceous hideaway, available to buy onsite.  

Waking up to the sounds of nature is one of the great joys of camping. But the early-morning call of the resident beasts at Knepp Estate offers an added thrill – knowing that your camping in one of the England's great mini-wildernesses, where nature reigns harmoniously.  

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The Owner Says

(info supplied by the campsite)

Knepp is all about the wildlife. Over the past 12 years, since we embarked on our re-wilding adventure, the re-emergence of nature has been astonishing.  Knepp Wildland is now home to 2% of the UK’s population of nightingales. It’s a hotspot for stunning purple emperor butterflies, and a breeding ground for numerous other rare species from bats to dung-beetles, fungi to water violets – as well as home to burgeoning populations of our more common species of flora and fauna.

That’s what welcomes you at our wildand campsite – the sense not just of camping out in a beautiful spot in the countryside but of being immersed in an extraordinary revival of wildlife. It’s an experience that we hope will inspire, inform and lift the spirits. Tranquil, beautifully designed, eco-friendly and surrounded by stunning wild countryside our campsite is perfect for a quiet break away from it all. Our luxury accommodation comprises hand-built Shepherd's Huts, a Yurt, a Tipi and spacious Bell Tents. Our exclusive Pitch Your Own site, in a lovely wildflower meadow on the edge of an ancient wood, comprises only fifteen pitches to ensure peace and privacy.

The Camp Kitchen has a large gas oven and hob, and a fridge/freezer for communal use. Pots, pans and cooking utensils, glasses, cutlery, mugs and plates are all provided, as are all the necessaries for washing-up. There are two flushing loos and two hot showers with underfloor heating in the Go-down, a short walk from the campsite. We supply complimentary organic, eco-friendly shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. There’s also composting loos on the edge of the wood on the campsite itself, and an open-air wood-fired bucket-shower.

The Pitch Up, with upcycled cable reel tables and a recycled oil drum stove, feels like a beach hut sitting in the countryside. It provides a sheltered area out of the elements as well as a convivial place for enjoying a sundowner of an evening. Not only does the stove provide ambience and a surprising amount of heat, but you can cook on top of it too.

We also offer vehicle-based safaris and guided walking tours. You don’t have to book on a safari to stay here but we hope you’ll be tempted to. It’s our chance to show you the extraordinary wealth of indigenous species – from the largest to the tiniest - that have returned to this hidden part of Southeast England. We’ve built stunning tree-platforms at different vantage points in the Wildland, so you can gaze out over the emerging scrub and spot our Exmoor ponies, herds of fallow, red deer, longhorn cattle or Tamworth pigs roaming about the water meadows and emerging scrub. Our safaris break for coffee and cake or, in the evening, a glass of wine, on one of these platforms, or you can rest your binoculars in our new bird hide over the lovely expanse of Knepp lake. We feel this is as close to an African safari as you get in the UK – and much cheaper too! 

Just as on many African safaris we have an age restriction for children of 12+, both in the campsite and on our guided safaris – but we are happy to offer bespoke safaris for children by special arrangement. 

Reviews of Knepp Wildland Safaris and Camping

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★★★★★

Beautiful weekend

We stayed at this wonderful campsite in April and had a lovely weekend exploring the gorgeous landscapes of the Knepp estate. As seasoned campers we were greatly impressed with the spotlessly clean facilities, especially the kitchen and bathrooms, and a peaceful evening was spent warming ourselves by the fire pit. It was an especially relaxing stay knowing that our visit had as minimal impact on the local environment as possible due to the campsite´s ethical and environmentally protective philosophy. The staff we meet, a very knowledgeable Rachel and Ryan and Penny, were able to give us some great recomendations of trails to follow and a visit to the local pub, as they suggested, was an afternoon well spent. We will certainly be returning for a (weekend or hopefully longer!) to relax and take in the perfect surroundings..

★★★★★

Blissful

We stayed here for five days in order to unwind after a particularly stressful time at work. It was perfect! We stayed in the Turtle Dove Yurt which was spacious, and cosy. Very comfortable bed. Every day we took a different walk around the estate and was lucky enough to encounter a lot of the wildlife including all of the 'Big 5'. We found the whole experience fascinating and very relaxing. Loved the Camp Kitchen - we used it a lot to cook a simple supper of meat reared on the estate. The outside bath house was one of the highlights - wonderful to have a hot shower outside, with the birds singing all around. Rachel and Ryan were excellent hosts - always around to answer any questions. Can't recommend the place highly enough. it was wonderful - and we look forward to visiting again to see how the estate develops

★★★★★

Excellent campsite!

This was an excellent campsite, our first camping trip together and it was perfect! We didn't want to leave!

The reception & toilet area was spotlessly clean and manned by two lovely girls who answered any questions we had. The shop was well priced with food (meat, some veg, biscuits, jams, beer, cider, wine), wood and complimentary cool boxes, icepacks and tea & coffee.

The grounds were tidy without encroaching on the natural vegetation. The permanent residences looked really well kept but we stayed in the camping meadow in our own tent. We were lucky enough to be near the wood area where there was a wild stag who came to investigate the meadow a few times, which was a brilliant addition to our visit.

There are a lot of grounds to explore, more than we were prepared for in fact! Next time we will bring our walking boots and go a bit further!

The communal kitchen & sinks were excellent, really clean and the compost toilets were very clean, well stocked and did not smell! Be aware the energy saving light may just switch off!

We would recommend this to anyone who enjoys peace and quiet, nature, walking & campfires! We can't wait to go again!

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Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Knepp Wildland Safaris and Camping: Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Knepp Wildland Safaris and Camping: Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Knepp Wildland Safaris and Camping: Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Knepp Wildland Safaris and Camping: Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Knepp Wildland Safaris and Camping: Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Knepp Wildland Safaris and Camping: Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Knepp Wildland Safaris and Camping: Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Knepp Wildland Safaris and Camping: Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Knepp Wildland Safaris and Camping: Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Knepp Wildland Safaris and Camping: Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Knepp Wildland Safaris and Camping: Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

Knepp Wildland Safaris and Camping: Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in Europe.

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