Canfields Farm, Lynwick Street, Rudgwick, West Sussex RH12 3DL
The South Downs is the new kid on the block when it comes to National Parks. It was officially declared as such in April 2011, so it's the newest National Park in Britain, stretching for 87 miles from Winchester to Eastbourne, with the legendary Beachy Head marking its Eastern-most point.
Just north of this iconic landscape lies Canfields, an organic farm tucked away in the picturesque village of Rudgwick. It may sound quaint enough, but thrill-seekers will be glad to know that you’re close to the 55-mile Downs Link and the Olympic cycle road race route in the Surrey Hills.
Onsite, however, it's a much more sedate affair. Expect to hear little more than the crackle of fires and the faint call of a woodpecker. Once you arrive, you'll be greeted by Tim, who will take you on a tour of the site. There's a play pitch where kids can get stuck into lazy games of football, rounders, badminton, plus bluebell woods (perfect for den-building), stream-damming and plenty of deer-spotting opportunities.
The safari tents are sited around the edge of this pretty little spot, on the edge of a bluebell woods. And what tents they are. If you're unfamiliar with Feather Down Farms, imagine rustic glamour, with a homely twist. This is a nod to the wild camping experience, but with the luxury of some essential creature comforts, such as wood-burning stoves, real beds, running water and a dining table fit for a banquet. So – while the kids are off exploring – you can sink into a deckchair and get stuck into a chilled bottle of sauvignon blanc. There's little else you'll need to worry about – the owners are happy to help out where possible, so you can just enjoy your trip.
An essential part of the Feather Down experience is cooking. Thankfully, all utensils are provided in each luxurious safari tent, so you don't need to worry about lugging an oversized stewpot from the car. Simply build a campfire and slow cook some delicious veal (available from the onsite shop) whilst you look over the commanding views of the South Downs and the glistening sea beyond.
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Canfields (Feather Down Farm)
Perfect spring time treat! The bluebells in the woods by the tent were in perfect bloom during our early May visit. The Kids loved bottle feeding the lambs!
The farm is seconds away from the South Downs link for great safe, family cycling. the route follows old railway lines making it easy going.
With both wood burning stoves and the options for outdoor fires, canfields should satisfy fire lovers. Collect your own firewood for the outdoor fire from the woods right next to the tent.
The cupboard bed makes for the pefect hide-a-way for the kids!