Riverside camping and shepherd’s huts near the South Downs
Swimming in the river, cooking on campfires, and swinging from trees on tractor tyres… Move over Huck Finn; this is the story of New Wharf Campsite. You get to play the main character and the action will be set, not on the banks of the Mississippi, but down by the peaceful River Adur, instead. It’s in Sussex, in the shadow of the South Downs, just over half an hour from Brighton and an hour south of London.
This easy-to-reach but idyllic location has been welcoming campers for a few years, previously by a pop-up camping brand. Now farmer’s daughter Elle and her partner Ed are running the place. They’ll still be offering a mix of meadow and riverside camping and have five simple shepherd’s huts too. Apart from those it’s all off-grid, tents-only camping with campfires welcome. Cars are not allowed in the camping areas, which means footloose and fancy-free kids are. And there's plenty of space to play.
The shepherd’s huts are all different but most have log burners, and all bar one can sleep four people. Those family-sized huts are in the main camping field with the other, Ellena, which is just right for couples, tucked a little further away. It has its own loo and shower to boot. All have electricity, lighting, USB charging, and an outside cooking and eating area. Just don’t forget to bring your own bedding.
Whether you camp in your own tent or stay in a hut, it’s the rural and riverside location that makes New Wharf special. Make the most of it with the 45-minute riverside walk to the most-local pub or by taking the plunge to cool off. The water is tidal, so do take care, and, if swimming is not your thing, try a kayak or paddleboard to get your fix. Both are available for hire on the riverbank nearby. Walking or cycling in the nearby South Downs is almost as much of a must but other than that? Stick a blade of grass in your mouth, pull your straw hat over your eyes and simply relax by the river.
Toilet and shower cabins are dotted about around the site; there are ten toilets in total (a mixture of composting and flushing loos) and five showers. There are also drinking water taps and sinks for washing up. Campers are required to bring their own washing-up bowls. Campfires are allowed in off-ground fire pits and logs are for sale. Campers are asked not to collect firewood from around the site as this is left for wildlife. There are steps down into the River Adur and kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available for hire from the site.
Just about everyone! Glampers, campers, families, children, groups and well-behaved dogs – yes. Campervans, motorhomes, caravans – no.
You can go swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding in the River Adur from a private launching point by the campsite. Kayaks and paddleboards are usually available to hire from The Kayak Coach (07796 203870), on site, but do call ahead if you want to reserve one. There are lovely riverside and bluebell woodland walks from the campsite and, not far away, you can join the Downs Link cycle trail. For a longer route you could join the South Downs Way National Trail, which runs right through the South Downs National Park. The closest beach is just over the Downs, at Shoreham, eight miles away. Alternatively, head to bustling Brighton for a trip down its famous pier, a wander along The Lanes, a visit to the Brighton Pavilion or a day on its shingley shores.
Food & Drink
There’s a good pub The Fountain Inn, with roaring fires inside if the weather's bad and a very nice garden outside, just a walk away – it’s 45 minutes if you take the riverside route, 20 minutes along the road (but there’s no pavement). The closest shops are in the small town of Steyning about four miles away where there’s a butchers and a Co-op. For tea head to the Steyning Tea Rooms (01903 810103), The Sussex Produce Company (01903 815045) is a good spot for lunch with fresh locally-sourced ingredients, while Chez Joel (01903 813311) serves delicious food in a relaxed atmosphere most evenings.
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Rated ★★★★★ over 31 reviews
As soon as we arrived on camp we were greeted with a warm welcome and everything was explained clearly to us. We got to choose our own area and the weather was lovely. The facilities were spotless and felt more like glamping. We asked a number of question about places nearby and taxi service and the owners were extremely helpful. It was a peaceful place and I will definitely be returning. Thank you guys!!
We are relatively new to camping and New Wharf has been my favourite campsite yet! Great location - near the river, beaches and the South Downs! Ed and Elle were really welcoming and the campsite is well maintained and clean. The pitches are well laid out so large groups can be accommodated well. Highly recommend! Thanks for a lovely few days.
Beautiful views, lovely river, very friendly and helpful owners
We had a lovely weekend camping with friends (we all have children.) The owners were extremely helpful, kind and accommodating. The pitches were large and well maintained and the river is lovely for swimming/ paddle boarding. Would definitely recommend.
Great all-rounder family campsite
Owners are really friendly and were accommodating when I confused matters by moving pitch. Just the right level of facilities whist still feeling reasonably ‘wild’. Great family atmosphere, with kids able to roam free in a car-free space. My (almost) 2 year old loved it, and nice to have the river so accessible for kayaking etc.
Fab Campsite: will definitely go back!
An excellent campsite that focuses on getting the basics right while being mindful of the environment. Clean toilets, showers and washing up facilities; there was plenty of them and they worked well with lovely hot water where needed. Loads of safe open spaces for the kids to play in and tree swings for them to enjoy. The pitches were perfectly sized and nicely spaced out across the fields. The pizza on Friday night was delicious!
Great location for camping
Beautiful peaceful location. Plenty of room for games. Helpful owners. Generous pitch areas. We had a great weekend.
From the pitch we had to the friendliness of the owners and the availability of kayaking etc the whole weekend was just brilliant.
Lovely place to camp!
Loved spending a weekend here in the peaceful New Wharf Campsite. They were really accommodating for our large group and we had an amazing location! Great fun paddling and kayaking in the river as well. Rubbish collection and recycling was good, good that they had an option to recycle when so many places don’t
Super family fun weekend
We had an amazing weekend in our shepherd’s hut. The beds were comfortable and our 5 and 3 year olds slept beautifully in them. The campsite was calm and chilled and perfect for spotting wildlife. With the river a short walk, the pub just up the road and shops nearby, it was a perfect glamping experience. We loved it!
a clean, friendly and relaxing place
Thank you all for your hard work making New Wharf such a clean, friendly and relaxing place. We met our family there for the weekend. Everything was so clean, the staff were very welcoming and helpful. The kids were so safe and able to play for hours on the go carts (some adults too), due to the fact that cars were parked away from camping areas but within easy access. You need to try the paddle boarding along the river, we spent many hours having fun and also walking along the river banks. Was just such a lovely experience even the bucket showers, most impressive. We actually hired a shepherds hut and the family were able to camp with us which was a joy until they wake at 6.30am! Thanks again to you all. The only suggestion we would say is to have a tiny cooler or fridge with the huts. Sue
Awesome campsite, very relaxed and well organised
We were a large group staying here so were a bit nervous about all being together, but also not wanting to disturb other people. You can imagine our delight when we arrived to find out Elle and Ed had given us our own private area. We had the most wonderful weekend. Elle and Ed are fantastic hosts and have created a wonderful campsite and a great experience. Thank you!
Great site and relaxed atmosphere
Everything required for relatively basic but great camping experience. Ample toilet cubicles and showers dotted around the expansive site - including bucket showers which were novel enough to encourage my teenage sons to shower every day. No shop, but logs and ice and other essentials can be obtained from the reception. Ed and Elle were very helpful and friendly - everything was very easy going and relaxing, e.g. as it was not too busy, able to choose own pitch. Great accessible kayaking on the River Adur - look out for the seal. Great to end the door making 'smores on the fire pit and counting the shooting stars
Tyre swings, go-karts and safe space for children to play made for happy kids! Close proximity to the river meant we could go canoeing and lots of families came armed with kayaks and paddleboards so it is perfect for water activities. Ed and Elle were friendly and helpful hosts who made regular contact to check we had all we needed. In high winds Ed saved the day when we made some pathetic attempt to put up our tent without securing it to the ground first, lesson learnt! It's a back to basics site: firepits, bucket showers and individual chemical toilet facilities with one compost loo for the main site. The shepherd's huts all have their own compost loo and that would be my only request, more of these available for the die hards on the main site please. Great for a few nights away.
Lovely campsite and great accommodating hosts in a beautiful area.
Campsite covered a large area so very spacious. There was a big area in the middle of the main field for the kids to play all together. The hosts Ed and Elle, were great and on hand to assist everyday. It was a short walk to the river where we hired kayaks and it was easy to go for day trips to different areas. We really enjoyed our stay.
Lovely campsite perfect for family groups
We just had a great few days with old friends and our collection of kids at New Wharf. The kids are all under 5 but were totally free range because of the well thought out and spacious site with plenty to see and do and big central area for them to roam and meet other kids and swing on tyres to their hearts content. Facilities are great and the nearby river with wild swimming and kayaking is an extra bonus! Idyllic- would highly recommend
Quiet, clean, lovely
This was a lovely place. Very spacious (read a lot of distance to the neighbours and a lot of open space to play). The facilities are pretty clean, and there is disinfectant and soap everywhere. Staff/owners are very friendly and helpful and relaxed. The river is not particularly attractive, I think I expected it to be bigger or cleaner (it was very muddy/silty).
Great Campsite - 5 Stars
This was my first time camping with a tent - and dog - and it was an absolute pleasure. Beautiful site, with river and open fields, so helpful and welcoming, great off-grid facilities. I can’t wait to go back.
Great owners helpful and friendly
Turned up and as soon as walked in helped and shown all we needed for week . Facilities clean and easy checked every day, walks in well maintained paths and fields , dogs welcome and helped to settle, local shop's not to far away with pub for great food nearby. River for swimming and kayaks with steps to get in and out but is tidal so need to know how to swim. I will rebook and recommend.
Great 1st camping experience
Really lovely and friendly campsite owners Ed is awesome was happy to drive us up to are camping area and assist us with any additions we needed. (@ an extra cost but all very reasonable) Campsite was clean covid safe with beautiful views. Really enjoyed are walks up near the river and the campsites very dog friendly my dog was living his best life. Nice warm outdoor shower to. I would definitely come back again when England makes up its mind about a “summer” Thank you
Fantastic weekend of sun and relaxation!
A beautiful campsite with thoughtful owners who are keen to make sure the site feels spacious and calm. The cabin toilets were clean and well tended, and enough dotted around that our party had our own. Loved the tyre swings dotted around, and the access to the river for kayaking - we had a gorgeous few hours frolicking on the water. Beautiful setting with enough space for the adults to attempt to thrash the children at rounders! Can’t recommend enough and already booked in with other friends!
We had a lovely weekend at New Wharf Campsite. The facilities were great and location is ideal for the river and beach. We’ll definitely be back.
New favourite campsite!
Lovely, family friendly campsite. Basic but spotlessly clean. Loads of room between pitches with plenty of space for the kids to play. Love that you can park near enough your pitch to not make it hassle but far enough away that you can’t see the cars - hate the feeling of camping in a car park. Hot showers, but no hot water for washing up, which is fine for a few days. Friendly staff, great fire pits with grills. 20 minute drive from the coast. Will definitely be back next year.
A gem of a spot
We went to New Wharf for the first time last weekend (25/06/21) and had two great nights there round the campfire, 9 adults and 9 kids, we had a back field all to ourselves with a lovely southerly view. The camping is wild, so don't expect posh toilets or showers, that said both were clean and pleasant. We also took advantage of the Kayak Coach and had all the kids paddle boarding and kayaking down the river on the outward tide and back on the inward tide. A couple of us oldies also swam in there too. My only wish was that we could have a speaker on low at night whilst we were round the fire, well we did on the Saturday night, but were all tucked up by midnight, broken from all the activities, so we were not a naughty group! What more could you want... A well kept, pretty campsite tucked away from it all. Would recommend!
Great campsite, beautiful setting
Widely spaced plots, wood fired pizza, private access to the river adur for wild swimming. Quiet site with beautiful trees
Fantastic wild stay
Wonderful campsite; Elle and Ed were so friendly and helpful; Friday night pizzas fantastic; great, eco-friendly, bucket showers and composting toilets; enjoyed wild swimming, fire pit, barbecue, wood stove, cosy shepherd's hut, and beautiful rewilded site with clouds of butterflies and flowers. Wonderful calm, peaceful place - can't wait to go again.
Lovely site; lovely people: LOVELY swimming...
We had a great time; mixed group in tents and shepherd's huts. Great site; so beautiful; walks straight onto the river, excellent swimming. And very nice walks in all directions. Cycled down the Downs Link way from Horsham; and found out could have cycled on to the sea if we'd known in advance. But a lovely quiet beautiful weekend; long evening by the fire pit. Owners very helpful at all points.
Great stay at New Wharf Campsite
Lovely campsite with great facilities. Kids loved the open fields and tire swings. Added bonus is the nearby river which offers kayak and paddle board hire. Campsite is also close to a lovely country pub called The Fountain - Great outdoor seating area and yummy food. 5 min drive to the picturesque town of Steyning which we enjoyed exploring. Overall had a very relaxing stay, would stay again and would recommend to others.
Lovely stay at New Wharf Campsite
We had a fantastic stay at New Wharf Campsite, it is a beautiful location and a lovely spacious campsite. You aren't too close to other campers! The pizza's are yummy. Also a 15 minute walk down the road is a pub called The Fountain - epic pub, lovely staff, worth visiting whilst camping at New Wharf. A 25 minute drive away there is also a lovely walk close to a pub called the Juggs, recommend this as well. The campsite requests that you take your rubbish home with you (or face a fine ££) and the water saving showers are a little slow flowing - those are the only two construtive comments.
Really great experience. Didn’t have many expectations because I’ve mainly camped around the Lakes and Snowdonia. It was perfect. Lovely chill vibe, Ed the host was friendly, approachable and easy going. The facilities were simple and spot on - clean toilets, showers and washing stations. Pizza oven Friday night was a wonderful surprise. The camping spaces were varied and interesting with lots of things to do if you’ve got kids who seemed to have a whale of a time. I didn’t make it this time but next time I’m down I’ll definitely check out the kayaking just down from the campsite on the river. Great spot spot for the South Downs and for visiting Brighton.
Lovely long weekend in a secluded sheperd's hut
We spent a long weekend in Ellena, a really lovely shepherd's hut set away from the main campsite, on the edge of a field with views of the South Downs and Chanctonbury Ring. The hut has a double bed and a wood-burning stove which was perfect for the chilly evenings. There was also a fire pit in front of the hut where we did most of our cooking, although gas stoves were supplied and barbeques available for hire. The hut has its own toilet and gas-powered shower outside. Ellena is a short walk from the river Adur which allowed us to kayak down to Bramber (pubs & castle) as well as a beautiful sunrise paddle. Ed and Ella were great hosts and couldn't have been more helpful.
I have had the pleasure of staying at new wharf on a number of occasions- a few times with my husband and young child and on a few occasions as a childfree break with a friend! Each time ive been ive never been disappointed- service is brilliant- the owners ed and ellena are very attentive and have an eye for detail! The campsite is beautiful and has kept a very natural feel to it, the Shepard huts are lovely and feel extremely homely. If your looking for a relaxing break that the whole family can enjoy or a relaxing weekend without the kids this place is perfect for both! Looking foward to booking my annual camping trip for when the restrictions are lifted!