The Secret Campsite has caught my attention as being rather a brilliant looking place, but sadly it doesn’t accept campervans so I was very happy when Leila (or Mudpie Mama), from the lovely outdoor play blog MudMudMarvellousMud, told me she was taking her 1 year old on his first camping trip to The Secret Campsite, I leapt at the chance to get a review from a trusted source. And here it is!
Where: The Secret Campsite, Sussex, BN8 4TD
How Much: For camping, £13 per adult per night, £6.50 per child over 5 per night. Under 5’s free
Campfires: Yes, in designated fire pits
Wood: Yes, £6.50 per night
Types of camping: Tents only. There is option to stay in a cool Tree Tent, The Arkette and The Bell Tent. See website for details
Facilities: Showers, toilets (compostable and normal), indoor washing up area
The Review: When deciding on where to camp for the first time with our one year old we were really keen to find somewhere family friendly and quiet. It was really important for us to have lots of space, the opportunity for a campfire and somewhere where we could get close to nature. I was recommended The Secret Campsite by a friend and am so pleased I was. The choice of campsites out there is immense and reading all the reviews can be mind boggling. It seemed I would find a good one and then I would find some comment or review that totally put me off. The Secret Campsite, on paper, looked perfect and I could find no bad words said about the place. So with nothing to put me off I went ahead and booked.
I was recommended the meadow and reassured that it would be fine camping with our little one, even if he did decide to scream the campsite down. I booked up straight away and now I was really excited.
Finally the day arrived and with booking confirmation in hand we made our way round the M25 for our first family camping adventure. I have to admit I was slightly worried that it wouldn’t be the family bliss I had imagined, especially after the screaming Little Man had subjected the whole of Asda to that morning but I kept calm and carried on anyway.
We were met by a lovely lady called Lisa who told us where to park and where the trolleys were. There are no cars allowed on the campsite so transport is all by trolley and wheelbarrow. Tim, the owner, helped us transport our gear and showed us where all the facilities were. I have to say he was lovely, very friendly and so helpful. He showed us to our pitch, brought over our firewood and even came over to fill in some of the holes in the ground for us.
All the pitches are patches of grass cut into the meadow so you are surrounded by wild flowers. This time of year most of the flowers are finished but I reckon it must have been stunning just a few weeks ago when it was all in full bloom. Each pitch also has a fire pit area so there is no excuse not to have a proper campfire.
The pitches are also very well spaced apart with a good 100ft between each one. Almost every other pitch was filled with a family and Little Man had a fantastic time making new friends with all the bigger kids. Everyone was really friendly and the whole site had a really lovely chilled out atmosphere. Whilst hubby got the tent up and started the fire for dinner I got the chance to explore whilst running after the Little Man.
In the meadow there are two composting toilets with an outdoor sink and soap plus a tap with drinking water. These are nicely tucked into a little corner out of the way and if you didn’t know they were they you could easily miss them. Back over the bridge not far from reception there is a family shower and toilet block. The showers are pay as you go but the whole lot is lovely and clean and obviously well maintained. There is also an indoor washing up area with hot water as well as a communal fridge and freezer area for everyone to use and lots of leaflets for nearby attractions. If I was staying for longer these would have definitely come in handy.
The reception doubles up as the log store and also has a lovely sightings board on the outside so you can see what has been spotted nearby. Underneath the bridge is an old disused railway track which leads to the nearest pub (about 20 mins away) and the local farm shop. Little Man, however, was happy exploring the beautiful sunflowers and wilder areas of the site alongside making friends with bigger kids and trying to invade other people’s campsites. He was in his element and absolutely loving his new found freedom.
No-one is allowed to play electronic music on site so there were no noisy radios blaring music, just the sound of kids having fun and then families getting ready for bed. While Little Man was sleeping, hubby and I sat round the fire and just enjoyed the evening together. The sunset was beautiful and after dark there were some amazing moths about as well as some low flying bats. Surprisingly enough there were very few mozzies and I didn’t have to use my Jungle Formula once.
By 10 o’clock the site was quiet with only the odd cry from a little one refusing to go to bed. The wonderful thing is, all the sites are so far apart you can hardly hear anyone else once they are settled in for the night. It was just what we were hoping for. We soon crawled in next to Little Man and I have to admit I had a pretty good night sleep. The only sound was the wildlife until about 7am the next morning when all the kiddies seemed to start waking up, including our own.
Once the sun was up hubby made another fire so we could have more tea. You can buy hot chocolates from Tim’s girls in the morning; they have a little stall set up next to the washing up room, but we had to have some excuse for another fire! Once the car was all packed I popped in to see Tim and settle up for the wood. He asked how our night had been and he even came over to the car to say goodbye to the Little Man. Goodbyes done and it was time for the M25 again.
Would we go again?
Absolutely!! The Secret Campsite is a lovely little place, perfect for a family trip. You could easily stay a week with lots of lovely countryside to explore and plenty of useable and clean facilities on site. Tim and Lisa are the perfect hosts and there really is nothing bad I could say about the place. Hey, who knows, maybe next time we will brave the tree tent!
Please check out Leila’s blog where her love of her little family and the great outdoors oozes out of every post.
follow her on twitter @mudpiemama