Debden House, Borough of Newham, London

http://www.debdenhouse.com/Campsite/Campsite.html

What an unusual place. Yes, officially in London, but surrounded by Epping Forest, not an area I had visited before. Epping Forest is massive (as I discovered when I got lost in it, but that’s another story). The campsite itself is pretty huge with several different fields. We stayed in the ‘Campfire Field’ (surprise!). We were camping with a large group of friends and for this purpose Debden house was very good. The pitches are absolutely enourmous, we had about 4 tents, 2 campervans plus day tents and gazebos galore and they all fit in one pitch. Each pitch has a large fire pit and backs onto the open forest. So far, so good! The forest is an amazing place to explore, just keep your wits about you almost everyone seems to have a lost in the forest story there!

However, there are down sides. It was rumoured that there was free firewood at the gates of the field but in reality it was a scraggy great heap of left over builders rubbish. Very little of it suitable for burning and really ruined the look of the place. The site is run by the council and the staff were, pretty disorganised and at times unhelpful. You are close to metropolitan London and you can tell. The rubbish both on the site and in the forest was a sad sight to see, people left pitches in a poor state, there was glass and metal on our fire pit. The toilets are far from most of the fields so many people used the woods.

A real shame because it offers a brilliant facility for those poor coutryside starved Londoners and Epping Forest really is magnificent. Because of this and because of its astoundingly large pitches and fire pits it is a good place to meet up with a group of friends – just watch out for booking confusion, be ready to stand your ground.

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