The Secret Campsite are proud signatories of Get Nature Positive.
This national campaign initiated by the Council for Sustainable Business with the help of Justin Francis founder of Responsible Travel is designed to address net zero and protect, manage and support nature. The campaign spells out the critical connection between human behaviour and the planet’s health.
Get Nature Positive aims to stabilise the climate which will create jobs, food security, improve health, promote education and rebuild economies. We love these goals and have joined.
As a tourism venue, we try to tread lightly on our land here at the Secret Campsite. The highest profit margins can be made from indulging visitors’ whims and wishes. We steer clear of these, instead opting for less impactful and ethically sourced products and services. Judging from our reviews this doesnt seem to compromise the type of trip people enjoy with us, but perhaps that is just our sort of customers?
Get Nature Positive highlights 7 key areas that tourist venues can tackle to clean up their act. We are working through the points and implementing further plans, where we need, to address an issue.
Here’s what we’re doing at the Secret Campsite in order to be more Nature+Positive
We manage the whole site as a place where nature can flourish and campers have the chance to see, smell, hear, touch and even taste our native flora and fauna. We have installed numerous nest spaces for birds, bats, reptiles and mammals. These encourage breeding and overwintering throughout the site. The site has been planted with a wide range of locally suitable and native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. These can be used as a food source for a wide variety of creatures. Get some ideas from our Escapees Handbook which we published in 2015.
We do not allow pets anywehere on site. A loose dog can be very disruptive to ground nesting birds and reptiles.
To encourage an interest in our native flora we have a range of FSC worksheets freely available for campers to identify plants, and these spend a lot of time in the hands of inquisitive young campers.
Waste and Pollution
We purchase in bulk where possible. This means we can refill our liquid soaps, cleaning fluids, hand san and washing up liquid. We offer comprehensive onsite recycling facilities which are emptied by our local authority, Lewes. They are fully accountable for the way they process recycling and are hoping to achieve zero carbon by 2030.
This is a tricky one. Past efforts with food waste have been unsuccessful. The cost of a food waste facility is considerable, but we are investigating this with plans to commission collections or process the waste on site. Watch this space.
Only nature-friendly cleaning products are used. We occasionally use herbicides but only as a last resort to clear weeds from a couple of areas on site. Sunscreen isn’t yet sold on site, but we have just purchased a test bottle of environmental sunscreen. This will be freely available for campers to sample in reception. It may encourage people to make a switch.
We process all of our sewage waste through a treatment plant powered by the sun through our 19KW solar PV array. We will be installing a second treatment plant as part of the development work taking place at the barn.
The use of fairy lights on the exterior of campers tents is discouraged. Next season we will ask campers to switch them off at dusk. Light pollution is a problem for a range of species including bats and owls as well as a distraction for the flying male glow worm who can find the females if they are surrounded by man made lighting. We only have lights for specific purposes onsite. Our aim is to use lights that don’t “spill out” in our new building work and around the site. Light controls are utilised to manage timings and intensity.
We are located in a Dark Sky Area, and welcome The Seven Sisters Astronomical Society for complementary camping in exchange for campers being permitted to view the night sky view through their professional telescopes. Read more here.
We keep cars from accessing the camping meadows for safety reasons and to minimise disturbance to the wildlife, frogs and lizards are easily squashed. We do not allow music of any sort on our pitches and we avoid large groups of campers to keep human noise to a minimum.
By keeping dogs off site we reduce the early morning disturbance leaving campers free to enjoy the si=ounds of owls hooting, deer barking and the marsh frog chorus.
But, best of all it gives space for the Nightingales to let forth heir beautiful chorus throughout the night.
All our taps are on timers and are “press down” rather than “twist” taps. This minimises water wastage. It also makes commercial sense.
Water butts collect the rainwater which is then used for other purposes like filling the bird bath, watering the pot grown herbs, and pouring over hot campers.
All water runoff is channelled to one of our 2 on site ponds, home to Great Crested Newts, dragonflies, and adventurous grass snakes.
Food and Agriculture
We have planted a wide range of shrubs, trees and perennials that provide a number of edible uses for additions to salads, fruits and nuts. Alternatively, they are a source of food for our year round residents, the birds, mammals reptile, amphibians and insects
All hot water for showers and washing up is generated from a 19KW solar array on one of our barns. This was installed in 2012 by OVESCO, and upgraded in 2021. The system generates far in excess of our ht water needs and we have added on a new outlet recently, read below.
Onsite electric car charging facilities are available for campers. All you have to do is download the Pod Point app and away you go. We happily recharge phones and electric bikes for free, using our solar pv system. We are very proud to be part of the Community Energy project which is a pioneering campaign based in Barcombe!
Our small campsite shop favours local producers or products from businesses with responsible environmental policies. We sell barbecue meat boxes from a local free range farm as well as firewood and charcoal. Additionally, we sell local beers including Harveys and OWL plus Lickalix ice lollies.
Next year we expect to be stocking an extended range of products including some plant based suppliers and of course some ethically sourced marshmallows.
We support our local wildlife charity Sussex Wildlife Trust in a variety of ways including fundraising and optional online donations when booking camping trips.
The local pubs, farm shops and other visitor attractions are well publicised on site and through our website. Link here
Find out more about the Get Nature Positive campaign, we encourage you to have a read.
Tell us if there are areas that you think we can change or do better here at the Secret Campsite. We are always open to feedback.