Places to visit in the Lewes area

Lewes and the area of Sussex surrounding the secret campsite are full of invigorating places to visit.

We have the spectacular landscapes of the south downs just 3 miles away at Offham, the beautiful coastline of Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters just 20 miles away and the wild beauty of the Ashdown Forest just 8 miles away near Maresfield.

The ancient town of Lewes, county town of Sussex, is filled with interesting shops, a castle and other monuments as well as the most unhinged bonfire festival in the country and a hiughly independent spirit including its own currency, the Lewes pound

To help everyone staying here we have an extensive collection of flyers from many local destinations including walks, pubs, tourist attractions, town maps and museums and local houses and gardens. This library of documents and leaflets is situated in the washing up area where we also have lots of information about the Secret Campsite and the immediate area.

This time I will deal with great places to visit, and i’ll follow up with places to eat and drink locally.

The South Downs National Park is 3 miles away at Offham. There you can cycle, walk, bird and sheep watch, picnic in the sunshine with unbelievable views to the sea, or just explore Devils Dyke, and amble down for lunch at a sleepy downland pub such as the Half Moon at Plumpton

The Ashdown Forest is 9 miles away where you can enjoy Pooh sticks on Winnie the Poohs own bridge, or cream teas at The Duddleswell Tea Rooms, followed by wildlife spotting across the open heath.

The beaches, coastline and beautiful scenery have many other distractions some of which I have listed below. To have a real adventure you should contact Nigel and Maria from So Sussex who arrange trips and tours of the area for individuals and groups. You can go hiking, fishing, mushroom walking, mountain biking or canoeing.

Middle Farm is an exciting open farm on the A27 near Firle, and Drusillas Zoo Park is a little further on towards Eastbourne and has lemurs, meerkats,  monkeys, reptiles, and birds. En route you could stop off for a quick tour  at Charleston the Sussex home of the Bloomsbury set

Lewes and Burgess Hill both have great leisure centres with brilliant swimming pools, and Plumpton has a national hunt racecourse

There is an amazing Observatory at Hurstmonceux which is alwauys worth a trip even when the weather is a bit drab.

We are lucky to have a couple of local steam train running The famous Bluebell Railway at Sheffield Park is a great day out and there is the diminutive Lavendar Line at Isfield although i am still waiting for their leaflets from the Chairman.

There are some great walks in the local area at the Chailey Commons Society and we have heaps of routes available at reception for walks all around the local part of the South Downs or you can downoad copies in advance.

A particular favourites of mine is a wander through Knowlands Wood and across the fields to The Anchor Inn for an afternoons boating on the river Ouse. This can be followed up with some Wild swimming in the river ouse at Barcombe Mills

For people loving a swim you can also indulge yourselves in one of the countrys few spring fed outdoor swimming pools The Pells Pool in Lewes. It is old and cold but great fun on a hot afternoon. You can even get a curry from Chaulas 5 minutes down the road straight afterwards to warm up

Great restaurants in Lewes

Do you ever get that late afternoon, longing for a brilliant pizza? Not the sort you get in those restaurant chains which can still be fun to eat, but I’m talking about a pizza that has some earthy personality to it, one that feels really genuine. If you do then your luck is in if you stay at the secret campsite because we have the Hearth.

This is a pizza restaurant located over the bus station in Lewes.

If you are so lazy, that you cant walk the extra 15 yards to the Hearth after parking next door to Lewes Waitrose, you are in luck. There is a fantastic Indian restaurant, Chaulas right opposite.

They do really interesting curries here and a buffet at lunchtimes, but this is a more sophisticated Indian restaurant and you can even buy frozen take aways to reheat over the campfire when you get back from Lewes and make your neighboring campers very envious.

Bluebells everywhere

This is a beautiful time of year around the campsite. Some of the pitches looking into the woodland get the most amazing display of bluebells with a carpet of blue flowers stretching into the heart of Knowlands Wood.

If you walk through the woods, there are often large clumps of white, wood anemones alongside the bluebells but making much less of an impact on the eye.

The bluebells all do well in woodland that hasn’t leafed up yet so that they can complete their pollination and set seed whilst there is still light at ground level

The link above is to a fantastic web site Plants for a Future pfaf.org where you can investigate plant for their edibility and medicinal uses. This is particularly useful in a famine or if you fancy a little self medication.

How far to Pooh Bridge

Lots of people camping at The Secret Campsite come with their family and there is often one or two members of the party, who are fans of Winnie the Pooh. AA Milne was a Sussex based author and Hartfield, the home of Winnie the Pooh is only 15 miles away from the campsite, across the Ashdown Forest. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the car park.

The Ashdown Forest is a beautiful expanse of open land, created as a Royal deer hunting park, on the Sussex Weald and it’s great for spotting all sorts of wildife. Last year Cliff and I went there on a successful Nightjar hunt.

To find the Pooh sticks bridge, just before you reach Hartfield you can turn left off the main road and park up in one of the numerous car parks used by AA Milne aficionados and walkers. The bridge was made famous by Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh in tales from the Five Hundred Acre Woods. The pair of them wiled numerous days away racing each others sticks in the river that runs beneath the, rather to modern, bridge. Needless to say you are advised to take your own sticks as there aren’t many to be found in the vicinity.

There is a straightforward map at the following website

Lewes Christmas Farmers market

Here is a photo of Lewes Farmers market before Christmas.

The campsite is closed at the moment but Lewes isn’t and it was a great place to get some edible delicacies for christmas.

I took a photo of the sun rising up over the trees of Knowlands Woods.

Its all very quiet around The Secret Campsite now, but a great time to see the deer processing through the woods and hopefully the Barn Owl will make an appearance.

Come to Octoberfeast and stay at our Campsite near Lewes

We are really lucky that our campsite near Lewes in sunny East Sussex is so close to all of the exciting and interesting things that go on there.

This autumn is the annual Octoberfeast event when the town and local people showcase their brilliant cooking and eating skills with a fortnight of scoffing and indulgence. It runs from the 18th September until 4th October and is packed with events such as Pop up Suppers, community apple pressing, a soup festival,  expert talks, workshops and masterclasses, and a brilliant street food feast, wow.

To get the best out of the event you might want to book a night or two camping and stay over at our campsite near Lewes, the Secret Campsite. You could even stay at the luxury bed and breakfast next door at whitelodge . We are just 4.5 miles from Lewes and you can easily get a taxi home, or if you haven’t eaten too much and become rather portly you could walk. It only takes a couple of hours and is virtually all off road. You start out along the river Ouse and then across my mates sweetcorn farm and finally criss cross some footpaths past the pub and back down the railway track to the campsite. It’s a breeze and very jolly. No one is likely to hitch, as this seems to be a dying pastime, which is a shame.

A wild day in the woods

This event with the Sussex Wildlife Trust will follow the footprints into the woods. Don’t get lost. Find our fire site hidden in the trees and join us for a day in the forest. Practise lighting a fire, build a shelter, get creative with mud, chalk, charcoal and wood or just enjoy the day sitting by the fire eating marshmallows on sticks. Bring lunch because you will want to stay all day!

Suitable for children aged 7-11 years. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Limited Disabled access to Friston Forest

Toilets at Visitor Centre. Disabled toilets at Visitor Centre

Pay & display car park charges apply
Sorry no dogs

Bus nos. 12 and 13 between Brighton and Eastbourne stop at SSCP. Seaford railway station links with bus service to SSCP.

Drop-in event

Suggested Donation of £4 per child to Sussex Wildlife Trust appreciated.

The Seven Sisters Country Park is 17 miles from The Secret Campsite in East Sussex

Sussex Wildlife Trust Family Bushcraft

A chance for parents and children to get out into the woods, work together and learn some basic bush craft skills which will include fire lighting, shelter building, tool use and cooking. This event is 18 miles from the Secret Campsite at Sussex Wildlife Trust Seven Sisters Country Park. see the web site for more information

Suitable for children aged 7-11 years and their parents. Children must be accompanied by an adult.