The Wash House

The new Wash House at the Secret Campsite,Lewes

11 years after we launched the Secret Campsite back in 2012, we wanted to upgrade our facilities in a forward looking, sustainable way. I have recently worked with Adam from his pioneering business Small 99 and the Green Growth platform to calculate our carbon footprint. So, this part was critical.

Wildlife has always been the focus here since we launched and minimising our impact on it is critical. So, whatever we do needs that at the forefront.


Our first job was to find an architect and a visionary construction team and we couldn’t be luckier than having Local Works Studio located within the same parish of Barcombe.

Ben and Loretta launched Local Works to inform landscape and building developments. They help focus projects on the use of local and renewable materials. This approach has a huge benefit on the carbon footprint of a facility and is right up our street.

Local Works collaborated with local architect Shaun Ryder of Rural Workshop. Shaun has a practical, creative flair and a background in timber buildings and green woodworking. He has prioritised the use of locally grown timber from Andrew Coates at Wilderness Wood, and redundant Telegraph poles from Crowborough. Previously loved roofing materials from Burgess Hill and locally handmade accessories, such as benches and balustrades will also feature in the finished construction.

The focus of the building is to create an open, outdoor space providing toilets, showers and washing up facilities at the heart of the campsite. We love Shaun’s clever design that has minimised the use of high carbon materials, such as concrete.

Water and plumbing

The plumbing will integrate a rainwater harvesting system which will collect water from the large central barn. Once stored this rainwater will be used for flushing toilets. In time our harvested water could be upgraded for washing and drinking, but for now, it’s only the loos that get to meet it. 

To furthur minimise the use of imported water, we will install low flow showers and toilet flushes and we’ll have one unheated shower for the brave and for hot days at the campsite.

All hot water will have been heated through our 19 KW solar PV system located on the adjoining barn. 

Waste water from the showers, toilets and washing up area will be treated by our solar powered, low energy, sewage treatment plant sourced from Kee. The plumbing system will be installed by Chris and his team from Wave Plumbing.


Power to the Wash House is connected to our large 19 KW solar PV system. This will provide touch free, low energy lighting and hot water. John Church electricians will be installing the system, which includes solar powered pumps for the rainwater harvesting and sewage treatment systems.


The building frame will be supported using recycled telegraph poles. Much of the wooden deck and walls has been grown and harvested from within 12 miles of The Secret Campsite. The roofing panels will be a mixture of pre-used items.


Most important for us will be how we create interesting spaces for the local wildlife. This will be in, around and under the structure. Its also critical that we keep the lights dimmed for the bats.

It’s an exciting project and we hope it will be completed in early May. 

Watch this space…

Aiming for Net Zero

We’ve been working with the pioneering consultancy small99 and the Green Growth Platform to achieve net zero at the campsite.

It’s been a fun and surprisingly straightforward process and has thrown up some illuminating topics of discussion. Now that we know roughly what we create, we can get to work to reduce it and hopefully achieve a net zero carbon position in the coming years.

You can read all about the journey we have been on and the main topics we need to tackle here