Planting trees and shrubs around the campsite

view of a camping pitch at the secret campsite

We set The Secret Campsite up as a place where campers could relax and connect with the natural world around a campfire down in sunny Sussex.

To ensure that we deliver this we spend lots of time enhancing parts of the campsite so that more of our native flora and fauna move in. This year I set myself the task of planting 150 new tress and shrubs.

My favourite part of the planting process is chosing the plants that will do a great job for us. So, selecting indigenous species is critical, then matching them to our underlying soil conditions. We’re in Sussex so The Secret Campsite unsurprisingly sits on clay. Bone dry in the summer and soaking wet throughthe winter.

When we first set up the campsite we had a grant from the Woodland Trust and we sourced the plants from Ashridge Nurseries in Somerset. I have used them quite a few times since then as their plants have normally been great.

What we planted

This year we ordered 2 packs, one focused on bird friendly plants and the other focused on edible plants that campers can enjoy foraging with at different time during the season.

The bird friendly pack included the following species: Hawthorm, Wild privet, Crabapple, blackthorn, Guelder rose, Hazel, Common Pear, Purple barberry and Scotch rose. These plants have been dotted around the Bank part of the campsite in clumps and as screening for some of the pitches.

The edible pack included: Cherry plum, Crabapple, Blackberry, Blackthorn, Hazel, Autumn olives, Elder, and Sweet briar rose. As they mature they will provide a rich mix of berries, nuts and fruits to compliment our eclectic orchard.

Finally, I put in a large Common Walnut, positioned to screen the Okra (more on this beautiful struture later). I also planted a Wild Service Tree which, in time, produces succulent fruits.

Its nearly the end of planting time so we were in a rush to get the last plants in.

Have a look at our video we really got our skates on.

How to enjoy a real camping trip

We love this short film by one of our campers who can be seen chopping up day lilies that she foraged on the campsite, to add to her evening salad. If you’re thinking of going on a real camping trip, why not have a quick look at this article and film that was posted by Xanthe Berkeley, after she stayed with us.

Each colour of day lily tastes slightly different. Some are pretty peppery, whilst others can be quite bland, so feel free to ask when you’re here.

Xanthe was camping with her family and they were looking to enjoy a peaceful couple of nights escape from everyday life, with a chance to do nothing much but relax and enjoy the surroundings.

It may give you some interesting ideas about how to spend your time at The Secret Campsite; eating, cooking over a campfire using freshly sourced ingredients and wiling your time away with wildlife and nature, playing cards and connecting with the people you have chosen to escape with. That is real camping.

We supply the fire stands and firewood from Sussex, you bring the free spirits.

One minute sound escape

If you’re sitting at a desk or stuck on a train here’s a one-minute escape courtesy of recent site visitor to The Secret Campsite, Graham Barrons Dad.

The dawn chorus.  Just perfect, and yet nothing much at all. Brings a smile to my face every time.


Campsite badger footage

It’s a shame, but whenever humans are around nature tends to get pushed to the edges of the space we are in so we often miss the wildlife that is all around us.

Here at The Secret Campsite our aim is to create conditions which reverses this a little, so that us humans get to enjoy and even interact with the brilliant species that we share the planet with.

Badgers are nocturnal, not to mention shy, but our friends at Sussex Wildlife Trust recently set up a video camera in woodland bordering the site to capture activity. Here are the results, to see the young badgers rolling around click on the lewes wildlife link and scroll down to the 30th april post, happy viewing, its all going on about 40 metres from where people are sleeping at The Secret Campsite….  spooky.


We’ve been trying out our new trail camera. I was hoping to get some footage of a badger in woods near Barcombe. Ended up with a bundle of badgers.

Posted by Lewes Wildlife on Thursday, 30 April 2015

Check out the bite-iest badger of the bunch.

Posted by Lewes Wildlife on Thursday, 30 April 2015