Often our midweek camping guests are professionals from Brighton’s writing, art, creative or music scenes.
These urban escapees were the inspiration for our Escapee’s Handbook (link below). They tell us that one or two evenings in pursuit of Nothing Much can be just the reset that they crave from their hectic city lives.
Without going far, or spending much money, you can find yourself, as one visitor put it, ‘a million miles’ from everyday life – but, still back in time for the last part of the week.
Share some of the love our real Escapees have for the secret campsite here, or…
So what is a real camping escape all about?
We wrote the handbook to try and summarise what you might do and here are a few excerpts from the book that might help you to escape the hum drum of daily life, even if its for just 12 hours, but you might need a bit longer.
1. Make a herbal tea
OK, it’s not rocket science, but take a tip from PG tips and only tip the tips into your tea.
- At the Tea Garden in the Secret Campsite, pick off the end of the leaves from the type of tea you want to make – enough to fill the palm of your hand. Therri, the local herbalist, has labelled the plants so you’ll know what you are getting into and what you should leave alone.
- In an ideal world, you’d pop your harvest in a tea strainer or piece of muslin, but we’ll just chuck it in the cup.
- Pour boiling water over the leaves and leave this brew to steep for three minutes.
- Sup slowly picking the bits of leaves off your top lip, unless you’ve remembered your tea strainer… which is unlikely on a camping trip.
2. Walk to the pub
The biggest dilemma is which pub to chose.
For simplicity and good hearty food, we have chosen the Anchor Inn at Barcombe Mills. It’s a beautiful 45 minute amble along the old railway track, through Knowlands Woods nature reserve, past the weir with the deer standing by the waters edge, over the quiet country road and through the fields, culminating in a short stretch along the single track road that leads up to another dismantled railway, the river Ouse and at last, a welcoming little pub on the river bank.
Mind you don’t walk straight into the river as you approach the pub in a daydreaming haze and enjoy watching the inexperienced rowers paddling around in circles as they attempt to master their oars. This is a great place to clear your head as the river meanders by.
3. BBQ-d steak sandwich
This is our tried and tested method for culinary bliss. Sure it’s rustic, but it’s good. Controversially we use a frying pan over the fire – it just tastes better.
Ingredients: (servers 2)
2 sirloin steaks
1 large baguette
Rocket or other foraged leaves – sage from the Edible Garden if it’s in season, young dandelion leaves are great too.
Salt & Pepper
A nice French dressing
- Start fire, if cooking directly over the heat, wait till the fire has died down and the charcoal is still really hot. If you’re ‘day in the great outdoors’- hungry and a bit impatient, a frying pan is the best option. We think it tastes better too.
- Season the steaks with salt only (pepper burns and should go on after). Melt plenty of butter in the pan and wait till it bubbles.
- Throw in the steaks and turn every minute for around four minutes. Cut it open to see if it’s cooked to your liking. Remove from heat.
- Break open the baguette, throw on the leaves, slice the steak the width of your finger, don’t slice your finger, and place on baguette. Grate on some umami-tastic parmesan, and a drizzle of some dressing you have lying around from the last camping trip.
- Open wine, open mouth, eat. If it’s not dripping off your elbows they’re overcooked.
4. Spot pantones in nature
This can keep our midweek camping kids amused for hours ( and anyone who has to look at a Pantone book for work). Head off with a suitable receptacle to find as many different coloured things as possible, (try to leave the rare orchids in the ground though) Dead leaves, violets, bark, empty snail shells – it all goes in. Once you think you have everything, then come back and make a rainbow collage, or perhaps cut five pieces of paper and paste all the similar coloured pieces on them. Perfect for collages.
5. Sit still
A Sit spot is a brilliant way of clearing your mind. This is how doing Nothing Much can change the way you see the countryside and it works brilliantly.
You know when you walk through the woods? That’s the view of nature hiding. A sit spot couldn’t be simpler.
After a few minutes, a bird may flit onto a nearby branch,
a hedgehog may trot across the lane,
a deer may come into view.
By sitting dead still, you’re no threat.
Wildlife tends to be more active at dawn and dusk. Walk into the woods, find somewhere comfy (ish) and sit still and see nature as they do.