East Sussex tent camping holidays, High Weald
Barley Rise Camping offers stunning views over the Rother valley, within this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Peace, quiet and the natural environment are important to our family, who own and run this low-key rural campsite within easy walking distance of Stonegate mainline station. Most people come to the site for the tranquility and natural beauty of the area, but if you want a little sightseeing there are several interesting spots nearby, including Bateman’s National Trust property and Pashley Manor.
The campsite is “tent only”, which we think adds to the old-style camping experience -- in a good way. We see the farm as a rural retreat, rather than a mini Butlins. There are loos on site, although there are currently no washrooms.
If you fancy a proper campfire, you can use one of the designated fire pits (booked on a first-come-first-served basis). We also sell disposable barbecues. We ask you to please take all your rubbish home with you and recycle what you can. Due to our abundant wildlife, and for hygiene reasons, we do not accept dogs at the campsite. This means that you and your children can enjoy the grassy areas of the site without fear of mishap! For the enjoyment of all campers, we respectfully ask that you keep noise to a minimum (no music, instruments or generators). We’re proud of our peaceful site and hope you enjoy staying as much as we enjoy living here.
Rooms, food and facilities
Camping with tents only. No camper vans or caravans.
How this holiday makes a difference
The campsite at Barley Rise is a good 2 acre portion of a 10 acre field surrounded by conservation grassland and small, native woodlands in the heart of the High Weald. Where once there was wall-to-wall agriculture, we now practice low-intensity farming as well as having been involved in various conservation schemes which have helped the flora and fauna to flourish. The hedgerows around the field have been replanted with native, wildlife-friendly trees, such as beech, rowan and blackthorn and in only a few years, we and our visitors are reaping the rewards.
From your camping chair you can sit back and watch barn owls (who have set up home in our nest boxes), skylarks and goldfinches. If you are lucky, and still awake, you may even hear nightingales singing in Batts Wood nearby. It’s worth staying up for! Larger, four-legged visitors include fallow and row deer who leap across the River Rother to come and nibble our hedges -- and we’re trying to tempt otters upriver with the installation of otter holts. Fingers crossed for the future.
The camping field and surrounding fields all benefit from conservation headlands (areas of uncultivated land) meaning that erosion is kept to a minimum, which helps to stop silting of the river and, to a lesser degree, its estuary.
Having spent all our lives in the area, we like to share our local knowledge, as well as sharing a part of the countryside we love. (The field was left to us by a relative, who expressly wanted it used for camping... so the spirit of sharing lives on).
You really don’t have to go far afield for necessities or entertainment -- so it’s easy to keep things local. There are many shops in Burwash which have been owned and run by the same families for generations, including FJ Jarvis & Sons, the butchers. We can highly recommend Mr Jarvis’s "Burwash Beauties" which are a great sausage for your breakfast or barbecue.
If you get tired of camping food, there are several nice local pubs to choose from. The Wheel Inn at Burwash Weald prides itself on its locally sourced ingredients and beers by Harvey’s of Lewes (some of my family’s locally grown hops go into the brew!) and Shepherd Neame. In Burwash itself there is the Bear Inn and the Rose and Crown.
It’s easy to work up an appetite by walking or cycling to some of the nearby attractions (and you can get to us without a car, if you catch a train to Stonegate station, which is about 1½ miles away). Bateman’s, the former home of Rudyard Kipling -- and a beautiful stone manor house -- is just down the road. Waterloo Farm Pottery is only a 10 minute walk down the lane towards Mayfield. Claudine Cecil, the potter, creates unique, rustic ceramics which make a lovely memento of your time in East Sussex. Or, if you fancy some peace and quiet whilst fishing for trout, why not visit Lakedown Trout Fishery and, metaphorically speaking, step into the waders of Roger Daltrey (Daltrey set up the fishery after many years as lead singer of The Who).
The camping field is in the middle of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a landscape of rolling hills, small and irregular-shaped woods and fields as well as farmsteads and stunning Wealden villages such as Burwash. Our own lovely village, with its distinctive espaliered lime trees along the high street, is perched on a ridge, on an ancient routeway, where drovers, farmers, woodsmen and iron-masters would once have travelled. The sunken lanes, which tempt you away from the main road, were once drove roads -- where farmers would usher their pigs down into the woods and “dens” to forage for acorns. Once you’ve spotted the distinct steep sides of these pretty little lanes, you’ll never look at this landscape in quite the same way. So, if you’re trying to keep the kids occupied, try getting them to spot “dens” at the end of local place names. The Iron industry, first during Roman times, and then during the Tudor period, has also shaped the area around us. Although many of the ancient ironworks are hidden by woodland and undergrowth, you can still spot “hammer” and “forge” in farm, field, and place names such as Hammerden Farm, heading towards Stonegate, and Forge Wood at Etchingham. On our own field there was once a mill of another kind -- a windmill, which would have been used to grind grain for bread. There are still a huge number of historic building and farmsteads nearby, and the landscape is much as it would have been for centuries. It’s a really special spot.