Freshwinds

UK England South East England East Sussex Hastings

  • Campfires allowed
  • Short walk to pub
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
Think this 'great outdoors' lark is all tangled-up tent and midge-repellant? Then Freshwinds is the spot for you.

Lush, undulating fields of kermit-green, tanned a rich red hue come summertime; fringes of forests the barn owls and jenny wrens call home. Do campsite settings come more idyllic than this? Nestled deep in the heart of 1066 Country, the 200 acre Pickham Farm plays host to the lovely Lander family's über-luxurious Freshwinds Camping. This scenic setting sits equidistant from both Rye and Hastings – two of East Sussex's most enchanting enclaves.

First-time camper? Think this 'great outdoors' lark is all tangled-up tent and midge-repellant? Then Freshwinds is the spot for you. There's a wealth of accommodation options on offer to suit all tastes, group sizes and budgets. Sat atop a spacious decking area (with seating and a firepit), the darling Shepherd's Hut is ideal for couples. Comfortably sleeping two on a proper double bed (fluffy pillows and duvet included), this cosy abode sits nice and secluded, but just two minutes from the farmhouse where you'll find flush-toilet, shower and washing up area (you'll also find a compost loo nearer the hut). It comes with a great little kitchenette equipped with all the basics you could need, while the wood-burning stove keeps things nice and toasty at night.

For larger groups looking to bring a flavour of the east to East Sussex, Freshwinds boasts a couple of twin Mongolian-style yurts. The Owl Yurt sits beside a tranquil pond and enjoys unheeded views over the valley. The Woodland Yurt is actually two yurts – one for living (wood-burning stove, and futons which can easily sleep 6), the other for kipping (sumptuous double bed) – perfect for those seeking sylvan seclusion.          

The real gem here though is the tents-only camping field. With space for just 15 pitches, this off-the-grid grassland lies beside a small stream and features even more secluded pitches in a private woodland glade. There's no cars and that buzzing you hear is only the honey bees, not any electric hook-ups. Why not travel light and rent the four-man Freshwinds tipi, complete with wood-burning stove? Best of all, you can admire the unspoilt night sky by the warming glow of your very own campfire.

No matter where you lay your hat, you'll find a care and attention-to-detail throughout. That said, you're still very much aware that you are camping on a bona-fide Sussex farm. Your fellow farm residents include 30 strong herd of suckler cows, a flock of 130 ewes, plus a handful of hens who'll lay your breakfast eggs. You can even sample some of the farm's own meat products, or why not arrange a welcome pack of one-pot meals to heat up on arrival? Ask nicely and gracious hostess Anne might even let you help muck in with the farmyard chores. Just be sure not to get on the wrong side of Harry the Bull. But then again, could one really have a 'wrong side' in a setting so relaxing as Freshwinds?

Details

Facilities

Two showers, two compost toilets, a camp kitchen (with washing up area), and a covered seating area. The yurts and a shepherd hut have their own compost toilets. The farm has two electric showers and a flush toilet and a gorgeous garden to stroll through. Campfires are allowed, they just ask that you don't have them in the same spot as previous campers or take kindling from the woodland. You can buy logs for £5.

Suitable For

Tents – yes. Caravans, dogs – no. Large family groups are permitted but not groups of adults.

Nearby

The gorgeous medieval port town of Rye is just a few minutes' drive from the site. Amble along its quaint cobbled streets, admire its timber-beamed 13th century houses, and marvel at the treasures in its antique shops. On the outskirts, the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve (01797 227 784) plays host to an astonishing array of wetland waders and other coastal birds. Nearby Winchelsea is Rye in miniature – a quintessentially English hamlet, with a beautiful ruined church. Beachwise, Camber Sands lies a short drive away. Its massive expanse and sand dunes are ideal for long blustery walks. Cosmopolitan Hastings is a pleasing mix of traditional seaside charm and a vibrant arts scene. The Jerwood Gallery (01424 728 377) houses an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art, while lovely Hastings Old Town boasts the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in Europe. Explore the ruins of William the Conqueror's first English castle, atop the West Hill. You can take the West Hill Cliff Railway (01424 451 111), the UK's steepest funicular, and enjoy panoramic views over the South Coast. Neighbouring Battle is the site of the pivotal moment in English history. Learn all about the Norman conquest at the English Heritage-run 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield (01424 775 705). If you're camping in October, be sure to attend the annual re-enactment. Just be wary of any arching arrows (as Harold found out to his cost).

Food & Drink

Two cracking pubs within walking distance. Head to The Royal Oak (01424 812 515) for a sophisticated yet reasonably-priced menu that boasts the best Sussex produce including fish from the fleets at Hastings and Rye, and meat from Romney Marsh. The Two Sawyers (01424 812 255) is a quintessential 16th century Sussex inn with bucketfuls of character. This Good Pub Guide-approved freehouse offers a healthy selection of ales and single malts. They also do a quiz every Tuesday night.

Opening Times

1st April – end of September.

Accommodation

15 pitches spread across the woodland glade and field. There's also a Tipi, Shepherds Hut (sleeps two), plus the Owl and Woodland Yurts (the former comprises both a main living area yurt and a smaller one for sleeping).

No availability showing at Freshwinds.

Location

Contact Freshwinds, Freshwinds, Pickham Farm, Watermill Lane, Pett, Hastings, East Sussex TN35 4HX

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Getting There

Follow the A259 out of Hastings towards Rye, turn Right opposite the Whitehart Beefeater pub down to Pett Village, take third lane on left Watermill Lane, the farm is 1 mile down the lane on the right.  

Nearest train station is Hastings and from there you need to catch the 100 bus to Rye and disembark at the Robin Hood pub in Icklesham and walk the 1.5 miles down Watermill Lane to the farm.

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