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Care-free, pop-up camping in the Kent Downs, with ample space, glowing campfires and expert owners.

For space, sunsets and simple, back-to-basics charm, few sites come close to this new, pop-up campsite four miles from the Kent coast. Open during the school summer holidays only, Pete’s Field is, for most of the year, grazed by Cole Farm’s cattle and home to roaming rabbits and pheasants. Unsurprisingly, then, given it is only around for a month, this is a small-scale and wild-feeling campsite, where ‘digital detox’ is the buzzword. There’s no Wi-Fi, toilets are in a cleverly converted container, while open-air bucket showers offer blissfully basic outdoor bathing. For those who like the grass-stained knees and tyre-swing fun of proper camping, however, the place is a haven.

Though a new campsite, the couple behind Pete’s Field are a dab hand at happy camping. Having worked as wardens on another Cool Camping recommended location for several years, they know that a plentiful supply of logs and comprehensive pointers to the local pub (200-meters away) are all important. Pete (yes, the Pete) is a campfire-lighting supremo, while Amy’s adventure credentials have seen her write articles for camping websites and outdoors retailers. Their nous for good ideas, includes separate parking, so that the camping meadow is car free, and a trio of pre-pitched bell tents for campers without their own equipment.

At the south-west end of the Kent Downs AONB, Pete's Field is in a nimble position for walkers – it’s less than a mile off the North Downs Way – as well as being close to the beaches around Hythe, Folkestone and Dover. In fact, the campsite is twice as close to France as it is to London, though the capital is only just over an hours’ drive away. It’s enough distance that urbanites can admire wonderfully dark, starry skies and proper countryside sunsets, as well as dainty little villages like local Paddlesworth. Its quirky charms include a pub called The Cat and Custard Pot – owing to a badly painted picture of a red lion – and an 11th-century church that gave rise to the wonderfully self-deprecating village motto, “Highest Church, Lowest Steeple, Poorest Parish, Fewest People”.

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The campsite owner says

Our quiet, campsite, Pete's Field, is popping up at Cole Farm in the Kent Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We'll be open for four weeks only in August 2018 and will be offering back-to-basics camping – with campfires allowed. We have 20 pitches for people with their own tents and three bell tents set up for people who don't fancy pitching their own. If you like wildlife, walking, quiet camping and campfires, why don't you join us?

As a pop-up campsite with a focus on camping, we don't have a snazzy facilities block, wifi or even electric hook-up, we just offer classic camping where watching sunset over the Downs and toasting marshmallows on the campfire counts as entertainment. Having said that, as keen campers ourselves, we know how important it is to have clean toilets and a place to scrub up after a night around the campfire so we've got a cleverly converted container with flushing toilets as well as open air bucket showers and washing-up facilities. We keep Pete's Field peaceful with a no amplified music policy, quiet after 10pm and cars parked in a separate field.

Our bell tents are simply furnished and set up for four with a double mattress on a futon base for a comfortable night's sleep as well as fold-out beds for kids (or extra adults). We also provide a picnic bench, two camping chairs and a fire bowl with your tent and cooking equipment that's suitable for use over the flames. We'll even thrown in a few logs to help you get your campfire started. We have fire bowls and braziers available for campers to hire and logs for sale too.

Cole Farm is a small working farm owned by the Clayson family who keep a small herd of cows within their 60 acres. They have been kind enough to let us set up in a field in the middle of the farm so we can share the views they enjoy from the farmhouse. Situated in the tiny village of Paddlesworth, which has a pub, a church and a few farms, it is the perfect place to relax, read a book and generally enjoy the Kent countryside. It's also in a great location for visiting the seaside at Folkestone or Hythe, historic Canterbury or Dover Castle. As it's just a couple of miles from the Channel Tunnel and less than ten miles from the port at Dover, it also makes a great stopping-off point if you're on your way to or from France.

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