Knepp Wildland Safaris & Camping

UK England South East England West Sussex Billingshurst

  • Campfires allowed
  • Groups welcome
  • Adults only
  • Short walk to pub
  • Good walks nearby
Talk and squeak and squawk with the animals at this breathtakingly beautiful West Sussex conservation project – the largest of its kind in lowland Britain

It all started with a vision. The sprawling Knepp Estate – centred around a picturesque John Nash-designed castle – had been intensively farmed for arable and dairy for over fifty years. But with heavy Sussex clay not ideal for modern farming and Knepp struggling to survive, an ambitious new approach was needed. In 2000, owner Charlie Burrell turned his thoughts to ways of working with the land, rather than constantly battling against it and, inspired by conservation projects in Europe, hit upon the idea of using grazing animals to help return natural processes to the soil. In his words, ‘We took our hands off the steering wheel, and let Nature take over'.

Now, over a decade later, the largest rewilding project in lowland Britain has transformed the Knepp Estate into a veritable Eden of biodiversity. Herds of free-roaming Exmoor ponies, Longhorn cattle, Tamworth pigs, and red and fallow deer rove the estate’s 3,500 acres. Their different ways of grazing and selecting plants has stimulated a patchwork of interlinking natural habitats from wood pasture to water meadows, groves of willows and complex scrub. This unique environment is a magnet for nightingales, turtle doves, cuckoos and purple emperor butterflies.

The Knepp Wildland Project's expert ecologists offer a range of guided safaris around this sprawling site. So if you're batty about bats, or the bees get you buzzing, you can choose the tour that suits you best. Or if you'd prefer a more bespoke experience, the dedicated team here are happy to accommodate. What could be more awe-inspring than experiencing the wildlife up close? Camping here, that's what!

While the setting feels every bit as wildly exotic as the Serengeti, camping at the Knepp Estate is far from a primitive experience. There's a dizzying array of fabulous glamping abodes available, from shepherd's huts, yurts and bell tents of all shapes and sizes (think of it as wild camping, with a little 'w'). But we reckon for a true sense of getting back to nature, the off-grid camping pitches can't be beaten. And they allow campfires! And as for the key ingredients for that all important campsite barbecue, you can't get more free-range than the very livestock roaming this unspoilt, herbaceous hideaway, available to buy onsite.

Waking up to the sounds of nature is one of the great joys of camping. But the early-morning call of the resident beasts at Knepp Estate offers an added thrill – knowing that you're camping in one of the England's great mini-wildernesses, where nature reigns harmoniously.

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Details

Facilities

Proper flush loos, wet-room showers with underfloor heating, outdoor showers and open-air bath tubs. Glampers have the run of a fully-equipped camp kitchen with gas cooker and fridge/freezer. For those pitching their own, the off-grid ‘Pitch Up’ has a steel drum wood burner, solar-powered phone-charger and café-style tables and chairs. Tractor wheel hub fire-pits, fitted with BBQ grills, available for every pitch. WiFi at reception/shop. Miles and miles of footpaths throughout the rewilding project, and 6 tree platforms for that perfect view – walking maps provided. Yoga yurt offers a range of classes and massage treatments. Most importantly, of course, don’t miss the chance to go on a safari! Call Knepp Wildland to book ahead, or check the chalk board for availability.

Suitable For

Adults and children 12+ only – ideal for glamping or camping couples looking for a wild retreat. Small groups accepted (no stag and hen dos or rowdy parties – to preserve the tranquillity). No dogs, caravans, camper vans…or poachers. 

Nearby

You might find it nigh on impossible to tear yourself away from this Edenesque hideaway. However, should you venture forth, the South Downs, England’s newest national park, is a short drive away, with Devil’s Dyke – a mile long valley – a spectacular draw. If stately country piles and exquisitely landscaped gardens are your thing, Petworth House (01798 342207), Arundel Castle (01903 882173) and nearby Parham House(01903 742021) are worth a visit.

Food & Drink

Look no further than the Knepp Wildland safari shop where you can buy organic ‘Wild Range’ longhorn steaks, venison burgers and Tamworth sausages for the BBQ. Delectable breakfast baskets featuring Knepp eggs and Tamworth bacon are available to pre-order. There’s a range of provisions from pizza dough and toppings (to cook up in the wood fired-pizza ovens!), pasta and wild garlic pesto, Horsham ginger biscuits and even organic Cocoa Loco chocolate made on the Estate. Most importantly, the shop has a liquor license and sells organic beers, cider, wine and the local prize-winning Wiston bubbly! The choice of the local boozers are the Crown Inn (01403 710902; Dial Post), the Countryman Inn (01403 741383; Shipley) and the George and Dragon (01403 741320; Shipley). 

Opening Times

Easter–October.

Why book with I Love This Campsite?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
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  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

The Owner Says

Knepp – one of the largest re-wilding projects in lowland Europe Encounter herds of wild ponies, cattle, deer and pigs as they roam 3,500 acres of Sussex, driving the forces of habitat regeneration. Join us on one of our vehicle-based safaris or guided walking tours and experience our profusion of birds, mammals, butterflies, beetles, reptiles, plants and fungi in a setting that feels as wild and dynamic as the African bush. 'Pitch your own' in our exclusive Wildland campsite. You don’t have to take one of our safaris to stay here, and you don’t have to stay here to take a safari – though naturally we hope you’ll be tempted to combine the two. For reasons of safety and to ensure quiet observation of our wildlife we operate a 12yrs+ policy.

Video Tour

Pitches

Regular camping with a limited number of pitches in a wildflower meadow on the edge of an ancient wood. There are also 3 furnished shepherd's huts, 3 bell tents, a huge tipi and 2 yurts.
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Location

Contact Knepp Wildland Safaris & Camping , New Barn Farm, Swallows Lane, Dial Post, West Sussex RH13 8NN

Getting There

The turning for the campsite is off Swallows Lane. The grid reference for the car park is: TQ 150 203.

Travelling south from Horsham on the A24 take the first turn off for Dial Post on the right, then take the first right onto Swallows Lane. New Barn Farm track is on the left just after the national speed limit signs.

Travelling north from Worthing take the first turn for Dial Post on the left, go past the pub and then take the second left down Swallows lane, New Barn Farm track is on the left just after the national speed limit signs.

The nearest train stations are Horsham, Christ’s Hospital, Billingshurst and Pulborough. There’s a taxi rank at Horsham station and the Carfax in the centre of town, and Billingshurst and Pulborough stations but not at Christ’s Hospital.

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Why book with I Love This Campsite?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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