We arrived at Heaven Farm on a sunny Friday afternoon in May, in need of some relaxation after a particularly bad week at work. Thankfully, we picked a site which allowed us to do just that!
It doesn’t sell itself as a campsite but as more of a tourist attraction. As we turned down the gravel drive, we could see it had it all – a lovely old farmhouse and barns (housing a farming museum!), a tea room, farm shop, garden shop, gift shop, a nature trail and a kangaroo enclosure – all set within 100 acres of rolling Sussex countryside.
And then, almost tacked on the side, is the campsite. This comprises a small paddock for the caravans & motor homes and beyond that the meadow where we pitched. There’s also a small enclosed area (5 pitches) dedicated to The Caravan Club.
We planned our weekend too late to secure a spot with the electric hook-ups, but this didn’t matter – we were actually glad to be in the meadow even if it meant we couldn’t recharge our lantern! Ok, so most campsites are located in fields, but not like this. Heaven Farm’s large camping meadow has just 15 pitches, and they are spaced out across the two far sides of the field. This means that every pitch has an aspect looking back across the unadulterated meadow with enough space between the pitches to give a sense of privacy. You can’t see the paddock, or any of the farm buildings for that matter, from the bottom of the meadow. It gives a terrific sense of space and a real feeling of being ‘in the country’.
This is helped by the chickens, ducks and turkeys roaming freely around the farm buildings and the paddock, and white doves sweeping in great circles between the farm buildings and their dovecot.
The pitches are numbered and we had pitch No. 1 which is at one end of the meadow. The best thing about it was getting our fair share of the morning sunrise and also being bathed in sunshine during the evening. We were blessed with fantastic weather and the setting really helped make the most of it. On the down side, we were relatively close to the main road, and although there wasn’t a constant stream of traffic, it did create a bit of noise.
Our slightly sloping pitch also meant we made a campervan novice error – leaving the cooker unattended for a few seconds resulted in a very wet and soggy floor in the van. We think that pitches 7-15 are flatter, but don’t benefit from the setting sun as much.
Admittedly, the meadow is a bit of a hike to the toilets, but it’s worth it! Talking of facilities, the toilets and showers are clean and free of charge but fairly limited in quantity (for women at least) – there are 2 unisex bathrooms each with shower, basin and toilet and plenty of space to get ready, and an additional toilet. There is also a separate gents’ block housing two toilets and a shower (I don’t really understand why there are more facilities for men!). There are also a couple of sinks for doing the washing up. But remember to bring your torch as there is no night time lighting.
Dogs and children are welcome at Heaven Farm. There are plenty of things to amuse everyone. As well as the tea room (which offers everything from snacks to curries and cream teas), the farm museum houses a wild array of old machinery and farming tools to keep the younger ones interested. The three real tractors parked by the tea room benches are clearly there for the kids to ‘ride’ on but plenty of adults seem to enjoy having a go too.
Perhaps the best hidden feature is the Woodland Walk Nature Trail. There is a £3.50 charge to walk the trail which might seem expensive but it really is amazing, particularly in spring when the bluebells are in their full glory. We went past the entrance while walking Conker towards the neighbouring meadow but ended up at the tail end of the trail quite by accident. So we walked the trail backwards to the start. This took us through some bluebell woods which gave off a beautiful blue haze in the dappled sunlight (we spent a long time here taking photos!). Back across the meadow we entered another blue bell wood with a small stream running through it. To say it was magical would be a cliché, but it really is special. Apparently, the farm owner spends most of his time tending to the trail, so when you put this into perspective, you realise it is worth the £3.50!
Off-site, one possible downside of Heaven Farm is that’s it’s a bit of a trek to the pub. Unfortunately, the campsite owner was not able to give us directions for the route on foot on our first night, so we purchased an OS map on our second day! It’s a lovely 40 minute walk through the farmland and adjoining woodland but you do need to try and get back before it gets too dark if you don’t want to get lost! There are some lovely pubs in the area, including the Coach & Horses at Danehill which does great food.
The tariff at Heaven Farm is £12-14 per night for 2 people and a tent or campervan.