New for summer 2024, Woodfire Camping is taking up residence on the ‘Chapel’ field on the lovely Firle Estate. New, beautifully-crafted hot showers and regenerative toilets; same incredible views of the South Downs (from a different spot, obviously), great food cooked every night over fire. Similar to our original site, Westerlands it’s a large, flat field with parking right next to it; wheelbarrows for carting gear on and off; campfires and campervans allowed. The crystal clear drinking water is piped straight from a nearby borehole on the Estate to the powerful hot showers and sinks.
We are deep in the South Downs National Park, which is a ‘dark sky reserve’, meaning we don’t have lighting onsite. Do bring your own torches but please no fairy lights on all night – they really disturb nocturnal wildlife.
Our powerful showers are in roomy cubicles with hooks, log seats and mirrors and plenty of space to get changed or wash children – we even have a double shower to make it easier!
Our covered washing-up area has three sink-and-a-halfs (sinks and a half?); drip-dry plate racks and log stools to stand on so no excuses for the kids not to do the washing up.
Our lovely, clean compost toilets turn something that is usually a waste product into a rich compost that helps things grow, making them both practical and beautiful!
Open for weekends and selected dates during school holidays from May until the end of August. Check availability & book!
Prices per person, per night (2-night minimum stay at weekends, 3 for bank holidays)
Adult (18+): £21
Child (3+): £10
Baby (-3): FREE
NB: booking as part of a group? PLEASE READ OUR FAQs!
Large pre-pitched tents (sleep up to 6)
These lovely 5-metre ‘touareg’ tents are large and solid with plenty of space and headroom. Unlike bell tents, they have windows so they’re also light and airy even in hot weather, and unlike synthetic fabrics, canvas doesn’t slap around noisily in the wind. They could sleep up to 8 though that would mean no space other than beds, but it gives you an idea of room available. We like them so much, we’re camping in one all summer ourselves! We have five available to book at Chapel Field.
Prices include parking for one vehicle (please let us know if you need to bring more), top-rated comfy airbeds (BYO sheets, duvets and pillows), hot water bottles and blankets on request, cosy bedroom lighting, a table and two benches that can seat up to eight. Please bring any extra lighting and other equipment you think you might need.
Open for weekends and selected dates during school holidays from May until the end of August. Check availability & book!
£78 a night for up to two people.
(Minimum 2 nights at weekends; 3 nights for bank holidays).
Additional price per person, per night:
Adult (16+): £39
Child (3+): £13
Baby (-3): FREE
– no pets in our pre-pitched tents, sorry.
– booking as part of a group? PLEASE READ OUR FAQs!
* We know holidays are expensive and that everyone is feeling the pinch. This year, we have had to put up our prices due to increasing costs, but if you are on Universal Credit it would be our pleasure to offer you 30% off.
When are you open? We are opening for just 60 days this summer (2024) so book your spot now! Weekends and school holidays* from May to September.
* except Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the summer holidays.
Are there any rules? Yes – these come partly from conditions imposed on us by the South Downs National Park when granted our campsite license and partly from our own experiences of creating a brilliant place for you to stay – you can find them below. They are mostly about respect and responsibility, which we’re sure you would show anyway, but we still need to spell them out. Please be aware that if you, or anyone you are responsible for, behaves in a way that may disturb other campers, you will be asked to leave immediately. And no one wants that.
I’ve heard you cook delicious food over fire which I can sit and eat al fresco with my friends in gorgeous surroundings while watching the sun set? Why, yes! Read what The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times, BBC Good Food and Countless Other Campers have to say about our food, and go to our food page here.
What is the Woodfire Camp Kitchen? This is the hub of the site and where you will find us most of the time, cooking the meals that we serve, chatting, giving directions, checking you in, giving small children jobs (they always want to help – it’s great!) etc etc. Please note, it’s not a kitchen for our guests to cook from.
Can we bring dogs? Absolutely, if you’re camping on one of our grass pitches (unfortunately we can’t accommodate dogs in our pre-pitched tents). As a working farm, there are many other animals around including lambs, foals and free range chickens who like to wander about – so long as you’re confident your dog will be well-behaved around these and other campers, dogs are welcome but please keep them on a lead at all times while on the campsite, follow the SDNP’s Take the Lead guidance and clear up after them immediately. Dogs are the owner’s responsibility and you will be asked to leave if they cause any problems.
Can we have campfires? Definitely – we sell firewood (sustainably coppiced local ash at £8 a bag). We can’t have fires on the ground, but you can bring your own firepit, or hire them from us for £10 for your whole stay depending on the size. No need to book these in advance, we have plenty. Please don’t collect wood locally as deadwood is really important for habitats, and if you make a fire of any sort (BBQ etc), keep it well away from tents, make sure you have one of our buckets full of water nearby; wet the ground around the fire first and make sure you put it out before you go to bed. A tent can go up in flames in 60 seconds!
Can we have barbecues? Of course – just make sure they’re raised off the ground – we have a few bricks around you can borrow if you need to. We also have a selection of grills you can borrow to put over your firepit for cooking on – you can’t book them in advance but we usually have enough. (Btw if you have any old oven/barbecue grills you’re thinking of chucking, we’d be delighted to take them off your hands and give them a new home).
Can we bring a caravan, campervan or motor home? We have designated spaces for up to five campervans/motorhomes but no caravans unfortunately, due to the restrictions of our planning permission. Please contact us if you would like to make a booking for a campervan so we can manage numbers – you just book a grass pitch (prices are the same as for tents) and add to your booking notes that you’re in a van when it asks.
Is there anywhere I can charge my EV? Unfortunately not this year, though we’re planning to for next. If you need to charge your car while you’re out and about, download the ‘Zap-map’ app which shows you all the electric charging points nearby on a map.
Can we play music? Everyone loves a campfire sing-song and a strum on the old guitar, but I’m afraid no-one truthfully enjoys your bongo drums (we took a straw poll and it was fairly conclusive) and we ask you not to play any electronic stuff at all – car radios and even phones can sound very irritating from just a few yards away. Sound travels a long distance in this area and to respect our neighbours and other campers, we ask for quiet talking voices only round the campfire after 10.30pm.
When do we need to arrive by? Any time between 2pm and either 9pm or sunset, whichever is earlier.
Do we need to check in? Yes! Someone from each pitch needs to check in before you put your tent up, by coming over to the Kitchen. This is for fire safety reasons amongst other things. We will need to know your car reg and explain a few things.
Do you allow cars on the field? No. To keep the field safe and quiet for everyone and the ground as intact as possible, we ask that you park up and transport your stuff in the rather stylish wheelbarrows provided. The car park is right next to the paddock so it’s not far (never further than 100m) and it means kids can run around freely, car doors aren’t slamming right by you the whole time and you don’t have that slight fear when people drive on after dark that they might not see your tent…
* Unless you have a mobility problem, in which case you can bring your car on to the field slowly, looking out for small children, frisbees and chickens at all times, and keep it parked by your tent. Please arrange this with us beforehand so we can save you a space close to the entrance and the toilets/showers.
Do you have a fridge for campers? No sorry – everyone just leaves their stuff in it when they go and then it goes off and smells revolting. This year we have no electricity on the field so no freezer either, sorry, but we hope to next year.
How do I recharge my phone or battery pack? Sorry, this year we don’t have any electricity on the field. Enjoy being off-grid!
Can we book a group? Yes! We love groups – we both grew up camping with big groups of friends, we know it’s one of the best ways to get together and we reward group organisers with free meals! (see below). However we are a small, albeit perfectly formed, campsite on one open paddock, rather than a forest or a sprawling site where you can take over one area. We’ve learned that having large groups on our site can change the atmosphere both for the group and for the rest of the campsite. Because of this we have now limited group sizes to 20 people across a maximum of five pitches (we realise that there may be the odd extra child or small tent) – if you want to book a group please read the info below first. If you are looking for a large group booking of 30 – 70 people check out our exclusive hire field and contact us for more info.
- We need you to know where your children are, that they understand things like how to use the toilets and where they can and can’t explore, for their own safety as much as respect for other campers and our neighbours. We also need you to know that we come round at 10.30pm and ask for quiet voices round the campfire so you don’t keep your neighbours up – if you’re planning on sitting up drinking until 2am, this means we’re not the campsite for you!
- To manage group bookings we ask that:
- Everyone books for themselves. We understand there may be exceptions such as elderly relatives/language barriers etc so do get in touch if this is tricky, but we want to avoid one person booking on behalf of of a large group.
- For any group of 12 or more, you nominate a “leader” (hi-viz and clip-board optional) who takes responsibility for everyone in their party knowing and following the way our campsite works. As thanks from us, they will get a free evening meal on the Saturday! Please let us know who the leader is when you make your booking in the booking notes.
- Give your group a name for everyone to add to their booking notes so we know you all want to pitch together. We don’t have formal numbered pitches, so it’s not like seats at the cinema – you can book at different times (depending on availability) and still pitch together – also people bringing their own tents can camp alongside pre-pitched tents.
If some of our group want pre-pitched tents and others bring their own, can we still all camp together? Yes, making sure there is at least one 3 metre gap that will allow an emergency vehicle to access all tents in your group. However campervans need to go in in specific parts of the field which are not next to the pre-pitched tents so if you are staying in both of these you’ll have 30 second walk between the two.
Do you accept stag and hen groups? If you’re planning a relaxing weekend camping, chatting, walking with a few friends, then absolutely. Everyone is welcome, so long as they understand that this is a peaceful, family campsite with children, and not suitable for loud or drunken behaviour and parties. However we do limit the size of all groups to 20 people across 5 pitches (see above). Just to reiterate, we ask for quiet after 10.30pm and if you behave in a way that may disturb other campers, you will be asked to leave immediately. If you are looking for a large group booking of 30 – 70 people check out our exclusive hire field and contact us for more info.
What restrictions are there on our tent size? Although we don’t have demarcated pitches, our allowance is 8x5m a pitch which is pretty massive – not many people know their tent sizes off the top of their head but rest assured most tents aren’t bigger than that. You can fit up to six people on a pitch but please note that the price only includes parking for one car.
What if we need to bring more than one car per pitch?
There is a free car park in Firle village a short walk away.
What time do we have to check out? We know packing up can take ages, so if you’re on a grass pitch, you don’t need to be off the field until 1pm. Check-out for pre-erected tents is 11am, to give us time to make things nice for the next campers
What do we do with our rubbish? We try to make it easy for you to recycle and compost as much as possible onsite, with clearly-labelled bins. We compost at the Camp Kitchen too and also have a bin for the chickens who appreciate your food scraps! One thing – we’d really appreciate it if you didn’t leave us with broken larger items such as punctured airbeds, chairs and even tents – we’re not the tip and it just means we have to make a trip there instead of you.
What is there to do nearby? So much! We are walking distance to Charleston Farmhouse, which has a fantastic programme of events, courses and exhibitions throughout the summer. We’re also just a couple of fields away from Hunter Gather Cook, if you want to combine your stay with one of their courses. Beanstalk Cottage Tea Garden is a few minutes down the track and the stately Firle House is also walking distance and well worth a visit with its amazing art collection, exhibitions and gardens. Middle Farm is a short walk away and has a great Open Farm, a play area for kids, a tearoom, garden nursery and great farm shop selling local produce. We’re right on the South Downs Way, so perfect for walkers and cyclists. Slightly further afield, are stunning villages and towns; Lewes, Brighton and Eastbourne as well as the coast, of course, with cliff walks, beaches and amazing swimming spots like Cuckmere Haven by Seven Sisters cliffs, where the Cuckmere river meets the sea. For more ideas, check out the Things to Do section below.
Is there a shop nearby? Yes, Middle Farm is a five minute drive – a wonderful farm shop with local produce, a tea room and even a garden nursery and open farm! The nearest supermarkets are in Lewes.
Where is the nearest beautiful walk? There are so many! This spot is ideal for amblers and ramblers – you can walk straight off the campsite and follow your nose up on to the Downs.
30 days or more before your stay, we will refund 90% of your booking.
29-15 days before your stay, we’ll refund 50% of your booking.
No refunds are available if you cancel 14 days or less before your stay.
To be legal about it, Woodfire Camping is used by all persons at their own risk. Camping at Woodfire entitles you to access the camping field and the farm drive from the public road to the campsite itself, the woods either side of the driveway are not owned by us, and exploring them may lead to our campsite license being revoked. The field leads directly on to a public footpath which takes you across plenty of stunning fields and through gorgeous woodland but we must ask you to respect the private property of our neighbours. The Firle Estate is a working farm and stud and parents must ensure children are properly supervised at all times.
Whilst we make every effort to ensure a safe campsite we cannot accept responsibility for your possessions or personal injuries sustained whilst on the property or having campfires, but we firmly believe that spending time in this rural environment with its inherent ‘risks’ teaches children – and everyone! – valuable lessons about life, which let’s face it, is not a zero-risk venture!
Standard GDPR notice: We collect your personal details, name, address, email, telephone number and credit card details when you place a booking, these details are used for the purposes of managing your booking and receiving your payment. Should you wish for your personal details to be removed from our booking database after your stay with us, or after cancelling your booking, you may instruct us to remove it by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, please include your booking reference with this request.
If you opt in to our mailing list whilst placing your booking, we will add your name, address and email details to our marketing database and use these details in order to communicate with you in the future. We will not share this information with anyone else. All of our marketing emails will include the ability to have your data removed from our marketing database.
WHETHER YOU WANT TO RELAX AROUND THE CAMPSITE, GO ON LOVELY WALKS AND BIKE RIDES NEARBY OR BE MORE ADVENTUROUS, THERE’S LOADS TO DO HERE, COME RAIN OR SHINE.
Nestled on the South Downs National Park, this spot is ideal for amblers and ramblers – you can explore the hillside of the Downs straight off the campsite and, as we are directly under Firle Beacon on the South Downs Way, we’re a perfect stop off.
This area is great for cyclists of all abilities, whether mountain biking along the South Downs Way or just pootling around the lanes – there’s a wealth of tracks and paths to explore.
When it’s hot and you want to be by water, we are close to the coast and beaches of Newhaven West (twenty minutes) and Saltdean – (a hidden gem and only 30 minutes away!) There is also the amazing swimming spot of Cuckmere Haven where the River Cuckmere meets the sea – check out the fantastic website Tideschart.com for super-local tide, weather and fishing info for Cuckmere and the surrounding beaches To be near water closer to the site (and one of our favourite spots) there’s also Pells Pool, an outdoor lido in Lewes fifteen minutes away.
Courses and on-site
We’re also just a couple of fields away from the lovely guys at Hunter Gather Cook, a foraging and cookery school that specialises in game butchery, wild cocktails and outdoor cookery, exclusively over live fire if you want to combine your stay with one of their courses.
Places to visit
Woodfire at Firle is lucky to be surrounded by fantastic cultural venues, historic houses and amazing gardens.
We are walking distance to Charleston Farmhouse, which has a fantastic programme of events, courses and exhibitions throughout the summer. The stately Firle House is also walkable and well worth a visit with its amazing art collection, exhibitions and gardens.
As we as the pretty village of Firle, Woodfire is close to the historic town of Lewes with a beautiful castle and great coffee shops. The seaside cities of Brighton and Eastbourne are less than thirty minutes away if you fancy something a bit more high-octane…
A walk to a proper country pub is one of best bits about camping. We are lucky enough to be within walking distance to two lovely locals. The wonderful Ram Inn in the village of Firle and the great Barley Mow are both about a 30 minute walk away – both do great food.
Middle Farm is a five minute drive – a wonderful farm shop with local produce, a tea room, garden nursery and open farm. The nearest supermarkets are in Lewes.
Woodfire at Firle: Chapel Field is located on the Firle Estate new Lewes, between Brighton and East Sussex. We have TWO campsites here on different locations on the estate so check which one you are visiting!
Please don’t follow Satnav/Waze/Google Maps as these will bring you along private roads on the Firle Estate and some sat navs get confused about our location. To avoid ending up somewhere unexpected, please refer to these directions:
Heading east (ie from Brighton/Lewes), continue along the A27 past the signs for Firle Place on your right. Take the second next turning on your right, signposted Woodfire Camping. (Coming west (ie from Eastbourne), you’ll pass the Barley Mow pub and Charleston on your left and then Middle Farm on your right; take the first left-hand turning after that on to Heighton St, signposted Woodfire Camping.
Drive slowly past Motorline on your left and continue another few hundred yards until you see the next Woodfire Camping sign.
By train – From London: there is a regular service from London Victoria to Lewes which is seven miles away. At Lewes there is a taxi rank and advance booking is not necessary unless arriving early in the morning or late at night.
The closest station is Berwick, which is around four miles away. There are hourly trains from Brighton and Eastbourne to Berwick – note there is no taxi rank at Berwick.
By bus – There are no direct buses to Chapel Field, we recommend using Flexibus. You can book a FlexiBus ride as little as 30 minutes before you want to travel and up to 7 days in advance, bookings can be made using an app and by telephone on 01273 078203.