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“lovely setting and great for kids”
Review of Dernwood Farm

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Dernwood Farm
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 July 2013

I have to be honest and say that I disagree with the previous reviewer with regards to the accessibility of this site.

we stayed for a weekend's camping and had a fantastic time despite mixed weather (rain on arrival).

when we stayed our kids were 3 and 18 months old and just loved the walk through the woods and the huge space to run around in once in the camping field.

We chose this site because it is tucked away within a wood so we loved the idea of our kids being able to run around without fear of cars getting in the way.

My husband was meeting us at the site after work so I arrived on my own with the kids and got all our stuff to the camping field on my own with the kids without too much hassle. Okay so it certainly wasn't as easy as just driving up to your pitch and unloading but that is the point about this site and apart from a few cross words it wasn't a big issue. it took a couple of trips through the wood to get our stuff all to the field but it was a lovely walk.

The only thing I was annoyed about was that the barrows provided by the site were pretty knackered and I did feel they should have provided more.

Once in the field it is such a lovely setting that you really can relax and really feel away from everything.

if the weather is terrible then the access to the site would be a problem but otherwise please don't let it put you off as it is worth the walk!

Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
2  Thank rachelstephens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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77 - 83 of 87 reviews

Reviewed 24 June 2013

We just got back from a weekend at Dernwood Farm, a lovely site with very helpful owners who do lots make sure you have a good stay. The woodland was amazing, and it really is in a beautiful part of the Sussex countryside. We took our 3 year old, and we realised soon after arriving he's just too young for the setting. Firstly the trek through the wood with our gear on a muddy path, a good 10 minutes from the car park with a 3 year old and a dog was not a great experience. The upside though is that the kids can run about without any fear of being mown down by a car, but the stress of the journey to and fro with all the gear on set up and going home far outweighed the pros of having no cars on the site. For a family with older kids who can help out with those woodland trips it would obviously be much easier. Being a family site also meant there were a lot of kids up at dawn playing in the woods behind us, so if you want some true peace and tranquility head over to the far corner away from the woods where you're less likely to hear them! Facilities were sparse, just two toilets in a tin shed (although very clean) for the whole site, and a sink with cold running water. The shop was great and the burgers we bought there were amazing, as were the sausages - but by the time we got there all the had left was frozen meat which was pretty useless for us - get there early if you want the defrosted meat or plan to buy frozen and defrost overnight, it is worth the wait. The electricity pylon buzzes away in the background, but it soon blends into the background and isn't detrimental to the lovely setting of the site. The woods are truly glorious, and the kids have made camps and dens - so walking through them is pretty magical. The lack of showers isn't a huge issue, but for a longer stay you'd definitely need them . We used the swimming pool at Hailsham to get our hot shower, which isn't too far in the car. All in all, a nice site for families with older kids (8+) who are prepared to help out with trudging the kit back and forth. We'll probably go back a) when our son is older and b) when they have the showers fitted!

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
    • Service
2  Thank belltentcamper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2013

You really have to have the right frame of mind for this, be prepared to get stuck in and embrace nature. Our 2 nights of wild camping started very beautifully as my husband surpised me at the Farm's shop with a prearranged champagne hamper. So as he put all of our stuff onto a wheelbarrow, I had the hamper on one arm and our little dog on the other we made our way through the muddy path in the woods led by one of the Farm's dogs who showed us where the field was! Lovely, so we set ourseleves up. Not crowded at all, everyone spread out, lots of small kids playing games in the field, lovely memories for them and us too. Nothing like a real camp fire. My tips are PACK LIGHT AS POSSIBLE! DO YOU HEAR ME! otherwise you'll regret it as you'll get tired going back and forth to the car.
Use the wheelbarrows, if you use the trolleys - pull them, don't try pushing them.
Bring your wellies!
Be prepared to rough it, there is nothing luxourious about washing your dishes in cold water or going to the loo in a shack.
Try to relax once you are there, everything will be ok! If all else fails go to the wonderful six bells pub in Chiddingly for a meal and some warmth before you brave going back to the field, kids and dogs welcome there ;)

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Sas K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2013

We have just got back from camping in the wild camping field at Dernwood Farm with a group of friends. Firstly, the setting is absolutely stunning; in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the most amazing woods. The kids spent all weekend playing in the trees, making camps and have had a fantastic time.

On Saturday night we bought a variety of steaks from the farm shop and they were absolutely beautiful. We all agreed that the rib-eye was the best cut. It really did melt in your mouth.

The surrounding area was nice too. We had a great pub lunch in nearby Chiddingly on Saturday.

There was a downside though. A few people on various review sites have mentioned the pylons but they didn't really bother me. What was a real pain though was carting all of our gear through the woods, especially on the way back. We were quite lucky with the weather this weekend but if it was raining it would have been even more of a chore.

I really like the idea of not having cars on site so wouldn't change that, but if they could operate a system where you could dump your stuff off at certain times (a bit like Center Parcs) it would be a great help. Alternatively, I would have quite happily paid to have our stuff ferried on the back of a tractor or buggy.

At first I thought I would be bothered by the lack of showers, but for a couple of days it was fine. I understand they are planning to put showers in for next season anyway.

All in all, great place that would be five stars if it was made a little more accessible.

Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
Thank 8mna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 April 2013

We stayed in one of the Bell Tents that Dernwood farm offers, when we arrived we were greeted warmly, the setting is just beautiful and the owners are really friendly, there were sheep and lambs and a token goat right as you drive in! There is a small shop and it helped us out right away as we had forgotten a few bits!

I had seen on other reviews before we went to Dernwood that there was a long walk through the woods to the campsite/bell tents, other reviewers said it was at least 10 minutes, take no notice! The walk is lovely through the woods and is 5 mins max, yes you have to push all your belongings through (pack light!) but it is all part of the fun and it didn't hinder us at all.

The Bell Tent setting was stunning, it was so quiet, and gorgeous flowers were in bloom all around, it was just lovely. You have your own camp fire, wooden bench, and lot's of space to yourself. The tents themselves were pitched in a great position, ours was a sun trap! lovely!

I also saw lot's of people complaining about a pylon that is 'in the middle of the camping field'. there is NO pylon in the middle of the camping field, there is one that is to one side, but so what?! please don't let that put you off coming because you can't even notice it is there!

I did find that the Bell Tents could have had a bit more furniture in them, the floor is a scratchy carpet and the only place to sit inside is the futon, one night we wanted to play a board game and found ourselves sitting on the floor which was not very comfy, bean bags or something would have been good and there is plenty of room for them!

The wood burner that is also in the tent is very very small, you have to keep topping it up, eventually it did get the tent warm but it also doesn't last very long, please bare in mind it gets very very cold in the tents in the night!

The futon we slept on was so uncomfy, is was one of the main things we found that wasn't great, the mattress is so thin you can feel all the wooden slats underneath you, we didn't sleep well at all and were very very tired by the end of the trip!

Finally, the toilets. Dernwood farm is a very big campsite and is a bit more pricey then the ones i have stayed in in the past, and yet I am not sure the facilities reflect the price.
The toilet you get in the Bell Tent was basically what the men we were with were calling 'the long drop', I understand that the campsite is 'getting back to nature' and some people would not mind using a toilet like that, however when we arrived it wasn't very clean and that put me off straight away!

The shower is you have to warm some water yourself and pour it into a bucket, in the instructions it says to put some water in the sun for the day and that warms it up, so unless you boil the kettle and then mix cold water etc you won't be showering till late afternoon, plus it is outside, in the summer this will be great but it was freezing cold so we gave it a miss.

In the camping field, there is a small toilet block, there are only 2 toilets for the whole of the campsite, in the summer when it is busy I can't imagine how annoying it must be to only have 2 toilets, there also is only 1 sink and no showers! I used the toilets there because I couldn't face the 'long drop' and found they were not very clean either!

All in all, the campsite is one of the most beautiful I have stayed in, the owners were lovely, the meat they sell at the shop is amazing, however there needs to be a few changes made, I understand the getting back to nature, but I don't think having a nice toilet block and a couple of hot indoor showers is going to make a huge difference to that, plus the couple of minor changes in the tent.

Unfortunately the toilet/shower situation would make me think twice about coming again, which is such a shame as it really is lovely, and I do not think the Bell Tent is worth the price they are for the facilities/beds/furniture inside the tent.

I hope the owners do not read this and not think we had a great time, we did, just these are the things we thought needed to change to make this place a perfect 5 out of 5!

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank billieSussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amanda N, Owner at Dernwood Farm, responded to this reviewResponded 8 May 2013

Thank you for coming to Dernwood Farm and we are very happy that you enjoyed the animals, the environment, the woods, the beauty and the home grown meat produce. We are sorry that you were unhappy with a few things and appreciate that you have taken time to make comments, it is feedback like this that allows us to make changes to ensure you are happy and in the future and will come back………so……..I have bought some matress toppers and they were very comfy by all accounts from the feedback from our guests this weekend. The tents do all have big rugs in them so you shouldn't need to sit on the matting carpet, but I think bean bag are also a good idea.

With respect to the Bell Tent ‘long drop toilet’ and ‘outside shower’ it is difficult to make any changes as we have chosen to offer an experience that is as green as possible, no chemicals, no electricity and very little water is needed………..in the summer the shower is a lovely experience, the toilet is efficient and very natural and it never ever smells.

With respect to the Wild Camping Toilets we have budgeted for a complete refresh and plan to put in additional toilets and hot showers for the new season. However I would say that those who come to stay with us know exactly what to expect with regard to our facilities so the lack of showers for wild campers is no surprise to anyone.

We are confident that should you want to return you will see the changes and have a much more comfortable stay.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2013

My husband I and our 4 sons aged 11, 7, 3, 1 and our dog stayed in the amazing safari tent at Little Dernwood farm at the end of April. We were so lucky to have glorious sunshine all weekend which made our stay even more enjoyable.
The safari tent is everything anyone who isn't a keen camper could want! Comfy beds, hot running water, toilet, hot shower and cosy home comforts.
On arrival we were made to feel very welcome and the safari tent far exceeded our expectations.
The tent provides everything you will need for a "posh camping" stay. Amanda has obviously put a lot of thought and care into kitting out the tent, for example the hot water bottles, kids games and books are a nice touch. When told you just need to bring towels I still brought everything I thought we'd need, I needn't have!
Everything you could possibly have needed was there, completely home from home.
We spent our weekend, walking in the woods, cooking on the open fire and playing on the rope swing!
We will defiantly be returning, we came home feeling relaxed and looking forward to our next visit.
Amanda and her family were so welcoming, taking time out to show our children their cows, pigs, sheep and cute little lambs, also their cheeky goat Billy!
Also recommend treating yourself to one of their steaks, lovely!

  • Stayed: April 2013
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1  Thank Julialwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2013

We have been going to Dernwood Farm since the year they set up and every year it seems to get even better. We go about six or seven times a year.
The owners only allow a limited number of pitches so you have loads of space. I've been to too many places where you are practically crossing guide ropes with strangers. None of that here. You can't even hear other people and at night. When you are sitting around the fire, it feels like you have the place to yourself. You can just hear the crackling of the fire and the odd owl hooting.
You park your car outside the site and push your gear on trolleys through the woods. It's a bit of an effort but worth it. It means there are no vehicles spoiling the view and disrupting the peace and the kids can run round safely.
The woods around the field are stunning, especially when they are carpeted with thick bluebells. We have seen deer a few times in there.
There are tree swings and dens made of sticks throughout the woods and lovely walks.
There is a cute farm shop with the best meat you have ever tasted. The burgers, bangers, bacon and steaks are especially good. There is not much to compare to eating a juicy ribeye steak around the fire under the stars after a day of running around in the woods.
If you can't entertain the idea of a couple of days without your hairdryer, maybe this is not for you. (There are toilets but no showers and I hope it stays that way.) But if you want to get away from it all in beautiful Sussex countryside, eat the most succulent beef you have ever tasted around a roaring campfire in a field surrounded by beautiful woodland, you've found the right place.
We stayed in the belltents for a treat once too. That was something special. You get your own clearing, a wood burning stove inside the tent and they are beautifully furnished. We are planning to stay in the safari tent this year too.
We are all counting down to our first visit of the year.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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Thank TheMortonFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dernwood Farm

Address: Little Dernwood Farm Dern Lane, Heathfield TN21 0PN, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > East Sussex > Heathfield
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Speciality Lodging in Heathfield
Also Known As:
Dernwood Farm Heathfield, East Sussex

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