Camping at Climping

We managed to catch the last of the warm weather when we tried out this new campsite the other week.

It’s a bit of an odd set up – you arrive at a gate with the wrong name on it, and follow the lane past a pretty farm house, then past less pretty farm buildings & parked up HGVs. Keep following the little tent signposts through a timber yard, drive along the fence for the prison, through a field and you arrive at Cuckoo Camp.

The pitches are individually marked out. The provision of your own private water tap for your pitch is contrasted by the requirement to bring your own toilet.

Although we could hear the road at night, we also were able to walk to Littlehampton and along the beach to Climping via footpaths. And yes, we did have an ice-cream and a paddle to celebrate the end of summer.

See how we scored this campsite of contrasts!

R & L

The camping season is far from over

The camping season needn’t end with the school holidays! So far, the weather in September has been lovely for camping and we took the opportunity to try out another new site, Cedar Valley.

It’s a small site, so it felt a bit crowded, but we quite liked it – see how we scored it.

Some pictures from our trip:

We have plans to squeeze in another September camping trip to another new campsite – we’ll keep you posted how we get on!

R & L

Camping with COVID

Since the lockdown has eased, we’ve been making up for lost time and camping once a fortnight!

Clearly if you actually have COVID you need to stay home! … but otherwise what is it like camping in a panedemic?

Book ahead

Everyone is having staycations and camping is an attractive option as its out in the fresh air.  You’re also sleeping in your own tent and bedding using your own crockery etc, so it feels a lower risk option than other holidays.  Thing is that the world and his wife have all realised it’s a good idea, combined with campsites reducing their capacity to manage the risk, it means that sites are getting booked up well in advance.

Pack what you need to stay safe

Pack your hand sanitizer, your mask so that you can support local shops, perhaps some anti-bac cleaning spray for your table/equipment and you should be pretty safe.

Think it out

As with everything these days, just think about the contact points that could be a risk and then make sure you are careful about those.  Where is it that everyone in the campsite will touch with their mucky paws? …the water tap.  Better sites will provide sanitizer at the water tap, but if not, just make sure you wash or sanitize your hands after fetching water.  Apply the same logic to other contact points such as the doors, handles and taps in the communal facilities.

Think about who you are camping with.  If you are one household that’s easy.  If you are several, then maybe you need to pack separate tents and travel in separate cars.

It’s a good idea to wash your hands when preparing food anyway, but things which are simple at home can be tricky on a campsite.  A collapsible bowl for the cook and some soap and water for the cook to be able to wash her hands easily and frequently is a good idea.  We always have pre-dinner snacks in the form of crisps.  Usually we’d have passed a big bag around.  Shaking them out into individual bowls is probably a better idea to avoid sharing germs.

Look for recommendations

If you’re feeling nervous, look for some recent reviews or ask a friend where they’ve been and whether it felt safe.  We will list our COVID reviews below.

It’s wonderful to be able to escape to the countryside again, and with a bit of thought hopefully it will be just the lockdown tonic you need!

R & L

 

Rowbury Farm – this campsite is very well thought out.  The facilities are new, which probably helps.  But there were sanitizers in sensible locations eg by the water tap, the toilets were being cleaned very regularly and there were cleaning materials available for you to undertake further cleaning yourself if needbe.

Weekend campfires – this campsite is very basic.  As you will have seen from our review, the toilet facilities left something to be desired, but they did provide hand sanitizer and cleaning materials in each cubicle. There wasn’t sanitizer by the water tap nor were we convinced by the cleanliness of the ‘screwdrivers’… but once you’ve identified these contact points you can of course take your own precautions if you’ve packed some sanitizer.

Hook Farm – there was sanitizer in the toilet cubicles, but there were not cleaning materials available.  There was no sanitizer available near the water taps either.

Cat Inn – while we were at Hook Farm, we called in at the Cat Inn for a cold drink and were very impressed with how they had thought through their COVID prevention.  There was no need to book, but we did have our temperature checked and log our details on an app.  There was sanitizer available on arrival, staff  wore masks and had thought through little details like single use menus.  We sat in the garden, but the inside had been carefully partitioned.

What do you actually do when you go camping?

“When you’re camping, what do you actually do?”

That’s something we’re often asked.  In reality we do very little – by the time you’ve waited for the kettle to boil, had your cup of tea, trekked to the toilets, lit a fire, cooked your breakfast and eaten it, it’s about coffee time!  Then you realise you’re still in your pyjamas!!

So basically we cook, eat and poke the fire.

Occasionally we manage to fit in a little adventure between meals – usually a walk to explore the area.

Our latest stay was at Hook Farm.  We’ve been there loads of times, but we can never remember where we walked the time before.  So we’re going to start keeping a note of good things to do near West Hoathly.

We’ve also updated the Hook Farm campsite scores.

R & L

The second of my finds

After the success of the the first of my finds, we were full of anticipation about what our next campsite would be like! Our first experience of an ‘adults only’ campsite!!

When we arrived it looked very promising – stunning views, lots of space, not too many other people.  The site was called Campfire Weekends and the team running the site were very friendly – with the whole family getting involved.

Our disposition towards the site changed somewhat when we visited the toilet facilities!  They were billed as compost loos, but really they were just bucket toilets.  Even that could be coped with if there was light to see by, but you had to wear your headtorch even in the middle of the day!  And if you’d taken a lantern instead, you would have been disappointed as there was no hook to hang it on!

But before you could experience any of this, you had to overcome the challenge of opening the door!  To stop the doors blowing in the wind you were asked to lock/unlock the doors from the outside using a screwdriver!!  The less-bright goat was so confused by the system she had to go and ask another camper to help her open the door the first time!!  If you need to ask for help to access the toilet, something is wrong!

Normally when you wake in the night needing a wee, you are tempted to put off getting out your sleeping bag and try to avoid going to the toilet until the morning.  Not in this site!!  Waking in the early hours, the first thought was – oh good, all the other campers are in their beds, I’m going to make the most of the opportunity & go for a wild wee behind the tent!!

The experience cemented our plan to get our own camping toilet!!! (More of that another time!)

R & L

PS here’s how we scored the Campfires Weekends site.

 

The first of my finds

Last weekend we went  to the first of my campsite finds – Rowbury Farm Campsite.

It was easy to get to, not far from the A303.  I arrived early, but the site was already fairly full when I got there – all these people working from home who can leave work early!!

As the first of the goats to arrive, I had a bit of a panic about which of the remaining pitches to claim.  Turns out I needn’t have worried, all the pitches on this site are nice.  All get the evening sun and they are seperated by pretty swathes of wildflowers.

See how we scored it.

I’d forgotten how much I love camping!… but not long until our next trip.

R

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Beating the lock down rush

I was very excited to hear that campsites could reopen from 4 July 2020. But finding one with availability was tricky!

The usual suspects were either booked up or not open…but on the pitch up website it shows similar campsites in the area…. and voila new options were found!

In my excitement, I almost booked one without toilets or running water – so my advice is to double check facilities before confirming your booking!!!

Our first two campsites of the season will be ones we’ve not been to before. Can’t wait to report back!

R

Our latest campsite find

You’ll have read in our last post that we had slighty too many adventures on our last camping trip!  But how did the new campsite score?

Considering our experiences earlier in the year with weather warnings for high winds, we were a little apprehensive about trying out a campsite called ‘Freshwinds’!!!  But it was recommended to us by a friend, so we thought we’d risk giving it a go!

Here’s how it compares to our other favourite campsites:  campsite scores.

L&R

Freshwinds campsite

Camp kitchen and compost toilet block

The highs and lows of camping!

We tried out a new campsite at the Bank Holiday weekend – and I think it was fair to say it was a trip of highs and lows.

The first ‘high’ was the temperature – the hottest August Bank Holiday ever recorded.  Fortunately we had our gazebo for shade, as it really was very warm.  A bit too warm maybe… but certainly better than our experience in May of camping on the coldest May Day Bank Holiday ever!!

The first ‘low’ was also the temperature – clear blue skies meant no cloud cover and the contrast between daytime and nighttime temperatures was huge.  Sadly this meant some of our camping buddies didn’t sleep so well because they were cold.

In general, we liked our new campsite find.  We were particularly pleased that we could walk through the shady woods to the sea at Pett Levels.  We were disappointed that the pub and ice-cream stall had closed down, but the teeny tiny church on the beach had its doors open and allowed you to help yourself to tea and coffee for a donation – perfect!  Swimming & paddling in the sea was a definite highlight!

There was general consensus that the compost toilets were a low point of the trip.  Our newest camping recruit was not keen on them at all, and to be fair to her they weren’t great.  Firstly you had to climb some rickety stairs to get to them – definitely a need for another hand rail, plus the door for one of the cubicles could potentially knock someone down the stairs!  The toilets were a bit smelly – probably a combination of the end of the season, the hot weather and the fact they didn’t have urine separators on them.  The toilets themselves were probably clean enough, but sadly the cubicle areas weren’t cleaned, so they were cobwebby and dusty… it wouldn’t have taken much to make a trip to the bog a much more pleasant experience, and less daunting for our novice camper!

One of our campers was a vegetarian – which provided opportunities for a whole new avenue of recipes.  Sitting round the campfire eating freshly prepared food was another high.

On Sunday evening we sat round having eaten our fill of stew and beer bread and cinnamon swirl cake with custard discussing the highs and lows of our trip.  Our novice camper was even beginning to imply she might come again sometime.  And then disaster struck!  A simple thing, she went to adjust the fairylights on her tent (yes, we camp in style!) and tripped on a guy rope.  But sadly, it wasn’t a simple little trip and she was in agony.  Fortunately we could get the car to her and take her to A&E, where we discovered the reason for the pain – she had a spiral break in her leg.  This put the compost toilets into perspective and established a record low point for all of our camping trips.

Thank God for the NHS and A&E departments open in the middle of the night and X-ray machines and clever doctors! Distressingly we had to leave her behind in Hastings to have surgery, but 5 days later we are pleased to report she has had her op and is on her way home.

R & L

Our first ‘guest post’!

In case you’re bored of hearing from us, here is a ‘guest post’ written by a blog follower and camping friend:
“Saw on the blog you tried out a new campsite. So did we!
We went to Warbleton Farm
Apart from lots of rain and hence mud, it was really good. The lady running the camping bit of the farm was friendly and helpful. It’s the most off-grid camping we’ve done yet – not even a tap in sight!
The website describes a few rules but these seem to be red herrings – having gotten there, they’re very relaxed. It said no cars next to pitch – but you can (although we chose not to leave car there – drove down, unpacked then went and parked up hill near road for fear of getting stuck in mud. Camping lady came and gave us a lift back to car with all our stuff in her Land Rover).
All pitches have a nice picnic bench and fire pit with BBQ Grill. We bought logs and kindling – which were huge, plentiful and dry (so burnt well).
We stayed in the bell tent (as no car big enough to lug all our camping gear plus dog at the moment… plans to change that in near future) near which were two other separate pitches, but both were vacant.
If you fancied trying it I would recommend Oak #1 – It is flat, just by the stream (has a rope swing if you’re into that sort of thing) and has loads of space either to spread out and relax or could accommodate a group booking with multiple tents easily.
Seemed to be under Gatwick flight path, so quite a few planes but not too intrusive.  Virtually no phone signal.
No showers on site. An eco/compost toilet for each pitch (not shared). For hand washing, a bucket of water and some hand wash and anti-bac alcohol stuffy were provided. Two huge water carrier thingies were provided for drinking water, but I’m sure if you needed more you’d just need to ask.
Short walk (20 minutes ish) to a pub that does brilliant food (The Black Duck). Not aware of any shops within easy walking distance.
I’m pretty sure we’ll be going back there at some point.”
Think we’ll have to take up his recommendation sometime… but for now we have a new campsite of our own to try out this weekend.  Will let you know how we get on.
L & R