Eco Camp UK – Real Family Camping
|September 6, 2013||Posted by Luschka under Around England, Tots Travel|
I love camping. There’s something about sleeping under canvas that just works for me. Sure, I get home dirty, exhausted, and with a sore back, but the peace of being outdoors, effectively, is well worth it. Except in most camp sites in the UK, camping doesn’t even begin to hit the spot. A field with more people per square meter than my overpopulated street? Nope, that’s not camping.
I miss the trees, the secluded spots, the open fires, things that just aren’t synonymous with the UK camping experiences I’ve had. Till we discovered Eco Camp UK.
Based in East Sussex, they are very secretive about their location. Almost annoyingly so. They’ll give you GPS co-ordinates to get you there, but if your satnav doesn’t take coordinates and your phone doesn’t have data signal in the area (there’s not much 3G cover in the surrounding area), you’re a little screwed. But never fear, a phone call to the ranger and he’ll give you directions, if you didn’t get that part sussed before leaving home.
On arrival at Eco Camp UK, you will park your car in an alcove in the trees, before being met by the warden and walked – walked – to your tent. If you’ve brought your own supplies, there are wheel barrows in the car park for you to carry your things to the camp site. It’s a lovely walk down to the camp site, only about five minutes for most people. For a mama with two smalls about 10 minutes.
We stayed at the Eco Camp UK for four days, and over the course of that time, discovered spots with already set up Yurts all around. They’re so nicely hidden, it’s lovely.
There is a central toilet and shower block, but these are not your average camp site facilities. The toilets aren’t flushing but some kind of long drop with separate chambers for liquids and solids. You’re supposed to use sawdust to aid composting, but there wasn’t any in the tub the whole time we were there, and they did become a little smelly. (I must say the warden had a personal emergency while we were there and had to leave. Someone else took over for him, but he didn’t seem too pleased to be there.)
The showers were an adventure. You are supposed to fill a bucket with water, then run round to the shower, and have a gorgeous outdoor shower. It’s a great idea, but unfortunately the water was freezing! I decided it was better to fill the travel baby bath with hot water and let the girls bath in it. It worked sufficiently. I did consider asking the ranger what we were doing wrong, but it didn’t really bother me that much. We were happy with our bath.
Those two ‘hitches’ aside, we loved Eco Camp UK. We were in an opening in the trees, completely surrounded by nature. We had an open fire – they sell wood on site – and were able to get fresh drinking water from the amenities block.
The most amazing thing about Eco Camp UK, however, was the freedom for the children. We’d only been there a few minutes when the children were off into the woods, or into the communal road area, playing with the other children on site. Because you have to park your cars up the road, we had no fears about the children being trampled. They were so confident we had to call them back at times, because they were just off and out.
I absolutely loved the freedom, and the closeness to nature. I loved sitting by the open fire in the evenings, and loved roasting marshmallows with toddlers and friends. I loved that the children were as enthralled by the open fire as we were, and I loved watching the stars, and the full moon through the trees. I loved the silence and the beauty, and the quiet. We got home and showered and used a flushing toilet and slept in a soft bed. That was great, but it wasn’t as good as sitting by an open fire, sipping a locally bought mead, chatting to friends by the flickering light, breathing in the beautiful forest air.