A small family run mixed farm in the heart of the beautiful Sussex Weald, with a herd of pedigree Sussex cattle, traditional breed pigs and South Down sheep. It has 70 acres of ancient semi-natural woodland and is the vestige of the forbidding forest that covered the Weald in times gone by. An 8 acre field in the middle of this woodland is the wild camp site.
In Tudor times this was the very heart of the iron industry and the place names underline this; Furnace Lane, Gun Hill etc. One of the woods is called Minepit Wood on the Ordnance Survey maps, and evidence of these can still be seen in the shallow pits still dotted around the woods. With the assistance of a Woodland Archaeological team the owners recently identified many charcoal burning platforms, saw pits and medieval boundary ditch and bank systems. The industry died here and moved to the north where coal was mined in close proximity to iron ore and became highly efficient and industrialized. Charcoal making, a dying art, is still being carried on in East Sussex today. Sussex has one the highest density of woods of any county in the UK.
Coppicing is still carried out on a regular basis in mosaic patterns around the woods at Dernwood to create biodiversity. Each stage of growth provides different habitats for various flora and fauna. The owners objective is to leave the woods to the next generation in better heart and health than at the time of acquisition; they believe in enjoying the beautiful woods but treading gently on history and nature.
The aim at Dernwood is to provide a low impact, sustainable and eco-friendly campsite; it's a field in the woods, with lots of of peace & quiet, for people who are looking for a real back to nature camping experience. Campfires are allowed and there is wood for sale in the field and home produced meat to cook on it. This was a highlight for many people last year, being able to see the cows and pigs out in the field and then cook steak and sausages from the farm, the ultimate in food traceability and provenance.
Ideally located for visits to many National Trust properties in the High Weald including Batemans and Bodiam Castle and other attractions such as the Herstmonceux Science Park. The campsite is also very close to the Cuckoo Trail, ideal for family walks and cycle rides.
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