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The Sustainability Centre, Droxford Road, East Meon, Petersfield, Hampshire
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The Sustainability Centre, Droxford Road, East Meon, Petersfield, Hampshire

In 1998 the Sustainability Centre sprang to life in the South Downs to teach people about economical and environmental reform. Among its 55 acres of woodland and natural chalk downs, visitors can learn how to draw on conservation craft and natural remedies for healthy and sustainable living.The Earthworks Trust, which owns and runs the centre, is funded in part through the income generated by its campsite, yurt, and two tipis.Various onsite courses (in the likes of herbal first aid, willow basket making, and permaculture) are run throughout the year and conducted in a rather grand outdoor eco-classroom.

The tipis and yurt are nestled in individual camping bays: Forget-Me-Not, Hazel, and Olive.The interiors have a wonderfully earthy smell, enhancing the site's natural concept. A rug and cushion or two adorn the tipis, while the large yurt features two single beds and a log-burning stove. A clearing in the woods has space for up to 40 tents, too; surrounded by nothing but trees it's a magical setting. Whichever canvas space you choose to spend the night in, you'll find the cost of your stay eco-nomical, which is always a bonus.

The Sustainability Centre, Droxford Road, East Meon, Petersfield, Hampshire

COOL FACTOR With eco-credentials this high, what's not to like?

WHO'S IN? Tents, glampers, dogs, groups - yes. Campervans, caravans - no.

ON SITE Campfires allowed in 2 fire pits, and there's a communal covered BBQ (wood/charcoal £5). Space for 40 tents; 2 tipis (sleeping 6/10 - bit of a squeeze; no standing room); yurt (sleeping 10) has 2 single beds (bring the rest of the bedding). Comfy eco-lodge for hire. Three solar showers, 2 basins, and 3 compost loos. Onsite Beech Cafe serves organic, fair-trade vegetarian meals (open Thur-Sun).

OFF SITE Plenty of walks; the nearest starts in Petersfield and winds up in Exton (see www.southdownsway.co.uk).

FOOD AND DRINK Treat yourself to Michelin-starred modern British fare at JSW (01730 262030) in Petersfield.

GETTING THERE Take the Clanfield exit off the A3 and follow the brown campsite signs. The centre is on the left.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Train to Petersfield, 8 miles away, then take a taxi. The centre has a minibus that runs on vegetable oil for groups needing lifts (for a fee).

OPEN All year (yurt and tipis April-October).

THE DAMAGE Adult £8 per night; child (5 to 13 years) £4, under-5s free. Yurt £40 for 2 people. Tipi £30 for 2.

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