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Wapsbourne Manor Farm, Sheffield Park, East Sussex
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Wapsbourne Manor Farm, or 'Wowo', as it's affectionately known by a growing band of regulars, is a rare and beautiful thing - a great campsite within two hours' drive of London. It's small on unnecessary rules and regulations, and big on fun and freedom. Campfires are allowed, facilitated by a firewood delivery-man who appears at dusk on his little tractor; camping's equivalent to room service and evening turn-down all in one. Saturday night is music night: free camping for musicians in return for an 'open canipfire' policy allowing all-comers to join in a sing-song around the fire. It's a hippified rule alright, but fitting for mildly bohemian Wowo. Kids' entertainment is strictly old-school: climbing trees, swinging on tyres, and making camps in the undergrowth. In fact, the entire 150-acre site is a huge, natural adventure playground extending well beyond the four main camping areas.

Wapsbourne Manor Farm, Sheffield Park, East Sussex

This magical spot always seems to have something new to reveal: another field hidden behind the thicket, a secret pathway, a yurt nestled among the trees. And there's a whole separate site that you might not see unless you go looking: the premium woodland camping pitches, otherwise known as Tipi Trail.These eight pitches are secreted away from the riff-raff in their own exclusive woodland setting, ideal for celebrities, politicians, and newlywed royal couples looking for seclusion. With the evening air scented with campfire smoke, the soft murmur of sociability and perhaps a sing-song soundtrack, this wonderful place just oozes rustic, back-to-basics appeal.

COOL FACTOR A cracking, chilled-out atmosphere and to-your-tent firewood delivery.

WHO'S IN? Tents, campervans, dogs - yes. Caravans, motorhomes, groups of unsupervised under-18s - no.

ON SITE Campfires (in designated fire pits) and BBQs off ground are allowed. Forty standard pitches and 8 Tipi Trail secluded woodland pitches (each with benches, chairs, and a trivet for your fire); 4 yurts too. There are 4 compost toilets plus 2 basic, clean shower blocks with free hot showers. (No shaving/hairdryer points). A communal barn has a ping-pong table; free communal fridges and freezers; wi-fi; an honesty bookshelf; coin-operated laundry. An onsite shop stocks a small range of organic food. Ask about weekend bushcraft activities, plus the earth ovens - great for making pizza.

OFF SITE Sheffield Park is a mile up the road, while the Bluebell Railway is practically next door (see p143 for info).

FOOD AND DRINK A few miles up the A275, Trading Boundaries (01825 790200) is a delightful cafe and eclectic furniture/antiques shop. For foodies, there are 2 excellent gastropubs; the Coach and Horses at Danehill (01825 740369) and the Griffin Inn (01825 722890) in Fletching, both less than 10 minutes' drive.

Wapsbourne Manor Farm, Sheffield Park, East Sussex

GETTING THERE Follow the Bluebell Railway signs along the A22. Pass the railway on the right and Wowo is the second entrance on the right.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT The nearest station is Haywards Heath from where a taxi costs about £15.

OPEN All year; Tipi Trail and yurts November-February.

THE DAMAGE Adult £10 per night; child £5, under-3s free. Firewood £5; one-off charge for dogs (£5) and cars (£10). Tipi Trail pitches an extra £10 per night except during winter. Yurts £112-£250 per 2-night stay. Book early. Min. 2 nights.

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