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Welsummer Camping, Chalk House, Lenham Road, Kent
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Welsummer Camping, Chalk House, Lenham Road, KentNamed after an old (and sadly long-since departed) rescue hen called Welsummer, Med and Laura Benagounne's campsite is the epitome of laid-back cool - not something, admittedly, that you immediately associate with Kent. A multicoloured windsock hangs from a tree, chickens roam free, and acoustic instruments and fireside singalongs are the order of the day - or rather, the night.

The range of camping experiences on offer at what is quite a bijou site - just three-fifths of an acre, plus a small wood - is pretty impressive. Traditionalists can pitch in one of the two small fields, backwoods types can set up their tent (as long as it's small) in the copse, and those with no canvas home to call their own have the choice of a bell tent or an old-school ridge tent to sleep in.

The owners' organic garden produces veg for sale in the small onsite shop, where campers can also pick up basic supplies - at weekends this may even include a loaf of home-made bread or some scrumptious dish fresh from the oven. Meanwhile, the site's eco-credentials are bolstered in the wash-rooms, where water for the showers is heated by a wood-burning stove fed with fuel from the locality.

But it's the woodland life here that sets this campsite apart from most others. Laura used to camp among these same trees as a child, and it was her desire to let others share this formative experience that led her to opening this smallholding as a campsite. And should you wish to explore the area, the path out of the woods leads straight on to Kent's Greensand Ridge.

COOL FACTOR Something for every sort of cool camper.

WHO'S IN? Tents, dogs (maximum of 3 on site at any one time) - yes. Campervans, caravans, groups - no.

ON SITE Most of the 20 pitches have their own fire pit (firewood £3.50, starter kit £5).There are 2 loos and 2 showers. Kids are free to climb the trees. The tiny shop sells the smallholding's free-range eggs and serves hot drinks and hot snacks all day. The distant murmur of the M20 can be heard - but that's the only downside.

OFF SITE Leeds Castle (www.leeds-castle.com), less than 4 miles away, is every child's dream of an ancient stronghold and has a fantastic play area for kids, too. Grown-ups may reward themselves afterwards with a wine-tasting and wander through Biddenden Vineyards (01580 291726; www.biddendenvineyards.com).

FOOD AND DRINK The food at the nearby Pepperbox Inn (01622 842558; www.thepepperboxinn.co.uk) comes highly recommended (no under-14s inside the pub, but there is a beer garden). The small and rather appealing market town of Lenham boasts the tempting Lurcocks Delicatessen (01622 858345) with its good stock of local produce.

GETTING THERE It can be tricky, so follow the excellent instructions and photos on welsummercamping.com, which will guide you in from the M20.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT Take a train to Lenham, 2 miles away, then cycle, walk, or taxi to the site (costs about £7 with Streamline or Express Cabs, 01622 750000 and 01622 690000 respectively).

OPEN April-October.

THE DAMAGE Small tent £12 per night; large tent £20; bell tent £45; ridge tent £45. Plus adult £3 per night; child (3 to 13 years) £1. Booking strongly advised.



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