Finally hooman girl came to tell me we were going to GBGW and not only that but she had scored a whole 10 days off work. So I set about organising a road trip for us; I looked around at different campsites, some we have camped at before and some new ones we've not been to before. We settled on Housedean farm.
Housedean farm is a farm and a campsite on the A27 between Brighton and Lewes and their website looks really amazing. They have bigger pitches than most campsites so lots of people can camp on one pitch together and every pitch has its own firepit for campfires.They have toilets and showers for the hoomans and most importantly they allow dogs. So we decided it looked like a soopa place and in a good area for all our plans and so we sent an enquiry email to the site to ask about vacancies - we weren't holding out much hope as it's summer time and the site looked like it might be popular - we heard back quite quickly and they told us they did have space and how to book/pay (There was a link to a clever payment website - very modern of them!)
Eventually the day arrived for our camping trip. We arrived at the campsite at 1430, it was the most easy to find / best signposted campsite we have ever stayed on. We pulled in and went to reception - it was closed but not to panic a note said for new arrivals to take a leaflet , choose a pitch and come back to book in once you are set up. The leaflets had directions to the camping field - it was straight ahead past the barn - with a map of the pitches, details about taxi and buses, information on the local walking routes on south down ways and the site rules (Though the rules on the leaflet and the rules on the website aren't the same!).
We read the leaflet and chose a pitch - it was as expected crazy busy on site. We chose pitch one because it was close to the facilities so it would be easier for me to be left when hooman girl needed to use them (plus you know it was one of the few still available at the time!) Hooman girl wrestled with the tent until it was standing up and looking like a tent should look whilst I sunbathed and watched the world go by. A couple of hours later just as the tent was erected and we getting things set up the campsite owner dropped by and said hi. He told us where to go to book in and pay the rest the money - he seemed nice and friendly , doesn't say much but that is fine by us (who wants to go camping and be pestered by the owners of the site the whole time? not us that is for sure!) So we walked down to pay and bought myself an ice cream whilst we were there.
Reception / Shop
The reception and shop is open in the morning and the afternoon for a few hours each. The shop stocks some camping essential food items, logs, ice creams and ofcourse marshmallows for toasting on your campfire.
Toilets - individual cabins, each with a toilet, basin, heater and a bin. Each one has soap, paper hand towels and a mirror. Water a good temp (it's set to 35c on the dial - a note in one the cabins said not to change it)
Showers - showers are a good temperature and good water pressure and temperature controllable also (There's a note in the showers explaining how this works) 3 showers - one of which is "open air" basically it's a roofless cubicle but it's quite nice to shower outside with no roof especially on a hot day - it was even almost enjoyable on a not so warm evening once you get over the initial shock of coldness. Though remove clothing before turning on tap or you will just have wet clothing.
Both the toilets and shower cubicles were cleaned and products refreshed / bins emptied regularly .
Washing up area - several sinks with VERY hot water, communal fridge and freezer and bins
Water points - several cold water basins/taps around site
The site charge per person and not per pitch (as they allow lots of people to camp on each pitch), it cost 10 pounds per night per person and we had to pay half upfront and half on arrival.
We think this is good value for money and a better way of charging for those who dont camp in the pre-set way - some campsites charge a certain amount per night and state it's inclusive of 2 adults and a medium tent and it gets complicated when you are 1 adult, 1 dog, 1 large tent and 1 car. This way it's much simpler as you are charged per person regardless of what sort of tent you are bringing and so much better value over all for single campers.
High Paws (Good Points!)
- Allows groups
- Good price
- Close to main A road and public transport links
- Easy to find and well signposted
- Allows/encourages campfire and BBQ
- Communal fridge and freezer
- Good clean facilities
- Lots of nature
Bad Doggy (Bad points!)
- A27 can be heard from campsite as it is right outside gate
- Ground is hard so bring spare tent pegs and a good mallet
- Main supermarkets and takeaways are quite a distance away so either need bring supplies for whole stay or go out in car to get food (There's a garage just up road on A27 which stocks your basics)
- Can get busy/noisy especially on weekends
- No EHU (not an issue for us as we never use but for some this would be a problem!)
- Site's own dogs running loose (Again no issue for us but could be an issue if your own dog is more nervous/reactive or if you have small children. Although they predominantly stayed away from the tents they did occasionally come over and do #pooclub by our tent.
- Couldn't get our tie out stake in the hard ground and there was no mention of if dogs are suppose be on lead or not (The website states we do for reference!)
Things we would of liked
- Recycling bins
- To be able to see the farm animals - our favourite camping spots integrate the farm and campsite together
- There are no doggy rules signposted on site or on site rules on leaflet, the only place dogs are mentioned is on the website. Would be helpful if dogs need be on lead if this was mentioned on the site itself.
- Pitch bounderies - it's a little hard to work out where one pitch ends and one begins and we ended up with a minivan parked touching our ropes on one night (Not helped by fact they did this at 3am)
We recommend you go to housedean farm for a visit unless you dont like nature or are a very light sleeper as there is always a degree of background noise from A27 and the wildlife never shut up . We liked hearing the birds and chirping bugs though as it feels like real camping when you are side by side with nature and living next to a busy railway we are use to traffic noise at all hours so the road didn't bother us. We seen a fox cub, birds or prey and more breeds of birds than we could name, crickets and grasshoppers (I'm not sure of the difference!) beetles, spiders and squillians of ants (and have the bites to prove it!) Plus a few horses through a gap in the hedge.
Note to self - Group doggy holiday at Housedean farm?