Responsible travel: South Godstone campsite, Surrey Hills, England
We are delighted that we have now gained full approval by The Camping and Caravanning Club to be nominated as a Certificated Site. This association defines Certificated Sites as smaller and more peaceful places to camp and those which offer minimal facilities just like our’s – ideal for when you want to get away from it all. Our campsite is set in pristine grassland and we aim to keep it that way. We insist that our campers keep their pitches clear and rubbish free. There is a recycling and general waste depot conveniently located next to the toilets. By clearly marking this area as a place to separate your rubbish into recyclable and non-recyclable materials, we trust our guests will dispose of their waste in a clean and environmentally friendly way.
The land in and around the campsite is rich with wildlife. We have our resident buzzard family in the next door field, lots of rabbits, foxes and badgers plus even the odd deer wandering about! We say to parents on arrival that their children are welcome to have a wander around the perimeter of the camp site and have a look in the hedgerows for interesting insects – an activity which has always had great feedback due to the fascinating discoveries that are made, for example millipede colonies and the like. While we encourage children to play amongst themselves and enjoy exploring the field, we urge that this is done in a peaceful way so that the local wildlife can do their thing without disruption. We like to think of it as their home just as much as ours! The need to be calm and respectful of wildlife is outlined in the welcome pack we provide.
Set only a 30 minute walk or 5 minute taxi ride from South Godstone train station, it is highly possible to make the journey to us by rail. We recently welcomed a family of backpackers who had walked from the train station to our site. Maybe you can tell us about all the sights you encounter along the way! If you do need to drive here, there is plenty to do once you arrive without taking the car out. Buses run from the end of our lane and there are lots of rural walks to do nearby.
Our campsite opened in June 2012 because the farmers who own the farm and run it to an ethical and animal welfare considerate standard wanted to share the beautiful landscape with the public. As such a recent project, the support and promotion we have received from our neighbours has been invaluable in getting our business up and running. As a token of our gratitude, we encourage our campers to buy from local, independent organisations in the surrounding villages.
The village of Lingfield has a butcher, a green grocer, a bakery and a florist so our campers can source their ingredients for their BBQ’s and camping stoves locally. By supporting these enterprises, our site and our visitors are giving something back to the local community. We also suggest walking to the nearby pubs The Jolly Farmer and The Fox and Hounds in order to create revenue for their businesses. The campsite’s owners, Sally and Graham, are regulars at The Fox and Hounds and have become great friends with the proprietors. From this friendship, they have created a competition which our campers can enter to win back their camping fees plus a free meal for the whole family, all courtesy of The Fox and Hound. Campers simply need to fill out a leaflet in the pub then give it to a member of staff – they will return it to us and we do a lucky draw to select the winner. This is an example of the strong bond we have with them and the reciprocal relationship which has developed.
We are striving to create a family friendly environment where people from all demographics can experience and learn to love the great outdoors. This is reflected in the very reasonable prices of our tent and caravan pitches. By keeping our prices down, we are making the Surrey Hills accessible to a greater number of families who will then confer their wonderful experiences of this area to their friends and relatives.
On opening your tent in the morning, you will be greeted by the sight of trees, fields, the beautiful sky above and the lush green grass below. The campsite is part of a traditional working farm therefore you are likely to see the farmers going about their daily duties, for example making hay in the fields. As this is a fully operating farm, we urge our campers to allow the farmers and the animals to go about their business undisturbed. Guests are therefore not allowed onto the farm.
The places to be found around our camp site are all very much worth exploring for both their ancient and natural attributes. South Godstone is surrounded by historic country villages that we are sure our guests will find very interesting. In Lingfield, for instance, the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul still has the remains of some of its 14th century tower. In the church, there is an impressive collection of brasses and monuments, including the tomb of Reginald de Cobham for the history buffs out there! The area surrounding the church has been granted conservation status as it hosts a number of very well preserved buildings from the 16th to 18th centuries. Godstone Green represents the centre of Godstone village. A much loved and scenic open space, it is fringed by trees and historic buildings on every side and has been designated as a Conservation Area. A local nature reserve called The Bay Pond is managed by the Surrey Wildlife Trust. This pond is believed to date back to 1611 – the old stables and milk sheds have been converted for use by school groups as this area is one of Surrey Wildlife Trust’s four Educational Nature Reserves
We love the landscape that surrounds us and having worked around this land for over 20 years we know a lot about it too. Come camp with us to start learning about and appreciating the countryside.