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Reviews of Forgewood Camping Unplugged Site

Campsite Search > UK > England > South East > Kent > Tunbridge Wells > Forgewood Camping Unplugged Site Reviews

CLOSED: Forgewood Camping Unplugged Site
Forgewood Barn
Sham Farm Road
Tunbridge Wells
Kent   (Browse area)

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Rating: Average Review Score: 8/10 from 83 Reviews
                8/10 from 83 Reviews

 No Tents   No Caravans   No Motorhomes   No Campervans 
 No Glamping Units   No Statics for Hire   No Statics on Sale   No Seasonal Pitches 
 No Electric Hookups   No Hardstandings   No Fully Serviced Pitches   Show Full Facilities
Who's it for
 Families Welcome   Not Members Only   No Rallies   Not Naturist Site 
 Dogs Welcome   No Dogs Allowed   Groups Welcome 
 No Toilets   No Showers   No Washing Up Area   No Bathroom 
 No Baby Changing   No Laundry   No Drinking Water   Disabled Friendly 
 No Chemical Disposal   No Battery Charging   No Gas Exchange   No Recycling Facilities 
 No Kitchen Facilities   No Freezer / Fridge   No Motorhome Point   No Wifi Access 
 No Shop   No Bar   No Restaurant  
 No Playground   No TV Room   No Games Room   No Evening Ents 
 No Fishing   No Wild Swimming   No Indoor Pool   No Outdoor Pool 
 No Horse Riding   No Cycle Hire   No Golf   No Tennis 
 No Beach   No Watersports   No Boat Launch 
Other Features
 No Sea Views   Not Working Farm   No Campfires Allowed 
 No Waterside Pitches   Public Transport   No Dog Walk 

Reviews:  83 in total, now showing 21 to 30                 Previous 10          Next 10
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Date of Visit: May 2012 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: DeborahTurner 17 reviews from this member

 Forgewood, perfect for it's sites in the woods, allowing of fires, extensive choice of pitches, and miles and miles of woods for the kids to roam in.

There are many good reasons to choose this site. The cafe was great, inexpensive (considering) and nice. The option of the restaurant, the increasing number of great 'bushcraft' courses available for kids and adults, at £6.

If you do choose this site, these tips may help:

-Do not rely on the Portaloo toilet block in the lower field. The site is experiencing real difficulties in keeping them functioning. If the toilets are working you may not be able to use the basins, which means using the drinking water tap across the track for handwashing. On busy weekends the tank will fill quickly and the toilets will be shut down.

-Do not camp along the edge of the lower field alongside the portaloo block. By Sunday morning the field was swampy with pools of water from some run off of washbasin water to about half way along that stretch of the edge of the field. Anyone camping there would have been swamped out. Luckily (?) the families that had been there had struck camp and moved because some water from the sewage tank had been temporarily pumped out into the ditch behind the portaloos and was trickling down.

Luckily there are many many other lovely places on the site to pitch. Maybe the management are a bit laid back - on a busy weekend, the track and edges of the field were thick with the cars of people camping in the woods, whereas they are supposed to be in the car park. People were good about amplified music, but on a warm night loud talk and group fires continued until late.

Forgewood is a magical place, and with a bit more infrastructure to address plumbing and general management it can be one of the best. 

Date of Visit: April 2012 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: GreenLeaves 1 review from this member

 This was our first visit to Forgewood and we were greeted by warm and welcoming staff. We would recommend that you leave your car near reception and walk if it's been particularly wet for the past few days, as staff end up spending considerable time pulling out cars that have got stuck in the muddy track that proceeds throughout the woodlands. The track is probably only suitable for vehicles with 4 wheel drive in wet conditions.

The facilities are clean and in good condition, however the hot water goes pretty quickly if you don't get up early to avoid the queue.

Fantastic surrounding countryside and farmland for walks and relaxing, along with trout lakes nearby if fishing interests you. Bewl Water and Harrison Rocks are also in the area and are worth a visit.

Seems to be a good place for families to come, however It was a little frustrating at times to find children making excessive noise when you're trying to relax. As a recommendation to Forgewood, it might be worth having a separate area for families to camp, so that those who want to enjoy camping in peace and quiet can do so. If this is already the case then it needs to be made clear at reception.

The only other criticism we have is the price. £12.50 per person, per night seems a tad on the expensive side, and a bag of logs for the fire is £5. So the whole experience can be quite expensive even for short stays without Forgewood really providing anything that we felt justifies that pricing scheme. Perhaps it would be better off, if it was a cheaper price and charged per vehicle or tent.

Overall it's been a nice experience at Forgewood, and apart from the two issues we raised above, there isn't really a lot else to fault with the place. We left with some good memories, and will be returning in the future for many more. 

Date of Visit: April 2012 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: P Birss 2 reviews from this member

 A great location, in beautiful countryside but near Tunbridge Wells and all its facilities.

Highly recommend the swimming pool in Tonbridge. Has indoor and outdoor pools.

We only travelled 25 minutes to get here from home as we didn't feel any need to go far, but wanted the wild camping experience.

Was great to be able to have campfires, and there didn't seem to be any curfew when we were there perhaps as we were almost alone for 4 days in early April.

The negatives of this site; firstly as most people say the price. £120 is a ridiculous price to pay for what you get for 6 people with a tent. We didn't even have the pleasure of the toilets or showers being cleaned once in 4 days. Thankfully it was mainly us using them but still we paid a lot of money.

The other pleasure is the smell of sewage as you wash dishes at the sinks. The washing up sinks are pretty gross too.

There was no shop even though everything was advertised as being open. Having already spent £120 we resisted the urge to use the on site cafe, which looked OK. However we were able to scrounge some mayo from the kitchen and replenish our gas supply so not all bad.

But camping in April. Bonkers! Freezing! 

Date of Visit: October 2011 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: Rg2011 1 review from this member

 This was my first visit to Forgewood, having seen some good pictures and reviews of the site. By preference, my partner and I are wild campers in the UK, US and Scandinavia, and we're not huge fans of 'normal' campsites. So we thought we would give Forgewood a try as it seemed a bit different.

We found the staff friendly and very helpful, and the facilities fairly good. This was late in the year and there were perhaps 100 people total at the site, so the loos and showers were busy but fine. There are some great local walks and attractions - we walked to Frant taking in some ice caves. The shop on site sells quite a lot of things that might come in handy and some great sausages and burgers from the local farm.

On the downside, the place is, as some reviewers have commented, a little too relaxed. We waited patiently to light the fire until 7 pm, but we felt like the only ones. The next morning, the air was full of smoke from morning fires, said to be against the rules of the site.

We don't have children, but this is a great place for them. For couples, it's not so good. We were woken both mornings by groups of kids running around and screaming, having had some teenagers running around drunk the night before. Some kind of cut-off point for noise would have been great.

All in all, we probably wouldn't go back until we've tried some other similar sites, but this is a fairly nice place. 

Date of Visit: August 2011 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: Hela 9 reviews from this member

 This was my second visit to Forgwood having camped there in May of this year. At that point the Guardian had just put it in the 10 ten of places to camp and the owners seemed unconcerned/unaware of this grand gesture by the paper. Although I loved the site, I did wonder what would happen if all the Guardianista descended upon the place as it was quite basic. Well, my concerns were warranted with this visit.

I went over the Bank Holiday with another 2 families. We pitched up in the lower field. We all had a great time over the weekend but if they are going to take on the amount of campers that were there they really need to invest in the facilities.

It had been raining hard the day before and the ground was very boggy and the lack of a proper track from the top field to lower was showing as in parts it had become a pool of mud. This just got worse over the weekend and not helped by people driving too fast and the stand pipe draining onto it.

They have put in some compostable toilets in the lower field but they lack light so are very hard to use at night and more essentially they have no water or hand sanitizer so are very unhygienic. People used the stand pipe to wash their hands, which is ok because it had a non-return valve but the handle was covered with any poo or wee from their trip to the toilet. Given that this is the same tap used for drinking water this dual use is not good.

There are also portaloos in the lower field which did have water to wash your hands but no soap or bin for wipes /nappies/ sanitary products. They also reaked and had it been warm would have stank even more. As it was by the end of the weekend there was a nasty sewer smell coming from them.

With the amount of people the upper field showers/toilets were not enough. They need to install at least another 2 blocks to cope. We all gave up trying to get washed by the second night and when we left and went for a last minute wee the shower block was looking battered. Those who did go faced the same problems as before: low pressure, intermittent hot water etc.

Strangely the washing up sinks, despite being only 4 strong were ok and you didn't have to wait long to use one. But they could do with more plugs as most have disappeared.

The other thing they need in the lower fields are bins as you have to walk all the way to the entrance to find one. I cleared up lots of litter from the site and wood which had been dumped and would be eased if there were closer.

Also, if they are going to sell firewood, they should endeavour to ensure that the logs are covered when it's raining as our were wet and as such just billowed lots of black smoke. This needs to be policed as people were starting fires to cook their meals from morning to afternoon despite the curfew before 7pm.

The main problem that Forgewood is going to face is the decimation of the woods. People have swept the floor clear of everything (I doubt there are any deer, rabbits etc left)and were taking branches to burn. They must police the woods much more as it is looking tired and as it takes a long time for them to recover. In a short while they'll find no woodland left. This was a shame as it was so beautiful back in May.

I still like the place as the kids have so much fun and they can run about freely- which means I can rest! I may go back but for the price I hope they upgrade their facilities because as they stand they put me off going again. This is a pity as it is a lovely location and the owners are very friendly. 


Date of Visit: August 2011 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: Seahayley 1 review from this member

 Thank you Forgewood for a fab 4 days, 3 nights of relaxation for 3 adults and 4 kids. Also we have a very tired and happy dog!

To camp in the woods is great, and to have the open fires is the BEST!. If you want as nearest it gets to real camping definitely come here, you are not packed in and have plenty of choice of pitches, and lots of room away from your neighbours.

The prices in the shop are realistic and the cost of the lovely ice cream is only £1 for a cone! Bargain in this day and age.

Toilets and showers basic but more importantly clean. We only ate in the barn on the last day for our brekkie, which was cooked Perfectly and not greasy at all.

Staff friendly, but not in your face, just well laid back. A trip to the ice caves I would recommend kids loved it, so we went twice. But take your wellies, torch, and possibly a container for blackberry picking on the way back.

We will def go back, I can see some people have criticised the price previously, however for the space you get and the enjoyment the kids have, it's worth every penny! This is the first time I have camped without electric, wondered if I would miss it, more importantly no GHD's. Well it was great, baked potatoes cooked in ashes of the fire are the best! 

Date of Visit: August 2011 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: Peachesld 2 reviews from this member

 We loved.

Camping in the woods,

Freedom for my daughter to roam freely and safely,

Location to Eridge park-the deer, foraging for food- wild mint, blackberries, hazelnuts.

We didn't like.

The disorganisation. Our booking was never confirmed by email. We were unable to contact them by phone to confirm. We just hoped we had a reservation!

The shop and cafe did not have regular opening times. Anytime after 9 o'clock seemed to be the pattern.

The shop was far from an 'emporium' and really had a very basic and odd combination of items. Camping fuel, milk-good. Colmans mustard- why?

The showers were not very clean. The walls of the cubicles were grimy, the bin was overflowing with paper towels and a mop and bucket filled with dirty water constantly sat in the shower room, which suggested when they were cleaned it wasn't done very well. I know we are camping but we for the cost of the site, I would expect hygiene and cleanliness!

It was very expensive, at £25 per night (2 adults and a child) you didn't get much for your money. Clean showers and toilets would have made me happy! 

Date of Visit: July 2011 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: Chuenmanc 2 reviews from this member

 Spent four nights here as a family of five, our third camping trip, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

The site is large, with two fields and a wooded area separating them, and running alongside. You can choose to camp wherever your tent will fit, with most tents on the fields lined up along the edge, leaving loads of space for the children to play. Lots of tents in the woods, but our 8-man was too big.

This is one of the few campsites in the area that allows campfires, and the friendly delivery via quad bike of large sacks of wood was a nice touch.

We camped in the second field, which made it a bit of a trek to the facilities, but it also meant we felt more secluded. Portaloo facilities there got a bit fragrant after a few days, but the main facilities were always fine, with nice hot (free) showers.

Agree with other reviewers that there was no welcome when we arrived (I think caused purely by the layout of the carpark/shop area), but once we found someone to check us in, in the shop, it was very friendly.

The shop and cafe were both handy, and we also had a good lunch at the George Inn in nearby Frant. Groombridge, 10 minutes away, was a great day out.

Price seems to be about the going rate for the area and facilities. The reduced fees for families should forewarn that there are likely to be lots of kids!

We had a great time at Forgewood, and I'm sure we will be back. 

Date of Visit: July 2011 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: Tuesday72 2 reviews from this member

 We just came back from a one night break to Forge Wood - as an introduction to camping for my 2 boys (4&3yrs). In our life before children we were very seasoned campers, but mostly to very commercial sites. This was our first 'back to nature' camping experience and we loved it. The clientèle all seemed very 'well to do' with children decked in Hunter wellies & looking as if stepped out of a Boden catalogue!

On arriving we were given the choice of field or woods, given the size of our Vango family tent we opted for the main field in front of what facilities there are.

The pitch was fairly level, but what was lovely was you park around the perimeter of the field, so the middle is totally exposed and free for kids to roam and play. Not like a more commercial site, that would be carved up and tents butted up next to each other.

There was a well stocked basic shop and a fab cafe/bar on site. Basic showers/wash up and toilets, but totally adequate. The boys thoroughly enjoyed playing in the woods and we also listened to the Bushcraft talks on 'making fire' and 'tracking' - 1 hr each so maybe more appealing to older kids. Only £5 a child, so well worth it.

The highlight for us, having camped at places that don't allow open fires. Was that you could buy a £5 sack of logs (delivered to your tent via ATV) and burn your own open fire. Good old fashioned fun, toasting marshmallows! At night it was beautiful looking around at all the glowing efforts and people releasing Sky Lanterns.

We were lucky with our neighbours who were quietly sipping wine and chatting, some may get the happy clappers and guitar players - but I guess you could get that at any campsite.

There is a 'Spar' 5 minutes up the road should you run out of anything they don't stock. Highly recommend. Bring your wellies and lots of changes of clothes and have fun! 

Date of Visit: July 2011 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: LeamFamily 5 reviews from this member

 How many pitches?. UKCampsite says sixty plus. Forgewood website only says “We have more pitches than we will ever use at one time”.

But what’s a pitch?. This site doesn’t mark pitches so you can‘t tell if it allows more than one tent to a “pitch”: by the Saturday morning, when we left, there was a party of eight family tents grouped around the biggest awning I’ve ever seen: was that one pitch or eight? On the two fields and the middle section of woodland there were about 120 tents, plus an unknown number in the adults only wood.

OK, it’s good for business but all those people are using four sinks for washing up and one male, one female and one mixed toilet block. Well, of course, they aren’t because people are washing up at the stand pipes. There are some portaloo chemical toilets for the back field and woodland.

This site sets itself out to be a bit “eco” and green. And Forgewood website has a rule: “Our permission to use the woods requires that they remain as natural as possible. We ask that you do not collect wood for burning and insist that you do not cut any trees. We supply logs at £5 per bag which should last a night”.

But that £5. 00 bag is big chunks of log; they don’t supply kindling. Guess where everybody gets the kindling from: by the time we left the woodland around us was stripped of fallen wood and people were starting to forage further out and strip the kids dens built earlier in the year.

With the big groups of people came noise. Officially it’s no noise after midnight but nobody checked. On the Saturday night we had a group of twentysomethings next to us who sat out till the small hours. I got treated to an account by one bloke of his sex life in more detail than I needed.

The site went quieter from Sunday to Thursday

Don’t get me wrong: it’s a good site for a large group but large groups need some rules in place and this site operates on the basis that we are all eco-hippies and get along without rules: “check with your neighbours” says the Forgewood website.

So, this started out as an easy going greenish site but it’s getting a market for large weekend parties.

And you can’t overlook the fact that Forgewood only has permission to use the woods provided they don’t get stripped out, which is what is happening.

I think the owners need to recognise that they are now operating a large site and need to manage the site a bit more effectively. I certainly think they don’t have a grip on total number of users at weekends. 

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