You can find out all about Whippletree Farm from their website – they have a video from their crowdfunding campaign last year which gives a good flavour of what they’re about. However, I think they vastly undersell themselves, so below you can read in more detail about my experience of visiting the farm last September.
“I’m just back from a delightful weekend at Whippletree Farm. From start to finish it was a lovely experience. We were met with a warm welcome and shown around. The camping field is all lush grass and we were given suggestions on where to pitch our tent to be near facilities, have a flat surface etc. There was a fire pit with deck chairs for our use and wood available to make a fire. The facilities are a wonderful balance of eco-friendly/blending in with nature and meeting all practical needs – a comfortable, clean odour-free compost toilet, a hot shower in a clean & light wood cubicle, and a very well-equipped outdoor kitchen with 2 gas hobs, a coolbox, and all the kitchenware you could need.“A vegbox awaited us (you can order this in advance) with a range of vegetables fresh from the farm – tasty and unusual salad leaves, tomatoes of all colours, sweet peppers, a beautiful pointy cauliflower and several other tasty delights. Big jars of home-made muesli in 2 varieties, a thermos flask of milk, and fresh free-range eggs from a neighbouring farm were on hand to make breakfast (plus copious tea and coffee).
“It turned out we had booked a bell-tent so were pleasantly surprised that a luxurious bedroom awaited us, with a proper double bed and 2 very snug
duvets, an armchair, vase of flowers, books, map of the local area, scrabble, a spare single mattress, and scattered cushions. Very cosy indeed! Despite the chilly September night, we were very warm once tucked up in bed, and stepping out of our ‘bedroom’ to an unspoilt field in the morning we felt a world away from London and seriously invigorated.
“And then there’s the farm! Eco-friendly, high welfare, community-minded with an ethos of farming with nature and being as sustainable as possible, through careful land rotation, a diverse array of crops, and no damaging pesticides. We got to meet and stroke the piggies (very friendly), got followed through the long grass by the ducks, and saw the delicious produce.
“The shower for campers exemplifies for me the ethos of Whippletree Farm. Hand-built from wood on a wheel-base, it treads lightly on our earth in many ways – the cubicle has not been made in a factory, it can be wheeled around so need not destroy the wildlife under it by being a permanent fixture. This also means that it can be kept indoors in winter so that it lasts longer. The pump is powered by solar panels a few metres away. The only concessions to oil-based living are a canister of gas to heat the water, and the plastic shower unit and manufactured wheel-base. Of course a cold unsheltered shower (like the ones you sometimes find at the beach) would be even more environmentally friendly, but this way you have a hot, private shower as good as the one in your own home (with added benefits of lovely scenery and a warm breeze). This delicate balance between environmental considerations, and the pleasure of the experience represents the way the team make all decisions on the farm.“We will definitely be back! And may even run some retreats there – watch this space…”
Julia Lay, 15th September 2014