Meadow keeper’s cottage – Sussex
- Cottage for 4
2 adults, 2 kids: 1 double bed and 2 bench seats which double as single beds
Meadow Keeper’s cottage is a one-off. Hand-built by a local joiner and craftsman, with timber sourced from local woods, the only way to describe it is ‘a higgledy piggeldy cottage on wheels’. It’s a roomy four person space done out with the same care and attention as the Swallowtail Hill Farm bell tents, with a double bed, two singles that double up as benches, a fold-away
dining table between them, an indoor cooking area with sink, a small wardrobe and, for chilly evenings, a log burner.
Open the stable doors, and go down the steps to your own fire pit and outdoor dining area. Just to the side is your own Heath Robinson looking (but extremely effective) log fired shower, and opposite is a tranquil wildlife pond. The Cottage sits between two wildflower meadows, and is invisible from anywhere else on the farm.
- Children welcome
Kids are more than welcome at Swallowtail Hill, but pets cannot be accommodated
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Special Offer: It's BBQ season - Stay before the end of July and get a free BBQ box to make your trip sizzle!
Valid from 04/06/2013 till 31/07/2013
Price discounts have been automatically applied unless otherwise stated
Everything you need to know about Meadow keeper’s cottage
The important stuff
- Check in time is from 4-7pm, late check-in possible by arrangement with Christopher & Sarah
- Check out time is 11am
- Children of all ages are welcome. The kids beds double as bench seating in the daytime. They are low to the ground, but do not have sides
- Sorry, pets cannot be accommodated
- No power!
- You swim in the ponds at your own risk
- No smoking in the cottage!
- The nearest grocery shop is Jempsons of Peasmarsh (2 miles)
Sleeping arrangements2 adults, 2 kids: 1 double bed and 2 bench seats which double as single beds
Kids & PetsKids are more than welcome at Swallowtail Hill, but pets cannot be accommodated
- Two gas hob with grill
- Whistling kettle
- Crockery, cutlery and glasses for four
- Cooking equipment - pots and pans etc
- Fire pit and dining area
- Bon-Fire kitchen set
- Cool box
- The Meadow Keeper’s Cottage has its own private loo (30 sec walk) and shower (next to cottage).
- The shower is wood-fired and guests will get a quick tutorial when they arrive!
- Eco toiletries only please (provided).
Heating, lighting & bedding
- All bedlinen provided
- Hot water bottles
- No power!
- Playing cards
- Board games
- Wind up radio
- Battery-powered lanterns
- Solar Sun Jar
- Help feed the animals - be a Swallowtail Hill Junior Farmer
Swallowtail Hill Farm, Hobbs Lane, Beckley, East Sussex TN31 6TT
Exit M25 at junction 5 – get in lane for Sevenoaks/Tonbridge A21. Join the A21 and head for Hastings. You will pass exits for Sevenoaks and Tonbridge, Pembury and Tunbridge Wells. Keep going straight! You will automatically join a stretch of bypass (which avoids Lamberhurst) heading for Hastings. Keep going until you get to the Flimwell crossroads/traffic lights. Turn left – marked for Rye/Camber/Hawkhurst (A268). Keep on this road for around 10 miles.
You will pass straight through the villages of Hawkhurst, Sandhurst and Newenden. When you get to Newenden you’ll pass a village cricket green to your left and then go over a stone bridge across the river. A little after that you’ll drive over a level crossing (this is the local steam railway). You’ll then see a big restaurant on the left called The Mill. Take the next left after the pub – the A268 to Rye. You are now in Whitebread Lane – it’s a very twisty, turny road. Follow this for approx 3 miles
There’s a sign on the left saying Beckley. Slow down. Take the next (sharp) left onto Hobbs Lane. (This turning is immediately before the mini roundabout -if you reach the mini roundabout you’ve gone too far!). Continue down Hobbs Lane for EXACTLY (and we mean EXACTLY!) half a mile. Swallowtail Hill Farm is on the left hand side, at the top of the hill, slightly hidden by a hedge. There is a sign just by the gate.The farm entrance is just a couple of metres further down the lane on the left.
Rye is the nearest train station. Sarah and Christopher can pick you up, please call to arrange time and charge.
From London, high speed from St Pancras (38 mins), or normal speed from Charing Cross, Waterloo East or London Bridge to Ashford International (1 hour 15 mins). Cross to Platform one for hourly cross-marsh train to Rye (20 mins)
Eating & drinking
At Swallowtail Hill
Sarah and Christopher offer a range of grocery boxes and picnic lunches stuffed full of locally sourced produce.
The produce in the area is quite simply exceptional – and there's no shortage of farmers markets. Rye has a wonderful butchers, greengrocers and deli in the High Street and in Peasmarsh (the next village) there's a family owned supermarket called Jempsons.
Rye Farmers Market – Wednesday – 10am to 1pm, Strand Quay
Rolvenden Farmers Market – Thursday 10am to noon, Church & Church Hall
Brede / Broad Oak Farmers Market – Friday 10am to noon, Church Hall
Pubs & restaurants
The White Hart, Newenden (3.5 miles). A 16th Century characterful free house with traditional pub food and fine cask ales.
The Cock Inn, Peasmarsh (2 miles). A 17th Century village pub with an enclosed adventure playground.
The Rose and Crown, Beckley (2 miles). Landlady Alice will give you an even warmer than usual welcome if she knows you're staying at Swallowtail Hill.
The Tuscan Kitchen, Rye (6 miles). Quite simply the best little Italian restaurant this side of Tuscany. Run by Jen and Franco the food is cooked to order with passion and care.
The Globe Inn, Rye (6 miles). Famous for its garden, is a traditional Sussex weatherboarded inn originally built in 1839.
The Ship Inn, Rye (4.5 miles). It was built in 1592, originally as a warehouse to store contraband seized from smugglers. It is now a popular countryside pub with old beams, wooden floors and open fires.
The Ypres Castle, Rye (6 miles). Pronounced, 'wipers' by the locals, the restaurant is next to the Ypres Tower (the actual castle - keep up) and specialises in fish dishes, with a garden overlooking the salt flats.
The George, Rye (6 miles). A traditional coaching inn on Rye’s high street with very good food.
Things to do
On the farm
Swallowtail Hill’s most popular activity is the animal feeding. Kids (and kids-at-heart) can help out each morning and evening giving the farm animals their breakfast and dinner. Adults can test their skills with a little longbow archery or perhaps a tractor driving lesson (these two best done separately).
Outdoor & active
The Rye Nature Reserve boasts a variety of habitats with a wealth of wildlife. More than 279 species of bird have been recorded at the reserve of which over 70 have nested. Visitors can walk a network of paths to discover the flora and fauna.
Visitors are often surprised at just how many vineyards are hidden away in this corner of the country. Amongst them are some of the best organic growers in the UK. Methersham Vineyard is just at the end of the same lane as Swallowtail Hill and Neil and Wendy Holcombe will welcome you to visit and taste! Chapel Down Winery is at Small Hythe near Tenterden and Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard and Carr Taylor Wines at Westfield are all just twenty minutes' drive away.
Rye Watersports boasts the only large coastal water lake with sea location in the South East of England. Lessons in Kitesurfing, windsurfing and sailing are available.
Three miles from the farm is the village of Newenden from where guests can take a ferry boat trip to Bodiam Castle. Rowing boat hire is also available.
The next door farm is a fishing lake open to the paying public but it is only for experienced anglers. You can hire kit but you need to be of a decent standard and able to just go for it!
The Rye Tennis and Squash Club welcomes day visitors.
Places to visit
The Kent and East Sussex Railway claims to be the country’s finest example of a rural light railway. It runs from Tenterden across ten miles of Rother Valley countryside to Bodiam Castle. Visitors to Swallowtail Hill can join the railway at Newenden (three miles away) with a hop on hop off ticket to explore the region.
The Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway is Kent's mainline in miniature. First opened to traffic in 1927 as the "World's Smallest Public Railway" and now covering a distance of 13.5 miles from the picturesque Cinque Port of Hythe near the Channel Tunnel to the fisherman's cottages and lighthouse at Dungeness.
Rye Castle Museum has two sites in The Ypres Tower and East Street. Ypres Tower, built in 1250, is the oldest building open to the public in Rye. It was built as part of the town's defences and has had a chequered history as revealed by its interior. From the Tower's balcony there is a magnificent view over the harbour.
The maritime Cinque Ports town of Rye sits high on a hill overlooking the River Rother and the Romney Marsh. Wander around Rye’s cobbled streets and explore the local landmarks including the Ypres Tower (the castle) and Landgate Arch. Take a walk along Mermaid Street – peppered with ancient buildings with very strange names.
Tenterden is another of the Cinque Ports and declares itself the Jewel of the Weald. Keeping guard over the town is the pinnacled tower of St Mildred’s Church from where once the signal beacon warned of the approach of the Spanish Armada.
One of the most famous and evocative castles in Britain, Bodiam Castle was built in 1385, as both a defence and a comfortable home. There are spiral staircases and battlements to explore, and wonderful views of the Rother Valley from the top of the towers.
Camber Sands is just nine miles from the farm. It is a popular sandy beach with picturesque dunes and interesting wildlife.
The ancient town of Winchelsea is a beautiful Sussex village built on the bones of a medieval town. It is a picturesque and peaceful village with a beach, medieval wine cellars and views of Rye bay.
Festivals & events
Rye boasts a thriving community of artists, writers and potters. The annual Rye Festival, now in its 40th year, takes place mid-September and is the culmination of the town’s commitment to the arts. From classical music and jazz to contemporary music, literature, comedy, painting and sculpture – the full spectrum of the arts is represented.
Courses & classes
Not just for kids (perhaps not at all in the case of the archery)
The opportunity to join in with animal feeding is included as part of your holiday at Swallowtail Hill. You can also choose to go on a guided wildlife walk around the farm. Additionally you can enjoy a tractor driving lesson by special arrangement. Longbow archery lessons can be booked during your stay.
The farm also offers air rifle target shooting for over 16s.
Many of the ancient manual woodland crafts are, sadly, being lost as industrial processes take over. But Swallowtail Hill does its best to keep them alive with occasional courses on offer from them and a few other knowledgeable locals. There are several riding stables close by which offer lessons for adults and children, or if you’d prefer something less structured, you can join a hack through the local countryside. Booking in advance is essential.
Meet your hosts
Swallowtail Hill Farm is sandwiched between the medieval market town of Tenterden in Kent and the ancient fortified hill-top seaport of Rye in this picturesque corner of East Sussex.
It is the feeling of being far removed from city life that brought the owners, Christopher and Sarah, here in the first place. Their search for a rural lifestyle coupled with a passion for nature and all things sustainable found them here at Swallowtail Hill’s 40 acres of land. Their land is actively managed for biodiversity and has qualified for the Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Scheme. It is now a patchwork of flower meadows, traditionally managed woodland, ponds and reedbeds, and hedge-lined green lanes to stroll along. This wildlife haven is a carbon neutral operation and Christopher and Sarah are constantly on the lookout for new ideas to reduce their carbon footprint even further.
An important part of the conservation work done on the farm is its education programme. Schools and special interest groups regularly visit to discover how a landscape managed in this way encourages flora and fauna. The Forest School at Swallowtail Hill is the newest part of the plan – some schools have already benefitted from this unique experience and more are set to follow in 2012. Swallowtail Hill is proud to hold the Learning Outside the Classroom accreditation and the farm is also part of the Countryside and Education Visits Accreditation Scheme.
East Sussex is a much visited but surprisingly uncrowded tourist destination and there is tons of stuff to do in the surrounding area if chilling out in farmland heaven is not quite enough for you. To keep the family entertained there is a steam railway ride, horse riding, great country pub lunches and strolls around the old town of ‘Foyle’s war’- Hastings or medieval Rye.
Guests can choose to stay in one of two cabins, Wood or Penfold, the Meadowkeeper's Cottage or the Woodcutter's Cottage. Comfortable double beds mean that you can have a relaxed lie-in whilst listening to the birds singing in the surrounding fields.