Last summer we discovered Ling’s Meadow and had such an amazing time we just had to go again this year. It’s a small, eco campsite based on farmland near Thetford, housing a maximum of twenty-five people at a time in a mixture of glamping bell tents, a shepherd’s hut, living van and bring-your-own tents.
Kath, the owner, lives in the farmhouse with her husband and three kids, and are extremely welcoming and excellent hosts. The farm has been in the family since 1930 and they grow wheat, barley and sugar beet. The farm ethos has always been to tread lightly on the land, and they are doing the same with the campsite.
The pitches are set in amongst a four-acre natural meadow, each sitting on a circle cut into the meadow with its own winding path to the communal camp kitchen, the (immaculately clean) composting toilets and the solar powered shower. There is no electricity on site, but at night everything is lit by solar powered fairy lights, providing a blissfully chilled out atmosphere.
This year we stayed in the new addition to the campsite, a living van called Windhover (named after the kestrel that can often be seen above the campsite) which has been lovingly crafted by a local carpenter and eco builder using recycled materials, including the beautiful carved bed. We found it super cosy and didn’t need to use the woodburning stove at all, instead opting to cook outside on the firepit or our own little stove we brought from home.
There’s a little table and chairs so you can eat inside, plus a beautiful rustic cabinet filled with everything you need to make yourself at home – tealights, cutlery, crockery, firelighters etc. And like everything at Ling’s Meadow, it’s all about the little details, from the freshly cut flowers and handmade crochet blankets to the classic vintage books to enjoy tucked up in bed. And of course, a little bottle of Kath’s homemade damson gin to tipple on an evening makes it extra special!
The site is quiet and chilled out but perfect for families as the kids can go feral – den building and kite flying being the most popular whilst we were staying. There’s also a great community spirit, with everyone chatting about where they have visited, either sitting round the main campfire or cooking in the shared kitchen. A special little bonus are the fresh eggs in the morning provided by the farmyard chickens.
In summer, the grasses grow high and the meadow is alive with butterflies, dragonflies, swallows, bees and rabbits. On our last morning we had coffee sitting on the steps of the van and watched a mother deer lead her two youngsters through the field next to us to forage for their breakfast. That moment didn’t need to be photographed, it needed to be savoured and preserved as a memory. And that moment will stay with me forever. It was the perfect way to end our holiday.
Images by Jen Chillingsworth