Farm History


We thought you might like a bit of history thrown in; so heres a quick round up of our past at Wapsbourne.

Timeline of the farm


The name Wapsbourne is the modern version of the older Sussex names of Whapplesbourne, Werpplesborne and other derivatives. The name means ‘a track by the stream’. This track leads you from Lewes to East Grinstead, right past the Elizabethan Manor house built in the late 15th C. Wapsbourne was once part of the Sheffield Park Estate, auctioned into private hands in 1953 when the estate of several thousand acres was broken up.


Purchasing power of Potatoes

Potatoe History

Following a bumper potato crop, in a drought year when other growers on lighter soil had low yields, Bill Cragg of Brooker Farm in Kent, purchased Wapsbourne Manor Farm in1978 to use the streak of Tunbridge Wells green sand to grow strawberry runners. His somewhat wayward son Paul had returned from America where he had studied Philosophy was summarily dispatched to Sussex in 1979 with his new Canadian wife Jean to start growing. 



The red berries

Strawberry growing

Between the early 80's to 2005 the Craggs could be found growing hundreds of acres of strawberry fruit for the super market trade. This went very well until the supermarkets started the squeeze on price by flying in fruit from California which had far lower production costs. This left the farm with 2 very unprofitable growing seasons and a whole lot of debt. 





diversifyPaul and Jean then had to use their experience from these 20years employing and housing young people as fruit pickers; to establish a working holiday campsite providing local businesses with much needed temporary staff, young people from all over the world. This recruiment agency lasted the best part of 2 decades but again was faces with a slow down and unprofitable years when the EU opened up to new countries and the labour force became easier to find. 



Happy Campers



In 2006 Jean had the idea of trying camping and going back to basics and getting people back into the outdoors. Back then tent camping wasn't a big thing at all and Glamping didn't exist, you were more likely to find a caravan park than anything else. The response even in the first year to our new approach was massive and many happy campers came and had a nice stay right from the word go. So Jean and Paul and Alice and Frank set about converting the farm once again into a new business and starting the ball rolling. 








Third Generation







Between 2016-18 the third generation of Cragg's started to run the business with Staff, Bea and Alice all looking after different aspects together. Here's to hoping that we can carry on running a holiday destination for many campers for many generations to come! 











So now we are very happy to welcome you to this bit of Sussex countryside, we hope you enjoy the setting and keep coming back year on year to see.  



Welcome to Wapsbourne from us all