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.


Potatoe History

Purchasing power of Potatoes

Following a bumper potato crop, in a drought year when other growers on lighter soil had low yields, Bill Cragg of Brooker Farm Romney Marsh in Kent, purchased Wapsbourne Manor Farm in 1978 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. Father and son being too alike to work together; Paul with his new Canadian wife Jean were summarily dispatched to Sussex in 1979.

The red berries

Plato on strawberry growing

As little technical relevance could be found in Plato or Aristotle, the desire to grow in harmony with nature found ideals battling with economic pressure. A vision we had not started with became the reality, growing hundreds of acres of strawberry fruit for the super market trade. (Well at least we chose the best of with M & S and JS rather than Mr T)




Wapsbourne Farm is one of the few remaining family farmed units in the Sheffield Park area. It has had to diversify and use entrepreneurial skills to survive the economic pressures the agricultural industry faces. Supermarket pressures on the soft fruit industry forced the strawberry enterprise out of production in the late 1990’s. Paul used his experience from these 20 years 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.


Healthy Food

Organic Conversion

In 2000 the farm converted to organic farming, and now produces cereal and vegetable crops for human and animal food supply. We aim to expand the vegetable production to supply our campers with more fresh veg in the near future.



Happy Campers

We are very happy to welcome you to this bit of Sussex countryside;
our campsite is full of like minded eco friendly campers.

The income generated from the tourism allows funds to be invested into the infrastructure of the farm as well as establishing further environmental benefits through the regeneration of hedgerow, field margins, and pond and woodland areas.

We have developed a ‘niche’ in the camping market by providing a back to nature ‘wild’ setting with campfires and the enjoyment of wildlife one of the main reasons our visitors choose our site. The other main reason is enjoying the campfire in the midst of the peaceful beauty of the farm.


Third Generation

We are pleased to find our three young adults joining us in the family business with all of them having a key roll to play. As they have children of their own perhaps there will be a fourth generation lending a hand. As in days of old, school holidays revolved around the agricultural seasons.


Go green, save the planet

Save the Planet 

Many of our campers tell us they have chosen to forgo the long distance holiday to holiday in England. The proximity of our campsite from London, Brighton, Lewes and other towns in the Southeast helps meet the aim to reduce travel miles. Come enjoy a happy camping holiday using the same ancient track and woodland by the stream as our ancestors did before us.



Welcome to Wapsbourne from us all