Here at Little Winnick we have two young daughters who are at the heart of everything we do at home, and over the last winter we spent an awful lot of time thinking about had we could instill these values into Little Winnick even more. We were already super family friendly, we boast a lovely play area, family bathroom, you would often find two little people on reception welcoming you, but we wanted to go further.
After a lot of thinking and maybe a glass or two of wine Camp Wild(ish) was borne among other ideas. The hope was to offer a family camping weekend in our meadow, with sessions led by qualified Forest School leaders with a camp fire at the heart of it all. The (ish) bit came from camping in the meadow with no electric, but having access to our lovely new toilet block a short stroll away. Basically we wanted to help families make memories that would last a lifetime.
Well, this week saw the very first Camp Wild(ish) and what an utterly amazing weekend it was. The week leading up to the event was a little hectic and stressful getting everything ready and installing ‘The Cathedral of Smoke’ (the covered camp fire area) but all the work was worth it.
On Friday families started to arrive from midday and straight away all the children just played together. It was how it used to be when we were children. With the safe, enclosed meadow the children, ranging in age from 7 months to 15 years, could run as far as the eye could see. This freedom was echoed at the end of the weekend when a parent said ‘I can’t remember saying no to him since the moment we arrived, he has had the freedom that is so rare these days’. I have to say I had a tear in my eye at this comment, as it was true. The children relished the freedom, but respected the few rules that were in place around the camp fire.
In the evening with gathered for pasties and cake and after working hard on a treasure hunt, the children were rewarded with marshmallows and hot chocolate. For a camp with 12 families in I was pleasantly surprised as children began to head to bed, exhausted and by 9.30 most of the parents were out from the various bedtime routines to get to know one another and share a well deserved beverage around the fire.
Saturday started with glorious sunshine gracing the families as they made their bacon sandwiches and prepared for the day. Families had the whole day to themselves; with many cycling the trail or visiting the beach, some just stayed and enjoyed the sunshine. At 4pm the ‘Camp Craft’ sessions began with Julie & Kelly, qualified Forest School Leaders taking a brilliant session. Even the most reluctant parent found themselves engrossed in foraging for the extra bits for the yummy risotto – nettle crisps were ‘interesting’ and delicious, making stick people to share – creating their clothes by bashing plants onto fabric to get their natural dye out was amazing, taking part in the fire lighting competition and enjoying the most delicious ‘Smorgers’, marshmallows in between chocolate digestives…yummy!. The session was rounded off by some brilliant campfire singing.
Sunday saw the arrival of Sally, with Sid the spider. The shelter building challenge was hilarious until the point of testing whether they were water tight – there were a few damp children, but luckily the wall to wall sunshine meant we dried quickly! Soon we found ourselves making flat breads, foraging for the soup and making fires, but this time with no kindling to help us so it was a bit of a challenge! The spiced apple juice with foraged flowers was a delight as was watching the children eagerly making their wooden name tags.
All who came had a fab time, as did we. It was a delight and a treat to see children running free and not a phone or computer in sight. Thank you to all who came, you are what made the weekend so magical, thank you to Julie, Sally & kelly for your expert knowledge, skill and infectious enthusiasm. I think this review just about sums ups the weekend nicely…
“Thank you Little Winnick for putting on the most amazing event ‘Camp Wildish’ in your beautiful meadow, we had a wonderful time and really enjoyed all the forest school activities and camp fire food. A very memorable and special experience, our family will cherish for years to come.”
The next Camp Wild(ish) will be in September, do get in contact if you would like to receive details and dates. In the meantime you can sign up for Camp Craft throughout the summer with Sally and Julie by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org