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A day of bushcraft with Camp Wilderness

We spend a whole lot of time outdoors - walking in the woods, foraging, making dens, so we were really intrigued to see what the Bushcraft Company at Camp Wilderness would have in store for us on Saturday.

Having Lee (aka Daddy) with us, is a bit like having our very own Ray Mears on tap. He's a dab hand at starting fires, identifying edible wild foods and building dens - but we were all up early and willing to try some new bushcraft skills and meet some other families.

The Bushcraft Company offer outdoor education programmes and camps for kids (ages 6-15) at Camp Wilderness across four woodland centres in Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Kent and Cheshire.

We had a little taste of what sort of things the children would get up to at the site in Hatfield Woods, Hertfordshire.

We arrived in the morning, driving straight into the beautiful woodland where we could immediately see the bell tents and yurts. The day started with joining a tribe and making a flag (we missed this part because silly me put the wrong postcode down and we ended up in the wrong place - ooops!).

This was followed by interactive demonstrations showing methods of lighting and building camp fires. Shannon had a go with the wire wool and battery.

Then we were off collecting sticks to build our tribe's camp fire - all the kids got to have a go at adding the sticks and building the fire up - then lighting it. Their favourite way was using potassium permanganate and glycerin in a paper cone - when rubbed together it starts to get warm and causes an exothermic reaction - then poof, you have fire - cool purple fire!

Lunch was cooked on the camp fire too, we had burgers with cheese and lettuce, chipped potatoes were being cooked at the camp's outdoor kitchen and there was a range of fruit available too. There are wood-burning ovens in the camp - so children who are staying would eat things like wood-fired pizzas, kebabs cooked on the camp fire, whole panassed salmon and even spaghetti bolognaise.

After lunch the kids helped to put the camp fire out - check out Keira's hands. The dirtier the better!

Everyone then got to join in with some woodland hide-and-seek style games - I have to say the tribe leaders did a great job - everyone joined in and had a blast.

As you'd expect on-site there are hand washing facilities, portaloos and a kitchen area too, the single-sex bell tents sleep groups of 8-10 children and look very roomy inside.

Our next activity was camouflage and concealment, then it was off into the woods to learn about trapping techniques - then back to the yurt to look at some animal skins and talk about wild food.

Our final activity was making survival bracelets, this is done with paracord and a buckle clip. It's not as simple as it looks but once you get started - you get the hang of it.

Then my son's favourite part - hot chocolate and toasting marshmallows over the fire.

We left Camp Wilderness at 4pm, smelling of camp fire, with camouflaged faces and tight skin from the glorious sunshine.

Kids verdict: 9/10

This is only because Shannon said she ran out of time to hide during the game of hide-and-seek (otherwise it would have been 10/10)!

Both of our girls (ages 9 and 10) said they would happily camp there with friends - but would feel a bit nervous about camping without us. They thought the burger was delicious and enjoyed all of the activities on offer. Finley said it was the best day ever (he is 5)!

Two-day, three-day and five-day camps are available for children aged 6-15 throughout the school holidays. There are also bushcraft open days coming up so do follow on social media: @campwildernessuk; @escapetothewild; @BushcraftOnline

As parents we'd be more than happy for our children to camp here, it felt safe, the staff were friendly and knowledgable and there is plenty to do.

Thanks for a fab day Camp Wilderness!

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