Suggested Venues for AT Camp

Hi all

Our usual haunt of Wyke Regis camp is fully booked for a planned camp over the May half term, so I’m on the scrounge for suggested venues that we can climb, canoe and walk as well as having local interest attractions to visit.

5 day camp, Sat-Wed, looking at about 16 cadets.

Any ideas?

How far are you willing to travel, and does it need to be a ‘free’ camp (i.e. DTE)?

You could go north, rather than south, and look at Cwrt-y-Gollen or Sennybridge? Okehampton is another option - not sure about canoeing here (unless you use the Dart?) but walking & climbing is OK.

Well ideally we’ll travel up on a Friday evening, so within 3/4 hours of south central England would be good.

And ideally DTE for the catering/free accommodation, but willing to consider other sites if needed.

I that case all of those I’ve suggested above would be my initial starter for 10. I’m not that familiar with South Wales paddling venues but there are open water venues close to Sennybridge IIRC (Llangorse Lake is one I think).

Cwrt-y-Gollen is closest but probably the most difficult to organise - nice facility but there is some funnies about catering if I remember rightly (contract caterers, or need to provide your own chef? - been ages since I used it).

Sennybridge probably most likely to have space? Not sure about the climbing down that way but I’m sure there will be some.

Okehampton is good in that you can walk out onto the moors direct from the camp - various tors for climbing on.

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Any contacts for booking? :crossed_fingers:t2:

Standard 907 form into the booking cell I think for Sennybirdge - Wales & West. JSP907 has 01874 63 5465 as the contact number but not sure how up to date that is.

Cwrt-Y-Gollen is direct to them - JSP907 number is 01873813784 but again, not sure on currency.

Okehampton is the SW bookings cell and probably the same as you book Wyke Regis.

Sorry, difficult to give you a more definitive answer until I have Bader access back.

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Llangorse Lake is definitely an option.

Cwrt y Gollen catering is usually not available on weekends, but you can use the kitchen if you have someone appropriately qualified. (That used to be the deal anyway, not sure if there have been any changes recently). It also has a campsite which is bookable if you’d consider that.

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Anyone got experience of Crowborough? How to book, facilities etc?

I do! Facilities are pretty basic, but good enough. Happy to discuss any details later when I get a bit more free time if you like!

And to had, I hadn’t suggested it as a venue because of the lack of climbing! Albeit, there is sandstone, but that’s only good if it’s dry. Plenty of indoor walls around too.

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You can paddle on some of the watermanship areas on the trg area- but they are small. As JB says, there is southern sandstone nearby but that’s like climbing on millions of ball bearings in my opinion :grinning:. Lots of lowland walking options around the training area - you can walk directly out of camp IIRC.

Bookings are like any other DTE - 907 into the booking cell.

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There’s loads of other good paddling venues near-by though!!

Yes you can, straight onto Ashdown Forest. Really nice area for nav training. :slight_smile:

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Where are you thinking of? Bewl / Medway?

Ardingly, Weirwood and Piddinghoe are all pretty decent for sheltered water stuff. I guess Bewl too? But I’ve never actually paddled there so who knows :sweat_smile:

There’s also some scope for journeys too, especially on the Ouse.

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Yes please then, any info you have on local areas would be great!

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Medway is a good day out - some great fun to be had on the canoe chutes :smiley:


Agreed! It’s a good option for a water borne exbed as well if that’s an option

Also in Medway is Chatham Dockyard. Ex royal navy base. Key shipbuilding base until 20th century. Lots of militaryish history around Medway. Ex Short factory as well, but I don’t think there’s a museum for that.

Chatham dockyard is great.

My favourite part of it is the westland dragonfly* helicopter!:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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So for local paddling:

You can paddle within the Pippingford Park training area. This is on the ‘Fishponds’. The pin there is next to the launching area. It’s a bit naff, and the access road is terrible.

Weir Wood reservoir is a good option that’s pretty close. This is the launching area I’ve used before. I think you can also launch from the sailing club bit, but not sure. I prefer the other bit as it’s a lot more sheltered if you stay in the little cove.

Ardingly reservoir is another pretty near-by one. Launch from here.

Piddinghoe pond is another, but it’s a bit further away than the other two and doesn’t really offer anything extra in terms of sheltered water paddling. What it can offer though is a potential launch point for a journey! If your with relatively experienced paddlers you can launch from here. You obviously have to time it right with the tide, or you get sucked out to sea :sweat_smile: I’ve done it before where we paddled into Lewes and got out here and we pre-stationed a minibus with a canoe trailer in the Tesco car park. Worked quite well!

Then there’s Bewl Water. Not personally paddled there but it looks great!

For details on all of those I’d highly recommended reaching out to the current depwatto.sussex. He knows a lot more than I do when it comes to paddling.

For local walking, your spoiled for choice as far as lowland walks go. You can walk directly out of the camp onto the Ashdown Forest. Lovely area, loads of great navigation stuff.

If you want a bit of variety then you’ve got loads of nice day walks along the south downs way a relatively short drive away. Walking from the west of Eastbourne, all around Birling Gap, Alfriston, Firle, Beachy Head etc etc. That area is bloody lovely! Further was along the Way there’s nice areas along Offham, Saddlescombe, Truleigh Hill, Devil’s Dyke etc.

Sadly there’s no mountains though :frowning:

Climbing wise, you’ve got a fair bit of Southern Sandstone around. It’s the only outdoor climbing we have down here :grimacing: It’s a bit crap, but for beginner groups it can be quite enjoyable only if you can get the good routes.

Bowles rocks has some good intro stuff. If you stay at the end closest to the car park (Woodland Buttress and Hargreaves Buttress) then there’s multiple easy routes close together. It’s super easy rigging as it’s all top access and all bolted properly.

Harrisons rocks is another nice area, but there’s less easy stuff all close together. Advise a good recce on that one! Harrison’s is also nice easy rigging, but does occasionally require a tree!

But, as it’s all sandstone, you have to top out, untie/unclip, throw the rope down, then walk back down to the bottom. You’re not meant to lower off of the climbs. This can be a bit of a faff with beginners. Check out the Sandstone Code and it’ll explain all.

Indoor climbing there are a few options for. For bouldering there’s Chimera in Tunbridge Wells and Boulder Brighton in, well, Brighton! (who’d have guessed!)

For roped climbing I think your best bets would be High Sports Brighton or High Sports Crawley. I’d recommend Brighton over Crawley as it’s a much bigger centre.

There’s also some other smaller private venues that you can book out too, some with abseil towers. Blacklands Farm being an example. You could also look into something like Hindleap Warren too.

Oh, and if you’ve got someone obs course qualified, there’s one of those at Crowborough. There’s also a shotgun range on the camp, but that might be logistically tricky!

As for local attractions to visit, that depends what you’re looking for?

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If you go for Okehampton, there’s a lake about 20-30 minutes down the road, at Roadford, you can selflaunch there.

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