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Thread: Campsite Facilities

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    Campsite Facilities

    Hi All

    I've recently taken on a role looking after a campsite. I'm really interested to hear what sort of facilities people like to see when they're camping - whether its something "back to basics" (a field, a tap and a bog block), whether people want to see showers, a field kitchen, activities, etc?

    What do you all look for when you pick a campsite.

    Thanks in advance

    Jack

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    Cubs, 2 night camp

    1. Distance from home
    2. Can we light fires
    3. Whether there are separate sites for each group (preferred) or a part of a larger field (not so popular)
    4. Any "new to us" activities that are provided on site or that we can do that's a bit different - not necessarily "high-tariff" , could be something quite simple or somewhere local to visit. (With Thriftwood on our doorstep that can be a challenge!)
    5. Availability of indoor space to eat/activities if we're looking to camp April or Sept as nights draw in & we've found it can be a bit chilly for Cubs eating outside.
    Kate, CSL (and GDB(S))
    1st Weald Brook Scout Group
    Brentwood, Essex
    www.1stwealdbrook.org.uk

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    a website that lists

    1. onsite facilities

    a. camping options with photos and a clear map
    b. indoor options with photos and a floorplan
    c. activity options

    2. offsite options accessible easily on foot (even if this just means a cornershop, pub, playground whatver)

    3. offsite options accessible by minibus/ car

    4. offsite options accessible by public transport

    A booking diary for the indoor accommodation that is up to date!

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    What do you all look for when you pick a campsite.
    The answer is...it depends.

    Which isn't very helpful.

    I would say if you want to be appealing to as many people as possible. Trouble is, there's always conflicting requirements. Are you appealing to bushcraft Benny, or Action Jackson? Are you trying to compete with PGL or not?

    Also, are you on or near any footpaths or any other significant natural features?

    If you want to appeal to as many people as possible, I'd say you need a decent toilet block, something clean, easy to keep clean, and not a dank dark spider infested grim hole that makes you want to hold your poo in until you get home.

    If you want to encourage people to come for week long summer camps, then showers would be my next request, though some would like them for a weekend, personally I'm a skank and so are many others and we can last two days without showering, but there's also a fair number that will be happier if they get a morning/evening shower. Decent amounts of hot water required. Again, mouldy dank holes that provide a luke warm trickle, or two showers just surrounded by shower curtains, or doors that are only the height of my midriff, aren't really what I'm looking for in a shower. It's scout camp not prison.

    A word on fittings. Particularly showers. I would say investing in decent quality fittings would be the best plan. The number of campsites that have gone down to B&Q and bought cheapo electric showers, and in short order little Smiffy has forced the knob the wrong way and stripped the thread, the shower head's been dropped and cracked, the door is wonky on its hinges. And don't get me started on toilet seats and flushes. You're making a rod for the maintenance team's backs with buying cheap.

    I think our local campsite Garners Field has a the toilet block about right, it's big mind you. Roughly square, probably 10m sides. See if I can explain it:
    On the South side there's two washing up sinks under cover and a water tap.
    On the West side there's an adults/disabled toilet and shower wet room, then a girls toilet that has a shower cubicle and three toilets I think.
    On the East side there's the same but a boys toilet.
    On the North side there's the door to a campsite maintenance store that runs down the centre of the block.

    Activities? To be honest, if you're starting from scratch, I wouldn't worry about it too much. You could maybe start with activities in a box type things that people can borrow. See what people want. A rifle/archery range/wall? Great big sheet of polythene for a water slide down the slope? Pioneering poles are a pain to move around so having them on site is good, though they won't get used that much.

    Then it's a case of who you're appealing to.

    Do you let people dig fire pits? Do you have fire areas marked out? Or do all fires need to be on alter fires? To be honest, if the site is a bit basic, I'd rather be having a fire on the ground, those half barrel fires annoy me. I'd rather use a pre marked fire scrape. I can see why campsites don't like people digging fire pits, as it's a tricky job to fill them in right so you end up with a lumpy bit of ground with a scorch mark round it.

    Hammocks are becoming increasingly popular, so if you can plant a small copse of trees suitably spaced, yes, it might take 5-10 years to get them to a suitable height, or trunk size, but you won't regret it. Do some research to get the right trees.

    Oh, and back to the footpath thing I mentioned at the start. If you're on a popular or likely walking route, or marked footpath, then local school D of E can be a good income stream.

    And a friendly and responsive warden and booking secretary.

    That's my random thoughts anyway.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2017 - May 2018
    http://www.jambowlree.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    I've recently taken on a role looking after a campsite. I'm really interested to hear what sort of facilities people like to see when they're camping - whether its something "back to basics" (a field, a tap and a bog block), whether people want to see showers, a field kitchen, activities, etc?
    I'm sure there's a demand for the full range, from basic to butlins, sometimes from the same group at different times.

    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    What do you all look for when you pick a campsite.
    A warden and campsite team with an accommodating make it happen attitude, rather than a protecting the site from the rabble attitude
    John Russell
    ex-CSL now ACSL 1st Pinhoe Exeter Devon
    Cubs don't care how much you know, but they need to know how much you care.

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    Absolute basics?

    Toilet facilities - a basic toilet block (kept clean) and adequate for the numbers the site caters for.)
    Set camping areas - nothing worse (well, there probably is) than turning up to a booked site to find other people encroaching on the space you thought was yours.
    Fire pit - just because.

    Intermediate stuff?

    Somewhere to sit/work surface - just a picnic table. I don't mind sitting round a campfire, but for preparing meals etc, somewhere to do it is really handy. Its also a useful social focal point.
    Cover - doing our thing in Scotland, often the weather is crap. So, just somewhere you can get under cover. A wooden pagoda type thing? Fordell had/has small wooden sheds and a wet weather barn - also good for socialising.
    Rules and signs to a minimum - camp staff should not be jobsworths. (This probably should be a basic...)

    Total luxury.

    Games room - some where heated with electricity and games, for if the weather is proper minging.
    Onsite activities - I think these are a luxury because the infrastructure required (and staff) is quite onerous. Plus, there's usually stuff to do out and about.
    A bar.
    Babysitting services?



    The other things are, is your site flat? Is the ground rocky? We've been up and around the north of Scotland, usually spending one night unbooked. Its frustrating turning up to a site that's basically a bit of rough ground. We've stayed in some 'interesting' places - the kind of place where its presented as a novelty, but really, you're thinking - oh dear... I remember one place - which to be fair was a novelty, the owners were really lovely and their site was, well, interesting. Ten minute round trip for water (I think they've since sorted that out). One outhouse - composting toilet, in a shack that was open round the top - last seen in cowboy films. Jokingly, they'd put a big old mirror up in front of the throne so people sitting could see out behind them. Unfortunately, it meant people walking past could see in. (This, we were told, started its life as a branded Coca Cola drinks bin. It would be filled with ice and cans of juice and put behind stage. Laterally, they were used at festivals as composting toilets. Apparently Mick Jagger used the one they installed on their campsite - although not obviously at the campsite...)

    You weren't supposed to pee in there, so they had a 'urinal', this was a hay bale behind a screen which to be honest, may as well have not been there. Unfortunately, it was in the middle of the site and the screen, well, it didn't screen overly much... Still not sure on the wisdom behind using a hay bale...

    On the upside, they had pigs, goats, dogs and chickens milling around and plenty of tables and seating areas. It was very rustic, we liked it overall, the only real complaint we had was, there were very few places to pitch tents - it was situated in some woods, quite boggy in places and hummocky in that way some land is... Plus, they charged the same as a site with full on facilities.

    But I digress...

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    I think our ideal scout campsite would consist of -
    A field for camping or clearly seperated camping areas if more than one and some space to run activtiies, ideally the camping field(s) would allow access for our kit trailer
    A toilet block (We are not too fussy about the standard so long as its kept reasonaly clean as any proper toilet is better than a chemical loo)
    A drinking water tap in the camping field(s)
    Altar fires (whether permenant brick or stone built structures or portable fire bins)
    Firewood on site whether that be collecting your own from woodland or from a decent woodpile (not one so entangled its impossible to pull most of the wood out of it)
    A car park or the field being large enough to accomodate some vehicles.

    A nice bonus would be a shower.

    We recently camped at Whitley Beaumont and I think that might go down as the best Scout Campsite we have camped at (Thanks to Bushfella, formerly of this Parish, for helping to save the site and alerting us to its existence)
    Last edited by shiftypete; 22-06-2018 at 08:33 AM.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Assistant Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Oh yes, wood. I'd really like a woodpile that's not 95% fence panels and pallets. Or woodland to go collect same. One of the reasons I love Broadstone Warren.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2017 - May 2018
    http://www.jambowlree.org

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    Seems like a lot of interest here in the more "basic" end of the market - which is great.

    It's not a Scout Campsite, but will be available for Scout groups to use. I know what i look for in a site for Scouts after 20 years camping with Scouts, but really good to see that other people want something similar.

    There'll only ever be one group on site at a time so no need to worry about designated pitches etc. We dont yet have altar fires, but ground fires are allowed in designated places.

    I don't like sites that dont allow at least the equipment vehicle to be driven on (maybe thats me being lazy) so no issues there for Pete! Obviously if the ground is really wet then vehicle movements need to be banned or limited. There's on-grass parking on site for around 10 vehicles, and a shared gravel car park next door which could easily take 40.

    Toilets are currently portaloos, but proper facilities are on the list once finances allow. There's no signs with rules on - just some posters to help people identify the wildlife.

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    If building a new bog block I would suggest the arrangement common on French campsites which is a building with cubicles around the outside (full height but ventilated) each containing either a toilet and handwash sink, a full size sink for personal washing or a shower.

    Avoids any potential Safeguarding issues as well as any questions relating to gender.

    One of the blocks at Ferny Crofts is a bit like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    If building a new bog block I would suggest the arrangement common on French campsites which is a building with cubicles around the outside (full height but ventilated) each containing either a toilet and handwash sink, a full size sink for personal washing or a shower.

    Avoids any potential Safeguarding issues as well as any questions relating to gender.

    One of the blocks at Ferny Crofts is a bit like that.
    Agreed, having unisex toilets/showers might keep things simple and save future drama.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2017 - May 2018
    http://www.jambowlree.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    I think our ideal scout campsite would consist of -
    A field for camping or clearly seperated camping areas if more than one and some space to run activtiies, ideally the camping field(s) would allow access for our kit trailer

    A car park or the field being large enough to accomodate some vehicles.
    I forgot about this...

    If I had a quid for every time we turned up at Fordell or keilder (I'd have about 5 probably, we don't go that often). The logic though, of emptying our van in to another van in the car park, so the van (that wasn't ours) could take our kit (which was already in a perfectly normal van similar to theirs) to our site...

    It just seems a bit, well okay, a total waste of everyone's time.

    The last time we went to Keilder, it was an old Land Rover towing a trailer. We had a van-load of kit, a big Sprinter... It was two trips in the land rover+trailer to the site we had. We asked why? they said they didn't want the roads in overly used because it damages them. Fair enough, but that would have been one trip in a van with four fat road wheels instead of two trips with a land rover with deep tread AT tires and a trailer totalling six wheels.

    I don't mind picking a campsite where it's just impossible to get vehicles in - you just plan accordingly. But when there doesn't seem to be any logic to why you have to double handle a ton of kit...

    You're left very quietly thinking - jobsworth...

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    I think our ideal scout campsite would consist of -
    A field for camping or clearly seperated camping areas if more than one and some space to run activtiies, ideally the camping field(s) would allow access for our kit trailer
    A toilet block (We are not too fussy about the standard so long as its kept reasonaly clean as any proper toilet is better than a chemical loo)
    A drinking water tap in the camping field(s)
    Altar fires (whether permenant brick or stone built structures or portable fire bins)
    Firewood on site whether that be collecting your own from woodland or from a decent woodpile (not one so entangled its impossible to pull most of the wood out of it)
    A car park or the field being large enough to accomodate some vehicles.

    A nice bonus would be a shower.

    We recently camped at Whitley Beaumont and I think that might go down as the best Scout Campsite we have camped at (Thanks to Bushfella, formerly of this Parish, for helping to save the site and alerting us to its existence)

    Just nipping in.

    Great site. Sadly not one that Navs can use. Not banned as such, but the potential for conflict for us is huge - We now use Woolley Edge or Silverwood where we have no such problems.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    Seems like a lot of interest here in the more "basic" end of the market - which is great.

    It's not a Scout Campsite, but will be available for Scout groups to use. I know what i look for in a site for Scouts after 20 years camping with Scouts, but really good to see that other people want something similar.

    There'll only ever be one group on site at a time so no need to worry about designated pitches etc. We dont yet have altar fires, but ground fires are allowed in designated places.

    I don't like sites that dont allow at least the equipment vehicle to be driven on (maybe thats me being lazy) so no issues there for Pete! Obviously if the ground is really wet then vehicle movements need to be banned or limited. There's on-grass parking on site for around 10 vehicles, and a shared gravel car park next door which could easily take 40.

    Toilets are currently portaloos, but proper facilities are on the list once finances allow. There's no signs with rules on - just some posters to help people identify the wildlife.
    That sounds pretty much perfect. Now all you need to do is install proper toilets, and make sure you have a stream for when we want to build a bridge with our awesome pioneering skills, and I'll make a booking!
    The long march through the institutions is nearly complete.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Agreed, having unisex toilets/showers might keep things simple and save future drama.
    I struggle to see why anyone would do anything else these days!

    Yes urinals are efficient, but its easy to create a separate room for a urinal bank and couple of sinks if desired. I dont understand why so many cafes etc have one male and one female toilet, each in their own room with a sink etc... why not just make both unisex?

    We would probably go for something like an L-shaped stable block structure with one "wing" being toilet cubicles and one "wing" being showers.

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