2 nights at Church Farm, Ardeley

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Sep 16, 2013
495
191
Rochester, Kent
Hi All,

I have recently returned from a two night stay at the campsite on Church Farm in Ardeley, Hertfordshire. I’d say this camping adventure was less bushcrafty and more poshcrafty but a good time was had by all. It was a weekend of good food (dutch oven style), good drink and a good bimble around the local woodland.

The campsite was nice, if you watch youtube you may be familiar with the place as there’s been some large ‘prepper’ meets there which have generated quite a few videos. The campsite has some open fields and some young wooded areas that you can pitch in. We opted for one of the wooded areas as some of us (myself included) were hanging in our hammocks and another of my camp mates booked out one of their cabins (very nice they were too). Fires are permitted and while you can have a fire where you like (albeit with the intervention of common sense) we figured it made good sense to use one of the established fire places in front of the cabin.

There were also good facilities with toilets, showers and running water nearby as well as a nice pub just outside the farm entrance. The campsite also benefitted from a well-stocked farm shop/butchers and café. A word of warning about the farm shop though, it offers top quality local produce but it don’t come cheap! The firewood was also quite pricey which is a bit of an issue as they ask that you refrain from using any of the dead fall in the woodland (I think this is to do with conservation). As and when I return to this campsite, I’d make sure that I source some wood from elsewhere.

One of the unfortunate things we noticed about the campsite was that there has clearly been some disrespectful d!ckheads camping there as so many of the living tree’s had multiple axe scars on them. I shan’t repeat the actual words I used to describe whoever did it, but why do such a thing?

We were camping during the weekend prior to Haloween and Autumn was well and truly established. Leaves were covering the ground and temperatures had dropped into single figures. This really is a great time of year to be enjoying the outdoors.

As you’d expect there was plenty of wildlife about too. Tawny Owls were calling thoughout the night and I had my first ever sighting of a great spotted woodpecker who would often be making lots of noise from the top of a nearby birch tree. These are one of those birds that I’ve often heard but not seen.

In terms of kit, I’d brought some luxuries such as the dutch oven a chair and a small table but for the most part I’d opted to limit everything to just that which I can fit in my backpack (not sure why!). I was however more than happy to be sleeping in my hammock with my down jacket and two season sleeping bag. The underblanket really makes such a big difference at this time of year. I know I slept pretty well because I learnt the next morning that my snoring was rather loud! What can I say, the hammock makes for a very comfortable nights sleep!
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The second night was quite interesting though, a thick fog descended into the woodland and I recall waking up fairly early (around 6am) to the sound of rain hitting my tarp. Only the thing was that it wasn’t raining, it was the misty dew dripping from the trees. I then noticed that my underblanket and top half of my sleeping bag were quite damp from the misty the air that had ensconced us. Happily my sleeping bag was synthetic so no bother, but I’d left some clothes out under my tarp and they’d also got a bit damp. I guess there’s a lesson learnt there about camp admin and how a tarp can be rain proof but not mist proof!
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I’m now looking forward to my next adventure which is going to be a two nighter in between Christmas and the new year. I think for that trip I’m going back to basics and sleeping on the ground in my bivvy bag under a simple lean to shelter. Thereafter, I’m also planning a camping trip for the winter which will involve some more ground dwelling and hopefully a reasonably long hike into new camping territories. Exciting times ahead!
 

ocean1975

Full Member
Jan 10, 2009
675
67
rochester, kent
Nice write up as always Barney,that cabin was a luxury.suffering with back problems a decent bed was a good call on my behalf and the stove was nice and cosy.Looking forward to our next trip out,I will be in my bergans tipi with a frontier stove,I'm getting used to this glamping lark lol.Bring on the Dutch oven cooking and a few beverages and good company.
 

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