Tag Archives: Downe

Report: Summer Camp 2018

For Summer Camp 2018 we returned to Downe Scout Activity Centre at Biggin Hill in Kent. After the long hot summer we didn’t have a completely dry week but still did well with the weather

Camp ran from Sunday 12 to Saturday 18 August with our mini-campers leaving us on the Wednesday. It was a level 3 camp as we slept in tents.

With Charles Darwin having lived nearby we found out about him and his life and also visited his house during the week.

Our guest list was:

  • Full week (9): Lucybelle, Thomas, Adam, Martha, Violet, Izzy, Jasmine, Joshua
  • Mini camp (3): James, Tommy and Luke
  • Adults camping (5) – Jacala, Marian, Kaa, Tabaqui, Helen and Luke (scout helper)
Click to see photos from Downe

Remember to click on the first picture and then the white “i” in the top corner to see our captions in the info window on the right of the screen.

Thanks to Jacala for providing the photos

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to see photos from camp while we are there.


Event: Summer camp 2018

Summer Camp is our main camp of the year and gives a chance to camp with us for more than just a weekend. We have got all week so there will be plenty of time for the usual camp fires, wide games and on site activities too. It will be a level 3 camp as we will be sleeping in tents.

What to do now: All our campers need to complete our usual online health form. Also please make sure that you have paid your camp fee. We have some of each outstanding at the moment.
We have now published the joining instructions which include the kit list and detailed directions to the site

Where: We will be camping at Downe Scout Activity Centre near Biggin Hill.

Directions: You will need to make your own way to and from the site. You may like to follow our directions. We’ll publish more details in our joining instructions. Whichever way you come you will end up on the narrow country lanes so please drive carefully.

When: Summer Camp is always in the same week in mid-August. This year we start on the afternoon of Sunday 12 August and will run through until lunchtime on Saturday 18 August.
We encourage you to come for the whole week as things are so much more relaxed than a weekend when we cram everything in. We also find that the Cubs get used to sleeping in the tents so by the end of the week end up sleeping in rather than waking the leaders at first light.
For those that think a 6 nights is a long time to be at camp we are also offering our usual 3 night mini camp option which ends at 5.30pm on Wednesday 15 August.

What: Our on site activities include the adventure course, abseiling, grass sledging and the crate challenge. We’ll also be hiking to Down House, former home of Charles Darwin. Our camping field has plenty of space for games and adjoins woods that form part of the site making it ideal for exploring, shelter building and wide games. We also plan to end every evening with camp fire songs.

Badges: In addition to those all important nights and hikes away we hope to work on the backwoods cooking and athletics badges plus adventure and outdoor challenges.

Preparation for activities: There isn’t any formal homework but we would like everybody to think about how they could describe themselves in 4 pictures (which they should be able to draw). This could be emojis but doesn’t have to be. You’ll also need to bring two A4 sized pieces of thin card (such as a cereal box) and 3 x 1p coins.

Cost: Activity centre costs seem to keep going up and that puts pressure on our attempts to keep camp fees low. As usual we are using a big chunk of the money you have raised for us through painless fundraising to subsidise the camp fees. That means that we are able to charge just £100 for the camp including all food, fees and activities. The camp fee for mini campers will be £70. This is less than we charged last year – largely because being a Scout run site they do not charge us VAT.

Who: Camp is open to all our Cubs. We are limited to a total of 12 campers because of the size of groups that are allowed to take part in the activities.

On 29 July the guest list is as follows:

  • Full camp – 9 Cubs – Martha (pd+HF), Emily (dep+HF), Adam (pd+HF), Joshua (pd+HF), Jasmine (pd+HF), Izzy (pd+HF), Thomas (pd+HF), Lucybelle (pd+HF), Violet (pd+HF)
  • Standard mini camp (Su-We) – 3 Cubs – James (pd+HF), Tommy (pd+HF), Luke (pd)
  • Reverse mini camp (Th-Sa) – 1 Cub – Rohan (pd+HF)
  • Leaders camping – Tabaqui, Jacala, Helen
  • Adults camping – Marian, Kaa

We do need an extra adults to help transport gear, pitch the tents etc. We hope that you will be able to assist. See the “helper at camp” section of our join us page to see what sort of help we need.

Paperwork: All our places are taken but all campers do need to complete our standard online health form.

Join: We have now published the joining instructions which include the kit list and detailed directions to the site.

View: We last visited Downe in 2014 and you can see our report from that camp on the website via our Reports page. For a more recent summer camp how about checking the report from our Orient Express camp at Blackland Farm in 2017.


Report: Summer Camp 2014

For Summer Camp 2014 we returned to Downe Scout Activity Centre near Biggin Hill.

Being on the doorstep of Down House, former home of Charles Darwin, our theme was the naturalist’s badge but there was plenty of time for the usual camp fires, wide games and on site activities too. It was a level 3 camp as we slept in tents.

Summer Camp is always in the same week in mid-August. This year we started on the afternoon of Sunday 10 August and ran through until 5.30pm on Wednesday 13 August. We would normally camp for the whole week but unfortunately only had 5 Cubs wanting to do that bit which was not enough to make it viable.

Our guest list was:

  • 15 Cubs – Grace, Lauren, Zack, Adam M, Jake, Ollie, Gareth, Olivia, James, Lily, Luke P, Adam S, Alex, Holly and Harry
  • Helpers camping – Tabaqui
  • Adults camping – Akela, Jacala, Marian, Kelly (Sun), Hathi (Mon-Wed), Kaa (Tue)

At the end of the camp we had some goodbyes to say as Akela, Zack, Jake and James would not be with us when term started again in September.

For more pictures please see our
Summer Camp gallery

Thanks to Jacala & Tabaqui for providing the photos

Joining: Summer camp

Our Summer Camp is fast approaching and we can now confirm the arrangements.

Weather update (Sat): We’ve been concerned about ex-hurricane Bertha which is set to affect the UK on Sunday. However, forecasts now show that it will clear the south of England by lunchtime on Sunday, meaning that our camp can continue as planned.

When is the camp? Camp starts at 4.30pm on Sunday 10 August and runs through to 5.30pm on Wednesday 13 August. On Sunday afternoon the Cubs can arrive any time between 4pm and 4.30pm. Please do not arrive before this unless you are coming to help pitch the tents. The journey from Billingshurst should take you about an hour and twenty minutes. On Wednesday afternoon the camp ends at 5.30pm after a closing ceremony at 5.15pm. Parents are welcome to come and watch the closing ceremony.

Where is the camp? The camp is being held at Downe Scout Activity Centre near Biggin Hill. The preferred route is M23, M25 to junction 6 (A22 Godstone & A25 Westerham). After a short distance on the A22 turn left at the roundabout onto the A25. Continue through Oxted and Westerham on the A25. After leaving Westerham turn left at the roundabout onto the A233. Continue on the A233, over the M25 and up the hill. (Your satnav may suggest that you turn right, down Buckhurst Road but it is better to continue ahead into Biggin Hill to avoid very narrow roads.) After passing the Blackhorse pub on your right, turn right into Jail Lane, signposted Cudham and Downe. Continue ahead past the Darwin Leisure Centre and school. On leaving the built up area the road becomes narrow. Pass the Old Jail pub and follow the road round to the left ignoring the road into Cudham. After a sharp left bend you will enter Luxted. As the road bears sharply right, look for a narrow lane straight on, often between parked cars, with brown signs pointing to Downe Activity Centre. This is Birdhouse Lane, a narrow and very bumpy track. Keep ahead until you come to the big car park. Site rules say that you must park there then carry your bags straight ahead past camp reception and the Warden’s house to our camp which is on the Games Field (site 38).
You may find our online directions for getting to Downe useful.

Transport: You will need to make your own arrangements for getting to and from the campsite.

What about food? The first food we will be providing will be a hot evening meal on Sunday. After that, we will be providing a full service of meals through until Wednesday lunchtime so there is no need to bring a packed lunch or your own supplies. We do not allow Cubs to bring sweets or drinks to camp.

Pills and Potions: If you require any medication during the camp please ensure that it is clearly labelled and handed into the kitchen when you arrive. If you sometimes need an inhaler for asthma or hayfever tablets please remember to bring them. Activities at camp can be strenuous and tired Cubs are more liable to need their inhalers.

Kit List: The kit list is available online. Check it carefully as there are some additional items that we’d like you to bring. Have a look at the weather forecast as you pack and make sure that your Cub has plenty of appropriate clothes. We’re hoping that it will be hot and sunny so don’t forget a hat and remember it might get cold at night so you’ll need warm clothes for that. We will hopefully get a chance to visit the shop on site and at Down House but this will be for souvenirs rather than sweets. We suggest that you limit pocket money to £5 which should be in coins and in a named purse/wallet.
We’d like each Cub to bring some cardboard such as an empty cereal box. Also they will need 2 x 1p coins.

What if I need to get in touch with the leaders at camp? We will have a Home Contact. This is somebody not involved in the camp who can co-ordinate links with parents in the unlikely event that anything goes wrong. For this camp the Home Contact is Raksha – Phyllis Gravett who may be contacted on Billingshurst 783530. The Home Contact holds emergency information about all the Cubs at camp and therefore may ring you if the leaders are unavailable for any reason. It is likely that the leaders will have their own mobile phones with them but we cannot rely on them as there may be a poor signal.

Updates when at camp: We can’t promise but it is likely that Jacala will be posting messages and pictures on Twitter while we are at camp. If you follow @ParbrookCubs then remember that you can get the messages sent to you as text messages so that you don’t have to keep checking the website. If you do not follow us then pop along to http://twitter.com/parbrookcubs to see the latest messages.

Guest list: The following Cubs have a place at this camp:

  • 15 Cubs – Grace, Lauren, Zack, Adam M, Jake, Ollie, Gareth, Olivia, James, Lily, Luke P, Adam S, Alex, Holly and Harry
  • Helpers camping – Tabaqui (Mon & Tue)
  • Adults camping – Akela, Jacala, Marian, Kelly (Sun), Hathi (Mon & Tue), Steve B (Tue)

Paperwork: As usual we need to have a completed health form for each Cub on our trip. These should be done electronically so please complete the online health form.

Help wanted: We’re grateful to Mark Wingate for use of his van to carry our tables and benches to camp and Glyn for offering to bring them back. We’d be grateful for some help from parents who wouldn’t mind putting a few boxes or bags in their cars to lighten the load on the van. Please meet us at the hall at 11am on Sunday which is when we will be loading the van. Just bring the kit along when you deliver your cub.

Hopefully that will give you all the information that you need but if not do use the comments facility to let us know your question.

Changes to Summer camp

Our Summer Camp this year takes us to Downe Scout Activity Centre in our usual week in August.

We’ve recently noticed that numbers on our activities have been falling – whether a Saturday activity such as the communicators badge or camps. Summer camp is no exception, with just 9 of our 26 Cubs booking for the first part of the week (mini-camp) and 5 for the full week.

Sadly we have not had any late additions to our guest list and have made the difficult decision that camp will now end on Wednesday evening and not Saturday as originally planned. We’re sorry for any disappointment caused to those who, like Akela who is on her last camp with us, wanted to camp for the whole week.

Please see the updated summer camp page for the latest information and links to the health form.

As you can see from our bookings graph, numbers are similarly low for our cycle picnic and the weekend camp in September. We need to know numbers before the end of term as camp is early in September. Even if you don’t plan to come please complete the reply form so that we know.