All arrivals please check in at the Gate lodge for a friendly welcome and up to date camp information. You will receive the low down on camping circles and your free program, maybe even a welcome cup of tea!
Arrive in good time
The camps start on the Saturday evening at 8.00pm; gate will be open all day from 10am to 8pm. Early arrivals are welcome on the Friday from 12noon to 9pm.
Aim to arrive in time to be all set up and fed before the big ‘Welcome Workshop' at 8.00pm on Saturday, which is not to be missed! Everyones presence is a crucial ingredient of creating the magic and safety of our earthsong community.
No visitors are allowed on site once camp starts, and no day tickets are available. This maintains the safety and integrity of the camp. If children are arriving late, parents are asked to meet with co-parents or guardians for hand- over at the gate or outside the camp.
Avoid leaving early.
For the same reason we would like to stress the importance of staying until Sunday, a vital day of transitions and fond farewells. Camp finishes on Sunday morning with grand goodbyes and safe journey homing at 10am.
What we offer at earthsong is a nine day experience of living on the land. This includes camping together in a circle, cooking together on a communal fire, and taking up the simple chop wood carry water way of life. To facilitate this in the best possible way and with respect for the sacred land we are on, we have decided to admit camper vans for special needs only and on application at the time of booking. Once camper vans are on site they are not to be moved until camp is over.
Having a vehicle free campsite protects the land and enhances our experience of being close to nature. The only vehicles on site will be camper vans and work vehicles; e.g. vans for storing drums or bringing on firewood.
During camp the Gate lodge will be open as a place to get information.
Many of us have been surprised at how much we enjoy getting involved and actively contributing to the smooth running of the camp. Every one of us volunteers a few minutes during the camp to help in many different ways; perhaps to light lanterns, or to cut firewood for the showers, to help with the children's workshops, or clean the toilets.
Meitheal makes a tremendous difference. We all create the camp together. Without the wonderful help of the Meitheal volunteer workers the camp resource would dwindle and our camp would not be the same.
One of the enlightening aspects we have experienced at Earthsong is our changing attitude to work. In the right environment and with support, we can fully enjoy our work and the challenges it brings. At Earthsong, we work as part of a team and we get to see clearly how effective we can be in increasing peoples enjoyment of their lives and how we assist in the success of the camp.
The Meitheal tent will be beside gate lodge, where the Meitheal team will be waiting to help us help the camp.
Earthsong owns all of its venues, having invested most of the first few year's camp takings to do so. We own a wonderful selection of venues in which to run our workshops during camp. We have a team of people trained to put up and take down our venues for camp. Those who come on site crew tickets learn skills in this area.
Amongst our venues are marquees which act as creativity area, crèche space, shop, teenage area and cabaret. We also have three yurts made by Nick Clayson, a site crew manager, and one of these yurts serves as our wood stove sauna. We also have a gorgeous Tipi for smaller workshops and a Big top and a little Big Top to facilitate our drumming, singing, and dancing events.
Facilities on site
Camping facilities on site include wood stove heated hot showers, clean and welcoming earth toilets, running water, and firewood for cooking fires. We also have a shop and a café. In 2010 we introduced a sauna, which was a great success. There are several fire points with extinguishers set out around the site. Information on fire safety and using showers etc will be given out at the morning meeting.
Choosing a Camping circle
Everyone will need a waterproof tent, and teens, if camping in the teen area, will need their own. Yurts, tipis and benders are also welcome. We camp in small circles of around 12 tents, each circle sharing a central fire. Our Camping circle becomes our village for the event; a place where we can make lifelong friends and share information and tools, cooking equipment and anecdotes.
When we arrive on site one of the first things we do after checking in at gate lodge is to choose a place to camp. If we are one of the first Campers on site we may decide to start our own camping circle, but often there are many circles being established and so we ask to join one. This can feel a little awkward but we soon find people will welcome us to their circle, or if it is full direct us to one looking for more campers. Experience suggests that around twenty people including teens and children sharing the circle is just about right.
If you are establishing a circle we suggest that spaces are not all reserved for old friends who are on their way, so that new arrivals can be welcomed into your circle. This way people can randomly find themselves together for camp, and new friendships can be made.
Digging a fire pit
When you have chosen a circle there will be a marker where fire should be dug, central to your camping circle. Using shovels provided, score a circle or rectangle a few inches deep, approx 2ft diameter.(return shovel to gate when finished)
Dig out the sod in one piece and put somewhere safe to be watered throughout camp. This sod, sometimes called the sacred sod will be returned to your fire pit at the end of camp. Ensure pit is cleared of ash and any other pieces of rubbish before returning sod. Lighting your fire; find a suitable chopping block from the wood pile, use a small axe to chop kindling to get your fire going. Keep a dry bag of kindling and paper for daily use. You can then build up your fire using logs, turf or slab wood.
Some fire tips
- Use common sense when tending to fire.
- Check out the fire points on arrival.
- Build up fire before cooking and let it burn down so you are cooking on hot embers rather than big flames. Use small pieces of kindling to keep fire going throughout cooking. Have these prepared before cooking.
- Use stainless steel or cast iron pots for cooking and boiling water.
- Watch out when picking up pots from fire as handles will get hot.
- Do not lift heavy pots of hot water on your own, ask for help and announce you are 'moving hot water'!
- Wear leather gloves or use a dry cloth when handling hot pots..
- Take fuel from main fuel pile daily, there will be no need to stock pile as wood will be replaced when needed.
- As the fire is used for cooking throughout the day it can be kept small.
- At night for cosiness you can throw on an extra few logs, enjoy!
We share cooking with the members of our circle, negotiating who will cook an evening meal on which night, often two or more people sharing the task. This means we only cook dinner once or twice during the week. Breakfast and lunch are up to individuals. Vegetarian food is encouraged, as it is easier to prepare hygienically.
Hygiene is tremendously important at camp because we live in such close proximity to each other! Our high standards of hygiene help ensure that bugs do not spread. We strongly encourage hand wash after visiting the toilets; eco friendly soap and foot operated hand wash stations are provided, and we always wash up dishes in very hot soapy water! Hot prewash, wash and rinse goes a long way to keeping our fellow campers healthy.
Safety and First Aid
We will have two EarthAngels on site for emergencies. A first aid kit will be available at all times. Do bring a first aid kit with you for your own personal use. It is recommended each circle has a powered up mobile phone available in case of emergencies, let your circle know where it is. Gate will also have a phone and all emergency services have our whereabouts and co ordinates.
Waste management on site
At Camp we do our best to manage our waste as efficiently and with as much attention to recycling and composting as possible.
Keeping our camp litter free It is lovely to walk around a beautiful clean site so we aim to keep all circles and venues free from litter, spilt food etc.
Eco loos Currently all out toilets are compost toilets. This year we commenced building some willow toilets to facillate quicker composting.
Food waste We compost all our uncooked food waste on site. Fruit peelings and cooked food leftovers are burned on the fire. Wash up water can be thrown into the hedge a bit away from the tents.
Products We encourage the use of eco friendly washing up liquids and shampoo etc. All the hand soap we provide at hand wash stations is eco friendly. No aerosols are allowed on site.
Recycling, Reduce/reuse/recycle. When shopping for camp chose products with minimum packaging. The shop will supply plenty of fresh veg and fruit. We have sourced a recycling company nearby that process clean dry tin cans, aluminium cans, plastic, cardboard, paper and tetra paks. Bags will be provided which can be used to bring recyclables to skip and then reused. Glass is collected seperately
General waste. We also provide a skip for disposal of non recyclable waste including nappies and sanitary ware. However we ask that you do not use this for items you have brought to camp that have broken, eg camping chairs, gazebos, etc.
Don't burn plastic Burning plastic waste produces very strong poisons in the air. Please Don't burn any plastic.
Our No late Night Noise system ensures we all get a good nights sleep, camp program kicks off early in the morning.at 7.30 with some folk rising even earlier for silent meditation.
We ask for all campers to respect the following guidelines: Children must return to their circles at 10.00 pm, soft chattering after 11pm and nothing but the gentlest of whispers after 12pm. Everyone is encouraged to actively discourage early morning wood chopping or yodeling! There will be a curfew extension on special occasions like campfire night and teen drum night. There is a no drumming outside of workshops agreement on camp for your enjoyment. Thanks for your co-operation.