The Exploration Society Summer Camps - 2018

There is nothing better than waking up in a beautiful woodland with the sunlight slanting through the trees, birds singing, and breakfast sizzling over the campfire. We would like to invite your children to join us on a whole week of woodland adventure in a private ancient woodland in the Essex countryside to learn about the forest, practice new skills, and try new activities.

Open to those 9 yrs old and older this 5 day/4 night camp will cost £395 pp.

Camp 1 – Monday 9th July – Friday 13th July 2018

***Fully Booked! – Please continue with booking to join the waiting list for Camp 1***

Book Summer Camp 1 here

Camp 2 – Monday 16th July – Friday 20th July 2018

Book Summer Camp 2 here

Camp 3 – Monday 23rd July – Friday 27th July 2018

Book Summer Camp 3 here

*If this is your first time using our new booking system  you will need to create an account*

Travel and Accommodation

Travel will be by train from either London or Cambridge to Stansted Airport on Monday morning followed by a short minibus transfer to Moat Wood. We will returning Friday afternoon between 4pm – 5pm.

The children will be sleeping in our lovely canvas bell tents, complete with sewn in groundsheets, coconut matting, comfortable camping matressess and even fairy lights! There will be between 4 – 6 in each tent, and we will do our best to make sure friends will be able to be together. Instructors will camp close by in case they are any problems during the night. In the past when the weather is favourable, some campers have chosen to sleep out in shelters they have built themselves.

Hot water will be provided for washing and event style toilets will be available a short distance from the site. There are solar showers at camp and also at the activity lake.  The main campfire area will be covered by a parachute for shelter in the case of bad weather. Moat Wood is privately owned and extremely rural so we are unlikely to encounter members of the public while at camp.


Meal time is a really important part of camplife and a great chance for the children to learn new skills. Dietary needs can be catered for and we often find our groups try and like foods they never would at home! Bottled water is available at all times and children are encouraged to stay hydrated.

Sample menu:


  • Choice of cereals and porridge
  • Hot breakfast rolls (ie bacon, sausage, egg)
  • Fresh fruit


  • Sandwiches with choice of fillings (Ham, Cheese, Chicken, Tuna sweetcorn, Salad)
  • Crisps
  • Chocolate biscuit
  • Fruit

Afternoon Snack

  • Fresh Popcorn and squash

Campfire Dinner

  • Homemade Beef Burgers with Hash Browns
  • Lamb Kofta Kebabs with Rice
  • Marinated Chicken Skewers with Noodles
  • Roast chicken with Sweet Pototato
  • Tomato Pasta with Grilled chorizo and fresh garlic bread

Before Bed

  • Cocoa and Biscuits

Activity Day 1

As well as leading the children in structured activities there will also be lots of opportunity for unstructured play time to allow everyone to have their own adventures. The wood is private and has very clear boundaries so there is no danger of them wandering off or coming across anyone not in our group. During the middle three days we will run a rotation of activities so that all of the children get to take part in every activity.

Activity 1 – Hiking and Banana Boating

This activity day involves a short hike through the beautiful Essex countryside towards Gosfield Lake, allowing the children to learn something about navigation and the natural world. Once there we will get dressed up in wetsuits, helmets and buoyancy aids and whizz around the lake on Banana Boats towed by speedboats.

Activity Day 2

Activity 2 – Paddlesport Day

A short drive from our wood in the other direction is Chalkney Water Meadows. This lake is ideal for boating activities such as canoeing and kayaking. We will take a group there in the morning and spend the day messing around in boats, playing games and improving our paddling skills. This will allow the children to begin work on their BCU Paddlepower Passports, the first step on the National Paddlesport Award scheme.

Activity Day 3

Activity 3 – Camp Activities

Each of the three groups will spend a day at the wood where we will cover a range of Bushcraft skills such as Fire Lighting, Shelter Building, Wood Carving, Campfire Cooking, and Natural Cordage. Sessions will also be run on Archery, Axe throwing and Air Rifle Shooting.

The wood is also ideal for all sorts of games and we will play them day and night, which is often the highlight of the whole trip! There is usually a period of free time between activities and dinner where the children can hang out in the parachute, continue work on their dens or organise their own games. After dinner we will organise big groups games which are great fun (for the leaders too!)

Safety and Leadership

The camp will be led by a number of experienced and well qualified Exploration Society Instructors in a ratio of approximately 1:6. Both male and female adult leaders will be present.

All activities are risk-assessed and the appropriate safety equipment will be used where necessary. We are accredited by the Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority and have a Learning Outside the Classroom award – see the bottom of this page for more information.

A 4*4 vechicle will be available in the unlikely event of a serious accident. The camp leaders are first aid trained and able to deal with any minor injuries.

Kit List

  • Small Rucksack for day trips
  • Sleeping bag: rated comfortable for +5 degrees
  • Small pillow
  • Comfortable shoes/trainers
  • Waterproof hiking boots/Wellingtons
  • Socks/underwear + Swim suit
  • Light hard wearing trousers (not jeans) + Shorts
  • Warm fleece/Jumpers
  • T-shirts/shirts (some long sleeved for sunny days and mosquito protection)
  • Sun Hat + Sunglasses (100%UV)
  • Full Waterproofs (Jacket and trousers)
  • General toiletries inc Flannel and Towel
  • Sunscreen 25+ (waterproof if possible)
  • Eye care material (if appropriate)
  • Head torch
  • Water bottle – 1ltr capacity (Sigg / Nalgene recommended)
  • Personal medication (such as inhalers or hayfever relief)

ESOC will provide:

  • Bowls, Plates, Cups, Cutlery
  • Sleeping Mats
  • Tents
  • Activity equipment

PLEASE NOTE: Personal mobile phones and other electronic items (e.g. iPods/iPads/Kindles) are not permitted on this trip. Leaders will be carrying phones at all times, and you will be supplied with contact numbers in case of an emergency. We will keep you up to date with blog posts throughout the week!


This camp will cost £395 pp. This price includes:

  • Travel from either Cambridge or London
  • All meals from Monday lunch to Friday lunch
  • Activity programme including;
    • Banana boating
    • Canoeing/Kayaking
    • Bushcraft
    • Target Sports
    • Adventure Games
  • Glamping Accommodation
  • Leadership (approx 1:6 ratio)

A 20% deposit is payable on booking with the balance payable in May. We offer a sibling discount of 5% as well as a small number of half-price bursary places on each camp. Please get in touch if you wish to apply for one of these.


How will we know what’s going on at the camp?

We will do our best to post an update to our blog every day so you can see what we’ve been up to. Should any issues arise involving your children, we will contact you directly. Occasionally, poor signal or similar problems prevent us from putting a blog post up so if you don’t hear from us, please don’t assume the worst.

Why don’t you allow personal mobile phones or iPods/MP3 players on the trip?

There are a few reasons for this rule: a) these items are often expensive, and very easily lost or damaged; b) in the rare case that there are any problems to deal with on the trip, the Leader team are in the best position to sort things out, as they’re aware of all the factors surrounding the situation; calls to home can often make things worse! And c) our trips are a brilliant chance to get away from screens, televisions, Facebook, Instagram filters, and instead spend time outdoors interacting with friends in a non-virtual way!

In the case of an emergency, you will be able to contact your child via the Instructors’ phones (details listed above), and vice versa. If someone is really homesick and we think a quick call will help them settle, then of course we’ll let them do that.

We’ll post updates and (where signal allows) pictures on our blog. We aim to do this on at least the first night and the third night but please try and assume that no news is good news! Sometimes we are so busy running the expedition and looking after the group that we don’t have time to organise blog posts too. Once we get back we’ll post a full de-brief with lots of photographs.

This is my child’s first trip away from home, will they be alright?

Of course everyone reacts differently, but in the vast majority of cases there will be absolutely no problems – they’ll be too busy having fun! The Leaders on the trip all have lots of experience of being with children when they’re away from home. In fact, we often find that the parents are the ones who find it hardest, and the children have a brilliant time and don’t give it a second’s thought.

My child is a fussy eater, will they go hungry?

No one has ever starved on an ESOC Expedition. The children are involved in planning and cooking the meals every day, and this engagement really helps eliminate food fussiness. They’ll be encouraged to Try New Things, as stated in our Ethos, but won’t be force fed anything they find disgusting! They’ll pick up loads of new skills, and may even cook a banquet for you once they’re home. We’ve taken note of any dietary requirements you filled out on the registration form.

Are your Leaders DBS and First Aid trained?

Our Leaders are DBS checked and have First Aid training. Many of our Leaders also have more advanced medical wilderness training. In a medical emergency we will be able to use our vehicle to get to the nearest hospital A&E department. We pride ourselves on employing enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and engaging staff, who go above and beyond to make our trips memorable.

Does my child really need a waterproof jacket AND over trousers?

Yes, they really do. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on them, but they need a waterproof top layer to put on over their clothes: sogginess is a fast route to unhappiness.

Where can I go if I need to buy any clothing or equipment?

You can get a 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor, either online or in the shops by using the code AF-EXSOCM-4U. Let us know if you need any advice.

Do I really have to label everything with my child’s name?

Yes please! Unsurprisingly, more than one person buys a head torch from Cotswold Outdoor, or a black waterproof, or a pair of wellies, and these things are often left lying about… The kit pile we’re left with at the end of the trip is much easier to sort out if you’ve named everything.


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"There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing." 


Sir Ranulph Fiennes