A weekend away without the Xbox. How will my two boys cope? What could possibly keep them entertained so they don’t miss it? Well Camp Beaumont certainly does the trick.
As we arrived at the camp we were surprised how big it was and to say we were at the side of Conisbrough train station you could mistake it for being in the wilderness.
The camp was originally the Earth Centre but the £60 million Millennium Commission-backed centre closed in 2004 after failing to attract enough visitors.
Educational group Kingswood bought the site and have transformed it into an educational facility for children.
Spread across 50 acres, it makes an ideal outside classroom for teaching children.
The camp offers a range of activities for children 7 to 17. Some of the activities you may need to be at the older end of the scale but there is certainly enough to keep the smaller children occupied.
The site offers days, weeks and weekends away, term time and also school holidays. The accommodation sleeps eight with en-suite facilities.
We were taken round a small part of the site that they have kept going from the Earth Centre – a living water system sewage treatment plant. It’s a local water treatment system processing all waste water coming from the toilets, basins and kitchens, operating entirely through biological reactions, using both bacteria and nutrient-demanding tropical plants in the warmth of a greenhouse. The water is not for drinking, but the fish seemed quite happy in it.
There is a good hot selection of food for lunch, which reminded me of when I was at school, sharing a large table, with plastic beakers and a jug of water.
We were soon into the programme and survival skills started off with some tuition about plants and cordage, with friendly staff who seem to know everything about every plant and its possible use.
Although some of the activities are weather dependent there is still 11,000 sq ft of indoor opportunities including a climbing wall, football and a sports hall.
Both Ben and Jack enjoyed the next lesson which was knife skills, especially the most important part which was carving a marshmallow stick for the camp fire later on – it’s a survival must!
The most exciting bit was yet to come, the zip wire, with abseiling, wall climbing and archery.
Kids just love the words zip wire.
They were well entertained for our allocated two hours.
Other skills to help you if you were lost in the wild included shelter assembly, fire building and water filtration – all key survival musts.
After all this I’m sure that you qualify as a trainee Bear Grylls.
GETTING THERE: From Park Square roundabout take the second exit on to the A61 Ring Road, Barnsley, Worksop A57, continue forward on to the A630, M1, M18, Rotherham, towards Bawtry, then A6123 Parkgate. Turn left on to the A6023 Mexborough and then on to Cadeby Lane.
AGE MATTERS: The youngest campers, aged 7-10 will learn to spread their wings in a safe and nurturing camp environment. For 11-14 year olds Camp Beaumont is all about adventure. Senior campers aged 15-17 will have more of an independent experience, with plenty of social time.
PRICES: See website.
CONTACT: Kingswood, Dearne Valley, Denaby Main, Doncaster, South Yorkshire. DN12 4EA.
TELEPHONE: 0800 6556560
Three survival things to learn:
1. Shelter is the way you protect your body from too much exposure to the sun, cold, wind rain or snow. This helps keep energy levels lower, making all the difference to your survival. Making a protective shelter is number one on the list for people in an Ultimate Survival situation. Using this knowledge to build a secure shelter is an incredibly rewarding experience.
2. Food and water is essential towards your survival . Knowing how to purify water is a basic survival skill and learning this is also incredibly valuable to the budding explorer.
3. First Aid is more than just how to perform basic medical procedures. It’s about good decisions, planning and working together to be effective. Your primary leadership decisions are vital and so this is how First Aid is taught in ultimate survival. Find out more at campbeaumont.co.uk/ultimatesurvival