Carry on Camping – COC
Dad’s and kids camp
For about 18 years we’ve been running an annual dad’s n kids camp to the New Forest. This started out as a way of getting dad’s and their kids closer, to prove to Mum we have a modicum of responsibility and to take a bit of pressure off her for at least one weekend. It has now morphed into a great social event for both the Mums & Dads as well as the children, becoming one of the highlights of many people’s summer and a weekend with lots of laughter. We now average 180-250 people, but the estate is huge, so doesn’t have the clustered feel of a festival, there is lots of room and numerous secluded areas make camp. If you are new to this lark, then you will find more info below. For prices, activities on offer and how to book, then click on the link below for the COC flier.
NEW 2020 – presently under construction is a Tree Top Trail, which will be finished for the summer. It is predicted to run from near to the café downhill through the treeline towards the lakes. The initial plan was that this would be a pay and turn-up, self-guided ropeway, but it may well end up being an instructed group session like the other activities? Avon Tyrell will be assessing this once construction has finished. We hope to have a better idea around Easter on how this will be run.
COC 20- Dates Friday 26 June to Sunday 28 June 2020
COC 21– Dates Friday 02 July to Sunday 04 July 2021
COC 22- Dates Friday 01 July to Sunday 03 July 2022
COC23– Dates Friday 30June to Sunday 02 July 2023
COC24– Dates Friday 28 June to Sunday 30 June 2024
As you will gather it’s for dad’s n kids only (but granddads and uncles can come too), it is a mum-free-zone. This is the perfect win-win situation. You get to spend some special time with your child; ‘coc’ around with lots of gadgets n kit; a few beers and some filthy campfire jokes; the kids have loads of playmates and Mum has the weekend off. By the way, we wouldn’t suggest bringing children under three. With the cool activities and watersports on offer now, even the grumpy ‘too cool to camp’ teenagers have to admit they enjoy it. We strongly suggest you view on our home page the three camp videos.
COC is a loose gathering of ever expanding friends, it started with my friends, or chaps who’s kids went to school in Kingston, but has expanded out to a much wider audience. EVERYONE IS WELCOME. It is a relaxed few days where individual dads meet up with friends and get to know their children better, you can do as little or a much as you like.
The camp is at Avon Tyrell located near Burley in the New Forest, usually under two hours drive from west London, but on a Friday night traffic is often heavy. Directions will be provided two weeks ahead, as will an info sheet giving more specific details and tips on what to bring and how to organise for the weekend. One of the more spooky phenomenon, those that stay both nights are a lot more relaxed than the ‘one nighters’. There is nothing more demoralizing than struggling to erect your tent for an hour or more, to then have to take it down less than 24 hours later. If you have no tent or car, then we can usually find someone to help you out. Likewise if the tent or camping is new to you, there will always be a helping hand to assist in putting it up.
Most chaps will be hooking up with some mates and normally organise in advance who has responsibility to buy and bring the BBQ, meat, ketchup, beer etc. Some of the other teamwork is also portioned out, sometimes with a pair of chaps coming down without kids mid-Friday afternoon, to erect all the canvas and relax after with a few cheeky beers. While others in the team pick-up a mob of kids straight from school and charge down the M3 trying to beat the rush hour traffic.
There are a number of charming woodland glades towards the top of the estate, these are perfect for a small cluster of tents, there is always lots of room here. Avon Clump also has the bonus of unobstructed views of the sun setting. The extensive lawns below the main house towards the lakes are where most stay and there is lots of room. See link for the estate map below.
At Avon Tyrell, the reception has a small shop for essentials such as milk, tea, coffee, toothpaste, batteries, toilet rolls, disposable BBqs and the odd bits of camping kit that you’ve forgotten. Plus wood, snack, toys souvenirs and most importantly, sweets n ice creams. There is also coin and token operated laundry, with washing machine and dryer. Burley is only ten minutes drive away for a bigger emergencies. WCs and showers with plenty of hot water are scattered around the estate, click the link below for a map. Café Explore is open for breakfast and lunch with posh coffee, paninis and pizza, to eat in or take away. You can bring your own BBQ but it must be raised off the grounds, or you can use the sheltered ones scatted around the estate, see the map link for their locations. There is free wifi in selected areas only, up near the main house and reception, they are very limited as this is an outdoor and adventure centre.
Adjacent to the café is a comprehensive bike hire hut, with good condition child and adult bikes available, plus helmets. Cost is about £10 for half a day. From the map you will see bike trails that run all around the estate, this is much more rugged than the track in Richmond Park. The former rhododendron plantation has a mountain bike trail with jumps for more adventure. You are welcome to bring you own bikes. NOTE -staff with stop anyone riding on their property without a helmet.
One of main attractions for the children is the extensive woods to explore and hide in, with plenty of streams to try to jump. For the football obsessive there is an all weather pitch and we find the is an almost constant unsupervised match being played throughout the weekend. Adjacent to this is an all weather basketball and tennis court. There are a couple of playgrounds, one in the woods, one nearer the lakes, plus a trim trail and a bouldering wall near the Café. Reception sells a Treasure Hunt, Orienteering and Art in the Environment packs for £1.50, perfect for entertaining the smaller ones. Sadly the pool is no more, but they are boarding it over rather than filling it in, so there is a small hope that in the future the charity may be able to reinstate it, finger crossed. The last few years it’s been nice and hot, with many paddling pool popping up down on the lawns, but don’t forget you need to bring multiple hoses as the taps are few and far between. Under no circumstance is anyone permitted to jump into the lakes, as these are fishing lakes there is a high chance of fish hooks impaling you. We have been warned that if this rule is not adhered to, then all water activity sessions will be cancelled and the lakes cordoned off.
Included in the cost is one activity per person, you choose, but first come first served. Most kids want to do what their school mates are doing and getting a consensus on this can one of the hardest things. Leaving it late often leads to disappointment, so a tip is to manage this rather than hope for the best, or at least book something. You can add more at £14/ person subject to availability. Always the mots popular is the fantastic high level zip line across the lake and now too the SUPB stand up paddleboards. For the zip line, note that its a big initial climb, first up a ladder then iron staples that have been hammered into the tree trunk. The zip and High Ropes have an 8+ minimum age. For smaller kids, the Canoes, sit-on-top Kayaks and Low Ropes are the most suitable. If we have a group of 8 people and with plenty of notice, we can swap sessions to alternatives that we have used in the past, such as: Climbing Tower, Abseiling, Adventure Course (perfect for smaller kids), Shelter Building, Bush Craft, Treasure Hunt, Abseiling, Prusiking & Pedalos.
We have a Facebook closed user group that you will be invited to join once booked.
For more details on the next camp and to book, click on the link at the top for this year’s flier.
Andrew J Bourne, JCB, TTFN, LOL, KT2 & bar
Le Grande Fromage
69th Glenville and Bongo Lancers
From the throbin nerve centre wot is COC towers
Despite the rather scary prospect of over 250 of us, once again a fantastic time was had by all. Some of the comments….
Hola Mr B, Just wanted to say a big thanks for a fantastic weekend – by common consent chez Forrest, the best yet. Not too hot, but hot enough, great company, and we loved raft building. I want a stand up paddle board very much indeed. Best, Stuart, now a Tribal Elder
Thanks so much for arranging Avon Tyrell. Absolutely loved it as usual. My daughter Sadie wants to come back next year! Thanks again Pete, Tribal Elder
Thank you Andrew. It was our first year and it was simply terrific. We enjoyed every minute of it and my son and I have some terrific new memories of a great weekend.Much appreciated and already looking forward to next year. Cheers Iain, COConaut
Apologises for not even seeing you all weekend – we had a fantastic time – especially surprising as we “don’t do camping” – well done and thanks. Best wishes – Keith , Molly and Alfie, COConauts
Great job again Andrew. You were up applying make up when I did my round of goodbyes but two of the others were deputed to give you a hug from me. Hope no hassles with the management there. I stupidly forgot that you needed to put the BBQ on a bricks to protect the grass and then even more stupidly let the boys light it on the second night without cautioning them so burnt two lots of grass. Also the fire bucket thing was low enough to singe that bit so I may have to accept the booby prize for brain deployment. Great to be out in the fresh air for two days. Thanks again. Patrick, Tribal Elder
As a first timer (but absolutely not a last timer) I just wanted to say thanks from me and my girls for the best weekend ever. Just so, so much fun. Memories to last a lifetime. We’re already planning next year. Stuart COConaut
Hi Andrew, Just a quick thank you for a fantastic weekend. As first timers Santi & I really enjoyed ourselves. Terrifically well organized, great fun, great company. We’ll be back! All the best Tom, COConaut
“Say thanks to Andrew from me for organising it, although I can’t think of praise more than Madeleine’s view that the only thing wrong with Dad’s camp was that it was too short.” Linda for Simon, COConaut
Thank you for inviting us to the camp. It is a really fantastic venue and we all really enjoyed it. I thought it was going to be quite busy but in fact there was lots of space and it was nice to pitch next to you, talk to your friends and be right next to the campfire as well. May be a bit too close as we did have an ash cloud over the car and tents in the morning! The boys had a great time riding the trails on their bikes on Sunday – they didn’t want to go home! One thing that I really enjoyed was the fact the children are old enough that you can be more relaxed on camp than some of those first camps I came on when I probably worried about them too much. Many thanks to the COC Squadron Leader! Mark, COConaut
Hi Andrew, Many thanks for organising such a brilliant weekend of COC this year. Myself and the lads had a cracking time – loved every minute (except the 5am Saturday wake-up call by one of the smalls). It’s truly one of the highlights for me and the boys. And you are a legend of organisation and community bonding. Great work Mr B – Paddy, COConaut
I just wanted to say thanks very much for organising the Dad’s camping trip. The boys (and myself) had a great time (in spite of my cooking) and the raft building was a huge success. Sorry I didn’t see you during the weekend to say hello. Our paths for whatever reason never seemed to cross. Thanks again and hopefully see you soon. Best regards. Bas, Tribal Elder
Mr. Bourne, you are a superstar.Thank you for Avon Tyrrell – Absolutely top draw. Kids loved it too!!!!:-) Kind regards, Michael, COConaut
Thanks again for organising such a great weekend. Third year now and look forward to this weekend enormously and I know the new chaps had a great time too. The kids say thanks too – They loved it. Moaning that we had to leave and then them sleeping the entire journey home meant a job well done! Thanks again – I realise this is a somewhat thankless task but it is hugely appreciated. Take Care and hope Singing it Back Family Camp is a huge success too. Pete, COCeteer
Just a quick note to say thanks for organising this again. Kids love it and I had a good crack also. I’m already down for the Family Camp and hopefully it may be a little warmer. As long as it doesn’t clash with Le Mans I’ll be there either way. Thanks again. Regards, Tim, COCeteer
As a COC Newbie I’d like to thank you very much for a great weekend. Excellent organisation and the rain didn’t take the gloss off one bit. Best regards Paul, COConaut
Thanks again for doing a great job organising it all, I know all of our crew really enjoyed it. Cheers Rupert, Tribal Elder
Thank you for another fantastic weekend! I loved it. As always a great bit of organisation and relaxed camaraderie, just what any busy shrubbery designer needs. All the best and many many thanks….James (COC private) r.i.c.e.- Supreme Being
Thanks for organising a very enjoyable weekend. Yes the FBI top is Craigs. Can I pop round to get it sometime? Cheers Neil, COConaut
We had a great time, Tom really enjoyed the speed boat, despite the disappointment of the chap crossing his name out (duplicate names!) Tom slept most of the way home, he really enjoyed the opportunity to join in and liked the marshmallow tent at the end of the evening . Looking forward to Le Mans. All the best. Jim, Tribal Elder
…just to say thank you for organising a fab weekend…much fun had by all and thankfully we seemed to fully enjoy ourselves without causing too much mayhem! Am happy with coc anywhere (obviously not in the biblical sense) – keep me posted for next year. The other Rupert, Tribal Elder
Thanks Andrew. We had a blast. Robert says it was brilliant and Matthew said it was the best day of his life. They don’t get out much! Sorry that Tony’s snoring was of Olympic proportion. I am sure that he can get a small operation to sort it out in time for next year. Best wishes Neil, COCeteer
Most enjoyable for a first timer. Would happily go back , but lets see how the Mrs gets on Happy Camping at Mellow Farm. Cheers Jonathan, COConaut
A cracking coc 🙂 thanks andrew we had a ball. I agree that the space, the owners, facilities and weather made it a top draw event as well as the crew of course:> thanks for all your hard organisation work Look forward to going back . Morgan, Supreme Being
Yes thanks for a memorable weekend, nice to catch up and chill out. My little baby (elderly campervan) managed the two trips without a spot of bother …I kind of wanted to keep driving and on to Scotland !! maybe next year, but I certainly have the bug for it now. Excellent venue and nice folks, nice to come away smiling. Thanks for all your organising, fabulous job. Sorry didn’t get to say cheerio, hope to catch up again soon. Ian, Tribal Elder
Wing Commander Bourne. Can I just say a massive thank you on behalf of the guys who were up in the woods. We all had a great time and that is down to you. You are a legend. Thanks for organising a great weekend away and we are all looking forward to next year. Rob (Squadron mascot), Tribal Elder