The Perfect Staycation – Kayaking and wild camping under the stars

Getting away from it all can be difficult in the current situation. I was sent this information from Canoe Trail and honestly, it sounds amazing – like the perfect way to switch off and enjoy nature. I’m a lover of camping anyway and find that its the perfect way to unwind, so after any recent stresses this would be great. It would also be a brilliant opportunity to spend some quality time with slightly older children who like a bit of adventure!

Canoe Trail is based in Bedford (as are their canoe and camp trips) and they have beautifully detailed everything below. They are working to a very tight risk management procedure as well to ensure the safety of their staff and visitors.

If it sounds like your sort of thing visit their website for more information.

What you could expect from your trip…..

Starry skies, toasted marshmallows, canoeing and wild camping.

After a few hours paddling in your canoe, gently lilly dipping down the River Great Ouse you
turn into the little brook leading to the woodland campsite. It narrows and is decorated with
gorgeous green rushes and plant life enticing you towards your destination. A few hundred
metres later and you have passed under two small foot bridges and arrive at the woodland
portage, the steps up the river bank.

The woodland stands tall with poplars, oaks, English maple and a myriad of other species
and was a test woodland for Bryant and May, the match company. The little brook as much
a wading as paddling exercise is home to kingfishers flitting effortlessly displaying their
bright plumage, otters and their kits and the odd statue like Heron. The woods are equally
blessed with wildlife as badgers snuffle and explore after dusk, deer bark to signal the
morning as well as the wood peckers yaffle and owls hooting. It is the perfect antidote to
modern life and our digital overload.

Sometimes you have to pinch yourself that you are not in the wilds of the Canadian Boreal
forest or some other pristine paradise. In fact you are in rural Bedfordshire, less than an
hour from London on Britain’s fourth longest river. Canoe Trail’s private woodland was
voted Top 52 Things to Do in the World by Lonely Planet for family activities and Top 3
places for a UK SUP adventure by Red Bull Magazine in recent years. You will not be
disappointed.

After unloading your kit it’s time to stroll the woodland path to your personal clearing and
set up camp. Tents erected and kit unpacked the world is your oyster. Kick back, chill your
drinks and get the camp fire lit for a woodland feast. Food always tastes so much better in
the outdoors. Hone your BBQ skills cooking on glowing embers, toast your marshmallows,
make a smor and settle back to unwind and relax. There’s plenty of time for family fun with
a wild swim in the river, practice some bushcraft skills or even go for a walk around the
Grange Estate.

Booking is simple, visit Canoe Trail’s website www.canoetrail.co.uk and select the canoe and
camp tab (you can select kayaks, the luggage service or even hire a tepee tent). Trips
currently start and finish at our Bedford base where you will receive a friendly welcome and
your briefing and equipment. Prices start from £179 for a 2 person canoe on the mid week
camp option or £99 per kayak.

Adventure School – Re-wilding the kids and Learning in the Great Outdoors

If you have an adventurous 8-15 year old and are able to get to Bedford, Adventure School being run by Canoe Trail might be right up your street!. The sessions offer young people the chance to have some amazing active experiences this summer. I know this age can be difficult to engage at times but I think these days look like they would be so much fun for those that love getting involved and the great outdoors..
Adventure School has been really popular, unfortunately it’s almost fully booked but there is still some availability for their Woodland Wild sessions in week 4  (Monday 24th to Friday 28th August). You can book by the day (£35) or book the whole week (£160). Its had such great feedback, giving young people great experiences in these difficult times allowing them to learn new skills and have fun taking part in water sports and making new friends.
Book your child’s place here

Here’s what they say…

Paddling games on the cool waters of the River Great Ouse or learning new fire lighting skills around a campfire in woodland are the brilliant for young people to raise self esteem and build life skills. Adventure School was developed in response to a Sport England funding programme to get young people active, support their health and develop a love of sport and outdoor activities. Subsequently it has been endorsed by Sir Ranulph Fiennes (listed as the ‘world’s greatest living explorer’ by the Guinness Book of Records ) and hosts over 1,000 young people per year who paddle, cook and camp with youth charities, schools and through holiday clubs.

Each holiday, local kids attend the ‘Wet n’ wild’ and ‘Woodland Wild’ programmes to find their inner explorer and learn new skills and make friends guided by Canoe Trail’s professional instructor team. One mum reported back that her daughter had loved every moment of the programme finding calm in these otherwise uncertain times.

(Adventure School) is brilliant, each day we learn new things and I have loved it, I even forgot for a while about the pandemic”.

The programme is based on 3 core principles, being safe, having fun and learning by stealth with activities including fire lighting, shelter building, problem solving challenges, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing, campfire cooking, wood carving to name a few.

The week long programme can either be booked for individual days or across the week with sessions and activities varied and progressive. The private woodland was a test woodland growing different tree species for match company Bryant and May and is aptly named ‘Matchstick Wood’. It is teaming with wildlife including badgers, wood peckers, owls, and deer as well as kingfishers, herons and otters on the little brook. It is the perfect venue to for young people to re-wild themselves and learn to love nature. The instructors are all experienced and qualified with a wide range of stories ranging from expeditions in the Canadian Wilderness, to tracking bears in Sweden for photographs, to paddling big waterfalls. They share their passion and love of the outdoors with the young people leaving a lasting impression.

You can book onto adventure school by the day ( £35 per day) or week ( £160) for young people aged 8 to 15 years old here. Once booked you will be sent joining instructions, booking forms and the code of conduct.