There are a wide range of venues that are available for the use of groups. The right choice for your group will depend on many factors, including financial considerations, the confidence and experience levels of your volunteers and young people, the range of activities you want to offer, and logistical issues, including any access needs of the participants.
Woodcraft Folk Centres & Campsites
Woodcraft Folk manages a small network of outdoor centres and campsites – just waiting for your group to discover and explore. Our centres, as well as being used by Woodcraft Folk groups, also accommodate other educational groups and youth organisations.
Our centres include:
Cudham Environmental Activities Centre – dormitories, a fully equipped kitchen, outdoor and indoor fire, recreation room and beautiful woodland to explore in the North Downs, near Orpington
Darsham – a converted railway station house with dormitories, a fully equipped kitchen, pool table, board games and recreation spaces on the Suffolk Coast, near Saxmundham and a short walk from the beach. This centre is very accessible by train.
Height Gate Outdoor Centre – A camping barn in West Yorkshire, a short distance from the Pennine Way.
Lockerbrook Farm Outdoor Centre – bunkhouse accommodation in the Peak District National Park, between Manchester and Sheffield with dormitories, fully equipped kitchen, dining room, recreation area, table tennis tables, a short walk from Fairholmes visitors centre.
At all of our centres and campsites, registered Woodcraft Folk groups benefit from discounted rates, and in some cases priority bookings.
The Youth Hostels Association (YHA) operates many hostels across England & Wales, and its Scottish equivalent is Hostelling Scotland, which has venues across Scotland. These hostels are a good and affordable option for residential overnight stays. Many of the properties operated by both of these organisations can be booked for sole use – via the Private Rental page for Scottish hostels, and the YHA Group booking page in England & Wales.
Woodcraft Folk is part of the YHA Outdoor Citizens programme which means our groups can currently gain a 15% discount on overnight stays at YHA and use meeting rooms within YHA buildings at no cost.
Scout & Guide Centres
The Scout Association & Girlguiding UK own and operate a range of campsites and centres which are suitable for group camps and residentials. Some are managed nationally, others are run by regional, county or district associations.
Nationally-operated centres can by found on the Scout Adventures and Girlguiding Activity Centres websites, and many locally run sites are listed in the directory maintained by the Association of Scout and Guide Centres.
Similar provision in Wales can be found at the residential centres owned and managed by Urdd Gobaith Cymru.
Facilities vary, but most of these campsites are equipped with toilet and shower blocks, which makes them a good choice for less experienced campers. Indoor accommodation and kitchen facilities are often available, and instructor-led activities such as climbing, canoeing and archery can sometimes be arranged on site.
There are a wealth of independent bunkhouses, hostels and campsites that welcome group bookings. Visit the Independent Hostel Guide website to discover sites which can be booked for group use. Another useful resource is groupaccommodation.com, which enables you to search group size, location or facilities. You may also get advice from other Woodcraft Folk groups regarding sites that have been used in the past.