The first timer’s guide to Druid Camp
I’m not going to tell you everything there is to know about Druid Camp—that would spoil the surprise—but here are some basics it’s useful to know before you arrive.
Where to find out more
Druid Camp is a friendly, welcoming place, but for many people it’s also quite different to anything they’ve experienced before. If this is your first time at Druid Camp you’ll probably have questions that won’t be answered here. Don’t worry—there are lots of people happy to help.
Early on in the camp there will be a ‘Camp Virgins’ workshop, where you can meet up with others in the same boat and find out the answers to all those burning questions. At other times, just find someone who looks like they know what they’re doing and ask. There are usually some wise old hands at the gate, and the organisers and crew will be introduced at the opening ceremony or one of the morning meetings.
Morning meetings are another important source of information. They take place at 10.00 each morning and run through the day’s programme, with facilitators introducing their workshops. Definitely worth making it to!
Arriving and setting up
The first challenge you face when you arrive at Druid Camp is deciding where to pitch. Most people choose to pitch in circles around a fireplace, which is a great way of connecting with the camp and getting to know some people.
It’s worth thinking a bit about noise—are you a night owl or do prefer peace and quiet and to turn in early? The folk on the gate will be able to give you some idea of where the noisier and quieter parts of the site are. There are curfews for drumming and amplified music, but there will be people chatting around fires until late at times, so if noise really bothers you it’s worth packing some earplugs.
If you travelled by car, once you’ve got set up please move your car into the car park. Not having cars on the site makes it a much nicer place for the people, and rumour has it the cars all have quite a groovy time hanging out together in the car park too. Only live-in vehicles are permitted in the main site, other than for dropping off gear. They don’t wear uniforms and are lovely and friendly about it, but we do have traffic wardens who will remind you to move your car if you forget.
You’ll find some of the most beautiful, lovingly decorated earth toilets on the planet at Druid Camp, along with wood fired hot showers and a sauna.
The showers are semi-communal with two (I think) showerheads. It’s fine to ask to have the space to yourself if you’re shy, but if you do please don’t do so at busy times—basically in the morning. Remember that water, and particularly hot water, is a scarce resource. Please try to keep your showers quick.
A word about water
You’ll find two types of tap on site. Standpipes, and taps on sinks. The taps on sinks are always positioned near to the toilets and should be used for handwashing only. This is because these taps are the first thing people touch after they’ve wiped their bum. Really, you do not want to clean your teeth or wash your breakfast bowls here!
Stand pipes should be used only for filling water containers to take away and use at your camp for drinking, cooking and washing. This helps avoid any contamination of drinking water.
There’s a vegetarian café on site serving up good value meals and plenty of teas, coffees and cakes.
If you’re self catering you might want to bring everything you need. Once camp starts you’ll probably not feel like leaving site to go shopping. If you do, there’s a deli and smokery at the end of the lane with a range of veg and seafood. Beyond that, it’s Lyndney, Gloucester or Cinderford.
What to bring
So here’s the top-of-my-head and not at all exhaustive list of things to pack for your first trip to camp
- Your choice of shelter—tent, tipi, bender, caravan, converted bus…
- Suitable bedding. Remember, it can get quite chilly at night
- Clothes for a range of different weathers. This is England after all. Include something waterproof (it has been known to rain) and some wellies or boots. And some warmer clothes. Even if it looks scorchio evenings can be chilly
- Beautiful clothes to celebrate in
- Things to decorate your space with
- Musical instruments
- Ear plugs
- Sunscreen and a sunhat
- Toilet paper
- Some sort of water container
- If you’re self catering, something to wash up in (don’t use the sinks on site for this—see ‘A word about water’, above.)
- A torch and spare batteries
- An open heart and mind