My first Sea Cadet trip this year was down to Pippingford Park in the Ashdown Forest. This is an MOD training area but as I like to think of it as one of the best playgrounds in the world.
We went down to practice some Bushcraft and train one of the younger instructors on some navigation skills.
I was with my friends Keith Coleman, Charlie Brookes and Emma Deasey.
As we did not have any cadets to teach we took our time setting up our camp. We had our hammocks and a main tarp for a fire. It was a tad on the cold side but we had enough kit to stay toasty.
The site is full of great sites. One of my favourite trees is the Kissing tree.
The MOD have brought Exmoor Ponies in to help manage the land. They are a hardy breed and are quite happy to graze the low quality grazing found here so helping to manage the landscape as heathland.
The park has over 600 Red and Fallow Deer so spotting droppings is not a problem. The droppings seemed to be pointed on one end and indented on the other so I took these to be Fallow.
Some great fungus to shelter under.
Much of our time was spent mooching around and as usual we were always picking up material for tinder.
The park has six lakes to wander along and it was not long before we spotted something…………….
The remains of a Deer by the waters edge.
Further on on a stump I found some fox droppings.
But the surprise was spotting the Witch of the Woods.
The park allows filming and this was a scene from the tales of Albion.
We had to try out our new hammock seats from UK Hammocks
These are great for instructors as you can stuff them in your pocket and pull them out wherever you are.
A new convert in Emma.
As Sea Cadet instructors to go hungry is a crime.
As usual I try and find Fire Faces in the fire.
The park is packed with archaeology. Please see the link below for further info on the park. This link is useful for all instructors bringing cadets here.
One thing you always have to remember is that you are on MOD land.
More information on the history of Pippingford Park can be found here – http://www.pippingford.co.uk/history