I'm signed up to their email newsletter and they were offering a free visit during certain Easter holiday dates so I mobilised the kids and took them for a morning of 'non-wifi therapy' on a glorious spring day. As you can see from the picture below on the left they have a lot of accreditations and the small wooden one is to mark the fact that the site received help from some of the participants who attended the 21st world scout jamboree which was held in Chelmsford in 2007.
I've been before but I have to admit it's been a while which is partly to do with me being more drawn to this sort of visit than most of my family and scouting, personal bushcraft projects and latterly Woodlife Trails all taking up my time so it was pleasing to get a visit in and get some fresh air a walk in the woods.
The shot above on the left is of the chiefs roundhouse and the one on the right an 'standard' roundhouse.
Above is two shots of them together and the shot on the right is further back to show the Archers Retreat café (where you can also get food) with a seating area inside and out. This was rebuilt after a fire a few years ago literally a few days before an event that John Lord was going to attend. You can also see some of the pens and herb garden in the foregorind.
The inside of the roundouses are the real deal with shields, cooking areas, quern stones and the like, as well as a cow hide corracle with the tail still attached!
That's the main village site in a nutshell. The kids and I then undertook a game (using a material ball) that was a cross between hunting and roving. There were 18 animal targets to find and we had to hit the target with the said ball. This was a bit of fun which also meant that we explored the wooded part of the site but they also do the same course with bow and arrow and it was clear to see from the targets.
Wandering after the targets through woodland we went by the three different large ponds and I clocked around ten different types of tree. We also went past an area for traditional weaving and a charcoal kiln. There is also an area for archery on the site (where I believe an archery club meet too) but I was also interested to see their archery barn which gives them an indoor area to beat any bad weather.
As it happened we walked to the barn (which is situated over the road from the Celtic Harmony turning) with Luca as he headed that way. En route I asked him about the birch bark canoe building course he did with Ray Mears and Pinnock Smith. The shot above is the 'barn', it's actually a hanger sized farm storage building by the looks of it and is impressive. The size is demonstrated aptly by having Luca and a customer in the shot.
Definitely a great morning out and somewhere I'd like our Cub pack to visit. Here's a link to a map of the site