This is the first in a series of 12 wild camp microadventures I’ll be posting this year as my contribution to Alastair Humphreys’ ‘Year of Microadventure’ challenge.
Wicken Fen wild camping
Owned and managed by the Natural Trust (NT), Wicken Fen is a wetland nature reserve situated near the village of Wicken in the Cambridgeshire fens.
A few years ago, the NT set aside a parcel of fenland for us as a wild camping site by local scout groups and other visitors.
The site is made up of four open-fronted log shelters set in a semi-circle around a fire pit. The site is very basic (no running water or electricity) and really quite wonderful.
You can book the entire site just for yourself, so it’s perfect for a group of friends and especially good for kids. I’ve taken my son and his pals on a number of summer over-nighters and they’ve had a great time (as did the adults).
So…I decided to book a night for myself…
The night of the camp
My wife, Jo, kindly agreed to drive me to a parking spot not too far from the site. From there I put my gear into a wheelbarrow (kindly loaned by the NT) and pushed it across a field, through a gate and into the campsite.
I threw everything into one of the huts and made a cup of tea to warm ourselves up as darkness began to fall. After a brew and a slice of cake, Jo left and I was on my lonesome.
I sorted out bedding and started to cook-up my supper; meatballs in a tomato sauce with some chorizo tossed in, all mopped up with a chunk of bread, a feast fit for a hero!
Supper was followed by cake and a few sips of Jack Daniels. For a while I turned off the lantern and sat there listening to the sound of the rain falling onto the fen, it was perfect.
With the time approaching 10:00 I decided to call it a day and climbed into my sleeping bag. I read a short story by Jack London (To Build a Fire) until I could no longer keep my eyes open.
In the morning
I woke up a few times during the night but always managed to fall back to sleep. I actually slept for 8 hours, which is a new outdoors record for me.
Here’s a photo of my set-up inside the hut:
The weather had cleared up over night so I started a fire while waiting for Jo to arrrive with the coffee maker and a bag of croissants (‘wild glamping’ perhaps?).
Soon the coffee was brewing…
and we sat by the fire drinking good strong coffee.
The coffee was so good we had another and didn’t leave the campsite until nearly midday.
And thus ended my first mircoadventure of the year and what a wonderful one it was. I’m pleased I managed to sleep for such a long time, this has been a problem for me when sleeping out, one I’m very keen to resolve.
I really can’t recommend Wicken Fen wild camping highly enough!
Info on Wicken Fen wild camping
Here are some details from their website:
Where: On the wider Wicken Fen Nature Reserve. Accessible on foot or by bike from Anglesey Abbey (2 miles) or Wicken Fen (6 miles). There is a drop-off point where you can leave your gear before parking your car at Wicken or Anglesey for the night.
2015 Cost: £35 Fri-Sat and weekdays in summer holidays. £30 Sun-Thurs term time. Per group, for the whole site per night.
How to book: To book, or for more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org