We usually have difficulty finding somewhere for group camping. We have a number of different families that all want to camp together but we have a mixture on tents, campervans and caravans and most sites have separate fields for tents and caravans. You don’t really want to go away for a group holiday and find yourself in different fields.
Walesby Forest is a Scout campsite and activity centre near Newark and very close to Clumber Park. Since Covid they have diversified in to family camping as well as the traditional Scout and Guide groups they normally cater for. We would describe it as the camping version of Center Parcs with a wide variety of adventurous activities to try while you are there.
Each year we have visited the set up has been slightly different as they get used to the ever changing world during and post covid. Essentially though they have designated a field for family camping so you won’t be next to a noisy group of scouts or Guides and you are allocated a pitch. They then operate a wristband system, purchased from the shop, which allows you to take part in the activities they have running throughout the day. It’s very child friendly, there’s lots of space and lots to do. It’s perfect whether you are camping as one family or as a group.
Walesby is huge! It takes at least 30 minutes to walk from the entrance to the lake at the top of the site. The pitches are huge as well so plenty of space for an awning or a gazebo. If you book as a group you can have pitches next to each other so you can set up as a group without being on top of each other. Tents, caravans and campervans all in the same field. There is the option to have electric hookup but not all pitches have this option.
Reception and check-in are as you enter the site a long with the car park. You are allowed your car on your pitch but are asked not to drive around the site during your stay. There is a barrier to access the actual site with an access code that you will be given when you check in.
The main part of the campsite is where the ‘town centre’ is located with the bar/cafe, shop, swimming pool and a lot of the activities.
Spread out across the rest of the site are the other activities, various camping fields, 2 large group lodges and then all the way at the top of the site is the lake.
The bar is open at lunch and in the evening and serves a menu of sandwiches, burgers, chips etc. There is outdoor seating for those sunny days as well as indoor seating and a pool table.
The shop sells snacks, sweets, cold drinks and ice creams. They also have some camping essentials and souvenirs. Activity wristbands are purchased from the shop.
The activities for general public camping run on a wristband system, this is different from the uniformed groups who book slots for specific activities. Each day there is a timetable of activities running for you to take part in, you can choose to do just one or give all that are running a try. There’s usually four or five activities running each session and there is a morning and an afternoon session (you can buy wristbands for the full day or for the separate sessions).
The type of activities you can expect are:
- Tomahawk throwing
- Climbing wall
- Indoor climbing
- Outdoor swimming pool
- Water slide
- Leap of faith
- Low ropes
- Raft building
- Cave maze
The family camping field has a large toilet and shower block which were clean and warm. We never had to wait to use the showers but there are also showers a short walk away at the swimming pool.
There is a water tap on the field but also several other taps throughout the site for topping up water bottles throughout the day.
Electric hook-up is available but not on all pitches so book early the make sure you get the pitches you want.
Barbeques are allowed although it was particularly hot last time we were there and we were asked not to use them as they were a fire risk. We use a Cobb for cooking and that was allowed as it was off the ground.
The site is fully staffed with qualified instructors for the activities and bar and shop staff so there is always someone around if you need anything. There’s also a duty manager on call at night, if there are any issues. A number of the areas Scout support vehicles are also based at the site and the kids loved it when the fire engine came round one evening to check that no one was using a barbeque and when we asked to borrow a tick remover and the duty first aider was called and arrived in his truck with blue flashing lights.
Food and places to eat
New Ollerton is the nearest town to Walesby and has an Asda and Tesco. There are also various places to eat and takeaway places. We have also previously had Dominoes delivered to the campsite and I’m sure other places would deliver too.
Things to do nearby
Clumber Park is a short drive away and great for a day out. Thoresby Park is within walking distance and has a Tank Museum and a courtyard with some lovely shops and a cafe. There are also several other adventurous things to do in the area so lots to keep you entertained.
We’ve camped as a family at Walesby 3 years in a row and are planning to go again this year, Pip and I have also camped there as Guides. Pip’s been at ages 7, 8, 9 and 10 and every time we have found lots to do. Aside from all the activities we love it because it is such a child friendly site, the kids can go off and explore by themselves in a safe environment. It definitely feels like a site where kids can just be kids and families can spend time together in a relaxed and friendly environment.