Taking stock at the end of 2020
At the end of each camping season we take time to look at feedback and have a think about any changes that we need to make or new ideas that have worked well. This year it seems even more important than usual to take stock as it feels like the world has been turned on its head for a while. A few days ago I rediscovered the Slow Movement whilst browsing and felt immediately at home. The more I read the more I recognised our campsite in the descriptions and philosophies on the page. We are Slow Camping!
We have always focused on deliberate and sustainable camping that is in tune with our surroundings and this upside down year has shown us just how valuable slowing down and focusing on the here and now can be. Covid 19 has forced us to literally take things back to the bare essentials on site as part of changes to help keep our guests safe. It also encouraged us to think critically about why we do things the way we do and helped to reveal the things that guests really value.
What do we do best?
Chatting through our masks with campers, and shooting the breeze in the quieter moments, we were able to pin down the core elements of Ling’s Meadow that we all cherish.
Listening to the wind in the grass and the owls in the trees
Cooking on open fires
Space to breath
Campsite community (even socially distanced)
Exploring local food and drink, markets and countryside
Watching our beautiful Suffolk sunrises and sunsets
Doing all of the above in a sustainable way
In effect…..Slow Camping. Giving ourselves time to connect with ourselves, our families, other people, our local community, our food, the things that we really enjoy, and most importantly our surrounding natural environment.
The Slow Movement can be traced back to 1986. Carl Honoré’s 2004 book, In Praise of Slow describes it thus:
The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savouring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity…
Which just about sums up what people enjoy about our site.
So alongside the measures that have helped us to welcome guests during the pandemic we have decided to make a few changes that will bring Slow Camping even further into the heart of what we do.
Slow camping base camps
Next year we will be saying goodbye to the furnished bell tents and instead offering a Slow Camping inspired update to our existing, simple, pre-pitched bell tent option. Each of the two empty bell tents will have a coir matting floor, fire pit and seating near the tent, canvas tarp shelter for outdoor cooking, cast iron frying pan and Dutch oven, flint and steel, one pot kindling fired rocket stove and a Kelly kettle for your tea. The essential starter kit to help you enjoy outdoor cooking and a night under canvas. We have new heavy duty bell tents, beautifully handmade to last a life time by Jennifer at The Red Tent Company. The StarDome and Windhover & Ranny will still be onsite, offering their own special magic, but with slight tweeks to help us continue to offer a relaxing stay alongside the challenges of Covid 19.
Fire pits and picnic benches at all pitches
We had lots of positive feedback about the new picnic benches at each of the tent pitches so they will be staying. Having space to sit together and enjoy the sunset or the last embers of the fire is one of the joys of living outdoors.
We have had time this year to mull over new ways to utilise the elements around us to create hot water and power. It is a never ending journey of exploration and we will continue to experiment in true Lings Meadow style.
Food parcels and farm reared lamb
We know that you all love outdoor cooking and exploring local food so we will continue to offer food parcels from the farm shop and pre-ordering from Wooster’s local bakery. We are also very excited to have lamb reared by Cameron of Holy Oak Farm on the herbal leys and clover pastures surrounding the campsite.
Farming for widlife
This is one area where you will notice a big change next year. We are moving away from arable crops to farming for wildlife. The fields to the back of the camping meadow will be filled with herbs and flowers, and winter seeds for farmland birds. We have formed a new partnership with Cameron, and his sheep will be helping to manage the leys whilst producing wonderful grass fed lamb for meat box deliveries and Wyken Vineyard Farmers Market. So that you can enjoy the new landscape a 1.5km circular walk will take you from the campsite, through the fields to the green lane where you might see the resident Roe deer, buzzards, hares and a variety of farmland birds.
Over the next couple of months we will be thinking about ways that we can share the things we love about life on the farm with campers who would like to take part. Preparing alpaca fleeces for the mill, checking on the sheep, guided farm walks, and of course walking with the alpacas. We would also like to share our trial and error experience of developing sustainable technology.
So this year taking stock has involved lots of deep thinking and many cups of tea. We are now beginning to update the website and will be ready to open online bookings again soon. If you would like to chat about a booking for next year do get in touch as we always love to hear from you.