A note from Mr.W:
Here at Crowcombe and Stogumber Primary Schools, we aim to immerse our pupils within a rich and varied environment, linking stimulating activities to challenging tasks and always striving to engage and inspire the children into pushing their own learning on.
Prime examples of this are our end of year overnight camps, which at first glance are simply a night out under canvas. The children, however, have to use ordnance survey maps to plan their route to the campsite, the more advanced of whom calculate navigational data such as bearings, distances, altitude changes and journey times. The children learn to risk assess routes, chose waypoints according to their desires and needs (water, views, shelter etc.) and prepare 'plan Bs' in case of weather shifts or accidents. On the hikes they need to navigate by compass, natural signs and by map, consider the needs of their peers and the welfare of the environment, be aware of the weather and the time, and have a great time with their friends, passing through nature. At camp they set up their own tents and bivies, cook their own food and do their own washing up. They go on torchless night walks and often sleep outside their tents, under the stars. They pack up responsibly and always aim to leave the site better than they found it. Back in school we create a 'display in a day' with each child responsible for recounting a certain aspect of our joint adventure. What a wonderful, character building, skill developing, social bonding experience, backed up by powerful English, Maths, Science and Geography learning that the children are motivated and proud to achieve.
This is the ethos of the schooling that we aim to provide here - whether within the classroom or out. We strive to make it relevant and purposeful and we are so lucky to have marvellous, receptive and pro-active children who thrive on it! Teaching is a two way interaction, as much reliant on the pupils' engagement as the teacher's.
Here is the joint recount that we wrote the morning after our Years 5 & 6 camp. The children each chose an episode to write up, which they then passed on to a friend to proof read. They are not perfect, but they are honest, and considering that half of the children had slept out with nothing between them and the night but a bravely hung sheet of tarpaulin, they are a very good effort. Please enjoy...
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 1 & 2 - The Beginning
On 2nd July 2015, Stogumber Class Two went to Halsway Manor to take part in 'Leavers' Camp'. Leavers' Camp is an awesome camp where we play wide games, light fires, go hiking, cook our own dinner and (of course) stay overnight. Though some people went home to sleep, everyone had loads of fun!
First of all, everyone got dropped off at Halsway Manor to meet up and get ready to hike. When I walked through the gates, I felt very jumpy because I couldn't wait for what was going to happen!
We all explored the area that we had to play, camp and eat. There were two fields that we had to ourselves. The first one was where we were camping and the second one had space to play wide games (e.g. Last Man Standing).
Once everyone arrived, we stepped on to the mini bus and drove to Dead Woman's Ditch. I couldn't wait to start walking across the route back to Halsway Manor!
When we arrived at the ditch, we started walking to Ramscombe with our maps and compasses to help us. Unfortunately, rain started to patter down on us (I was very angry)! But, we still walked down the path, thinking what was going to happen next.
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 3 – Nature Watching
We finished our snack in the hedge. It was the best snack I'd had in ages! We then walked up the combe past all the most beautiful of Fox Glove's and grassy banks. Up the hill there is a hollowed out tree and on the side of the long detailed tree it said "fairly big ship" it was really cool. Just then we asked if we can go ahead because some people were being very loud we then carried on with our walk.
Soon we found a really cool spot that looked like a male deer could bulve. Then the other class stopped so we stopped. Luke found a stone that he accidentally mistaked a stone for an ammonite. We then got back to walking after a minute or 2 and just before that we think we saw a deer rushing through the bracken up through the coniferous trees. When we got to the top of the hill we could see lots of lovely rhododendrons unfortunately they were taking over the woods. We soon decided to have an early lunch because it was raining. It was a real shame we couldn't have lunch up Hurley Beacon .I was really looking forward to having lunch up the top of the hill I really wanted to see the view.
At least we had lunch!
By Jacob (Edited By Oban).
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 4 – Lunch
After a long walk up a steep slope, we finally got to the top of the hill to a long line of beech trees running up the hill. We sat down on the gaps of the trees and sat down there to have lunch. Meanwhile Mr Sears (Gary) lit a fire to keep us warm and to make a cup of tea for all of the teachers.
After that we had a chance to play around the beech trees and up the hill, only to a fallen tree that was blocking the path so we thought that we could use that as a boundary, some of the class heard the stags calling.
It was only 10 minutes left of play when Mr Sears let us sit by the fire to get warm and dry because we were soaking wet from the rain up the hill. The end of play came round really quick; it was like it was 2 seconds!
We all went in a penguin huddle to keep warm, I think that Kyle and Luke were the warmest, and then one by one we all started to walk up another hill.
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 5 – Solo Walking
After lunch we heard some deer off in the woods somewhere, however we didn't know whereabouts they were. Mr. Wedderkopp (my class teacher) came up with a brilliant idea and put it to use.
Mr. Wedderkopp's idea was to send one pupil at a time so we wouldn't make too much noise. The last thing we wanted was to scare the deer away.
Mrs. James went on ahead with a pupil to mark the ending point near the road. When I went up the hill, I heard a noise like a stag but then saw something that I thought would have been some deer. I looked carefully at what I could see but then realised that it was a baby calf.
Finally, I reached the top of the hill where Mrs. James was waiting patiently for us. We stopped and waited but I was really bored so I entertained myself by making a soft, green and excellent reed boat from nearby recourses. ( I was not bored because of seeing the animal, but waiting up the top of the hill).Once all of us had reached the top we trudged on happily.
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 6 - Crowcombe Park Gate
After we had walked through the path leading to Crowcombe Park Gate's car park, torrential rain started to bash down on us!
I felt very excited, though I was cold, wet and hoping the rain would stop pouring down!
Mr. Wedderkopp phoned the school office, telling them that we were stuck in the rain and that we weren't going to stop walking. Whilst he was talking to the school's office, we were taking shelter under a big tree (I was freezing to death)!
Once the school knew the situation that we were in, we battled on through the rain, even though the path we were on was flooding.
We all supported each other by shouting "Come on, you can do it!" and "Come on, you are doing really well, it's not far to go!"
The rain was like a monster erupting bits of creatures that had been devoured in its stomach. When the rain was flooding the path, it even created new rivers that flowed on in to the distance.
The rivers that had been created were a black houmous and a dark grey colour, which ran along side by side, flowing and flowing.
I had been on the Quantocks many, many times before, but I had never seen anything like this before! We couldn't see any blue sky whilst we were walking. It was like an endless storm or the end of the world.
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 7 – The Ridge Walk
Hard dagger like droplets of rain pelted our faces.
As we trudged on the atrocious weather worsened, making it difficult to see anything at all.
We shivered and shook as we trudged, sodden, up the bridle way.
The more we walked the more soaked we became.
Just at that moment the world around us started to turn dusky:the sky turned darker than before and the air slowly became dense...
Summer and I tried to cheer each other up by singing "If your happy and you know it".
However, after a few verses the effect began to wear off.
After a while I ran up to the front of the group.
I spied Kyle up next to Mr Wedderkopp (our class teacher).
It was then I decided we were sodden enough to jump in the puddles and splash each other.
It was one of the happiest times I have ever had in the pouring rain.
We jumped high in the sky, laughing uproariously. The murky puddle water squirted EVERYWHERE!
It soaked everything and everyone.
We leapt all the way to the end of the path and finally we came to a wider track.
Little did we know that there was a miniature lake lying in wait for our arrival...
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 8 – Halsway Soggs and Post
After jumping in the muddy puddles we carried on to our destination down the combe.
The weather was wet, slippery and cold. To keep us warm, Jacob and I ran down the combe and hid in the bracken.
We tried to scare our friends but they saw Jacob's jacket. After the fun we had a look at the view I could just feel the wind in my face as it shot past me like a bullet.
When we were walking down the track to see some animals, we thought we found some kryptonite but it was actually algae.
We carried on our animal hunting. We did not find many. After the animal hunting we had lunch at a gate.
We sat at the top to look for animals.
After lunch we decided to go on individually. Mr Wedderkopp (our class teacher) checked we knew where we were going and that we were safe then he let us push on.
Finally we reached our destination.
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 11 – The Tents!
After walking for most of the day, Mr. W's class put up their tents for the night. Shivering and frozen, excited and soaked, we clambered ourselves around the campsite, in the rain.
Pegging in pegs, tying things together and getting camp ready was really fun but it would have been better if we had set them up before we started walking.
Chloe was frozen ( it didn't help that her hood was full of water )!
In about 15 minutes camp was made.
The wind died down as the sun shone through the thick, cotton wool like clouds,that were sitting in a line in the sky. The hot, blazing yellow sun beamed down on us as we were finishing off putting the tents up.
But the sun would not last for long!
Suddenly, we spotted some black clouds in the distance. Luckily all of us had finished and Mr. W took us up to Halsway Manor to get warm, and changed into fresh clothes.
We used our last bit of energy to shiver up the stairs to the entrance.
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 12 – The Manor House
After the class and I had finished putting up our tents for later, we all moved over into Halsway Manor.
The girls changed out of their soaking wet clothes in a room that was really only available for the staff. When Mrs.James and I entered the room, Kelsie was standing in the middle of the room (naked). The boys went in the Main Hall to change.
As Kelsie had her sleeping bag with her, when she was dressed, she wriggled into it and stumbled into the Main Hall - just when the boys were getting changed.
After everyone had changed out of their sopping wet clothes, the people who were working in the kitchen were very kind a made us some hot chocolate. They also dried our wet clothes for us and they even dried our shoes in front of their fire.
So we gave a big, THANK YOU!!! To the staff of Halsway Manor and I hope you will thank them too for making the camp quite a lot more enjoyable. If it hadn't been for them we wouldn't have had anywhere warm and dry to change clothes.
Then, everyone sat down in a circle and we played Wink, Wink Murderer. I had my right arm touched so that meant that I was the murderer. Then Ashley gave it away because he was peeking when Mr.Sears (Gary) picked the murderer (me).
After that, we played this really tricky game called Black Magic.
Then, the sun came out so we put on our spare shoes and ran back to the camp. Some of the children didn't have any spare shoes. So, they stayed at the Manor while their friends grabbed their shoes. I grabbed Chloe's shoes but then, when I was half way back to the Manor, Mr.James was giving her a piggy-back back to our camp! I gave her her shoes and she sprinted back to the camp.
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 13 – Play!
After we had our hot chocolate we played lots of wide games. However several of us declined the game and decided to play swingball.
When we did play man hunt I was running, sneakily, but there were too many people. So Kelsie and I hid in a hedge but unfortunately Josh saw me jump in. Then he was caught and chased us. I was the final survivor.
Then Josh, Kelsie and I played swing-ball for 3 hours. Josh and I kept doing rallies over Kelsie and she got really frustrated. The game involved quite a lot of accidents but we were all ok. I was hit on the same thumb in the same place in two minutes. It really hurt but we had a laugh at the same time. The more someone got hurt, the more they laughed.
We carried on playing this game but then people from man hunt started to run round us. We were surrounded but this made it more fun because we were not allowed to move out of the danger zone and we only had our bats to defend us.
By Marcus (Edited by Oban)
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 14 – BBQ!
At about 5:30pm Issy and I lit the bbq, using a bag of charcoal, with Mrs James's lighter. Next we let the fire go down and then we put on my precooked sausages for starters (I heated up some sausage rolls).
Later on, we put the raw sausages on the grill and they cooked quickly so we had to flip them fast! While we were finishing the sausages Kyle was buttering some of the rolls for the hot dogs; he was very good at it! I thought the hot dogs tasted nice with lots of ketchup!
After that, Mr W unpacked his wok and fried up some burgers for some more food if we were still hungry. There were lots of left overs so we had a snack each in the morning!
I found it really fun cooking on a bbq because I had never done it before! I loved it!!!
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 15 – The Strawberry/Blood Moon!
At 10 o'clock a strawberry moon came out it was MASSIVE!!! The moon gave so much light it was like day! The strawberry moon is full and red like a strawberry, that where it gets its name. The best time to watch the moon is at moon rise. The moon rises from the east.
I felt really excited because the moon was bigger than normal and I felt like the earth was moving under my feet. The more I look at the moon, the more my rods turn off.
Little did I know that I was going for a midnight walk 2 hours later.
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 16 – The Campfire
Welcome this is how to make a campfire with flint and steel.
Hold the flint like it's a match box. After that scrape the steel so it makes a spark. When you get the hang of it you can then try it on the wool. If you don't know where to put it then place it in the middle of the camp fire. So its sets most of the wood alight.
When I started the camp fire we were waiting for the flint and steel to make a good spark. So the cotton wool got set on fire because it's very flammable and greasy. It was hard for me to make the flint and steel work so we can all get nice and warm around the lovely, majestic and outstanding fire pit.
When you're trying to set the cotton on fire never give up and always carry on with it till you get it to work. Then you can have a nice time around the fire without worrying about your Mum, Dad and other family members.
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 17 – The Vinder Viper!
We gathered around the camp fire (which Kyle made) and Mr Wedderkopp, the class teacher, told us the Legend of the Vinder Viper!
Here is a summary of what happened:
A man moves into an old mansion and gets a mysterious phone call: "I am the Vinder Viper! I am coming". The mysterious phone call continued over the days until he came!
While Mr Wedderkopp was telling the stories we had marshmallows and laughed a lot.
Just before Mr Wedderkopp was about to tell us the story he was talking about his friend Simmo. Simmo was at Rock'n Rapids on a class residential. He is a marine and helped the man protect his house from the Vinder Viper.
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 18 – The Midnight Walk!
About 11:45 Mr Wedderkopp took 4 of us on a midnight walk on to the hills 3 minutes to 12:00 we got to where we were go to see the distance and the special moon. The moon looked like a strawberry moon it had lots of silver lights shining from the moon.
The moon was making it like that it was 9:00 but it was really 12:00 o clock, behind us there was a elderflower bush. Then we went back down the hill.
We saw Williton and Watchet lit up and we carried on down the hill. We got to a rusty old gate and it would not open so we climbed not by the hinges because so the gate doesn't collapse on to the floor.
We walked the last stretch quietly because people was asleep in their houses then we walked back to our camp we saw the plough pointing to the NORTH STAR.
I was feeling worried at the start of the day but the end of the camp I was feeling really happy.
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 19 – The Night at Halsway Manor
Not expected most of us were exhausted; we crawled into our tents and wiggled into our sleeping bags, to get comfortable. It was strange because most of us who said that we were not going to go to sleep went to sleep and the people that said they wanted their sleep stayed awake for most of the night! That was probably because the pupils who went to sleep didn't have a good night before the camp.
Through our tents, we could hear sweet packets being opened, ready to be eaten. we also heard lots of excited children chatting, amongst their tent buddies. At this rate, Chloe, Abi and I didn't think anyone was going to fall asleep...
But we were wrong. Soon enough, the meadow had fallen quiet. The only thing that I could hear was light footsteps creeping around the amazing field. Pretty much everyone was asleep.
Abi, Chloe and I got to sleep by playing a game that Chloe had told us about. What you have to do is take in turns to make up a sentence and no one is allowed to give any suggestions. In the end you will hopefully end up with up with a super silly story.
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 20 – The Morning Walk
Before we mostly all went up to our morning walk most of us were up nice and early before everyone else in their tents.
In the morning we did a morning walk and we had to walk 11 contours and 110 meters up a very steep hill. When we got to the slope we had to walk through Bracken and some of us slipped down the hill and got up and ran then, slip into the Bracken. After that we went through the Bracken again and we found a dead Fox and we found a Sheep skull which still has its teeth still in its mouth at the moment until they fall out of the gaps.
When we got back we all were up and mostly all of the children were scared of the sheep skull that we had found on the morning walk when we mostly all went.
After we got back we had to have our breakfast and we had a quick play.
After we had our quick play we had to get ready to leave the campsite and leave it better than what it was before we got there. When we had packed all our stuff we played a quick game of man hunt. Once we had played man hunt we had to load up Gary's van up with our camping kit that we used like Tents and our camping mats that we slept on in our tents or outside on the grass stargazing like Joshua did underneath Mr Wedderkopp's cover. They needed a stick or pole to hold up the cover that josh was under of Mr W's that we brought over to leavers camp at Halsway Manor countryside. Halsway is a very small Manor.
Leavers' Camp 2015: Part 21 – Breakfast and The End
After the morning walkers came back we all started to wake up and come out of our tents. I came out at about 8:00am. Soon we had breakfast. We had the choice between cereal, chocolate croissants and plain croissants. Then we all had a play.
After about 30 minutes of playing we were told to pack away our sleeping bags and tents which sounded easier than it was. Bonny and I packed our tent and sleeping bags away in about 20 minutes, but we had to help each other with packing our bags.
We both soon went over to help the other girls pack their 7 man tent (which didn't go too well). Chloe had to change her trousers but two of the boys started taking down their tent which wasn't very helpful as there was still people and bags inside. But we all managed to get all of the bags out in time.
When we had finally took down the 7 man tent and sorted out the bags chloe, summer and I went into the Halsway manor toilets to get dressed, brush our teeth and go to the toilet. But there was an unexpected visitor in the toilet we spotted a spider that was about the same size as my hand! Me and and Chloe were terrified of the spider! But luckily we managed to find another toilet which was only down the corridor next to us.
Not long after that we placed all of our bags into an adult helper's van.
Almost instantly after that, we had our last game of man hunt which was sad as it was the last game that we were going to play but it was fun at the same time as we were hiding in trees and bushes.
Then we all were called over to look around for litter which took about 5 minutes and because we are so neat none of us found any rubbish.
Finally we all gathered round some of the girls went into Chloe's mums car and drove off and the rest of the class drove behind in the mini bus to school to have a gentle day at school.