Over half term, me and our two boys spent a day in the woods in West Norfolk with Nathan and the team from Inside Out Bushcraft & Adventure.

Arriving at a secluded rural location near Watlington (my birthplace, fact fans!), Nathan met us at the car and led us down to the main camp area, where we met the team and the other children who’d been at the camp for the past couple of days. The central campfire was alight and ready for a brew.

Dens at Inside Out.
Kettles on the campfire at Inside Out in West Norfolk.
Inside Out Bushcraft & Adventure.

The camp was split into four team ‘areas’, each with their own coloured flag. Littlest Man was assigned to the ‘orange’ camp, while Newly Teen joined the ‘Yellows’. The other children were really excited to meet them and so lovely and friendly. It was really good to see, and helped our boys settle in straight away.

To start things off, a game of ‘Tails’ helped everyone relax and acclimatise further. Here, you have a coloured ‘tail’ attached to your back, which the defending team has to grab before you make it to your team’s ‘base’ (a tree). Very energetic, fast and fun, it woke everyone up and got the kids in the mood for the day ahead.

The Inside Out camp.
Dens at Inside Out.
Inside Out in West Norfolk.

After the games, the individual teams lit their own camp fires, which would be used for cooking throughout the course of the day. Here the campers learned the skill of lighting a fire without matches, using a Magnesium Flint Stick. Later on in the day, they’d make their own Flint Sticks to take home. Littlest Man delighted in showing his, whittled from Holly, to his Mum when we arrived home. This practise alone took them ages, so he was right to be proud.

Making – and maintaining – the fire was no mean feat. The campers had to collect all the wood, sawing any larger branches down to size with a Bow Saw (which they learn to use properly and safely) and keep attending to the fire throughout the day.

Another essential of the Bushcraft campsite is the knife. The campers were shown how to handle, clean, and sharpen a knife correctly, ready for the multitude of uses they’d need them for during the camp.

Bushcraft skills at Inside Out.
Learning how to use knives safely.
Learning how to use knives safely.

After exposure to these crucial bushcraft skills, everyone got involved in another lively activity involving rope bridges (which they had to make themselves) and a tightrope, tied between trees. Barefoot, and traversing the tightrope holding a mug of water at one point, it looked like a lot of fun.

On the ropes at Inside Out.
On the ropes at Inside Out.
Fun and games at Inside Out.

Lunch – hash browns with a variety of fillings (and topped with an egg if desired) – was prepared by the children from scratch, and cooked on the fires. It was delicious.

Making lunch at Inside Out.
Learning to make lunch.
Grating potatoes for the hash browns.
Making lunch at Inside Out.
Hash Browns made on an open fire.

The afternoon involved making the aforementioned Flint Sticks (some children also made leather items such as belts), wood craft (spoon whittling and the like), and, just before Dinner, a foraging expedition with Sam.

We were introduced to the variety of plants growing in the camp environment, and their uses in bushcraft and cooking, if they were safe to eat. One example was ‘Miner’s Lettuce’, called so because Miner’s used to eat it to prevent scurvy (the entire plant is edible, except the roots, and it provides Vitamin C). Tasting Spinach-like, it can be eaten raw and is perfect for use in salads. This plant (real name Claytonia perfoliata) is apparently fairly common in Norfolk, but you have to be quick to acquire any, as Deer love it too.

We were also made aware of the plants that were not fit for consumption, an important distinction when foraging.

Dinner was Hunter’s Chicken and wedges, followed by Lemon Drizzle cake. All cooked by the children on open fires and in Dutch Ovens, it was absolutely fabulous (complete with a little ash for authenticity).

Making Hunter's Chicken on the campfire.
Cooking dinner at Inside Out.
Potato Wedges.

Dinner, and the day as far as we were concerned, ended on a high, with squirty cream straight from the canister. Usually only seen in movies, this is surely a ‘childhood bucket list activity’?

As day guests, we departed before the disco, which I’ve no doubt was brilliant.
We arrived back suitably soot covered, worn out, and full of joy.

Inside Out is a wonderful concept and an excellent experience – a thoroughly enjoyable antidote to our modern screen-filled lives, and the events of the past year.

We enjoyed every minute of our day at their camp and our kids were very proud of what they achieved, in terms of the bushcraft, the cooking and the making of items like the Flint Sticks. We’d highly recommend a look and we’ll definitely be returning. Adventure is out there!

[~ Andrew ]

Check out Inside Out Bushcraft & Adventure here – and save money off Adventure Camps and other experiences with your Enjoying Norfolk Card.

Squirty cream fun at Inside Out.
The Inside Out camp.
Tightrope games.