Leisure & Culture #07

HoneyWoods Camping – Where grass is sweet and the people, sweeter

HoneyWoods camping

Come gather round the fire, sip a hot mug of cocoa (let’s not forget marshmallows of course!), and sing a couple of campfire songs before lying beneath the vast, night sky and falling asleep wrapped in the quiet calm of the surrounding woods. Sounds like something out of a fairytale? Maybe. But in the vast UK countryside, tents are mushrooming and a new kind of camping-festival hybrid emerging.

HoneyWoods Camping is the brainchild of Rebecca Cork (more widely known as ‘Bec’), a many-hyphenated “event-managing festival-working cider-drinking ukulele-wielding entrepreneur” who wanted to create memorable one-off events in the beautiful English countryside. With her band of creative and talented friends and acquaintances, HoneyWoods Camping is her way of celebrating a slower lifestyle that’s now lost to the rat race.

“Feast in the Woods – let your children spread their wings!” – Naomi J.

Bec describes it as “the antithesis of commercial festivals” and it’s easy to see why! Think about recent music or outdoor festivals like Fuji Rock or Coachella, where monetary and environmental costs are skyrocketing. Not only do festival-goers pay a tidy sum for tickets and inflated alcohol prices, they often leave a wake of destruction in their path. No matter how gentle they try to be towards the environment during their stay, there are always a few bad eggs who abandon their camping equipment behind (after partying too hard) or leave unsightly litter around. What’s even more disappointing is that hardly anyone has the time or energy to enjoy the beauty of their surroundings!

“Led by common sense and nature” – Roumena G & 'Wildfire'

This is where HoneyWoods Camping comes in. It’s centered on being small and bespoke, allowing participants to enjoy the woodlands along with festival activities. Taking inspiration from the grand UK tradition of embracing the countryside, HoneyWoods believes in Treading Lightly – leaving the land in the same or even better condition when they leave. It is certainly an admirable principle, especially when some of their stunning locations include isolated forests, far away from the madding crowd. With their focus on family and community, their value-driven enterprise has drawn much attention from both participants and contributors. Campers will be pleased to know that HoneyWoods makes it their mission to use local, freelance or fledging businesses to collaborate with for events.

One of the successful pop-up camping events is “Feast in the Woods”

One of the pop-up camping events is their “Feast in the Woods”, which has been so successful that The Guardian included it as one of their top 25 summer festivals of 2014. Ticket prices generally include a communal meal and a whole variety of activities. The most recent Feast in the Kent countryside, had kayaking lessons along with educational talks by the Guyrope Gourmet, a coffee connoisseur and a cider brewer.

If music is more your thing, HoneyWoods Camping also organizes “Flummoxed”. What started out as an annual camping trip among friends, soon evolved into two nights of music and merry-making. It’s kid-friendly too, with plenty of workshops and entertainment to keep even the most jaded festival-goers satisfied.

Flummoxed Festival 2013

Seeing initiatives and community-centered events like HoneyWoods is a breath of fresh air in today’s world, saturated with commercial events out to make a quick buck. Their vision of creating a temporary community in natural, wild woodlands is part of a growing movement focused on giving back to community and taking care of the environment. It’s exciting to see how HoneyWoods will evolve, and even more thrilling to see how similar events can be adapted for more urbanized countries around the world!

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