To make it easier to check details of any problems/major events that might affect your planned booking, please take a look at the Notices page.
Crew Tea Hut Opening Ceremony.
Yesterday afternoon, during our regular Wednesday work day, Mr John Aldridge, ECC Chairman, along with other dignitaries visited us to officiate at the opening ceremony of our newly refurbished Tea Hut.
Having cut the ribbon, Mr Aldridge was shown around the campsite so that he could see for himself what it is that we do. Following this brief excursion, tea and cakes were consumed by all.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Aldridge for making time in his busy schedule to visit us at Kingston Ridge. Also to thank the ECC for their very generous financial support that went a long way towards funding the refurbishment of the kitchen.
Doddy's Long Service Award.
Our DC, Mr Steve Barlow, visited us at Kingston Ridge to be present at the opening ceremony of the Tea hut following it's recent refurbishment. Whilst there he presented our hard-working Bookings Secretary, Mr John Dodd (Doddy) with his 15 year long service award.
We wish to convey our congratulations to John and also to thank him for the huge amount of time and effort that he puts in at the campsite.
Shower Block Refurbishment.
We have an urgent refurbishment program about to start and this will require that we take the shower block out of service until further notice.
It is not possible, at this time, to say when the showers will be back in use but we hope to have them ready in time for the 2017 camping season.
If you were planning to use the showers between now and when we close down the water systems (when the frosts start) then please accept our apologies. Unfortunately, this is not a project that we can delay.
New Events at Kingston Ridge.
Inclusive Activities Day.
We have been aware for a long time that it is a problem for very small groups of visitors to be able to afford to book our activities. We have been kicking ideas around for quite a while but at last we have come up with a format that we believe will work.
For a fixed price per head, attendees on the day will be able to use all of our activities all day. We can even supply lunch for you.
There is a limit to the number of participants that we can accept so if you are interested then you should visit the Inclusive Activities Day page immediately and get your booking off to Chil as soon as possible.
This activity day is open to all Scouts and Guides.
This activity is for Basildon Scouts. It is sponsored by BEAST and so there is no cost to participants, although there will be a £5 refundable deposit payable.
It is a competition where your physical and mental skills will be tested to the limit. The winner will be awarded a trophy.
Check out the Basildon Scout Ninja page for full details of the event and how to register.
Master At Arms Competition 2016.
Once again, BEAST are sponsoring this popular competition at Kingston Ridge. This year the competition will take place on the weekend 7-8 May. It is open to Scouts of all ages from Basildon.
By now, representatives from BEAST will have visited your colony/pack/troop/unit and handed out publicity material. If you are interested in entering the competition then select the timeslot that would best suit you and your family (as you will need your Mum or Dad to take you to the campsite) and send your details to Chil. See form on Master at Arms page for these details.
We have a limited number of places available and in the event that we are oversubscribed then we will draw names out of a hat to select those that will take part.
There is no cost involved for those entering the competition as BEAST are paying all fees and costs associated with the event.
Extension to Beaver Towers.
Basildon Council recently donated to us some redundant playground equipment suitable for young children. It is similar in size and scope to the current installation that we call Beaver Towers - as it is primarily for Beaver Scouts.
We expect to have it installed and ready in time for the 2016 season - but, as always, this depends upon our workload, staff availability and the weather.
Watch this space.
As winter draws to a close we are keeping an eye on the forcasts to determine when it will be safe to turn on our water supplies to be ready for this years camping season.
As always, the Service Crew have been beavering away working on the maintenance of the campsite over the winter months whilst the campsite has been closed. Some of the work will be readily noticed and some probably not.
At the moment the ground is still too soft to get the grass cut but as the days grow longer and warmer we expect that it will dry out soon.
Colin Resigns from Campsite.
Many of our regular visitors will know Colin White. For many years, Colin was a Manager here at the Ridge and during that time has put in an enormous amount of work. It is fair to say that without his input the campsite would not have progressed as far as it has.
More recently Colin has been pursuing other Scouting interests around the County, primarily at Skreens Park.
We would like to thank him for all his work at the Kingston Ridge and to wish him well wherever the future leads him.
End of Season 2015.
Hello readers. I do apologise for the non-appearance of news items this year but it has been a very busy year for me both at the campsite and personally. Be that as it may, you will be delighted to hear that we are still here, the campsite is still looking good and we are slowly but steadily introducing improvements. Some of these are backroom improvements that you might not notice but make it easier for our staff to perform their duties and some that you will as it is the stuff that you use.
The campsite is now basically closed down for the winter. The water systems have all been drained down to prevent frost damage so the flush toilets and showers are not available for use. If you are really hardy and can manage with really basic facilities, we can still accomodate small groups but we would recommend that you fully understand what it is you are letting yourself in for before you book!
Bookings are coming in for the 2016 season so if you are planning to visit us I would suggest that you start your booking process as soon as is convenient to be sure of getting your preferred dates.
The service crew have a full program of work planned for the next few months, well into the camping season. If you have spare time and wish to help please drop us a line.
To finish off, I would like to thank all of the crew (service crew, instructors and wardens) for the huge amount of time and effort that they have put in over this year. The campsite could not function without them. Thanks to Doddy for all of the work he does keeping the bookings in order.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.
Ladies Day 2015.
Following the tremendous success of this event last year, we have successfully secured the services of Scott Elvis once again. He will be performing live following the days racing.
We are expecting this event to be sold out again so if you are thinking of attending you will need to get organised and book your tickets early. Please see our Ladies Day page on this website for details and updates.
New Booking Secretary.
As Ron has been wilting under the strain lately, John Dodd has very kindly stepped forward to take up the post of Booking Secretary. So, for all of your queries about dates and availability please call John. You can reach him on the campsite phone number or email address. His details are in strategic places on the website and also on the booking forms.
Billericay and Wickford Cubs Conservation Day.
Once again we have been visited by Billericay and Wickford Cubs with their lovely leaders Angela, Kay and Joyce. The cubs, with some assistance from their parents, spent a very productive morning trimming back hedges, planting trees and clearing brambles. They were set to continue after lunch but as it had progressed from a shower to a downpour it was agreed that the cubs would come back another day to finish off their work.
We were so impressed with the work completed that all of the adults there on the day are invited to consider joining our service crew. If you are interested, see our 'service crew' and 'volunteer recruitment' pages. The Campsite Crew would like to thank all of the Cubs, their Leaders and Parents who all turned out on the day and worked so hard.
The above pic shows part of the hedge that was trimmed back.
Here we see some of the cubs and their parents clearing brambles from around our activity playground.
And here are some of the trees that they planted along our fence line.
Bird and bat boxes had been manufactured in advance of the day and some of these were installed into trees around the campsite.
The cubs were worked really hard and a huge amount of material was piled up to be burned. There was so much of it that we were not able to burn all of it in the time available. It will, however, give our Wednesday Crew something to do...
Mr Steven Metcalfe MP Visit to KR.
If you have been following this page you will have noticed posts detailing problems with the state of the lane. The weather has caused some considerable damage to the surface of the lane to the point where it is only passable with care. We have undertaken some remedial work ourselves to the worst of the potholes but appeals to the local Council for help seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
We wrote to our local MP in the hope that he may be able to help. We were delighted when he agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to pay us a visit. Whilst I was not able to be there in person to meet him when he came to visit on 28/9/13, members of our management committee, wardens and service crew were on hand to explain the problems that we have encountered. He listened patiently and looked at the problem areas, made copious notes and has promised to investigate the situation to try and ease our deadlock. We are hopeful that he will be able to help.
New Warden at Kingston Ridge.
We would like to welcome Mr John Dodd, Doddy to the rest of us, who has recently been appointed as one of our Campsite Warden's.
John has been a stalwart of the Service Crew for some time now and it was unanimously agreed that as he makes a good cup of tea, he is the ideal candidate.
If he opens up the campsite for you in the near future, please be gentle with him.
2014 Badge Design Competition.
We have decided to hold a competition to design the 2014 Badge. All entrants to this competition will get their design manufactured into a badge and the winning entry will be our Campsite badge for next year.
Please see the 2014 badge competition link in the side bar for more details.
Sorry, but we have been so busy with our Summer season that we have not had time to think about some of the details like news updates.
Here is a summary of some of the main points of the last 3 months.
Grass Cutting - Our very grateful thanks go to: Southend Network, Westley Heights Rangers, New Holland Tractor Plant Maintenance Crew and Lee Petty's dad, Jeff. All of whom contributed to getting our camping area grass cut over our busy season. Without this help, the campsite would not have been maintained in its good condition. Thanks guys,
Summer Holidays - for the past few years, members of the Service Crew have camped at Kingston Ridge over the summer holidays. We have been doing this for several reasons - to provide some security for the campsite to prevent minor vandalism, to have a bit of a holiday ourselves and also to get some work done. However, this year we have been so busy with visitors that the 'bit of a holiday' just did not happen. By the time we went home we were totally exhausted!
Damage to Lee Chapel Lane - the severe frosts of last winter caused quite a bit of damage to the lane either side of the gate at the end of the lane. The condition of the lane at the beginning of the season was quite poor. However, over the last weekend in August we experienced 4" of rain (100mm) in a 24 hour period. This volume of water flooding down the lane washed away a lot of the surface material resulting in some epic potholes. We found about a ton of this material had been washed into the ditch and so the Service Crew dug it out and put it into the worst of the potholes to try and improve the condition of the lane and restore functionality of the ditch.
We have been complaining to the Council about the condition of this road all this year, to no avail. The local paper have printed two articles about the potholes that we have to endure, local Councilors have taken an interest and have been doing their best to help. We are expecting a visit from our MP in a few days time. Following the first article in the local paper we were approached by a film crew from Chanel 5 making a documentary about potholes. They spent a couple of hours filming in the lane - we understand that the program is scheduled to be aired on the 6th November.
Success out of Adversity - this has been both a very difficult year for us and a very successful one. Despite the problems that have come our way the campsite has seen a lot of use this year and it has been really heartening to hear the sounds of crowds of children enjoying themselves. It is, after all, the reason why we do all of this.
Despite all of our problems, the event went ahead as planned. Whilst not as warm as we would have liked, it was dry! And on the day, everything went very smoothly and a great time was had by all.
I will publish a fuller account here in due course and include some pics.
Just to say that we were able to raise an amazing £2k - and that included a donation of over £300 from our good friends the Fowler family. So our very grateful thanks go to them and to everyone else that took part in the event or helped to run it.
This will be a quick update, just to keep people informed.
The Police have attended the campsite, taken fingerprint evidence and statements, etc. The insurance claim is being progressed - we expect the Loss Adjuster next week. We have purchased new locks, repaired the damage and enhanced the security of our containers so that we can secure the campsite. This process is ongoing and further improvements to our security will continue so that we should not have to suffer such a catastrophe again.
We have had tremendous help from all sorts of people to get us over the problems that this has caused. At a basic level, just getting the grass cut by volunteers has relieved us of a huge headache. The total loss of our shooting and archery equipment was a major blow but thanks to the Basildon Disabled Sports Club and the Rochford Archery Shop we now have a reasonable amount of equipment available so that we can still offer those activities to our campers.
Local Groups have offered financial help in the form of loans or cash gifts. All of which will be most helpful as we move forward.
So, whilst not yet fully back to normal, things are definitely looking up.
Robbery at Kingston Ridge.
Yes, it is true. You may have read about it in the local press.
Sometime between 9pm on Wednesday 22/5/13 and 2pm on Thursday 23/5/13 - presumably during the hours of darkness, we were visited by robbers. They stole a huge amount of equipment. It has taken us many years of hard work with fundraising activities to raise the money to purchase the equipment and I cannot describe the feeling amongst the campsite staff over this.
Amongst the stuff stolen is: our ride-on Kubota mower, our strimmers and hedge trimmer, chain saws, extension lead reels, assorted hand tools, our walkie-talkie radios, all of our shooting and archery equipment, the new buggies for our planned cresta run activity, the safe was destroyed and the modest amount of cash in it stolen.
Various of our storage containers were damaged when the locks were forced.
We have had staff remain onsite as security until such time as we are able to secure the site. Needless to say, we have had a meeting to discuss the problem and we are taking urgent steps to improve the security of the site before we replace the stolen items. The District archery club has offered to lend us its equipment to cover our archery bookings for the time being and our Billericay friends have offered to lend us their air-guns for our shooting bookings. Southend Network have very kindly offered to cut the grass for us and have already made one visit to do this.
Should, perchance, the persons responsible for this robbery be reading this and planning a return visit to collect these loan items, we will not be storing them at the campsite.
Whilst it has been a terrible shock to us to have experienced this situation we have been greatly heartened by the response from all of the community. We have had many offers of help and support. Including a cash donation from a gentleman in Texas.
For everyone that has been helpful in any way, we would like you to know that we greatly appreciate your help, even if we have not yet had the opportunity to say so to you in person.
If, by chance, you come across any items that could have been stolen from us we would be very grateful if you would contact us either on the booking line number: 07757 810 891 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We may be down but we most definitely are not out...
Refurbishment of Beaver Towers.
Our regular visitors will have noticed that we installed a new (to us) piece of playground apparatus last year. Whilst in sound condition, it did need to be freshened up and so that is what we have been doing.
Shown here is Warden Steve finishing off painting the roof sections.
Campsite Preparation - continued...
Whilst it has been very cold of late - just in case you had not noticed - it has at least been basically dry. Together with the drying effect of the wind - there has been quite a lot of that as well - the campsite is drying out quite well. Whilst still soft underfoot, most of the campsite is no longer squelchy. So if the weather stays dry then we expect to be able to proceed with out camping season without serious problems. However, for the time being, there is no vehicular access to the fields.
Whilst the ground is soft, we have been working on repairs to the ruts caused by the heavy machines used during the installation of our new cess pit. This is proceeding well but it is rather looking as if those particular areas may not be ready in time for the start of the season. It has been really difficult and hard work trying to do this whilst the fields have been very wet.
On a more positive note, we have been progressing with finishing touches to the zip wire although the main piece of work is still pending until the relevant area dries out enough. Also installed is the roof over the new gent's urinal. Whilst not critical to operation it does mean that you can proceed in peace without rain dripping down the back of your neck!
We have improved access between the main field and the family and sports fields for disabled campers. The small bridge has been widened to better accommodate wheelchairs and we have installed a bridge into the sports field.
Last weekend, we had a group of scouts from Billericay and Wickford help us by removing overgrown and dead trees from part of our backwoods area. Since then, new hedging plants have been put in and further remedial work completed.
Work has been progressing on new storage facilities. Whilst campers may not notice these, it will make life easier for our staff.
Work pending: installation of new field gates (the old gates onto the main field have been removed in preparation), installation of a roof over the shooting shelter, completion of the zip wire equipment store, completion of field rut repairs.
Sometime during the summer holidays - weather permitting - we intend to take the climbing tower out of service for a few days for refurbishment.
New Activity for 2013.
We have recently purchased Slack Line equipment. This is a great activity and is very popular at other centres. Improve your balance, co-ordination and nerve on this equipment.
Full details and pictures will be available in due course on our 'Activities' page. Watch that space!
Campsite Preparation for 2013.
After all of the rain and freezing conditions that we experienced over the winter months, it is something of a relief now that spring is upon us. We are finally able to get onto the fields and get on with the jobs that have been hanging over us for so long. Our hard working Wednesday crew have been hard at it, doing whatever jobs were possible in the circumstances and now they are pressing on with getting the campsite ready for this coming season.
This Sunday, we have one of our regular work days. The Sunday work party will be a bit thin on numbers for this month as several regulars are attending Gang Show rehearsal or are otherwise unavailable. So, if you have a few hours to spare and fancy a day in the fresh air your assistance would be greatly appreciated. If you can help, please call Colin to let him know you are coming (on 07801 785 052) or email me here at email@example.com. Colin will be providing food for those that let him know early enough - otherwise bring your own lunch. Tea and coffee provided.
This month, the planned work is the installation of new gates onto the camping areas so expect some digging and concrete mixing. If that is not appealing enough, there are other jobs that you could help with.
Service Crew Page.
I have opened a new page for the service crew. Currently this lists the scheduled work days for 2013 and the main job planned for the next work day.
There may be more info in the future.
We still have a few spaces available for this event. If you have not yet put in your application I recommend that you do so soon to avoid disappointment.
Those attending will have a great time and will learn some really useful skills. This something that you will be talking about for years to come.
So, check out the "I'm A Scout..." page on the left of your screen and get your application in now.
PLEASE NOTE there was a mistake on
the application form that gave the last day for receipt of applications
as 20 April. This should have been 18 March. If you are planning to
enter, you only have a few days left.
You will notice that the list of 'not available' dates on our bookings page is somewhat longer than usual. This is because we have received a Rates demand from the local Council for the first time this year. They have
demanded back payment for the last 3 years plus this years
contribution. Despite benefitting from their the Charity discount for the Rates, this has left quite a hole
in our finances. So, we have had a simple choice - put up our usage
charges or accept outside bookings to cover our shortfall. As we wish to keep the costs for
Scouts and Guides to a minimum we have (somewhat reluctantly) accepted more non-Scout bookings than usual.
If this affects your preferred date to visit Kingston Ridge, please accept our apology. This should only be such a big problem this year. We should be able to cope from next year on and therefore not need to accept high revenue bookings in our high season.
Be assured that, as always, any operating profit that we generate will continue to be invested in the Campsite to improve our facilities.
Preparation for 2013.
After the feet of rain that fell on the campsite last year and at the beginning of this, Kingston Ridge is now starting to dry out. That is not, of course, to say that it is actually dry. Just that most of the puddles have gone, it is still somewhat squelchy underfoot.
There was a lot of work that was schuduled to be done last year that had to be postponed that is still waiting to be done. That is on top of this years regular workload.
So, if you have any spare time and have an inclination to help out, the service crew could use some help. Your next opportunity will be this Sunday coming (17/2/13) for our regular monthly work day (every 3rd Sunday). Just turn up - wear stuff that you don't mind getting muddy and bring your sandwiches. It will be fairly hard work but we will supply the tea and coffee and we have a laugh along the way.
If you want to make a more regular thing of it, visit our Volunteer Recruitment page for details.
I'm A Scout, Get Me Out Of Here!
The application form for this event will be available to download from Monday 18th February 2013. Please visit the BEAST News page on this website to get it.
Please note that there are only 30 places available on this event and it will be strictly first come first served.
It will be fantastic fun and you will learn a lot of really useful skills so make sure that you get your application in early if you want to come.
I'm A Scout, Get Me Out Of Here!
By popular request, BEAST will be running this event once again next year (2013). The date is provisionally set to be 10-12 May. It will be available to Scouts from Basildon and if we have space - from other Districts too.
It is loosley based upon the tv program of similar name. Scouts will be subjected to some interesting and exciting situations that will focus their minds onto teambuilding tasks and various training excercises that will be set for them.
So, if you think that you might be interested, note the date in your diary and check this website from time to time for details on the I'm A Scout... page. We will publish full information and application forms in due course.
Kingston Ridge is now set up for Winter Mode. This means that all of our water systems have been drained down to prevent frost damage. Thus all of the standpipes and the pipes feeding them have been drained down, as have the showers and the toilets. All of these will now be out of service until next Spring, usually around the end of March. This will be a weather dependant decision.
The only toilet facilities available are the gents urinals and one toilet closet and as the water is off the only way to flush it is manually with a bucket.
We have recently re-arranged the pipework in the fields that allows us to turn on just one standpipe with the need for minimal draining down when it is used, so water can be available but it is not adjacent to any of the camping areas.
All of this is necessary because the campsite is unattended for long periods and with the icy weather everything cools down sufficiently to permit pipes and recepticles (such as toilets) to freeze up and to be damaged.
So, if we have any hardy souls wishing to camp over the winter months, be warned that we cannot offer our usual levels of luxury. In fact, if you bring your own toilet tent, we will offer you a discount on the camping fee. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding winter use of the campsite.
Scary Walk 2012
For the 2012 event, we invited the Billericay and Wickford Cubs and Beavers to take part. It proved a popular idea as we were fully booked for the occasion.
As has been the case this year, the days preceding the event were very wet resulting in a lot of mud at the campsite. This on top of the groundwork that has been occuring recently.
Fortunately the rain stopped just after lunchtime which meant that we were able to proceed. We were on the point of cancelling as it would be a non starter if the downpour continued.
Thankfully, everyone was in good spirits and the event proceeded with some excellent scares and surprises for the kids.
More details and pics to be posted here in due course.
Work at the Campsite.
Also in progress is a new patio area outside our crew tea hut. We grow weary of sitting in puddles of water or up to our knees in mud whilst eating our lunch. Pic shows the best features of Dan and Mr Ed as they lay the slabs.
Another Update - work at the Ridge.
My regular readers may remember that we have been waiting since the spring for the installation of our new septic tank. This has been on hold due to the rain making the campsite ground too soft for the heavy machines needed for the job. Well, recently, we had a break in the weather co-inciding with staff availability so we decided to go for it. Guess what, it rained half way through the job. So at the end of all that we have had to suffer the campsite being chewed up after all.
To date, we have the septic tank in the ground and
connected. We still have to build the access hatch etc for emptying and
complete the concrete cap and make good but the bulk of the job is done.
old ditch at the top of the car park has had land drains installed and
been filled in. We just need to landscape the piles of topsoil and plant
the new hedge and that will be complete. This will be done when we get
the JCB back in a few days along with dealing with the ruts and gouges
that occured on the soft ground. Also finishing off a couple of other
jobs that have been pending.
I have some pics and I will post them here as soon as I have sorted them out.
recently completed is 'Beaver Castle'. This is a new item of
playground equipment intended for Beavers and Cubs. It straddles the
ditch between the main and family fields. Pics in due course.
in progress is 'Beaver Mountain'. This will be a new feature that will
enable us to introduce Beavers to climbing techniques - particularly
abseil. With a bit of luck and a following wind, this could be ready for
next season. Watch this space.
posted 15/10/12 pics posted 11/11/12
It has been a while since I last updated the news file. Sorry about that. I spent most of August at the campsite and I am still catching up with all of the domestic stuff...
Be that as it may, over the summer - which turned out very nice after such a wet spring - we spent a lot of time, effort and money re-organising our equipment storage facilities. Now we know that this will not mean a lot to the campsite users, but for the service crew it means that we no longer have to struggle to get the equipment out of store or struggle to put it away again.
We have also been progressing the installation of new playground apparatus, primarily for Beavers/Cubs. This is between the main and family fields where leaders should be able to keep an eye on them whilst they use it. It is almost ready, another half-days work should see it done.
I will post pics when I have them available.
Kingston Ridge v. The Weather, again.
This weekend we have two groups of campers staying with us and yesterday was scheduled to be a busy day with activities. During the morning we set up and were ready to go, enjoying a quick cuppa before we started when the heavens opened. An hour or so of deluge later and the place was awash.
This is the first time that I have seen the climbing area flooded. Needless to say, all activities then had to be cancelled. We are hoping that if the site has dried sufficiently, we may be able to offer archery for today.
This has been our worst season for dreadful weather ever.
We had 1st Braintree visit us again last weekend and once again they were determined to smash our stacking record.
Several stackers were able to exceed the previous years best, by quite a margin but the best was 27 crates high. Yes, that was 27 crates. Some people might argue that some cheating was going on as an intermediary was used to pass the crates up to the stacker but nevertheless, the crates were stacked and he did stand on top of the pile.
Mind you it was somewhat hairy when the stack collapsed so this may be the last time that we let the stack get that high!
After the amazing effort by the Scouts, 1st Warley cubs had a go and at the time I had to leave the area to go to the Archery range they were up to a very impressive 15 crates and still going. Final details will be posted here in due course. If the leaders want to forward the names of the champion stackers, I will include them in the report.
New Fences Built By Scouts.
Last autumn we had a work party that helped us to clear debris and scrub and generally clean up the campsite. Unfortunately a couple of work groups got a little over enthusiastic and created new gaps between fields that we did not want. As the 6th Billericay Scouts were visiting us on Saturday to work on their Woodcraft Badge, we invited them to build us a couple of fences to plug the gaps. These are the new fences and we are very pleased with them.
Busy Weekend at KR.
This last weekend was very busy for us at Kingston Ridge, with a total of 8 different groups visiting us. All of our activities were booked from Friday evening through to Sunday afternoon. By the end of the weekend our staff were pretty much exhausted! However, apart from a few spots of rain we had lovely weather for the weekend and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Thanks to everyone that stayed with us and for putting up with the small delays caused by having to be in two places at once.
As we were closing up and preparing to leave we discovered that we still had a car (owner unknown) in the car park, which left us wondering what to do about it. We were scratching our heads when a few minutes later when we found that it had gone... At least then we did not have to worry about having to lock it in.
Scary Walk 2012.
Once again we are running this fun event for Cubs and Beavers. This will take place on the evening of 27th October. Please check our 'Scary Walk' page for details and booking forms that will be posted in due course. Currently we have the advertising poster available.
This is a popular event and you are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.
Adventure Playground Update.
During the past few weeks we have added some new items to the playground and upgraded one of the old items.
The upgraded item is one of the up and over frames that has had a scamble net fitted to one side. The new items include: mini vertical scramble net, the 'grid iron' balance beams, monkey swings, rope bridge, swinging tyre crawl and swings. Please note that the swings are fitted to the same beam as the big scramble net so when the net is in use the swings are not.
We have a few more items to be added as and when we have the time and man-power available.
We are also hoping to aquire playground equipment to suit the Beaver/Rainbow age group sometime soon. Watch this space for news of that.
Jubilee Beacon Event.
On the Sunday following Ladies Day we were busy with the clear up operation to remove the debris and put away the equipment . Then we moved the party tents into the Main Field for the Beacon Event. As it was to be an evening event, arena lighting and interior lighting for the tents was set up. That was plenty for that day and everyone was exhausted.
Monday morning saw the finishing touches to the Beacon itself, the shooting and archery ranges set up for the ‘have-a-go’ sessions. The beer tent set up alongside the disco, plant stalls prepared, cake decoration, tombola, find-a-key, coconut shy, hog roast and bbq, tea and cakes, face painting, raffle and St Lukes Hospice stall. Everything was ready in time for 6pm when the customers started arriving. Soon we had a flood of people pouring into the campsite and our car parking staff were kept very busy. The stalls were all doing brisk trade and the only problem that we encountered was that the hog should have been started a bit earlier as it was not quite ready and the tea stall struggled to keep up with the demand. However, it was a lovely evening and people waited patiently and eventually everyone was satisfied.
Originally, this was intended just as a modest celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee and the ticket price and profit from stalls aimed to just cover our costs. However, it grew somewhat and we ended up with twice as many people attending as planned, this resulted in our making a modest, but still very welcome, profit. Whilst the event was not open to the public at large, we had invited anyone involved with the campsite or scouting in general in Basildon, however loosely. We also invited past members that had either retired or moved away from the area. So it was really nice to walk around the field and bump into old friends for a chat. In fact there was a really happy buzz all evening.
The official lighting time for our Beacon was 22:10 and as this time approached, Gary, our DC gave a short speech and then read a poem to commemorate the event. He then handed over to the Chairman of the District Executive Committee, Sandra who said a few words and then started the countdown to the moment of ignition. All eyes were turned to the beacon as the seconds ticked away with lots of finger crossing and holding of breath. And then, as 'zero' arrived a great flame lept from the Beacon basket and illuminated the field. This was greeted with a great cheer! After a couple of minutes to savour the moment the firework display started - short but impressive. This signified the formal end to the event and then people started drifting away although many lingered until much later.
There are too many people and companies to thank for this event but perhaps we should mention that our Colin was the main driver behind this. I will be listing those companies that sponsored the event with either equipment or prizes. I shall also be posting pictures in due course, when they become available to me.
It was a fantastic evening and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.
It is the Campsite's 50th birthday in 2 years time. We are thinking about a similar event to mark that occasion. Keep an eye out for news of that event.
This had been something of a worry for us as the weather leading up to the event was very wet but thankfully the rain eased off just in time for the campsite to dry out sufficiently. As usual we had our arena complex set up in the Family Field with the usual canapes and cocktails for people as they arrived. Those that were camping were directed to the Sports Field as we needed the Main Field to be left clear for the Beacon Event a couple of days later - see above.
It was a lovely sunny day with a pleasantly cool breeze. More people than usual were in attendance and so it was the usual exciting day with everyone enthusiastically joining in. We all had a great day at the races and the campsite made a nice profit to boost our finances.
During the disco after the races, the heavens opened and it poured with rain but that did not deter anyone on the dance floor and the fun continued despite the wet!
Thank you to everyone that helped and to those who came and supported our cause. Every penny that we earn at this event is spent on the campsite.
Normal Service Has Been Resumed.
Thankfully, we have seen the end of the rainy season! A few dry days coupled with some sunshine and a steady breeze have combined to dry out the campsite such that it is once again ready for service.
If you have already booked your stay with us - we are looking forward to seeing you.
If you have been waiting for good weather before booking with us - the weather is here now so get your booking in soon.
Adventure Playground Developments.
Despite having to close for business for a couple of weeks and postponing our major earthworks projects due the extreme wet weather, we have not been sitting idle.
Earlier this year we had some 'new' items for the adventure playground donated to us. Work has been proceeding with the installation of these items. Believe me, it was very strange paddling around in 3" of mud with the ground bone dry below that. Anyhow, we have 5 items installed with 4 ready for service now and the last one will be ready this weekend. There are still more items to be installed and we will be dealing with those as soon as we can.
Regarding the postponed earthworks. We need to get these jobs completed as soon as possible. This means that we have no choice but to proceed during the camping season. Obviously, we will do all that we can to minimise disruption to campers. If you are affected by the work, which should only take a few days please bear with us.
At the moment we do not have a date for this work as we are waiting for the new Cess pit to be manufactured. It is such a large and heavy item that we need to arrange for its delivery truck to drop it straight into the hole in the ground. As that is a large hole, we cannot dig it until shortly before the pit is delivered. Once it is ready, we have to schedule in availability of staff, machinery and delivery together.
Weather Update (again).
The rain seems to be holding off and with a bit of sunshine the campsite is drying out well, as we hoped. It is still a bit wet and squelchy in places but for the most part it is drying well. Hopefully we can get on with our season now without any further cancellations.
If you are concerned about conditions for an existing or planned booking, please call for the most up to date information.
On the subject of cancellations, Louise, of the Writtle crew, popped in for a chat on Wednesday whilst the Service Crew were working. She mentioned that they hoped to be able to find a weekend later in the year where they can run their activitiy day. No promises and it is very definitely only a vague possibility but watch this space and their facebook page for news of developments.
The service crew were working at the campsite over the weekend and whilst the ground is still very soft and some areas still have puddles, it is much improved since Wednesday and is looking promising to be usable by the coming weekend (18-20 May). However, this is still dependant upon what the weather throws at us between times as more rain is forecast. Showers we can cope with but torrential downpours will probably be something of a set back!
We are sorry that we cannot be more definite at this stage but there are too many variables in the equation over which we have no control.
Severe Weather at Kingston Ridge.
Over the past few weeks we have had several inches of rain fall on the campsite. This has resulted in the ground becoming waterlogged with puddles of standing water on all of the camping and activity areas. The consequence of this has been that we have had to cancel all of our bookings for camping and activities since the end of April. We are doing this on a week by week basis as it proves necessary. Currently, those groups booked in for the weekend of 18-20th May have been advised that it may be necessary to reschedule or cancel.
If you are planning to use our services in the very near future, please call or email for an update. Email: email@example.com or tel: 07757 810891. We are closely monitoring conditions at the campsite and as soon as conditions improve we will let people know. It is unusual for the campsite to be this wet during the camping season though it does so during the winter months. From experience, a week or so of fine weather should be adequate to permit the campsite to dry out sufficiently to be usable. However, the current forcast is not optimistic for that duration of fine weather so currently we are unable to estimate how long this problem will persist.
In the meantime, for those groups that have been affected by this situation we would like to offer our sincere apology. We do not cancel any booking lightly.
A big thank you for those groups that have been affected and have rescheduled rather than cancel. As a District Campsite, we do not receive any external funding and rely totally on income from use of the campsite to maintain and develop it.
Sadly, the Writtle College activity day (see below) has had to be cancelled. We rescheduled once and got rained off again. The students have been left unable to find a timeslot to match their availability and so have reluctantly cancelled the event. This is terribly sad as we were expecting this to be a really good activity day. If you had booked in for this activity day, check with the Facebook page for the activtiy for details of how to get your refund.
Please watch this space for news of conditions at the campsite.
Activity Day for Basildon (and adjacent Districts) Scouts.
Students from Writtle College had organised an activity day at the Ridge on Sunday 29th April. Part of their coursework requires them to organise and manage an event. It was set to be a really good day with plenty of Scouts booked in - that is until the heavens opened. After several days of continuous rain it absolutely tipped it down on Saturday night to the point where the lane was more like a river and the camping areas were more like a lake.
It did not take long to agree that it was necessary to postpone the event and we have provisionally set this to be on Sunday 13th May. Watch this space for further updates on this matter.
We also have a number of bookings for the coming weekend that are now in the balance. If we get a few days that are basically dry then the site should be ok but if we get more rain then we can expect more cancellations. A bit of a washout to the beginning of our season!
Master at Arms Competition.
Our competition went ahead despite rain for most of the day. We were able to set up shelters in the ranges so that people were able to keep mostly dry.
I was not able to observe the proceedings myself as I was helping to set up the activities for the Writtle Activity Day - see above - but I am reliably informed that the competition went well and all participants were pleased with their performance.
The results are being collated and as soon as the winners have been informed I will post the results here. Watch this space
Work Progress at Kingston Ridge.
Or should that be work lack of progress? We had planned to get a number of major earthworks projects that have been pending for a while completed before our busy season starts. However, with the continuous rain that we have had for the last few weeks, the campsite ground has been too soft for the heavy machinery and delivery lorries that we will need onsite.
Consequently the work has had to be postponed. Our problem is that this work needs to be done and we may be faced with having to proceed with the work whilst the site is occupied given that we have to line up ground conditions, staff availability and equipment availability. Obviously we will avoid doing that if at all possible and if we have to we will make every effort to avoid disrupting access and activities etc.
Normally we charge a lot extra for visitors to see us working hard...
Watch this space for updates.
Campsite History - badges and pennants.
Ann, our Badge Lady, has been putting in a lot of work recently to aquire copies of all of the Campsite badges and pennants that have been produced over the years. She has done incredibly well to dig up as many as she has in quite a short time. However, there are gaps...
If you, or someone you know, has any examples that we could borrow to scan in to our archive then we would be very grateful. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
Once again the Woodland Trust has done us proud in supplying us with another batch of trees and bushes to be planted around the campsite. Many of these have already been planted but we will be inviting local Cubs and Beavers to help with the rest of the planting over the coming weeks
We would also like to congratulate the Woodland Trust in achieving their target of planting 1,000,000 trees this year and we are very proud to have helped them achieve their target.
If you wish to learn more about the Woodland Trust, please visit their website at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk.
Last year we spent a lot of time and money improving our rifle range. We have decided that it was time to update our air rifles to improve the experience of people using the range.
This decision was prompted in several ways. Firstly, we did not have enough identical guns to ensure a fair competition at our upcoming Master at Arms competition. Secondly, our smaller users struggle to manage the older style 'springer' guns.
Having given careful consideration to this we have decided to purchase CO2 powered guns. There are many advantages to using this type of weapon, especially for the younger user. Whilst there are some operational disadvantages from our perspective, we feel that opting for this type of weapon will improve the experience and enjoyment of the activity for all. Whereas struggling with the equipment detracts from it.
So, to take advantage of the new range and new equipment, book a session on the shooting range next time you stay at Kingston Ridge.
Booking Form for 2012.
We have taken a look at the booking form that we had been using last year and following some careful analysis we have simplified it for this year. The one item completely removed was the cost estimator. It was proving to difficult to incorporate all of the variables. This is not a reflection on the capabilities of Excel but rather on our limitations to programme it.
Anyhow, we think that the new form will be easier to use and therefore better. But if you do find problems with it, please do let us know.
Genesis Explorer Unit entered a number of teams into the county marathon recently. The marathon event was based at Gradbach campsite in Derbyshire. Some of the campsite staff are also leaders at that unit and so dragged others from the campsite staff to make up the numbers either for logistical support or team members.
It was hard going that weekend but the end result was that Genesis picked up a lot of trophies. Well done to them and thank you to the campsite staff that helped out.
Until I get pics of the actual event, here are some taken a few weeks earlier when we went up there to provide walking/navigation training for Genesis. We also did some climbing whilst we were up there.
This is a picture of the dramatic sky seen over Gradbach one evening.
When we got home, the vans were covered in mud as the weekend had been somewhat wet. Also in generous supply was a similar coloured substance, courtesy of the local herds of cows.
Before we returned the vans to the school, we spent some time at the campsite cleaning them up. Emma volunteered to help.
Josh, son of Keith and Maggie - service crew members, volunteered to do a sponsored climb/abseil to raise money for facilities for the disabled at his school.
As we had planned a training day for our newer climbing instructors we had an ideal opportunity to combine the two events.
Here is a picture of him approaching the top of our climbing tower.
Kingston Ridge Badges.
We now have a stock of badges for sale. It has taken a while to get ahead of this as supply of the badges has been a little erratic. The gentleman who makes the badges for us does a very nice job but as a one man band his lead time is sometimes a little extended. So, anyone that asked for badges but was kept waiting, please accept our apology.
If you want badges, please email either email@example.com or direct to our badge lady at firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your requirements.
Picture of the Boss.
Back in 2007 we held a Centenary camp for the Basildon Groups. Amongst all of the activities on offer was the opportunity to contribute to a picture of BP. We had what is basically a giant wooden jigsaw puzzle made. BP's portrait was broken down into elements matching the size and shape of each puzzle part. Groups and individuals then painted each of these wooden panels copied from their part of the picture. At the end of the weekend, the picture was assembled and everyone was impressed by the result. Since then we have tried to find somewhere that this picture can be installed as a permanent display. However, owing to its size (approx 13' x 9') there are very few places that could accommodate it and none that were willing to give up the necessary space. Since then it has been languishing in a store at the campsite.
Recently, we approached BEAST and asked if they would fund a frame to support the picture and happily they argeed to do this. Over the last few weeks work has been proceeding on this and at last the picture is now on display. It has been positioned in the Main Field such that BP will gaze down on campers whilst they are gathered for flagbreak.
Picture added 15/11/11
New Campsite Committee Secretary.
After a long stint as our loyal and hardworking secretary, Sara, has decided to stand down. We would like to thank her for her hard work over the years. And thank you for all of the tea and cakes.
At the same time, we would like to welcome Simon as our new secretary.
Hello readers. Back in the summer I upgraded my desktop browser the latest version and whilst in all other respects it is fine the downside is that it will no longer work with the website softare. The only way in at the moment is to use an old laptop. However, all my pics, file, docs etc are on the desktop. This is the prime reason for the lack of updates lately.
Be that as it may, I will rattle through and try to bring you up to date - pics will have to wait until I transfer them across.
Last weekend The Ridge played host to MAD once again. Several days of hard work were required to prepare for the crazy hordes that descend upon us for that weekend. Party tent city for security, food hall and first aid - not to mention the entertainment marquee. Lighting to be set up, water heating beefed up for the showers, pits to be pumped, grass to be cut. Etc etc. Our Service Crew were kept very busy setting up and helping out the MAD crew.
Whilst the weather was somewhat iffy going into the weekend, it brightened up and both Saturday and Sunday were fine with plenty of sunny spells.
The fancy dress party on Saturday night had a circus theme and the thought and effort put into the costumes was again impressive, with some interesting variations on the big cat theme as there were many strange tigers roaming around.
For a more detailed report, check out the MAD website. I will be posting pictures of the event as and when they become available.
Thanks to everyone that contributed to making MAD11 such a fantastical, funtastical event.
More Changes to the Website.
I have updated the Virtual Tour to reflect the recent changes to the campsite. Also a few typos have been corrected and a bit of gentle massaging around the place to bring it all up to date.
There are still a couple of instances where I need to take new pictures but for the most part we are now up to date.
Comments and constructive criticism always welcome.
Changes to website.
I have split the content of the old Facilities page into 3 new pages.
Camping Areas: that details the various fields and camping areas that are available to use.
Activities: that details the various activites that we are able to offer at Kingston Ridge.
Facilities: that details the infrastructure stuff like loos and showers etc.
This was done as the facilites page was getting somewhat long and cumbersome to search through. I hope that you find this new arrangement easier to use.
This process is not finished yet but I will get this done as soon as possible, time permitting!
Any comments will be welcome - either via the users comments page or email at bookings.
Ladies Day 2011.
Last weekend saw the running of this years Ladies Day event. Despite the rather iffy weather forecast we had absolutely perfect weather and the event ran very successfully. We had the usual enthusiastic crowd all of whom thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
In due course, as they become available, I will post some pictures of the event - watch this space.
We would like to thank everyone that contributed to the organisation of the event and also to the people that came along on the day and made it so successful. All of the money raised is spent on improvements to the campsite or equipment purchases.
Ist Braintree Scouts Crate Stacking
Last weekend we were visited by 1st Braintree Scouts and whilst with us they had a crate stacking session. During this session there were 3 very high stacks created but Sam got the highest, creating a stack 22 crates high, a new Kingston Ridge record. The main problem getting the stack any higher was passing the crates up to him. Well done for a very entertaining session.
Sam's effort was closely followed by Josh's stack at 21 crates high. Well done boys!
posted 6/5/11 updated 23/4/12
We are pleased to announce the work on the main entance has been completed and that it is now back in service.
Thank you to all concerned for the hard work and assistance with this project and to the paitience of the campsite users.
Work has started on the main entrance. The old bridge has been removed, the new drain pipe installed and the bridge has been partially re-instated. Completion is primarily dependant upon service crew availability but it should be completed very soon.
Tree planting and Main Entrance.
We have once again received a quantity of trees and bushes from the Woodland Trust and we owe a tremendous thank you to them. The hedging plants have now been planted around our boundary fence and some of the trees have been planted. The remainder of the trees will be planted over the next week or two.
We hope to have the digger available to excavate the remains of the old main entrance bridge on Wednesday. Once that work has been done, it will not take long to complete preparations for the concrete for the new bridge. It will, of course, take a bit longer for the concrete to cure and be ready for use.
We have had a delay to the start of this project. The digger was not available after all on the day that we had arranged. New date for start of work not yet known but we still expect to have the main gate back in service in time for the busy season.
Master-at-Arms Competition, 7th May 2011.
To celebrate the opening of our new Archery and Shooting Ranges we are holding this competition. For those working towards their Master-at-Arms badges, this competition can count towards it.
It is open to Basildon Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts. The competition includes both air rifle shooting and archery. Entrants have to do both activities.
The competition is free of charge as it is sponsored by BEAST.
Please note that all participants must book a place on this competition in advance. You cannot just turn up on the day and expect to enter then.
The appropriate parental permission forms must be completed in advance, the forms are available on our bookings page.
Please look on our Competition page for full details.
Work is scheduled to start on the replacement of the main entrance bridge this coming weekend. We will have earth moving machines in to dig out the old bridge. We will then be able to replace the drainage pipe. Sometime during the week we will have a load of concrete delivered to form the new bridge. It will take a while for the concrete to cure but we expect to have the main entrance ready in time for the main camping season.
Bookings for the 2011 season.
We have started taking bookings for this new season. We already have 3 weekends that are fully booked, see the list at the top of the bookings page. Whilst most dates are still available, if you are thinking of coming to Kingston Ridge, it might be prudent to make your booking early to avoid disappointment.
We now have a map of the campsite showing the layout and location of activities, facilities, water and electric points. Please go to the facilities page to access the map. At the moment we only have a pdf version to download but in due course it will be shown on the page with the other pictures.
As soon as the weather improves we will take a new set of pictures to reflect the changes that have occurred over the last year or so and upload them to the relevant pages.
If you feel that we could add any further information to this website to assist in the process of selecting/booking the campsite please do let us know.
Ladies Day 4th June 2011.
This is our annual Day at the Races with Ascot in mind. If you want more details please refer to our fundraising events page where you will find a link to the poster and the phone number for Colin who can provide you with tickets.
It is a great day out, we all have a lot of fun. All of the profit from the day is used to improve the facilities at the campsite so it is a worthwhile cause that you will be supporting.
So if you fancy a great day out in all of your finery, a flutter on the horses, a glass of champagne and a whole lot of fun then I suggest you call Colin as soon as possible.
Tickets are on sale now.
The Stealth Mower.
The Americans have their stealth bomber that is capable of sneaking in undetected by radar. Well, we are proud to say that in our small way we can match that. Yes, we have a stealth mower equipped with a cloaking device that renders it totally invisible in operation. No one that has witnessed this equipment was prepared to believe how effective it is and knowing this we felt it only fair to provide a demonstration for you. Click here to download a short video clip (about 1MB) to see it in operation. You will notice that it takes a few moments for the cloaking device to become fully operational but you will agree that the mower has quite disappeared.
Archery and Shooting Competition.
We are planning to hold a competition over the weekend of 7-8th May. This will be open to Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts from Basildon.
Please note this date in your diary if you are interested in taking part. More details to follow.
We have continued developing our booking system. Some more snags have been cleared from the new forms and so far it all seems to be working reasonably smoothly.
We have made these changes for a number of reasons but primarily to overcome some operational difficulties that we have experienced recently as the number of bookings at Kingston Ridge have significantly increased.
By making the form fully 'electronic' it is easier to pass information to the Duty Warden and to print out those sections that need to be made available for the Activity Instructors.
I have no doubt that we will encounter teething troubles but we are working hard to make sure that it works as smoothly as possible. If you do encounter difficulties, please email details of the problem to email@example.com.
We will be introducing, from this season, a Welcome Pack. This is primarily intended for 'out of town' campers to familiarise them with the campsite layout, facilities and our rules. We shall publish some of that pack on this website. At the moment, that pack is at and advanced stage of preparation but it is not yet ready to go.
As ever, we are open to comments and suggestions. Preferably helpful ones.
Work on the archery range has been progressing and is now almost complete. The new fence is now complete, the storage facility is almost complete and all that remains is to finish applying the preservative on the timber and put down some grass seed.
Watch this space for news of our proposed archery and shooting competition for Basildon Scouts.
Work has started on the refurbishment of the main entrance. Until this is completed, access to the site is via the second entrance.
New Booking Form.
Our new booking form has been posted onto the bookings page. Please note that there are still a few wrinkles to sort out but in the main it is working as we want it to. As the new season is approaching fast and we expect to receive bookings soon, we want to have the form available now - despite any shortcomings - as it is an integral part of our new booking system.
Thank you for your co-operation.
Work on the second entrance has now been completed and it is back in service again. Work will commence on the main entrance in the very near future.
New Booking Form and Procedures.
Our new booking form is almost ready for use, as soon as it is available it will be posted on the Bookings page. Until then the links to the old forms have been removed as we do not want those forms to be used any more.
Please note that the new booking system is something of a work in progress and there may be odd wrinkles that crop up despite testing and checking everything. Please bear with us. If you do come across any problems, please let us know about them.
Work has progressed on the breaking out of the concrete and that is now, finally, completed. Work will begin soon with the installation of the new drain pipe and re-instatement of the bridge.
Winter Mode at Kingston Ridge.
In preparation for the cold weather, the water system has been turned off and drained down to prevent frost damage. It will remain thus until around Easter. If you plan to book the Ridge between now and then, you should bring whatever water that you need with you.
Entrance Repairs Continued.
Work has been progressing on breaking out the old bridge. The Wednesday Crew have done most of the work but on our last work day we had some fresh blood (Josh and Sally spent most of the day as Kango jockeys) to help out and the end is in sight. The most recent lump of concrete is seriously hard work and a couple of hours work with a Kango results in about a hat-full knocked off.
As soon as it is cleared we shall put the new drain pipe in place and the bridge can be re-instated. This means that this entrance should be back in action early next year.
Site Entrance Repairs.
We have a problem with the second entrance to the site. The pipe underneath the bridge that carries the drainage water for the ditch has collapsed. As this is likely to cause flooding problems in the lane during the winter months we have decided that it would be best to dig out the entrance bridge and replace the pipe. This means that the second entrance will be out of service for some weeks - probably for the rest of the year. The picture shows Colin, Steve and Andy starting work breaking out the old concrete bridge. The temporary fencing is for the protection of passers by rather than campsite security.
Once that repair has been completed we will have to do the same job on the main entrance. In this case we will replace the drainage pipe simply because it is rather small and prone to blocking. The main problem with this entrance is simply that the wear and tear caused by usage necessitates surface repair. Our view is that it is better to do a proper job once than to patch it up now and have to redo the job later on.
We don't have a date for the start of work on the main entrance as yet. It will be between the finishing of the second entrance and the start of next years camping season.
At this time we say farewell to Si as one of our wardens. A new job means very limited availability for warden duties. We will still be seeing him around the place helping at work days and other functions. Many thanks Si.
At the same time, we say hello to Steve. It was Steve that planted most of the trees and bushes donated by the woodland trust earlier this year, and it was he and Ann that have undertaken the lions share of irrigation duties to keep them healthy.
Watch this space, perhaps we will put up some mug shots so that you will know who we are.
Change to booking arrangements.
Jo, our Booking Secretary, has had to stand down for a time due to personal reasons. Ron has taken over this function for the time being until Jo is able to take up the reins again. Please see the booking pages for Ron's contact details. The email address: firstname.lastname@example.org is still the one to use.
Jo, thanks for all of your hard work and we hope to have you back on board very soon.
Development of Ranges.
Work continues apace on the shooting and archery ranges. Both are now in a usable condition though not yet finished. However, most of the heavy work has now been completed with thanks to Colin and his crew.
The archery range facilitates shooting at a range of 25m comfortably. It is designed to accommodate 4 archers shooting at 2 butts. New pics will be posted here soon.
The shooting range is similarly close to completion, currently the shooting base is virtually completed. The temporary target arrangement will soon be replaced with it's permanent configuration. We will also be able to provide facilities for shorter range shooting for cubs.
This weekend just gone saw MAD 2010 take place at Kingston Ridge. It was the second time that we have hosted MAD and this time was just as much fun as the first. The weather was fantastic and our new and improved facilities were well received.
We were ready just in time for the mass arrival on Friday evening when some 250 Network bodies turned up. The weather was hot and sunny which meant that we could get on with uninterrupted fun.
For background info, check out the MAD website at http://mad.essexscouts.org.uk. In due course they will have pictures and all that stuff available. In the meantime, here are a few pictures that I took. I will add more as I get them.
On behalf of the Service Crew I would like to thank MAD organisers and attendees for a really good weekend. Very tiring but loads of fun.
The climbing tower in action. Note the clear blue sky behind - it was so hot on both days that many people were simply frazzled.
Note the new feature on the front of the tower.
Loads of stuff all going on at the same time.
It is a mean overhang but it can be done.
MAD lads making use of our new archery range.
Fencing in the Sports field. This was a very popular activity.
Lots of activities for people to take part in.
I was told the name of this activity but promptly forgot it. A game of tag, very popular in India I am told.
Mikey getting ready for a go on our new zip wire.
Mikey being helped up the ladder by Luke.
Please click here to see a short movie of the zip wire in action. About 1.3Mb download.
Geronimo - a leap to certain death and a really exciting ride down the wire.
Shooting and Archery Range Development.
Work has continued with the installation of the new fences around the re-arranged ranges. The posts and rails have been installed and we expect to have the fence boards installed sometime over the next few days.
Digging the holes for the fence posts has been hard work. Many of the holes were adjacent to trees with the result that roots were in the way and had to be cut away.
There is still a lot of work to do but we expect to have the ranges in a serviceable condition in time for our District Camp.
New Zip Wire.
The new zip wire is now ready for service. It was tried out by a Group from Southend camping at Kingston Ridge last weekend.
We had several reasons for wanting to change the old setup. This was largely due to the difficulty we had with setting up and putting away. It took a lot of manpower and time. The new setup should be a lot quicker and easier.
From the users perspective, we have a permanent launch platform that is higher, bigger and more stable than the one we used before. The length of the run has been increased. All of this makes for a more exciting experience for the zipper.
As usual, pictures will be available in due course.
Battle at Kinsgston Ridge Campsite.
Britannia Re-enactment Society recently held a practice weekend at our campsite. Dramatic battle scenes were witnessed on our Sports Field. However, we are pleased to advise that hardly anyone was killed.
The new gates at the second entrance to the campsite have now been installed.
Andy, Colin and Clive did the bulk of the work installing the new gates with some assistance from Dave the Explorer and myself.
Although to be brutally honest, I am not sure that they would have done so well without my expert advice and guidance.
Andy welding on the locking mechanism.
Colin and Clive closing the finished gates.
They just need to be painted. The gates, not Colin and Clive.
2010 season preparations.
The refurbishment of the 'old' toilet block is almost completed. It has been cleaned up and repainted. New storage cupboards for cleaning materials etc have been built. Cables have been installed for electric hand dryers, shaver points and extractor fans. Now that the painting is finished, these items will be installed very soon.
A new gents urinal is planned for the 'new' toilet block. Similar to the existing arrangement.
Progress on the development of the ranges has been slower than hoped, primarily due to the soggy weather over the winter. We have contingency plans to enable the activities to continue whatever the state of progress with the development.
New chestnut paling fencing has been installed along the front boundary of the campsite and the new gates for the 2nd entrance have been delivered but not yet installed. So for the time being, the main entrance is the only functional entrance. Before the new gates are fitted we have to deal with the drainage pipe that the ditch flows through under the bridge to the 2nd entrance. It has partially collapsed.
Planting of trees and shrubs around the boundary continues with the plants kindly provided by the Woodland Trust. This work will be finished later this month as part of the activities at the campsite as a part of the St George's Day celebrations.
The new zip wire platform is installed, although the handrail and access facilities are not. The new anchor point for the wire is ready. So we still expect this facility to be ready in time for the camping season.
As soon as Spring is properly here, I will update all of the pictures of the campsite to reflect the improvements that we have made since last summer.
Don't forget that we have a users comments page for anyone that wishes to make any comments or suggestions for Kingston Ridge.
New Developments Continued
A lot of work has continued despite the wet and cold weather.
The new platform, that will form the relocated start point for the mega zip wire, is virtually finished. It is planned that this will also be the start of the high wire treetop walk in due course. Like the climbing tower, this is a monster of a zip wire, not for the faint hearted! However, for those of a more nervous disposition, we have a mini zip wire so no-one need be left out of the zip wire experience.
Work progresses on the re-arrangement of the shooting ranges. We needed a longer range for the archery and the simplest way to achieve this was to swap the shooting and archery ranges over, but this still entails a lot of work. The undergrowth has been cleared to make space for the longer archery range and relocated waiting area.
All of the above should be ready for the new season.
The new area for the woodpile is ready for service, although the screening trees have not yet grown to the operational size.
Plans are well advanced for a nursery area for young trees prior to replanting around the site when big enough. Trees and shrubs have been ordered to be planted along the hedge lines to restore those hedges that have declined over recent years. This will improve both the appearance and security of the site.
Finally, as promised, here are some pictures of the new entrance track.
New Track from main gate into main field
New track from main gate into the family field
New track into family field
During the last extended work weekend (Wednesday - Sunday for some of the crew) saw a lot of work being done.
The major project completed was to get the new track installed from the main gate around to the drive up from the second gate with extensions up to both the main and family field gates. We hired in a man with a digger to do most of the heavy work of digging out the track and then filling it with crushed concrete. Colin and Judith then spent a fair bit of time driving the roller backwards and forwards flattening it out. For some reason the roller seemed more effective when Colin was in the driving seat. Be that as it may, it is now possible to get onto the site without getting bogged down in wet weather. As a bonus, the spoil dug out from the track now forms a new 12' mountain that doubtless will prove popular with the users of the site.
Our site maintenance store was cleared out and refitted at long last. One of those jobs that has been on the list for years but never got done. We chucked out a pile of redundant and broken stuff, sorted out racks and shelves. Put up new storage facilities and installed a work bench and some lights. This should make the working conditions for the wardens a lot more comfortable.
The new activity equipment store is also very near to completion.
Work also started on the new platform for the repositioned zip wire start. This is quite a structure and when complete will provide a start point for the zip wire and also our planned high wire activity. The new ground anchor point for the zip wire was also installed. Over the coming weeks this will be progressed and we fully expect it to be ready for the 2010 season.
Refurbishment work on the 'old' toilet block continues, almost ready for a new coat of paint.
Summer Holidays at Kingston Ridge.
A small group of the Service Crew decided, for various reasons, to spend as much of the summer holidays as possible camping at Kingston Ridge. In fact we achieved what I believe to be the longest session of camping ever for the site. We had, if I got this right, 42 days of occupancy. My family and I, along with Clive, JC and Judith were there for most of that time with other members of the crew dropping in from time to time. In fact Clive is our most camped member this year having clocked up some 98 nights so far this year. He will probably hit 100 nights before the end of September.
One of the benefits of spending such a long time at the campsite was that we had time to get into tune with the place. Usually we go there for a specific purpose, attend to whatever it is we have to do and then leave again. So we were able to witness a young Robin growing up - he was so bold that he would hop around amongst our feet as we sat in the sunshine. We also saw the breeding pair of Green Woodpeckers bringing up their youngster.
Watching the night sky one evening, we noticed a faint object tracking across overhead. Enquiries with Russell, our tame Astronomer, proved this to be a satellite of some description. We were able to watch this and others on a number of occasions. There was also the oportunity to observe Jupiter in the southern sky and with a telescope or binoculars we could see the 4 major moons orbiting the planet. That was the first time that I have knowingly seen our astromonical next door neighbour but one. In the early morning we could also clearly see Venus in the East. It also became a bit of a competition as to who could see the most shooting stars - Steph won that one.
During the holidays we had visits from two groups (West Horndon and Stanford) you will have to excuse the hazy details here as I was working nights over that weekend.
A first for us was a sleepover for 1st Laindon Guides. The girls tried their hands at Archery and took advantage of our newly guide-qualified climbing instructors and spent a morning climbing and abseiling on our tower.
We also had a visit from a Scout Leader from Cumbria.
Whilst we had some rain - mostly at the beginning of the holiday, and some cold days - towards the end of the holiday. For the most part the weather was lovely. When the time came to pack up and leave - for all of us it was with an air of regret at having to leave.
Please accept our apology if you have experienced difficulty with some of the pictures posted on the News and Facilities pages of this website in recent days.
This was, I believe, caused when we experienced a glitch during the publish process whilst updating the website. However, the problem appears to have been resolved now and all of the pictures displayed correctly when tested recently.
Thanks to all of my readers for your patience and understanding.
For those wanting to take a walk around the site without having to go to the trouble of going there, this page will enable them to do just that. Be warned that it includes a lot of pictures so if you have a slow internet connection you could be in for a hard time. However, for everyone else, I hope that it is informative and useful.
Remember that we have a users comments page for anyone who feels that they wish to make any observations or suggestions. We prefer good comments but if there are any problems or errors then we want to hear about those too.
Recently MAD weekend took place at Kingston Ridge. With some 260 campers on site engaging in some fairly manic activities along with some quality time chatting and chilling out, it was a fantastic weekend. The weather was somewhat iffy to start with on Friday but the rest of the weekend was great.
I will expand this report when I get a few minutes spare... Watch this space.
When I get hold of the pics and flicks taken over the weekend I will post some here, meantime follow this link to see the pictures posted on the Essex Scout Network website:
At our last workday the prime focus was to extend the security fencing past the shooting range which then allows us to complete the safety screen behind the targets. This extension is just to protect against stray shots and is to provide belt and braces protection. However, we feel that it is necessary to do this and we apologise to our regulars who found the range out of service on that day. We were able to offer archery by setting up a temporary range on the Sports Field.
Grass cutting and other general maintenance work also undertaken to keep the standard of appearance of the site at a high level.
Climbing. Our climbing instructors have been undergoing extra training recently to enable them to upgrade their qualifications for the supervision of activities on the climbing tower. They have also received training to accommodate the requirements of the Guide Association. Therefore, we are delighted to announce that we have more instructors fully equipped to supervise all aspects of tower usage for the Scouts and also that they are now able to do the same for the Guides.
So come on girls, come and try our climbing tower!
Shooting. We have also undergone a training and assessment session for air rifle shooting and are happy to announce that we have significantly increased the number of shooting instructors that we have available to us. This will take some of the load off of our 'old' instructors.
St Georges Day.
This year the St Georges day event and promise renewal for Basildon Scouts took place at Kingston Ridge Campsite. All sections marched to the site from gathering points in either Laindon or Basildon.
It was a lovely, warm sunny day. Perfect for the
occasion. After the ceremony our DC introduced the re-enactment society
who in turn gave a short talk on the history of St George and his
significance to the English and the sort of weapons and fight tactics
employed during his time. It was then the turn of the traditional dance
group to provide a demonstration of the dance that the kids would be
The kids were then invited to take part in the
various activities provided. The re-enactment group gave demonstrations
and let the kids try on various items of armour. The dance group took
group of kids and led them through the dance, there was the opportunity
to make helmets and shields, jousting techniques to practice, sword
fighting and lots more besides. Everyone had a really good time.
Please check our new pictures page for more pictures of the event.
Users Comments Page.
We have added a Users Comments page to this website. If you want to provide some feedback, say how wonderful the campsite and the service crew is or have a grumble about something, this is the place to do it. Very easy to use, just select the page and click on the 'sign our guestbook' link.
Watch out for the virtual tour page. Via a series of pictures and related commentary, this will take you on a virtual tour of the Campsite. It is planned to show some of the flora and fauna to be found locally on this page.
We have made some changes to the Adventure Playground. Last year the trees that supported the scramble net activity had to be felled and so we have moved that activity to another adjacent location. Currently it has a dare-devils only status but we will be adding and easy-peasy option.
Also moved is the mini-zip wire. This now fits in better with the general layout and is a little longer than previously.
New is a 6' scramble wall (about 1.8m). This is a vertical wall that you have to negotiate.
Also new is our wobbly bridge. Two spans of wobbly poles to cross. So far this seems to be a big hit with those that have tried it. A few finishing touches to these new items before they are fully ready but we expect that this will be attended to very soon.
See facilities page for pictures.
The shooting range has had a make-over. The old safety nets have been removed and a solid timber wall has been installed.
We have similar plans for the archery range but it will be a little while before that gets done. We had been promised a donation of timber that was to be used for this purpose but unfortunately that fell through.
The lower bridge across the ditch between the main and family fields is now virtually complete - it is usable.
The minor problem that developed with the generator last year has now been resolved.
Our grass cutter has been fitted with a tow bar and has been pressed into service as a tractor pulling the site trailer and that has made a lot of the heavy work a lot easier. You have no idea how hard it is shoving a wheelbarrow full of concrete up that slope.
Archery at Kingston Ridge
We now have a team of fully qualified archery instructors at Kingston Ridge. Whilst we have some very basic archery equipment available for use now, we expect to take delivery of some new equipment in the very near future. Watch this space.
Ladies Day 2009
Our Ladies day event is scheduled for the 6th of June this year.
The event will raise money for equipment and facilities at the campsite. It will be a lot of fun for all the family. The ticket price includes your evening meal and refreshments but please bring your own beer or wine.
To download a word document copy of the advertising flyer please click here and for the food order sheet please click here, meantime if you want to see how last years event worked, please click here for a short video of the occasion.
To order tickets or for any queries about the event, please call Colin on 07801 785 052.
Work on the campsite continues despite the weather.
In the run-up to Christmas a lot of new trees were planted. Some to provide screening and some to create new hedges/boundaries.
Work on the lower bridge into the family field has been put on hold during the freezing weather but this will be completed in time for the 09 season.
What started as an exercise to create a bit of storage space expanded to create a new path between fields and ended up creating a new camping/activity area out of an overgrown area. We are quite excited by this as it will be (when we have finished) a great patrol/backwoods area. Picture available on facilities page.
We have a new storage container, donated by 9th Basildon. Now in its final position and work progresses with repairs to make it weather tight.
During the autumn we had the good fortune to receive a number of donations aligned with the opportunity to purchase a grass cutting machine. This means that we will now be able to cut the grass when we need it cut rather than when we could afford to have it cut, which was often the case in the not too recent past. This means that the quality of the camping areas will be improved this year.
Sword of the Kings
This was a night event extraveganza. A trilogy spread over 3 years, with the final installment last weekend, finishing at Kingston Ridge.
Please see the BEAST page for more details and pictures.
Developments at the Campsite.
Quite a lot has been going on since my last news posting. I will give you a quick summary now and will pop some pics in when I get them organised.
Our main gate has been replaced. We had a problem with the old gate in that it was difficult for larger vehicles to negotiate the tight turn at the entrance. The gates have been set back a little from the lane and are wider. This gives the bigger vehicles a better angle to get onto the site. We hope that we can complete the fence replacement program along our boundary with the lane very soon.
Still in progress is the replacement of the lower bridge across the ditch into the family field. This bridge suffered somewhat with delivery trucks crossing it and so we have completely removed the old bridge. The ditch has been excavated to be somewhat deeper to accommodate the new pipe to go under the bridge and most of the bridge foundation work has been excavated. The next big push on this will be our next workday.
Our new containers have been positioned in their final locations and have been pressed into service already. Some refurbishment and adaptation work is still to be completed.
The car park area at the second site entrance is now in a usable state.
A lot of this work has been made possible, with grateful thanks, due to several significant donations that we have received from various organisations.
Leaders Day - a chance for Leaders to use the equipment.
We have noticed that the Leaders never seem to get the chance to use the equipment and facilities when Scout Camps are in progress. So to remedy that we thought that we would have an open house for Leaders only (plus their families) so that they can have a go.
Last weekend we set up the climbing tower (and crate stacking), the shooting and archeryranges, the zip wire and backwoods cooking. Those Leaders that could arrived on Friday evening whilst the rest arrived on Saturday. Whilst we had a little rain on Saturday morning the rest of the day was really nice, sunny without being too hot.
To download a movie clip of the above activities click on the above links.
Climbing the tower.
This was our highest stack at the weekend. Can you do better?
At the shooting range.
Preparing the BBQ.
Ladies Day - A day at the Races!
'Horses' at Kingston Ridge for our annual Ladies Day event. This is our version of the Ascot Races!
the unfavourable weather that we have been experiencing lately we were
somewhat concerned that we would be washed out but fortune smiled upon
us and the day stayed dry and fine. We had a good crowd of people turn out for the day, all dressed to the nines in their finery.
We all had a really good time and we raised a fair bit of money towards the development of the campsite. With a few lucky individuals walking away with bulging pockets.
Basildon District Camp at Kingston Ridge.
Another great event with a lot of fun had by all. Well done to the organisers. As usual, the weather could have been better but despite the cool conditions is was mostly dry and did not stop us from doing any of the planned activities.
Here are a selection of pictures taken at the weekend. Click on the link for a full sized version of the picture if you want to see any of them in more detail.
Crawling under the scramble net.
Climbing over the wall.
Using one of the pioneering projects.
Rope ladder crawl.
And finally, here is the BEAST chairman, Steve, hard at it after a long day.
4th Billericay aloft - investing at a high level.
Aerial Investitures - 4th Billericay Scout Group spent the Bank Holiday weekend with us and two of their Scouts were invested on our leap of faith platform at sunset on the climbing tower. This is becoming a very popular and exciting way to be invested.
We have a short movie clip of this investiture. HOWEVER, please note that I recorded this on my phone and held it at the wrong angle and the film transferred onto the pc sideways. I have not been able to find the means to flip it upright - if anyone has any bright ideas about how I might achieve this, please let me know. The file size is around 5.4Mb. Click here to view it.
Campers endure Arctic conditions.
Over the winter months we have been busy working on the site to prepare it for the coming season. It has been hard work, but we are now seeing the benefits.
We decided a while back that it might be fun - given the mild weather recently - to spend a long weekend to continue working on some of the bigger jobs and to have fun. Well, as you might have guessed, the weather changed and whilst we had a bit of fun, the work was somewhat hampered by the weather.
Here are a few pics taken during the weekend...
Our mid-winter camp at Easter
The climbing tower, stowed and covered in snow.
A view across the family field
Building an igloo
the igloo nearing completion
some of the service crew taking shelter in the crew kitchen
We all survived sleeping out during the coldest night of the year and the youngsters really enjoyed the snow whilst it lasted.
Centenery Camp - hundreds of children at Kingston Ridge.
Our most recent event was our Centenary Camp. The number of visitors to the site varied day by day but on our busiest day it was approaching 200.
We had Scouts from our local district there for the whole week, Cubs for 4 days and day visits from our Beavers.
Amongst the activities laid on for the youngsters was the use of the climbing tower, our zip wire, adventure playground, backwoods cooking and camping, 'it's a knockout', sailing and rafting and the craft tent. One of the star activities for the weekend was the giant jigsaw picture of BP. Every scout present had the opportunity to paint one 'piece' of the puzzle. At the end of the week it was assembled and left on display. A seriously impressive piece of artwork. Watch out for a picture soon.
Although the weather was not very kind to us it was mostly dry and we all had a great time. Well done to the organisers for a really good job.
International Camping Weekend at Kingston Ridge.
We recently had the enormous pleasure of hosting a party of Scouts from Czechoslovakia, Poland and Italy. They stayed at our site for a couple of days and have already booked for a longer stay in the future. Those of the crew that were able to camp with them had a great time. We will publish more details and photos in the near future.
The movie clip, filmed by our Clive, is of the
International Campfire and shows the Polish Scouts tradition of respect
for the campfire. Click here to see the movie. File size is 2.3Mb.
Another of Clive's movies - this is a brief glimpse of the Ankle Tap Dance. Click here to see the movie.
Click here to see Clive's movie of the 'manic watusi dance' as performed by our Canadian visitor.
Development of Kingston Ridge infrastructure and facilities.
is progressing on the site infrastructure. The climbing tower is now
all but finished. It is now fully functional and has been deployed at
our recent Centenary camp. It has also had a boom added to facilitate
extra activities such as Jacob's ladder and rope ladder climbing. The
service crew have been trained and assessed in their role as climbing
The new showers have been used for the first time,
albeit with temporary partitions. It is great to be able to have a hot
shower at the end of a long hard day.
Work progresses on the second toilet block. We are also considering the provision of a laundry cubicle.