High Sun is an annual five day gathering of an ad hoc and constantly changing community of more or less like-minded souls.
The event includes camping, vegan evening meals, agricultural activities and a land blessing ceremony to ensure a good hay harvest and a fine crop of apples. There is also a fine sauna and hot tub. The camp is a shared journey. We arrive and leave together; there are no ‘weekend only’ tickets or other part time options. Arrive to camp from 3pm on the Friday, we leave the site as we found it by 3pm on the following Wednesday.
Once you have arrived there is nothing to spend money on. But you will need to bring food for breakfast and lunch or be prepared to go off site to buy supplies. There are no shops within walking distance.
Ashlyn Wood is a piece of ancient woodland, enclosing a moated island, in rural Cambridgeshire. The camps are small; no more than sixty-five people will attend, including crew, children and babes in arms. Ashlyn Wood is an electricity-free zone, meaning no mains power or generator. Trees include oak, ash, hazel, elder, alder, hawthorn, blackthorn and mature elms.
Frequently asked questions
There is no map and there are no directions on the website. Where is Ashlyn Wood?
To avoid sightseers we only give out the map and directions after receiving your booking. This information will be given to you nearer the time of the event. If you need to book a rail ticket then the nearest station is Royston.
What are the arrival/departure times?
Arrive any time from 3pm on the day camp starts. You must have left the site by 3pm on the final day.
I am coming alone and for the first time. Am I right to feel apprehensive?
You will find the other campers very friendly. Also, the events are set up in such a way as to promote inclusivity. We camp in circles, each around its own central fire where kettles are boiled and food cooked. We eat communally each evening and prepare the meals together in small working groups. There are also work groups for other tasks which need doing, such as chopping and barrowing wood. You will quickly make some friends.
Are there really no more than sixty-five people on site?
Yes, really. No more than sixty-five, including crew.
What sort of work will my work commitment involve?
You will be able to choose work to suit your ability and inclination and will be part of a team of people. Jobs include, preparing the kitchen for the cooks, helping to prepare the evening meal, making sure the toilets are swept and have toilet paper and in them, preparing performance spaces, chopping and barrowing wood for the sauna and hot tub.
Is there shelter?
Yes, there are covered areas with fires.
Will I need to spend lots of money at the camp?
No. There are no concession stalls, shops or markets. Bring food or enough money to buy food for those meals from shops off-site. There are no shops within walking distance of Ashlyn Wood.
Can I bring my dog?
Dogs, with the exception of guide dogs (by prior arrangement), are not permitted on site.
Will I be able to charge my mobile phone?
There is neither mains power nor a generator on site. If you need to recharge your phone then you can use your car battery. Alternatively, bring a charger pack. These packs can hold multiple charges.
Is drinking water available?
Yes, there is water on tap and it's safe to drink.
Can I bring a camper van/caravan?
Can I camp wherever I like?
We camp in circles of tents/vans each of which has a small open fire at its centre for cooking, boiling kettles and as a focus for sitting and chatting. There are three circles, each home to about twenty to twenty-five people. Choose your circle and pitch up. It's first come, first served, but we try to avoid circles becoming overly large and unwieldy.
I have special dietary needs. Can you accommodate them?
The evening meals are included in the cost of your booking. They are invariably vegan, although occasionally grated cheese, or cream, have been offered as an option in the past. There are always wheat-free alternatives if we have pasta. Beyond that, we will do our best to accommodate any dietary requirements you may have. In the four years of camps we have not found anyone we couldn’t feed. And our food is exceptionally good!
I will be arriving late/I need to leave early. Is that OK?
Please try to arrange your life so that you can be there at the beginning and leave at the end. Think of it as catching an aeroplane. Each camp is a shared journey which we take together. You would hate having to leave early and it would be disruptive for your fellow campers. Going to the cinema is another analogy; if you arrive late you’ll miss the beginning and if you leave early you won’t know what happened in the end. At the very least, make sure you arrive in time for the first full meeting at 10am on Saturday. There will be no admission after that time.
How will I get from the railway station to the site?
Lifts are available, at no extra cost, until 6.45pm on Friday and after the closing meeting on the final day. The closest station is Royston.
Can I have a weekend-only ticket?
No. It’s all or nothing.
Are day tickets available?
Can my friend/relative come and visit me?
No. If you need to rendezvous with friends or relatives then please arrange to do so off-site. Each event is a ‘closed’ camp. You can come and go as you please but no one else may come in.
I’ve never used a compost toilet. Do they smell?
No they don’t. And they are cleaned twice a day, the toilet paper replenished. Use them for defecating only – or at least, go there with that intention. And throw in a handful of sawdust when you’re done before closing the lid. If you just need to pee then men have the whole forest to find a suitable spot. As do women. However, if you would like a little more privacy when you pee then, for women only, there is the Ladies’ Pee Palace – strictly no defecation in the Pee Palace, please.
What is the sauna etiquette?
Bring a towel. Most people will be naked but if you would prefer to wear trunks or a bathing costume then that’s fine. Do whatever you feel comfortable doing.
Are there any rules about smoking?
I’m glad you asked that. Anywhere directly under a tarpaulin or roof of any kind is ‘inside’ and smoking is not allowed. Otherwise, if you smoke please be mindful of those around you, especially around the fire. Check the wind direction and dispose of your butts in a responsible manner as they are not biodegradable.
Will I be kept awake by drunken revellers?
It is very unlikely. Alcohol is allowed on site but there is not much of a drinking culture beyond wine with the meal.
What about drugs?
Please leave your drugs at home. You won’t need them. But seriously, drugs have never been part of the culture of Ashlyn Wood.
What about Coronavirus?
If we're allowed to run the camps we will. If we're not then we'll refund the cost of your ticket. In running the camps we will act in accordance with the medical advice at the time and work with you to keep us all safe and well.