RootStock is an annual gathering of an ad hoc and constantly changing community of more or less like-minded souls.
The event focuses on bushcraft skills: how to live and survive in harmony with the natural world. It also includes camping, and workshops in various disciplines led by professionals in their fields. Beyond that there are hot showers, compost toilets, a sauna, and plenty of room to wander alone in if that's your preference. The camp is a shared journey. We arrive and leave together; there are no part time options. Arrive to camp from 3pm on Saturday 24th July and we leave the site as we found it by 3pm on the following Saturday.
We camp in circles of approximately 25 people around a central fire pit. This is our family for the week and we cook and eat a shared evening meal around that central fire. We generally take care of our own breakfast and lunch or enter into ad hoc arrangements with others in our circle. There are no shops within walking distance but there are branches of ALDI and Tesco about seven miles away.
Ashlyn Wood is a piece of ancient woodland, enclosing a moated island, in rural Cambridgeshire. The camps are small; no more than one hundred and twenty-five people will attend, including crew. 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
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 train ticket then the nearest station is Royston.
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.
Yes, really. No more than one hundred and twenty-five, including crew. However, this number does not include children under four years old.
You will be able to choose work to suit your ability and inclination and you 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 clean and have toilet paper in them, preparing social spaces, chopping and barrowing wood for the sauna and hot tub.
Yes, there are covered areas with fires.
No. There will be an occasional cafe in the woods. but there will be no concession stalls. There will be a campers' market on Wednesday afternoon at which we can buy, sell or barter with each other. There are no shops within walking distance of Ashlyn Wood.
Dogs, with the exception of guide dogs (by prior arrangement), are not permitted on site.
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. However, you are encouraged to give your phone a rest.
Yes, there is water on tap and it's safe to drink.
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 five circles, each home to about 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.
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 Sunday. There will be no admission after that time.
Lifts are available, at no extra cost, until 6.45pm on Saturday and after the closing meeting on the final day. The closest station is Royston.
No. It’s all or nothing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is very unlikely. Alcohol is allowed on site but there is not much of a drinking culture and there is no bar. No loud noise is allowed after 10pm
Don't forget your prescription drugs, but please leave any other drugs at home. You won’t need them. Drugs have never been part of the culture of Ashlyn Wood.