Hertfordshire School Camp, Cuffley

Jennifer Ayto

The children off to a week at Cuffley camp (link to photograph here) may had a booklet introducing them to their week under canvas.  The introductory note from the Camp Warden promised that this was going to be great fun!

Welcome to Camp

Welcome to Camp


The first task was to fill a sack and a pillow case with straw in order to make up the bed.  The booklet described how the bed was to be made and how the bedding was to be stored during the day.  Good campers, it was noted , “always keep themselves, their tents and equipment clean, neat and tidy”.  The incentive to keep clean may have been balanced by the fact that the showers were cold.

How to make the bed

How to make the bed

















The daily timetable included educational activities and also some camp village duties.

Map reading for boys and cooking for girls!

Map reading for boys and cooking for girls!


There was a rota for collecting wood and water, preparing vegetables and keeping the area tidy.  One of the least popular tasks was undertaken by the “jobbers”.  This involved collecting a scrubbing brush and a bucket with disinfectant and cleaning the camp village latrine.  (One the tents in Brackendene village, with the latrine in the background, below).

Brackendene tent at Cuffley camp









cuffely camp brackendene tea break 1966







Meals were taken in the dining shelter at the camp headquarters except for Sunday and Tuesday when the villages prepared their own supper and on Thursday when the village prepared its midday dinner.  Dinner always included potatoes with each village peeling a bucket a day.  The morning milk (one third of a pint), afternoon tea and bedtime cocoa were also taken in the village.  A reward for one member of each village was winning the best camper badge.

Badge awarded to best camper

Badge awarded to best camper


This page was added on 28/03/2017.

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  • Our year at Greenfields school visited Cuffley for about a week in 1971 or so. Our camp was called Nether Wychwood. Our wood-collecting barrow went missing in about day 2 and our teacher and Headmaster, Mr Keough, quickly retorted “We’ll now be known as Never Fetchwood. I thought this was genius. 😂

    By Clifford Edwards (23/09/2023)
  • I remember school camp @ Cuffley in around 1960. I seem to remember we stayed @ Silver Street. At the time I was studying at Micklem Junior School at Hemel Hempstead. We filled our sleeping sacks (paillasse) with straw & slept in large tents! I remember cooking as well as a trip to the shop in Newgate Street to buy sweets & chocolates. We had many educational trips in the Great North Wood such as identifying North from the Green Moss on Silver Birch Trees! I also remember getting lost on an adventure trip and navigating back using the “Great North Trail” with a compass but checking out the Tree Moss as trained! Altogether a brilliant educational experience from our school teachers – Mr Bell & Mr Hanson!

    By David Probert (03/04/2021)
  • I, Dave Duckett went to Cuffley Camp School in 1957 when I was in Cowley Hill School.I remember they let you have seconds at meal time.Straw in pillows.I like the woods,birds and animals.First time I saw a Jay,thought it was colorful for a British bird.In four months I will be 75 and my wife and I have lived live in the Philippines since 2006..

    By David James Duckett (03/12/2020)
  • I went to the camp in 1959 staying in Silver Street and again in 1960 staying in Overbrook. One of the ‘villages’ was self catering and the other was partially self catering. On both occasions I had a wonderful time. I really hope it continues.

    By Kevin McMahon (06/11/2018)
  • What great memories, went several times with Ickleford school, fondly recall whitewashing the saucepans on day one, cleaning off soot on last day, loved time round the campfire

    By Pat Reynolds (15/07/2017)
  • I too remember happy days at this camp in the early 1960s. I was at Roebuck School in Stevenage and shared a tent in Nether Wychwood with Geoff Kingsland, Robert Hayter and Peter Startup. Still have the pic to prove it. Happy and carefree days. I am now retired and live in Cape Town.

    By Andrew Moth (19/05/2017)