Are you thinking about doing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme? Whether you’re starting out with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award, or you’re a seasoned explorer looking to crank it up a notch and go for Gold, you’ll need to know the best destinations for getting the most out of your adventure.
We’ve come up with the ideal destinations for your bronze, silver and gold expeditions, packed with natural beauty and stunning woodlands.
The Exmoor National Park is a great place to start your adventure, and is well suited for your DofE bronze expedition. These dramatic and panoramic moors are situated on the North Devon coast, and are a well-trodden area for groups embarking on their introductory expedition.
The whole of Exmoor is privately owned, so make sure you stick to the marked walking routes! This is an ideal location for a bronze expedition, as you can get a good introduction to the challenges the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition offers, without worrying about how good (or bad!) your navigational skills are.
In the Exmoor National Park, there are over 569 hectares of woodland to explore. One outstanding area of woodland is Burridge Woods – a 22 hectare wood located close to the River Barle, near Dulverton in Somerset.
At the top of this spectacular site is Oldberry Castle, an Iron Age hillfort. Discover more about British history while completing your Duke of Edinburgh expedition, and venture along the public footpath that runs around the edge of the woodland. Take a trip down the other paths that provide public access for more stunning views from different perspectives.
Yorkshire Dales & Pennines
The Yorkshire Dales is the perfect place to complete your Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award. A lot of expeditions are based around the Wensleydale area, by the River Ure on the east of the Pennines. In Wensleydale, you’ll find the beautiful Manor Grange Estate, a 100 acre area of woodland which is a great spot for camping. This is a Duke of Edinburgh-approved campsite, with enough space for you to explore as much of the woodland as you like.
The Yorkshire Dales & Pennines area has three long distance walking routes: The Pennine Way, the Coast to Coast Walk and a route covering the whole of the Western Dales. All three routes are well trodden and clearly signposted – so they won’t test your navigational skills too much.
If you choose to venture along one of these parts for any aspect of your expedition, you‘ll be rewarded with idyllic scenery – without the fear that you’re getting lost!
One thing to be aware of in the Dales National park is that you aren’t permitted to camp on the open moorland. A lot of private landowners allow groups to camp on their land, but you would have to arrange this in advance to make sure you grab the best places to stay in the Yorkshire Dales, such as the Manor Grange Estate.
At the start or the end of your DofE expedition, you may wish to stay in one of the many hostels located in the area. You can relax, make a pit-stop while you get your bearings, and reflect on everything you’ve discovered so far.
Grampian & Cairngorm
The Grampian & Cairngorm region is one of the most popular areas in Scotland for a DofE expedition. The rugged mountainous terrain provides more of a challenge than most areas of Britain, but the remote, picturesque landscape makes it a perfect destination for your Gold DofE expedition.
You’ll find the walking routes offer some of the most breath-taking views in the whole of Britain; whether you’re exploring the sea in the north or dramatic mountains in the Cairngorm National Park, the nature of the region gives you the freedom to escape to areas few people have dared to before!
A very popular area in the Cairngorm & Grampian region is the Mar Lodge Estate, situated a few miles west of the village of Braemar. Avid supporters of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the Mar Lodge Estate has grown significantly over the last few years and is keen for its land to remain a popular destination.
Derry Lodge and The Punch Bowl at Quoich are recommended as some of the best places for camping – just make sure you get in touch with the Mar Lodge to book before beginning your adventure.
What to take on your DofE expedition
Unsure about what to bring with you on your Duke of Edinburgh expedition? Why not check out our recommended DofE expedition kit guide to get clued up, and prepare for the adventure ahead.