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Review: Clarington Woods Airsoft, Clarington, ON

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Old May 31st, 2017, 22:09   #1
Kozure
 
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Thumbs up Review: Clarington Woods Airsoft, Clarington, ON



The Basic Details

Website: http://www.claringtonwoods.com/
Location: 4680 Darlington Clarke Townline, Clarington, ON LIC 3K6, Canada
Admission: $25 tax included for admission with own gear. See below for rental packages.
Hours: 10 AM - 4 PM, Saturdays
Field Rules: http://www.claringtonwoods.com/rules/rules
Field FAQ: http://www.claringtonwoods.com/faq



Getting There

Clarington Woods Airsoft is a 20 minute drive north from from the 401 at Bowmanville, right next to the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. You can take the 404 to 407 most of the way there, or if you prefer to avoid tolls, regional road 57 north from the 401. It took us an hour and ten minutes to get there from our start location near Eglinton and Allen, taking the 401.

There is no visible signage at the turn-off from Concession Road 10 on to the Darlington-Clarke Townline Road. Apparently there was a sign at one point but it was damaged and taken down, according to the admins. Clarington Woods’ website suggests you use GPS coordinates to help pin-point the location.



People who are concerned about their car should be aware that the road into the field is a dirt road and it is slightly rutted at points. Our rental sedan handled it easily, but if you are nervous about driving on logging roads or older, un-maintained country dirt roads in your car, you should look at these photos and decide for yourself. Then again, if you’re that nervous about driving on dirt roads, you might not be the type to be playing outdoor Airsoft.



Parking is next to the field and staging area and has ample space for dozens of vehicles. A quick walk, less than 5m, takes you to the staging area and admin trailer.



First Impressions



We had a brief moment where we passed right by the turn-off to the field and didn’t see it. If you’re looking for a sign pointing at the field, there isn’t currently one there; turn right down Darlington-Clarke Townline Road and don’t look for a sign. As we drove down the picturesque country road, we saw a section of the track that our non-4WD rental sedan would never make it through, but then we realized the road to the field proper turned off before we got to it.

The staging area was spacious and we were warmly greeted by the admins. One of the admins, Scott, recognized me from the Facebook posts I had put up offering a drive and thanked me for offering the carpool, which was really nice.



All of the game control staff were easily identified by bright red Clarington Woods Airsoft shirts. It was a beautiful day and the woods looked gorgeous. We paid our entrance fee, $25 even, and set-up on a plastic table.

There were quite a few players already there when we arrived at 10:00, and many more showed up as we paid our admission, altogether around 30-35 for the day.

My first impression was of a well-run but still casual and friendly-feeling field. There was a distinct “family” atmosphere I got from the staff.


Admission / Rental Equipment / Pro Shop / Facilities

Admission for players with their own equipment is $25 taxes included. A gun rental package is $20 and includes an AEG (appeared to be G&G CMs), a 450 round high capacity magazine and eye protection. Players can also rent a mesh face mask or a tactical vest, $5 per item. A trailer serves as admin HQ and storage for rentals and consumables.

Consumable prices are as follows:

1 kg of 0.25 bbs (4,000 rounds) for $20
No green gas or HPA refill is available on site. I forgot to ask about CO2 cartridges. I don’t recall seeing any.
Water/Pop $1.00

There is a single portable toilet on site, but is no pro shop.
A range of sorts sits next to the staging area past the eye-protection line, along with a chronometer which the game controllers seemed fine with people using as needed.



You can pre-purchase hamburgers or hot dogs for $5 apiece at admission, cooked fresh at lunch on the BBQ manned by the staff.



The staging area has plenty of plastic tables and lots of places to sit in the shade. There’s also a large tent/pavilion that’s also good for getting out of the sun. I noticed on the FB page that they are working on or have completed (?) a heated tent for winter events.

There isn’t a town or store nearby except for the very large Canadian Tire Mosport facility. There is the Enniskillen General Store about 10 minutes away, which I do think deserves special mention, but I’m going to leave that until the end of this review.

Field / Terrain



Field speed limit is 400 fps for standard guns with 0.2g BBs, 450 fps with for bolt action rifles. Full auto was permitted in short, reasonable bursts, as were pyro and sound distraction grenades.

As might be guessed from the field’s name, over 80% of the terrain is light to medium density deciduous woods, and is very hilly. There is the typical southern Ontario brush and light ground cover throughout, so lighter tan colour camouflage schemes stuck out against the verdant green foliage on the day we showed up, May 20th.



The field is large (10+ acres) with multiple large paths connected by smaller trails throughout. The field creators have scattered a number of wooden structures and old vehicles throughout the field, giving them descriptive names like “border post”, “village” “radio tower”, etc.



I was tickled to see a pair of Canadian Forces Iltis jeeps near the entrance and a scattering of Unimog transports in the village. There is a section of open fields in the southwest section of the field, but it’s largely woods. The predominance of forest and woods makes for ideal conditions for woodland and green-dominant camouflage schemes in spring and summer, with the transitional and tans probably only being useful in early spring and fall and the area immediately around the village and some of the bunkers/objectives.



Most of the fighting occurs in forested or high brush areas, with one large objective location being a collection of small structures and vehicles, with two (three?) bunker-type buildings, and a few objective locations being a scattering of cover around a single or grouping of structures.











This is a larger field, more suited to larger numbers of people. It was necessary to restrict play to a few sections of the field to avoid spreading the 35 or so of us playing out too thinly. The organizers noted that 30-35 was a little light for a weekend, with 40-50 or more being more common.

During the four or five longer games I played over the course of the day, I did not reach the Listening Post, Supply Depot or Crossroads locations, so I did not explore the entirety of the field.


Game play

One thing that you may miss on the website FAQ is that teams are split into Tan and Green by default instead of using armbands or coloured duct tape for both sides as some other fields do. This caught Ian and I off-guard as he had elected to wear Multicam for the day, while I was kitted out in ATACS-FG. The organizers made accommodations for this, giving one side tape, and putting us both on the same team.

Our first two games of the day were objective capture variants, with one side needing to reach the opposing side’s objective location and blast the air horn objective hidden in plain sight there. The very first game had a relatively short distance between objectives (Border Crossing and Bunker 1) but the second shifted it to a moderate distance, about two thirds the length of the field (Border Crossing and Radio Tower). With 15-17 players per side, this made for a moderately populated field, but the game stretched out quite a long time. I enjoy longer games, so this wasn’t an issue for me, but players used to the 15 or 20 minute games of some other fields or indoor arenas may object.

Respawns were unlimited, but the respawn locations were set back from the objectives, requiring players to walk away from the defended objective if killed.

Our last two games of the day were attack and defend games, with one team defending the village (“Maple Production Facilities” on the map), and the other trying to attack and hit the airhorn, with five lives for attackers and three lives for defenders.

Players seemed generally experienced and called their hits. Game play and spontaneous teamwork seemed good.


Referees / Administration

The day began with a thorough safety briefing and explanation of field rules and expectations. Game control personnel had their bright red shirts with “STAFF” on one side and the Clarington Airsoft logo on the other, so they could be easily identified.



There were a large number of refs on the field and the size and density of cover/brush does make that necessary. I did not see any safety infractions nor did I notice or hear about problems with enforcement of rules. I got the impression that the game control staff were watching but not overly dictatorial about what was going on, which is my own preference.

Special Side Note: Enninskillen General Store



(this has nothing to do with Airsoft or the field, so skip this part if you’re feeling impatient)

After the game, as I was chatting with the admins, they insisted that I must stop in at the Enniskillen General Store for ice cream after the game. I second their recommendation for future visitors. Just a little south on regional road 57 from regional road 20, there is a turn-off on to the town of Enniskillen. The http://www.enniskillengeneralstore.com/ is home of “baby” sized cones, which is exactly the opposite of what you might expect. For just under four dollars, you get a huge cone filled with something like six scoops of ice cream. This may sound like an exaggeration, but the serving sizes are enormous.


NOTE: This is the "Little Baby" cone, which only has a paltry FOUR SCOOPS of ice cream.

The place was packed.



The ice cream is from Kawartha Dairy, so if you like the idea of excellent quality ice cream at a fraction of the price you’d normally pay in the city, make sure to stop by the Enniskillen General Store to get your ice cream fix.


Possibilities for Improvement

I didn’t see anything that was of great concern to me requiring a big change. It would be great for newcomers to the field to have a sign clearly visible at the turn off, but I understand that if there was a sign there previously that was damaged, the organizers might be reluctant to put up another.

Refills for HPA and green gas might be appreciated by some. As noted above, I didn’t ask whether CO2 was available, so I won’t note that as something which is missing. A wider range of kit commonly used and bought at Airsoft pro shops might also be added, but certainly not important.

On the day that I was there, there was considerable engine noise from the adjacent Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. If you are the type that really enjoys the noise of loud engines being run at really high RPM, this may count as a bonus. I found it a little distracting, though this is entirely my own preference. Obviously there’s nothing the field owners can do about sound coming from a large racing track nearby, but I thought I should mention it as something which may affect your experience of the field. On the plus side, if you time your movement right, the droning of the cars can mask movement sounds quite nicely!

ADDENDUM: Unlike some other airsoft or airsoft/paintball mix fields, there are few locations in Clarington where extended CQB/MOUT-type fighting can occur. The village can fill that role to some extent but there isn't the same "room to room" or house to house feel that you can get at the larger built up complexes of some larger, more extensive fields. Again, this style of fighting is largely a personal preference and many Airsofters can take it or leave it. Since I know I can go to other fields for that style of fighting, it did not bother me to not see it beyond the village here. That said, it might round out or improve the variety of gaming experience on tap at Clarington if a small fortified interior or warren of rooms were to be built at some point in the future.


Overall

Clarington Woods struck me as a field which is very smoothly run for a venue which is only in its third full season. Everything about it felt as though it had been running for some time, which I think is a very good feeling. The weekend I was at the field, it was a truly beautiful day, and there were a few points during lulls in the fighting where I just stopped and admired the forest – it’s just that pretty. Games are longer (time) and larger (distance) than some other outdoor fields in Southern Ontario, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. The terrain is challenging but does offer long range shots in some areas and the built up location called the Village or “Maple Production Facility” is interesting to fight in.



My son commented he preferred more open spaces as a change of pace in the available terrain and if you’re the sort that prefers clear shots over longer distances you may only find that possible from the elevated areas, in the southern field near Foxtrot and Echo, down paths or shooting into or out of the village. I think that’s really a matter of personal preference.

Overall, I quite enjoyed my experience at Clarington and would recommend it without hesitation to novice and experienced Airsofters alike.




TL; DR Version

An established wooded field, with a large playing area and friendly, knowledgeable staff. A little light on amenities and supplies and CQB opportunities, but one of the least expensive fields around and excellent value for money to play on such beautiful Southern Ontario terrain.


.
Christopher "Kozure" Ono

Last edited by Kozure; August 18th, 2017 at 01:23..
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Old May 31st, 2017, 22:34   #2
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Wow! This is the type of review that I really look forward to. Thanks a lot for all the hard work in writing this for the rest of us unlucky bastards that can't make it to all the games being offered! Also, as a student, I really do appreciate you offering rides to games; thank you so much for doing that.

Now I've just got to find the time to get my busy ass out to Clarington and Finch sometime...
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Old May 31st, 2017, 23:32   #3
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Originally Posted by Datawraith View Post
Wow! This is the type of review that I really look forward to. Thanks a lot for all the hard work in writing this for the rest of us unlucky bastards that can't make it to all the games being offered! Also, as a student, I really do appreciate you offering rides to games; thank you so much for doing that.

Now I've just got to find the time to get my busy ass out to Clarington and Finch sometime...
Watch the general forum - I'm now trying to post my carpool offer by Wednesday before the weekend that I travel.
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Old June 1st, 2017, 21:36   #4
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A very good review lots of details. Thanks for doing it . Completely agree Clarington Woods and the guys from SOG do a great job. Our guys have taken in a number of Saturday scrim days, Load of War, Clarington Nights, Maple Storm, Celtic Fury and have always come away with some decent welts and lots of stories, We consider it our home field and drive from Barrie to play there. Completely worth the drive
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Old June 1st, 2017, 23:05   #5
Ronald Chang
 
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Thank you for your very detailed review.

I am very interested in checking out this field. However, other than those big games, there is no information on the number of players for each game day.

As I need to drive a long way, I prefer to play with a reasonable number of players i.e. at least 15 to 20, especially with this size of field.

So I really appreciate if the host could consider posting the number of participants of each game day in advance.
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Old June 1st, 2017, 23:38   #6
Kozure
 
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Originally Posted by Ronald Chang View Post
Thank you for your very detailed review.

I am very interested in checking out this field. However, other than those big games, there is no information on the number of players for each game day.

As I need to drive a long way, I prefer to play with a reasonable number of players i.e. at least 15 to 20, especially with this size of field.

So I really appreciate if the host could consider posting the number of participants of each game day in advance.
For skirmish days, there's no way of knowing. The admins said that 35-50 was common in summer, and 30-35 was low. For organizing games, it would depend on the event.
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Old June 2nd, 2017, 08:32   #7
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Thank you for the kind words. As one of the hosts at Clarington it is always nice to hear that people enjoy what we do there.

We have worked very hard over the last few years and seeing reviews like this make it all worth while.

There are always plans to do more and expand the field to make a better player experience. We are working on getting a new sign for the main road. I know the field can be a little hard to find for the first timers.

As for the numbers at weekly skirmish games. It is impossible to tell. One week we will have 50-70 players and the next we will get 20-30. Unfortunately we can make no guarantees on how many shooters will be there any given weekend.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to write this up and spread a little Clarington love a round ASC. We look forward to the next time you and the young lad roll through.
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Old June 2nd, 2017, 09:12   #8
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@NANA

Are you guys the same hosts from when "Whitby Airsoft" was around?
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Old June 2nd, 2017, 09:20   #9
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@NANA

Are you guys the same hosts from when "Whitby Airsoft" was around?

Two of us. Myself and Al were both a part of the Whitby airsoft staff. We still see most of the old faces from the golden days at Whitby.
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Old June 2nd, 2017, 09:27   #10
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Two of us. Myself and Al were both a part of the Whitby airsoft staff. We still see most of the old faces from the golden days at Whitby.
Yeah, Whitby was amazing.

Seeing those guys get stuck on the way out / in was glorious as well - HAHAHA

I'll be sure to check out Clarington this year.

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Old June 2nd, 2017, 22:05   #11
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For skirmish days, there's no way of knowing. The admins said that 35-50 was common in summer, and 30-35 was low. For organizing games, it would depend on the event.
Not a bad number at all!

It would be perfect if just like other airsoft groups' events on Facebook, which shows the number of "going" to that event. This may not be very accurate, but could still give people some idea if it would "worth" for them to drive there.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old June 3rd, 2017, 10:42   #12
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Perfect review.

I was at Clarington 3 times last year, and the numbers were always good 20+. The tall tree canopy affords lots of shade making hot summer days bearable. The field is surprisingly easy to navigate considering the size, which is probably thanks to the large hills which help to divide the field up. The field does suffer a bit in the early spring when the vegetation hasn't grown in yet; the ability to hide and move without being seen is diminished; but this problem is not unique to this field.

My recommendations would be to make a longer shooting range. I find most outdoor ranges tend to be on the short side. Marked targets at ranges of 150ft, 200ft and 250ft would be helpful. Also, because of the size of the field, I feel it would benefit from a higher density of trails, and probably a few more structures at farther out points. I feel TFS is a good example of trail density, see the image I did below of three fields at the same scale and you can see what I mean.



Oh, and Enniskillen General store is awesome!
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