Your Bronze Award

Basic information

From duration, to what is involved, read everything you need to know about doing your DofE.


It will usually take you at least 6 months to complete your Bronze programme.         
– Volunteering section: 3 months
– Physical section: 3 months
– Skills section: 3 months
– Expedition section: 2 days/1 night         
You also have to spend an extra three months on one of the Volunteering, Physical or Skills sections. It is your choice which one and, though you can change your mind later, you should decide which section you want to do for longer at the beginning. Knowing how long you are going to do it for will help you to choose your activity and set your goals for each section.

What happens when I sign up?

DofE will email you a link to your eDofE account. This is where you log your progress through your DofE programme and where your DofE Manager, Miss A. Mullins, checks the suitability of the activity you have selected, and approves your evidence for each section.

Once you have added your home address to your eDofE profile you will be sent a Welcome Pack with lots of helpful information and your personalised DofE Card so you can access discounts and offers on expedition kit, and other items. It can take some time for your pack to arrive so in the meantime you can download the contents here.

Now, you can start choosing what activities you want to do and decide your goals – although you do not have to wait until you get your Welcome Pack before you start planning your programme.

Once you have chosen your Assessors, and Miss A. Mullins has approved your plans, you are ready to get going with your activities.

DofE App

If you are doing your DofE, the official smartphone app is for you.

Participants can use the DofE app to submit activities for approval, record evidence, submit programmes for completion, and more.

Plus, you can use it to sync important dates to your phone calendar and add your personalised DofE Card to your digital wallet, so you can make the most of your exclusive discounts.

Simply go to the App Store or Google Play on your phone, search ‘DofE’, download for free, use your eDofE details to log in — and you are ready to go.


Choosing Assessors

An Assessor checks on your progress and agrees the completion of a section of your programme. They must be independent. Therefore, they cannot be a member of your family.

An Assessor can be anyone who is interested in helping you to achieve, has some knowledge of the activity you are doing, and can be available over the time you are doing it. They will produce, or sign off the relevant Assessor’s report for that section, which is uploaded into eDofE.

From the local football club coach, to a charity shop manager, just about anyone can be an Assessor for the Volunteering, Physical, and Skills sections. Your Form Tutor, or one of your subject teachers can also be an Assessor as long as you submit enough evidence for them to assess what you have done.

If you are struggling to find Assessors, talk to your DofE Manager, Miss A. Mullins.

The Assessor should have knowledge of the activity being undertaken, and be aware of your objectives. Give them the relevant sectional Assessor’s card from your Welcome Pack. The Assessor should also be available at key stages throughout your experience in order to assess your contribution and development.

Once a section is complete, the Assessor will meet with you to discuss your performance, experiences, and achievements.

The Assessor will also decide whether you have met the DofE requirements – that you have demonstrated effort, perseverance, improvement, and made progress towards your section goals. This information, along with comments from the Assessor, should be recorded on the Assessor’s report which can be submitted online.

Key Dates

The deadline for route card submission to Miss A. Mullins is Monday 5 June 2023 and should be done by email. Miss A. Mullins and/or Dr. E. Dando will be available every lunchtime and after-school Monday-Wednesday to support students with this, if required. Please note that this is a group responsibility and students will be asked about their individual contribution by the Assessor.

There will be an in-school session P1 Tuesday 6 June 2023 where there will be a reiteration of key Health and Safety points, the sharing of tips to reduce the chances of getting lost, and equipment for the weekend will be handed out. We are aware that some students are on the Year 9 retreat and there will be a session P4 Friday 9 June 2023 for these students.

The Expedition weekend is Saturday 10 June- Sunday 11 June 2023. Students need to be dropped off from 9am and we ask that parents/carers leave their child by 9.15am so that we can start to set groups off from 9.30am. You are of course welcome to make use of the excellent eateries at Hassop Station, or Peak Village!

If your child uses an asthma inhaler (brown and/or blue) then they must have these with them. They will not be able to participate without them.

If your child carries an EpiPen they must have two with them, and they will not be able to participate without these.

This is a non-negotiable and we have to check every child where this is relevant.

  • Due to the large number of students participating this year it has been necessary to have half the teams starting from Peak Village in Rowsley and walk to Hassop Station near Bakewell. The other half will start at Hassop Station near Bakewell and walk to Peak Village in Rowsley. It is vital that you check your start and end-points before you set off so as to avoid significant delays.
  • You will be provided with an in-school emergency contact and an emergency contact for Miss A. Mullins. We will notify you if anything untoward happens but otherwise we would ask that you do not contact us for an update on your child's progress. As they say, no news is good news!
  • Parents/carers should arrive by 2.30pm on the Sunday to pick up their child. Some groups may be late if they get lost but there are some excellent eateries at both locations!

Kit List

It is highly recommended that you keep the weight of your rucksack as low as possible by packing carefully.  Over 15kg starts to get very heavy and anything near 20kg is too heavy for most people.

The kit list below has been modified from the one produced by the DofE to reflect what we feel is needed. We have many years of experience as DofE leaders, but also as walkers and campers in our own right, and within a wide range of conditions and terrains. You can certainly expand beyond our recommendations but please note that it is the high weight of packs that is the most frequent complaint from young people undertaking their expeditions.

Please note that we are able to make reasonable adjustments for such things as hyper-mobile joints but this needs to be discussed in advance by speaking with Miss A. Mullins.

There is no need to buy expensive kit. As you go through the awards, and the expeditions get more demanding, you may want to get better equipment. For example, a decent waterproof jacket and well-fitted walking boots are essential for Silver and beyond.

Item Needed Notes
Walking boots

DofE recommend over the ankle boots, however, depending on the terrain of your planned route, sturdy trail shoes may also be considered suitable.

We have a few pairs of boots that can be lent out, if needed.

Two pairs of walking socks

Your spare pair of socks can also be worn at night to keep you warm.

Two additional pairs of thin socks might be sensible if you are prone to blisters, but this is optional.

Waterproof jacket

This will be checked for prior to setting off on the expedition, regardless of the weather forecast.

Shower resistant jackets will not be accepted. We have some jackets that can be lent out, if needed. â€‹

A waterproof jacket can be a useful additional layer to keep warm, particularly at the campsite, as they are also wind-proof. 

Waterproof overtrousers

These will be checked for prior to setting off on the expedition, regardless of the weather forecast. 

We have some overtrousers that can be lent out, if needed.

Waterproof trousers can be a useful additional layer to keep warm, particularly at the campsite, as they are also wind-proof. 

Two T-shirts One will be spare incase you get wet during the first day. The spare could then be used as nightwear to keep pack weight down.

Try to avoid cotton t-shirts as they do not provide good temperature regulation, and are not quick-drying, or moisture-wicking. They are also heavy.  A sports t-shirt would be a good alternative.
Two long sleeved tops

Consider including a light weight fleece or a thin insulated jacket rather than two cotton tops (see t-shirts).

One will be spare incase you get wet during the first day. This spare could then be used as nightwear to keep pack weight down.

Even if it is warm during the day, it can get cold at night, even during the summer.

Walking trousers/leggings

Not jeans or tracksuit bottoms as they do not insulate sufficiently once wet, and are slow to dry.

Leggings do not have to be highly technical (and therefore expensive) but we would recommend avoiding ones with a high cotton content (see t-shirts).

Shorts are not to be worn to walk in due to the risk of tick bites and transmission of Lymes disease, and this will be checked for before setting off on the expedition.

Flip flops

If walking boots get wet then it can be useful to have a change of shoes for camp.

Do remember, however, that you are trying to keep your pack weight down.

Sunhat/sunglasses You will be out for 6 hours each day, and often without shade, so think about how to protect yourself.
Warm hat Even during the summer, it can be cold at night, and so this will be checked for prior to setting off on the expedition.
Pair of gloves Even during the summer, it can be cold at night, and so these will be checked for prior to setting off on the expedition.
Rucksack Your rucksack needs to be large enough to fit everything that you need inside of it. If you have kit on the outside of your pack, it can be lost or damaged.

If you have a particularly large pack, resist filling it!

A sturdy rucksack hip belt is recommended to take the weight off your shoulders.
Rucksack liner

You can buy rucksack liners, but bin liners work just as well. A liner will be checked for prior to setting off on the expedition. 

If you have a waterproof rucksack cover we will still require a rucksack liner as water can work its way in around the sides. We can not risk sleeping bags and spare clothing becoming wet as this represents a significant Health and Safety risk.

Sleeping bag

Non-bulky, warm sleeping bags can be expensive. We would recommend that you wear a hat, gloves, and your spare dry clothing at night to keep warm rather than spending lots of money.

We have some sleeping bags that can be lent out, if needed.

Sleeping mat

Much body heat will be lost through the ground and so we would recommend an air-filled mat rather than the yoga style mats. Click here for an example, and remember to use your DofE discount card.

We have some sleeping mats that can be lent out, if needed.

Whistle This can be a useful way to gain attention if there is a first aid emergency, although students are not walking in a remote area.
Torch If students were to get (very) lost a torch may be required. It will also be required at camp. A torch will be checked for prior to setting off on the expedition. It does not have to be a head torch, although this does keep hands free.
Personal first aid kit Staff will be carrying first aid kits but students should have some plasters, a bandage, personal medication, and sun screen. This will be checked prior to setting off on the expedition. Insect repellant might also be advisable.
Water bottle Students must carry at least 1 litre of water. 

This will be checked prior to setting off on the expedition.

Staff will have spare water with them to top up supplies en-route. 
Cutlery/plate/bowl/mug This is where weight can really start to add up so be careful! You could use a spork, or eat your meals and drink a hot drink all from just a mug.
Personal hygiene items There will not be a shower available at the campsite. There are sinks for having a wash and cleaning your teeth.

Think before you pack a towel as this will add weight.

If you have long hair you could plait it rather than bring a hairbrush. 
Watch A watch is advised so that you can keep to your routecard timings.

You must not wear a smartwatch.
Tent School have a supply of 3 man tents that students can borrow.

Students will need to carry their tents and so must leave appropriate space in their packs.
Camping stove School will provide a camping stove which students will have to carry and so they must leave appropriate space in their packs. 

Staff will carry the fuel and provide lighters and matches at the campsite.

Students must not carry lighters or matches as the Peak District is often at high risk for fires. We want to ensure that our students are above reproach should a fire occur in their locale.
Pot wash cloth, washing-up liquid, teatowel You do not each need to bring this. Allocate this responsibility to one member of the team.
Maps/compass These will be provided by the school.
Survival bag This will be provided by the school.
Food Please look under the Expedition Food tab for guidance with this.


Support with Route Cards

When you are writing your route card, use the following 'recipe'.

  1. Type of Path Footpath, Bridleway, Byway, National Trail, Orange Road, Yellow road
  2. Direction N, S, E, W, SE, NW etc.
  3. Distance 300m, 0.5km, 1.2km etc.
  4. Distinguishing features Through woods, past Rectory Farm, uphill, downhill, across path junction, river on left etc.
  5. To a point where either you change direction or the path type changes
  6. Timing You will be walking at about 4-5km an hour, but remember to include plenty of time for navigation checks, breaks, and lunch

For example:

  1. Footpath SW for 400m past mast to cross paths, then bridleway W for 1.5km downhill to junction with orange road.
  2. Byway N 1km past Joe’s farm to junction with road, 200m West on road then bridleway N to Green Woods.
  3. Footpath N, curving NE 1.5km to Manor house, then bridleway E 500m past church

If you cannot remember your map symbols, do a google search, but they will be on the map that we provide for your expedition.



You will need to include 6-figure grid references:



You will need to include whether you are walking up hill or down hill:



Expedition Food

Making a meal together is one of the best team-building activities of the Expedition section. Meal plans should have been done during the Bronze training weekend when students also practised using the cooking stoves.

Do not think of expedition food as dull! This is a great opportunity for you to be creative and show off your skills.

You must cook a hot meal during your DofE expedition to show that you can use a cooking stove effectively in the outdoors. St Mary's insists that Bronze Award students do this on the evening that they are camping. They do not have to have a cooked breakfast on the Sunday morning of their expedition.

We do not allow students to carry fuel or matches due to the high fire risk in the Peak District during the summer, and so lunch or snacks whilst they are walking must not require cooking.

The key principles of expedition food

You should design an expedition menu that thinks about the following:

  • Try to pack as much energy (or calories) into the least weight and volume possible. You may need between 3,000 and 5,000 calories each day. Do not bring peanuts, or foods that contain peanuts, due to students with serious life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). We will notify you if there are other allergens that need to also be considered.
  • Choose foods that are high in sugars, carbohydrates and fats.
  • Take food you like and enjoy and everyone in your team can eat, which are quick and simple to cook and will keep for the duration of your expedition, even in hot weather.
  • Dried, cured, smoked, or vegetarian foods will usually last well.
  • Think about keeping weight and litter down by removing packaging and cooking as a team.
  • Make sure all food is packed and waterproofed so that it will stand up to being squashed in your rucksack, being dropped, or even sat on.

Meal inspiration


It is good practice to start the day with a substantial breakfast.

This can include cereals, muesli, porridge, noodles, or even a full English with tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Please remember though that you will not have a fridge with you so any meat should be carried frozen in your rucksack to slowly defrost. Also remember that you will be setting of very early on the Sunday and so keeping washing-up to a minimum is a good idea!

Top tip:

“Make up your own porridge before you go with oats, nuts, fruit, and muesli, then add milk powder. Once you are on your expedition, simply add hot water to make quick porridge.” Caroline Hague, DofE Supervisor


Lunch is usually eaten while you are on the go, so picnic or ‘packed lunch’ style foods that do not need to be heated or kept chilled are ideal.

Ideas for lunches include sandwiches, pitta bread, or wraps with other high energy foods like flapjacks, cereal bars, nuts (not peanuts), dried fruit, biscuits, sweets, jelly, mint cake, and so on.

Wraps with nutella seem to be a firm favourite of St Mary's students!

Top tip:

“Make up bags with the correct amount of tea or coffee, plus sugar and milk powder for a single drink. Then simply tip the contents into a cup and add hot water – easy!” Andrew Kenyon, DofE Supervisor and Assessor


Most participants choose to cook and eat their substantial daily meal in the evening at camp when you have more time, and this is a requirement of St Mary's.

With practice and planning, even on one stove, you could produce a hot three-course meal in a short amount of time.

Soup, curry, stews, pasta, bangers and smash, or noodle stir fry are all great expedition meals and can be followed up with a hot or cold pudding, such as chocolate cake or crumble and custard.

Top tip:

“Ask for packets of mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, milk, salt etc from a local café. They keep well and make meals taste better. For longer trips a little pot of garlic or chilli powder can spice up basic food. Keep them in a small container to protect them.” Dr Simon Young, DofE Manager

Find out more about food on your expedition here.

What food and cookware should I avoid taking on my expedition?

What? Why?
Glass Glass is heavy to carry and could break in your rucksack
Tinned food Tinned items are bulky and heavy to carry and might also need a tin opener
Food which requires refrigeration e.g. cheese, fresh meat, fresh milk, butter These will go off and some can melt in hot weather although meat might be possible if you carry it frozen so it defrosts during the day
Eggs Eggs are likely to crack in your bag and will go off
Crisps Crisps take up a lot of room as they are in bulky packaging and get crushed easily
Chocolate Chocolates could melt in your bag
Pot noodles Pot noodles take up a lot of room as they are in very bulky packaging which can split easy- they are also not considered as a main meal by DofE
Energy drinks Energy drinks use an excessive amount of fast burning energy sources and are not good for you