Access to Nature- February 2023 Activities

During January and February, young people from CP Riverside, Rosehill School, Farnborough Spencer Academy, and the YMCA hostel in Mansfield have been throwing themselves into our Access to Nature Programme.

We took each group on the same trips and activities but on different days – CP Riverside on Tuesdays, YMCA hostel on Wednesdays, Rosehill School on Thursdays, and Farnborough Spencer Academy on Fridays.


CP Riverside at Clumber Park

After the positive experiences and lessons of the first three weeks, the Access to Nature Programme took young people from CP Riverside, Rosehill School, Farnborough Spencer Academy, and the YMCA hostel in Mansfield to Clumber Park, where they learned about conservation.

After meeting with various teams at the park, the groups helped clean the chapel, climbing the scaffolding to dust hard-to-reach spaces and corners. The young people from YMCA’s hostel in Mansfield were given access to parts of the chapel not normally open to the public, where they learned about the behind-the-scenes maintenance of such a building. CP Riverside helped park staff prepare a trail hunt called “50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾.”, for which they hauled decorative logs into position while staff chatted to them about the grounds. They also visited a hide, where the students quietly watched the rich and vibrant birdlife in the park.

CP Riverside at Sherwood Pines

Week 5 (7th – 10th Feb) was one of the highlights of the programme – weaselling at Higger Tor and mountain biking at Sherwood Pines. CP Riverside went mountain biking, with each group member taking responsibility to lead the rest through various checkpoints along the route. They worked on comprehension and communication skills, listening carefully to directions from the Sherwood Pines staff and relaying the relevant information to the rest of the group. Meanwhile, the others rose to the challenge of trusting they were being led correctly by their peers.

Every other group went weaselling in the heart of the Peak District, which involves squeezing through tight spaces in the rock. Each individual developed soft skills such as positive communication, teamwork, and leadership, as well as learning about the surrounding gritstone. When asked how old the gritstone was, the consensus was in the thousands of years, and they were all stunned to discover it had been around for approximately 360 million years. Putting this number into perspective fascinated the groups and really got them thinking.

Giving young people access to nature has been a positive building block in their development. Soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and leadership, can be built upon in the coming years, as they continue to belong, contribute, and thrive.

Access to Nature gives young people the opportunity to let the great outdoors speak to and inspire them.

If you feel this programme would benefit the young people in your school or group, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing