Access to Nature- January 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.


Farnborough Spencer Orienteering at Rufford Park


During Week 1 (10th-13th Jan), we took each group orienteering in Rufford Park. As this was the introductory session, we started off with a variety of teambuilding games to encourage the young people to get to know each other and work well together. Then began the activity proper – we taught them how to read a map before splitting them into teams and sending them on a hunt for orienteering points across the park. We also taught them how to identify various trees and shrubs.


CP Riverside at Pooles Cavern in Buxton


In week 2 (17th – 20th Jan), we took each group on a tour of Poole’s Cavern in Buxton. The guides who showed us around were admirably knowledgeable, telling us about the geology of the cave and much about its fascinating history, as well as answering any question the young people threw their way. The groups learned about flowstone, limestone, stalactites, and stalagmites, understanding how the flow of water over hundreds of thousands of years carved the cave from the rock. This was a first-time experience that resonated with every individual. Rosehill School particularly enjoyed the part of the tour where the guide turned off all the lights, plunging us into absolute darkness.


Mansfield Hostel at Burbage North Peak District Rock Climbing


Week 3 (24th – 27th Jan)  was all about outdoor rock climbing in Burbage North & Pleasley Vale. This was a fantastic opportunity for each individual to put into practice the trust and maturity they’d been developing by becoming responsible for their climbing partner’s safety, including safely belaying them as they scaled trickier sections of the climb. Some group members were hesitant to begin with, but as the session progressed, everyone got involved, learning challenging skills such as tying a re-threaded figure 8, correctly donning their harness, and a variety of climbing techniques. They also learned about the environment they were climbing in. Those who climbed at Burbage North learned about the formation and characteristics of Gritstone, whilst CP Riverside learned about Limestone during their time at Pleasley Vale.

Access to Nature gives young people the opportunity to let the great outdoors speak to and inspire them. The lessons learned, whether in the development of hard or soft skills, can serve as a positive foundation for future growth.

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