Benefits from an activity challenge experience

Date Posted: 16/06/2015

Child having fun at Treetop Nets in the Lake District.

What can your class gain from a treetop activity challenge? We hear from two sides of the school trip experience; an organiser of residential activity trips for schools and a Primary school teacher.

We spoke to a school trip organiser and a Primary school teacher about their separate experiences of Treetop Trek and Treetop Nets in the Lake District.

Treetop Trek, which is based in the Brockhole Lake District National Park Visitor Centre was opened three years ago. A sister experience Treetop Nets, was opened last year.

Treetop Trek is a series of tree-to-tree challenges which get children swinging, climbing, balancing and flying through the ancient oak woodland canopy at Brockhole, before finishing their adventure with a 250-metre triple zip wire descent to the shores of Windermere lake. 

Treetop Nets features giant trampolines, slides, tunnels and climbing frames swinging up to nine metres off the ground in the tree canopy. 

What’s on offer for school groups?

Treetop Trek offers a Mini Trek and Climb and Zip, both suitable for children aged five and upwards, whilst the Full Trek is suitable for ages seven plus.

Both Treetop experiences offer full or part supervised sessions from an hour up to half a day. The attraction’s team delivers a range of activities designed to promote team work, encourage communication and enhance problem solving skills, whilst working on the individual’s confidence and independence through challenge and adventure.

Alongside this, the Treetop team can also build bespoke packages that can incorporate a range of indoor and outdoor learning activities offered by the Lake District National Park Visitor Centre to further enhance the learning experience.

Why take your class for a treetop activity session?

Kevin Foster from Explore 4 All told us a bit more about his experiences with school groups at Treetop Trek.

‘’I organise and lead outdoor activity residential trips for schools and other groups. As a passionate believer in 'the great outdoors', my aims are: To introduce students to the beauty of the natural environment. This is crucially important, particularly for students living in urban areas of the country.

“To raise aspirations, planting the seeds of what is on offer to them in terms of employment and family recreation time as they grow older.

“To challenge them to push themselves to the limit of their endurance, perseverance and determination and, in a safe environment, to help them conquer their fears. To reintroduce a 'love of learning' beyond the classroom.’’

Kevin added: ‘’Treetop Trek covers all of these aims. Working closely with children, there is no greater experience for staff than seeing children progress from total fear to a sense of unbridled joy in 15 minutes.

Child at Treetop Trek in the Lake District.

“This experience cannot be achieved in the classroom! Plus it is a great leveller in terms of academic ability! At the end of an outdoor education residential visit, when children are asked to rate their experiences, Treetop Trek always comes out as one of the most popular experiences.’’

Sheila Hansen from St Bees Village Primary School told us why they chose the woodland adventure activity each year: ‘’We’ve visited Treetop Trek for three years in a row now with my Year 4 class. It’s always the highlight of our residential trip in Windermere.

“The children feel a great sense of achievement once they have been around the course, especially those who are a little nervous to begin with. They will then jump with wild abandon from the tower and launch themselves down the zip wire with great glee!

“The staff are amazing and you feel very safe well looked after at all times. When we arrive home after our trip and the children disembark from the bus it’s the first thing the children want to tell their parents about.

“I would highly recommend this activity to anyone, as someone who was terrified the first year, nervous the second and then fearless (almost) the third, it's fabulous!’’

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School Travel Organiser's Guide