Betteshanger Park in Kent offers a wide range of outdoor activities based around encouraging students to get involved, work as a team and build self-confidence.
From archery and fossil hunting to geocaching and an obstacle course, the activities available can be linked to curriculum studies in subjects including PE, Science and Geography, as well as in topics such as sustainable development and energy.
Students will be able to develop a deeper understanding of the different forms of energy and their uses when a new visitor centre opens next year at the site.
It will house the Kent Mining Museum and the Green Energy Centre (as well as a cycle centre, conference facility and café), which will both focus on the concept of energy by telling the stories of the site’s heritage as a colliery, as well as looking at modern forms of energy.
In the meantime though, Betteshanger Park offers the following activities…
Learning archery at Betteshanger Park.
Led by GNAS qualified archery leaders, the archery session teaches students how to hold a bow, the correct body stance and the pull method used in archery. Pupils are taught one on one by a leader and will then take part in archery activities, such as a three arrow balloon shoot to practice and develop their new skill.
Students Key Stage 3 and above can take on the challenge of Betteshanger Park’s 530 metre long obstacle course. The 20 challenges over three sections – Warm Up, Skill and Teamwork, and Warm Down – get progressively more challenging and involve water jumps, totem poles and rope walks.
The obstacle course can be completed individually, but this activity, like many at Betteshanger Park, can be used as an opportunity to develop team work and communications skills amongst students.
A student examining fossils.
Fossil Hunting is a hands-on practical experience, suited to Key Stage 2 students. Said to be one of the most popular activities amongst pupils visiting Betteshanger Park, the Fossil Hunting session is led by a local geologist and involves pupils searching for and selecting rocks likely to contain fossil material.
The Orienteering challenge is a self-led activity, which aims to develops skills of map reading, compass use and distance estimation, as well as provide health and fitness benefits to pupils. This task can be approached as a competition with students, working singly or in pairs, tasked with finding as many control points as possible in a specified time.
A variety of routes are available for different ages and abilities.
Particularly suited to Primary aged students is Den Building. The activity takes place in Betteshanger’s woodland where students are split into small groups to design and build dens and shelters from natural materials, under the supervision of Betteshanger Country Park Rangers.
Taking on a mountain bike trail.
The Cycling session sees Key Stage 3 pupils taken on a bike ride around Betteshanger Park led by British Cycling Level 2 qualified coaches. It begins on the tarmac road track before progressing into the woods, which will challenge students with a mountain bike trail involving twists, turns, lumps, bumps and small hills.
The level of the course is matched to the ability of the group.
Kent Mining Museum
When the Kent Mining Museum opens next year it will share the story of energy in Kent – from coal mining through to sustainable energy.
Interactive displays, photographic records, personal stories and artefacts will tell students of Kent’s mining heritage, how coal was discovered, how it was mined and about the day-to-day lives of the miners who worked at the collieries.
For more information visit www.betteshanger-park.co.uk/learning.