Case studies

School groups

Ideas from previous school groups

Water Orton, Birmingham

Mon – On outward journey from school visited Ludlow Castle.

Tue – Red Ridge Outdoor Pursuits Centre at Cefn Coch. 60 children split into groups. Groups undertook Kayaking (skill games), Go Karting, Zip wire, Bridge building, Rock climbing on man made wall.

Wed – Activities based at Cefn Lea. One group visited woods, drawing, written responses etc, then around wood looking at woodland feature. The other group did orienteering course set out around the site. Evening, Red Ridge Centre provided archery at Cefn Lea.

Thur – Day at Borth. Morning at the Animalarium. Afternoon rock pooling on shoreline close to Borth.

Fri – Return to school calling in at Acton Scott Working Farm Museum.

Queens Church of England School, Nuneaton

Mon – Shrewsbury history trail en route.

Tue – Centre for Alternative Technology. The centre’s education department offers a range of literature for teachers including a guide and pack for both Key Stage 2 and 3. Workshop exercises can be photocopied.

Wed – Based at Cefn Lea, walked up Glog Hill, pond dipping, sports activities.

Thur – The Mill Pony Trekking Centre. Afternoon nature reserve.

Fri – Steam train, Llanfair to Welshpool, then home.

Old Field Brown School, Cheshire

Tue – All day at Elan Valley, organised by Elan Valley Lodge. Went orienteering – used maps looking for clues. Canoeing using 2/3 seater Canadian canoes. Archery also. Excellent day, guidance and facilities. All children and staff thoroughly enjoyed themselves 10 out of 10 – so say the kids! (and staff).

Wed – a.m. pony trekking at “the Mill” – good day and all children returned safely! Some children were initially sceptical about their suitability/desire to ride but all wore smiles broadly at the end. Really good value for money – checked out many others. Hard to find but eventually signposts led us. This afternoon Borth Animalarium, excellent fun. Fantastic range of creatures to see and really helpful patient staff. Very enjoyable, easy to find and fascinating for adults and children.

Thur – Centre for Alternative Technology.

Jeffries Primary School, Nottinghamshire

Mon – a.m. Lunch in Ironbridge, on the bridge. p.m. – Arrived at Cefn Lea, settle and explore the site, did Diary / work session before tea.

Tue – a.m. Walk to Ancient Burial Ground up hill overlooking Cefn Lea Park. p.m. – Remained on site for Trust and Team building games, and group challenges. In evening Quiz contest.

Wed – a.m. Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth.

Thur – a.m. trip to Red Ridge Activity Centre, Zip-wiring, Karting, Archery, Orienteering etc. p.m. Diary/work session. Evening, Talent show.

A letter from a previous school…

For the last 8 years, High Barn Junior School, Oldham, has visited Cefn Lea park and so might be considered “Old hands” at organising residential visits to the site in Mid Wales. We normally take approximately 40 year 6 children (10 & 11 year olds) from Monday to Friday in early June, using the full-board facilities at Cefn Lea and making use of the local knowledge of the local coach company.

So what makes Cefn Lea so special that we return year after year?

The over riding factor is the safe and relaxing setting – the self contained site has a wide range of facilities which enable the children to “let off steam” without the need for constant supervision.

The facilities include 2 sports halls, a playroom, game rooms, a 70 seat wide screen cinema, tennis courts, football pitch, pitch and putt and adventure playground.

The friendly and obliging staff are always on site and willing to help.

The peaceful unspoilt setting offers a variety of local walks, while its location in Mid Wales allows the opportunity for a wide range of day trips to the borders, hills and mountains and the coast.

This year’s itinerary included full day trips to Aberystwyth for beach studies and a cliff walk, the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth and fully supervised activities at an Outdoor Pursuit Centre near Newtown. (In recent years we have visited a silver and lead mine, a Hydroelectric power station, pony trekking centres, Devil’s Bridge, Llangorse Rope Centre and King Arthur’s Labyrinth). Many schools visit locations further afield as part of their journeys to and from Cefn Lea.

Accommodation is in log chalets which are well supplied for those wishing to self cater, whilst full board accommodation includes packed lunches, enormous breakfasts and tasty evening meals. What makes it all so worthwhile is the positive comments made not only by children during and immediately after the trip, but also by 18 and 19 year olds who still fondly remember their Cefn Lea visit 8 years previously.

Finally, when a residential week is offered to children, we feel it should be financially attainable and we think Cefn Lea offers marvellous value for money. We’ll have to hope we don’t lose our booking now the secret’s out.

Glyn Hogan
High Barns Junior School, Oldham.