Bristol CC Outdoor Education Centre situated in the village of Parkend in The Forest of Dean

Thursday 28 March 2024


Well, it's been a busy Winter! We have had some major work done already this year.

One project we are particularly excited to announce is the total refurbishment of our second floor bathrooms. This also incorporated a new en-suite bathroom to Staff Rm 21, featuring large over head shower, heated mirror and towel rail and waterfall basin tap etc. We do try to look after our visiting adult leaders!

We have also bought some very nice new oak bedroom furniture for visiting staff in Rms 21 & 31.

We have also been busy in the kitchen. We loved our new cooker so much that we have bought a second one to go with it! This now makes cooking our famous roast dinners even easier in these special digitally controlled combi ovens where heat and humidity etc. are all programmable. We regularly cater for up to 86 people at a time. 

The biggest project of all has been the renewal of our heating system as part of a decarbonisation project. Our old oil boiler has been replaced by a new wood pellet boiler that we source local wood pellet for. It is digitally controlled on an app so can easily having heating times adjusted remotely if needed.

In terms of course programmes we have been busy with schools again this year and giving them a great outdoor learning course whatever the weather. This week we had two wheelchair users and were able to do a big Swing on our High Ropes Course and Zip Wire with them as part of their activities.

Since our last blog post we have once again been awarded the high level 'Gold Standard' accreditation along with the widely recognised LOTC Quality Badge.

Monday 2 October 2023


 We had a busy Spring & Summer since our last Blog Update with lots more developments and successful Outdoor Learning Courses run at Deanfield

The big bathroom refurbishment on the 3rd floor has been well received by residential groups and in particular by the visiting staff members occupying Rm 31 who now have a lovely ensuite bathroom featuring large shower enclosure, heated mirror and towel rail and waterfall tap!
Presently we are busy building a new retaining wall alongside part of our stream. This is to protect the Low Ropes Course from possible flooding in the future, with climate change in mind.

Whilst working on the wall we decided it might be nice to incorporate a Well and a Pump! These are to get water from the stream for use on our nearby Low Ropes Course. We thought pumping water or drawing it from a well is not things that todays children are likely to have experienced. Once completed we will report it on this Blog.

We also have a new Circus Skills Workshop session that we can offer schools. This is undertaken in the Garden Room and facilitated by a film on the organisation and coaching of the session. See the following link: 

Tuesday 31 January 2023


 This is the time of year when we particularly work hard on the maintenance and housekeeping side of things

We have a big bathroom refurbishment project going on in the third floor of the house. Three new toilets, two showers and an ensuite bathroom for teachers and other guests. We're very much looking forward to showing this to guests on completion.

We have four new bird nesting boxes up in the back court yard. All fitted with cameras. The second one along is meant to look like that! - it has a side facing camera for a different perspective. Hopefully the local sparrows will make good use of them in the Spring and we will be able to share some photos of chicks.

The Games Room now has 'funky' ceiling tiles. These are special acoustic ones designed to absorb the excited noise of children having a great time!

We've just had a new cooker installed. It's a Rationalle! These are the ones used in all the top restaurants by Michelin Star chefs to cook for celebs, so it should be ok! 

Friday 21 October 2022


Autumn is here and the Virginia Creepers on the Garden Rm and Main Centre Building are showing their wonderful colours

 Our big news of the season was celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Centre on 9th September 2022.

We had children from several school attending and after a buffet lunch showcased a variety of activities that we do at the Centre. The following video features the Centre Manager's speech and many images from the day and from over the years: Deanfield 50th Anniversary Celebration Day, 09/09/22 - YouTube

A commemorative standing stone and new activity were unveiled by Richard Hanks, the Director of Education & Skills at Bristol CC 

The sign on the other side of the standing stone lets people know where the Garden Room is!

We have also been getting on with the usual maintenance tasks such as painting the fire staircase.

And of course, we keep doing what we are here to do and run outdoor learning courses for young people. Below we had a large group of Yr 7's arrive for a day visit focussing on getting to know one another a lot better through challenges and teamwork. These Yr 7 induction days are really worthwhile when the students first start their secondary education.

We are now fully booked with residential courses until Christmas

Monday 18 July 2022

Summer 2022 Update


We've now hosted a few wedding receptions at Deanfield.
For the latest one the wedding couple chose to have a ceremony around our campfire circle area. Instead of a fire they had a planted flower display created by a Chelsea Flower Show gardener.

They left the flowers which are now planted by the end of our zipwire

We have landscaped the end of the zipwire to now be level with a padded landing mat underneath the astro-turf for increased safety

Our roundhouse has had a little make-over with new cedar soffit boards

Last year in one of the storms we had record high levels of water in the local river that flows through the village and past our grounds. Our sluice gate was breached and water poured over the top and flooded the centre grounds.

We have now installed a new sluice gate and also increased the height by a course of blocks

No worries out flooding this week and we are in a drought. With temperature forecast for 34 degrees C today we have put up a gazebo on the archery shooting line to keep students shaded and have also got a garden hose on mist for them to go under to cool down

In the house we have done a complete refurbishment of the ensuite for staff room No. 15 - complete new bathroom suite and tiling 

We have a new activity which is due to be unveiled at our 50th Anniversary Celebration on the 9th Sept.
It's presently under wraps and just teased below!...

Tuesday 30 November 2021

Autumn 2021 Update

It's been great having groups back at the Centre. In fact the Summer and Autumn this year have been one of our busiest ever. Schools had certainly missed enjoying their residential courses over the first period of the pandemic and were very keen to get back to them. The students certainly made the most of the opportunity to be outside in nature with their friends rather than sat at a desk with an online lesson.

A new activity session at Deanfield is our Low Ropes Course. This has been cleverly designed to maximise teamwork. As well as students trying out the individual rope challenges they also have to work collectively as a team to get around the course helping one another as well as transporting 2 buckets of water. They then use the water to power a bucket, tube and rope system to raise a sign out of a box. The video above is a briefing film that the students watch beforehand and it gives a good overview of what the session involves.

Meanwhile we continue to feed our students well! In fact with five back to back 5 star food hygiene awards our lovely cooks have now been awarded Elite status!
They are cooking the first of a series of Christmas dinners tonight in our 3 week run up to Christmas with our residential groups.  

Wednesday 10 February 2021


We have a new Logo for the Centre to add to our badges of accreditations etc. when providing publicity etc. See top left above. It reflects the excitement and achievement of young people and the fact that we are based in a forest.
Above is our latest You Tube film with Ian Healey, the Centre Manager, explaining about the courses we are presently offering during the pandemic. Whilst schools are in operation we can deliver day visits at the Centre and in schools themselves.
Despite cold weather as this is written, the first signs of Spring around the corner are already with us and the garden already has some flowers. Over the Autumn we have planted 90m of hedging + some new fruit trees and bushes - cherry, apple, blueberry and Tayberry. 

We have also been upgrading many of our activities including the ever popular 'Island Crossing' team challenge that we have now renamed 'Crocodile Swamp'
We have plenty more exciting new developments to share with you in the Spring, including news about our new Low Ropes Course presently in development.