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

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Tunnels at DFSC

Ian Healey, The Centre Manager, is a keen caver and has been leading groups of young people caving for over 20 years.

His experience tells him that many children really enjoy the tighter more challenging parts of a cave! This is in-spite of the expectations of their teachers! Ian regularly leads groups in Clearwell Caves and a popular an memorable part of the cave for many students is the 'Polo Hole', pictured above.

For a while we have had an old drainage pipe in the centre garden that has been used for problem solving challenges and it becomes a magnet to children to investigate. Above are two 2 year-olds from Forest Tots who have decided to go through it.

 The plans for the new classroom left a small area of land next to the building blank. Yes, it could have just been laid to lawn but we had a much better idea!

"What if we bought a load of pipes and constructed an underground tunnel maze!?" "We better make a plan!"

"Right let's buy some pipes". "We need some people to move them!" "Well, we've got lots of DFSC staff"

"We'll make construction workers out of them yet! Here we go walking down the road with one of the big pipes and the Centre building in the background."

 "I know lets use rainwater harvesting tanks as junctions between the tunnels!" "Yes, and we could start in a shed with 4 different tunnels heading out of it!"

"We'll need somebody with a digger and a dumper truck"

"What about putting one tunnel under the deck and another one sliding down on to the lawn?!"

This project is well under way and should be ready for the first groups to use next term. The construction phase has raised a lot of interest from visiting groups who are now looking forward to using it on their next visit. We think it will make an excellent new activity that combines team work, personal challenge, communication and  problem solving. We'll be setting a variety of challenges which  will include orienteering, mapping and transporting objects. We look forward to telling you more about the Tunnels in the future once they are being used. 

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