This week Key Stage 4 and 5 students attended a residential trip at the High Ashurst camp. The camp is a professional facility run by the Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development group (SOLD). It is set in 56 acres of woodland on Box Hill, near Dorking, in the tranquil Surrey Hills ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. The idea of the camp is to focus on developing the personal, social, physical and emotional health outcomes of the students through the many adventurous activities on offer.
The Link School took 15 students along for the week. Some had been on our Key Stage 3 camp in Frylands Woods last summer term. Some had been on scout camps and cadet camps. Some had never been on camp before. We were delighted to be taking such a mix of students along with us. Over the five days the students took part in low ropes, high ropes, climbing, woodland skills, archery, mountain biking, fire lighting, orienteering and team challenges. Their instructors were all qualified outdoor teachers who knew how to get the most out of the students.
Some of the highlights included students afraid of heights making the “death jump” (leaping off a 6m high pole to hit a suspended ball before freefalling back to ground), nervous bike riders discovering
they could control their bikes off road, seeing students struggling and then succeeding to get to the top of a 12m climbing tower as well as watching the students mingle happily together during their down
time, outside in the surprisingly warm afternoon sun.
We were also lucky enough to have two campfire evenings during the week. The students collected wood, prepared the bonfire and lit it themselves using flint stones. Once the fire was roaring they enjoyed
marshmallows, sing-a-longs (dubious quality) and campfire horror stories (again, dubious quality).
The energy for all these activities was provided by the High Ashurst canteen staff who served up unlimited breakfasts and dinners in the canteen. It was great to see our students eating well and trying a
range of new foods. Accommodation was in a single bungalow cabin with six shared rooms. Students were four to a room with their own en-suite bathrooms.
To truly gauge the success of the trip you’d have to ask the students themselves what they thought of it. Here are some of the quotes from those who took part:
“I felt like Superman flying through the air.”
“We could make as much hot chocolate as wanted.”
“We roasted marshmallows and danced by the campfire.”
“I got to the top and was scared I was so high up.”
“The bikes were awesome.”
“I hit the target on my second go.” (referring to the archery!)
“The food was so good I had seconds every time.”
“I got to play with kids I don’t normally play with.”