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Published: 05 Sep 2017

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Surrey Outdoor Learning & Development

TAZ - The Adventure Zone


See our latest tweets on Twitter: @SOLDoutdoors

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They’re Not Just Fun, Holiday Activity Camps Are Seriously Good for Children

Published: 16 Aug 2017

The benefits of outdoor learning are starting to become more widely known, but did you know that outdoor learning doesn’t just happen at school or through residentials during term time? In fact, it can also come in the form of holiday activity camps in Surrey, as provided by The Adventure Zone (TAZ)!

Indeed, visiting a camp has a number of brilliant benefits for young people...

Read full article: They’re Not Just Fun, Holiday Activity Camps Are Seriously Good for Children

Active Schools Membership (for infant and primary schools) 2017-2018

Published: 02 Aug 2017

Maximise the impact of your PE and sport premium funding by joining Active Surrey’s ‘Active Schools’ membership scheme!

Active Surrey, Babcock 4S, Surrey Outdoor Learning Development (SOLD) and Surrey County Council are committed to supporting schools to broaden their knowledge and build capacity to support the delivery of outstanding and inspirational PE, school sport and physical activity.

There are a wide range of effective approaches to using the PE & Sport Premium funding and this county membership offer aims to simplify the landscape and highlight the local pathways and opportunities available to your school...

Read full article: Active Schools Membership (for infant and primary schools) 2017-2018

“Secret Garden” Unlocks London Pupils’ Full Potential

Published: 08 Jun 2017

A picture of children working on Colette's secret garden as part of their outdoor learning programme in London It can be difficult for children to get enough fresh air and contact with the environment in the capital, which is why the team at SOLD are delighted by any projects that promote outdoor learning in London, such as the famed ‘Secret Garden’ in Battersea.

Meet Colette Morris, headteacher of Christ Church Primary School, Battersea, who has managed to transform not only an abandoned lot, but also the entire atmosphere at her school, with just a little help from gardening and outdoor learning! You may recognise Colette from her fantastic presentation at our recent Learning Beyond the Classroom Conference in April where she talked about her “Secret Garden”, a project that has been so successful and had such an impact that ...

Read full article: “Secret Garden” Unlocks London Pupils’ Full Potential

A Recap of the 2017 Learning Beyond the Classroom Conference

Published: 16 May 2017

Learning beyond the classroom audience Here at SOLD, we are proud to be able to offer a range of outdoor learning courses for teachers who are looking to expand their pupils’ experiences and positively encourage their development. Of course, aside from hands-on courses, we also offer conferences to those working in relevant fields of education, to allow the sharing of ideas and to celebrate the concept of learning outside the classroom. In fact, the end of last month saw a highlight in our annual conference calendar, as the Learning Beyond the Classroom conference returned for 2017. In case you missed it, we’ve gone through a quick recap of the event in the following blog.

Read full article: A Recap of the 2017 Learning Beyond the Classroom Conference

How Forest Schools Can Enrich Your Child

Published: 03 May 2017

Everyone knows that the team here at SOLD (and TAZ!) are big advocates of outdoor learning, so we are thrilled to see awareness growing amongst parents of the different ways that spending time outside can benefit children, particularly in terms of aiding their vital early stages of development. In particular, forest schools seem to be taking the nation by storm – and we know from first-hand experience just how well this form of teaching works for children from nursery age upwards. Indeed, we run weekly “Little Squirrels” forest school sessions for parents and toddlers at our Thames Young Mariners Outdoor Learning Centre, packed with outdoor activities that offer an exciting new alternative to traditional playgroups for toddlers in Richmond.

So, just what are some of the benefits that children can experience after attending a forest school?

Read full article: How Forest Schools Can Enrich Your Child

Volunteering Opportunities

Published: 23 Sep 2016

Are you looking for a volunteering opportunity in your spare time? Do you like to get into the outdoors? Or meet new people while making a positive difference to your local community? 

If you have answered 'yes' to any of the above then how about becoming an estates management volunteer at Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development?

Types of work to be carried out include cutting back and clearing of overgrown areas, small tree clearance, hedge cutting, strimming, wood chipping and wood splitting. 

We offer various dates throughout the year at High Ashurst in Mickleham, Dorking and Henley Fort in Guildford.

For more information or to apply please go to our jobs, volunteering and work experience page.

Read full article: Volunteering Opportunities

Outdoor Learning - the new buzz word?

Published: 22 Jul 2016

So here at Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development we have always been advocates of outdoor learning. From day visits to residential trips, outdoor education has been creating a buzz in the news recently - take a look at the links below to see what we mean.

Happy reading/watching!

Read full article: Outdoor Learning - the new buzz word?

Are Children Getting Enough Outdoor Education in London and the UK?

Published: 11 May 2016

It’s no secret that the team here at Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development all absolutely adore the great outdoors, and are enthusiastic supporters of outdoor education in London and around the UK; we love nothing more than encouraging activity amongst children, and to see them have fun while they learn and grow! With this in mind, we’re always pleased to see other people and institutions taking children’s outdoor learning seriously, like Persil is doing with their recent efforts.

The UK has seen a worrying decline in outdoor activity and ‘hands-on’ play, where children go outside and get dirty by engaging in activities like climbing trees, building dens and hunting for insects. Surveys undertaken by Persil have found that almost a third of children in the UK play outside for less than 30 minutes a day, and twice as much of their time is spent on screens than outside, leading to an increase in inactivity amongst young people, which runs the risk of carrying over into adulthood.

Studies have shown that children who don’t play outside as much as they should (1-3 hours a day are recommended depending on the age bracket) are missing out on essential skill building, personal growth and various other health benefits.

Outdoor play and education can help foster things like problem-solving, teamwork, social and practical ‘hands-on’ skills, as well as contribute to emotional and mental well-being in both children and adults alike. Spending more time outdoors also helps children find an appreciation for nature and can stop bad habits from forming such as inactivity, something which is all too easy to fall into with the abundance of gadgets on offer these days!

With this in mind, Persil have launched their #DirtIsGood campaign which encourages children to go outside and get active, no matter the stains their clothes may suffer as a result! Friday 17th June of this year also marks the Empty Classroom Day, an initiative to encourage schools to teach at least one of their classes outdoors to help their pupils see the benefits of outdoor learning. We think this is a fab idea, and encourage parents up and down the UK to talk to their schools about it to make sure that they - and their children - will be taking part!

If you’re interested in giving children in your care a head start in life and believe that they’d benefit from outdoor education in one of our London or Surrey adventure sites, then SOLD would love to hear from you! With a wide range of sites and activities, we take great pleasure in reacquainting both adults and children with nature, and encouraging them to push themselves and see the results! If you’d like to know more about our activities or facilities, then get in touch today or simply browse our site for more information.

Read full article: Are Children Getting Enough Outdoor Education in London and the UK?

Only first class customer service will do for SOLD!

Published: 03 Feb 2016

SOLD Staff The whole SOLD team have recently graduated from the WorldHost Customer Service training course that has been run at their outdoor education centre, High Ashurst, in Dorking.

Teams from catering, operations, facilities, business support and marketing have successfully completed the course run by WorldHost who are one of the leading companies working hard  to transform customer service standards across the UK.  While the SOLD team already put the customer firmly at the centre of everything they do, the teams have created action plans for each of their areas to improve the organisation's processes and procedures which will benefit their valued customers even further.

Read full article: Only first class customer service will do for SOLD!

Green Achiever Award for all our centres

Published: 23 Dec 2015

At SOLD we pride ourselves on being green and helping the environment where possible. As a result, this year for the Green Achiever Award we have progressed to 5 stars out of 5 for High Ashurst, 4 stars for Thames Young Mariners and remained at 4 stars for Henley Fort.

This is the fifth year that we have produced a self declaration of environmental commitment to the scheme for green businesses where we have identified and comply with all environmental legislation relevant to our business activities. Over the next 12 months we hope to improve on this further.

For more information about Green Achiever please visit their website.

Read full article: Green Achiever Award for all our centres

SOLD are Leatherhead and District Business Award winners

Published: 23 Dec 2015

Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development were nominated and selected as finalists in this year's Leatherhead and District Business Awards in the Sustainable Organisation of the Year category, sponsored by Unilever.

The Awards Ceremony Dinner took place on Monday 30 November and SOLD were announced as the winners in this category!

Sustatinable organisation of the year award

Read full article: SOLD are Leatherhead and District Business Award winners

A Guide to High Quality Outdoor Learning and Residential Experiences

Published: 22 Dec 2015

This guide has been created to help schools and organisations get the most out of their outdoor learning experiences.

With AHOEC, English Outdoor Council, Learning Outside the Classroom and Learning Away combining their knowledge and resources into this helpful document you can challenge your outdoor learning providers in order to get the most out of your outdoor learning experiences.

Including the 10 key outcomes of high quality outdoor learning, the benefits of outdoor learning as well as high quality indicator checklists, this handy little guide combines information to help you help your students.

Please click here to download the full guide (PDF).

Read full article: A Guide to High Quality Outdoor Learning and Residential Experiences

NCS Youth Ambassadors, Only the Young, visit High Ashurst

Published: 20 Aug 2015

Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development welcomed the NCS (National Citizen Service) youth ambassadors 'Only the Young' to their outdoor learning centre High Ashurst in Mickleham Dorking. As youth ambassadors, the group who were recently on X Factor, visit many of the NCS groups as they undertake their residential, team building visit as part of their personal and team learning and development programme over the summer months.

After performing an acoustic set of songs to a group of young NCS participants from Guildford, Betsy, Parisa, Charlie and Mikey chatted with the young people about how they have enjoyed being away from home and undertaking some challenging and fun activities including putting up tents, sleeping under the stars, hiking in the Surrey Hills, team tasks including a catapult build and much more. The young people really engaged with the group and supported the foursome when they undertook their own challenge.

The team at SOLD challenged the four bandmates to one of their high ropes courses where they had to climb 25 feet to a platform before jumping onto a trapeze. They were then challenged to hanging upside down, dangling from a rope before being lowered to the ground again. The band managed a go each before Mikey and Charlie pushed themselves more by having to jump further for the trapeze. Great fun was had by all.

In 2015, SOLD have welcomed 16 separate waves of NCS groups to two of their centres, Henley Fort in Guildford and High Ashurst in Mickleham nr Dorking, since June amounting to over 1000 16 and 17 year olds undertaking Phase 1 of their NCS journey. NCS Co-ordinator Simon Kibble said 'SOLD have been proud to be partners with the NCS/Challenge for the third year running working with a variety of groups from London and the South East.'

To see photographs from this visit please take a look at our Facebook page.

Read full article: NCS Youth Ambassadors, Only the Young, visit High Ashurst

GCSE PE day visits and residentials

Published: 26 Feb 2015

We offer a bespoke service to any school that expresses an interest in GCSE PE activities of an adventurous nature.

We can currently offer climbing and mountain biking (depending on the exam board) and we are looking to develop archery and orienteering. We are also able to offer kayaking, canoeing and sailing for those who want something even more challenging.

Using activities of an adventurous nature may enable certain students to score more highly on their practical assessment than they would otherwise. Students that may benefit from pursuing an activity of this nature may be those who:

  • are lacking confidence
  • do not have a bank of transferable ball skills
  • would appreciate performing in a non-competitive environment

For further information contact Gareth Moss ( or take a look at our Schools and Youth Groups page.

Read full article: GCSE PE day visits and residentials