Tower Wood 2022

Tower Wood!

Between the 3rd and 7th October 2022, our Year 6 children will be embarking on the adventure of a lifetime… They’ll be spending the week at Tower Wood.

We’ve got lots of different activities lined up and the food promises to be absolutely fantastic as ever!

Whilst we obviously want the children to have fun, we also want them to learn while we are at Tower Wood. We have given the instructors a list of things we would like everyone to develop:

  • To become more independent, taking responsibility for our own organisation and actions.
  • To develop a sense of resilience – keeping going even when things may seem tough or too hard
  • To take ‘safe’ risks when we might not know what will happen
  • To step outside of our comfort zones and challenge ourselves to do new or harder things.

Check out the updates and the photos below.

Monday 3rd October

Well our first day at Tower Wood draws to a close and we have lots of tired children! It is safe to say that everyone has had a fantastic day and thrown themselves into all the activities with great enthusiasm.

After weeks of anticipation, the children finally discovered which friends they were to share a bedroom with and who was to be in their activity groups for the week. Our three instructors for the week, Pete, Stuart and Jack, gave the children a tour of the grounds before we ate lunch outside and had a quick chance to unpack.

Mrs Spacey’s group spent the afternoon on a rafted canoe, which the children had to tether together as a team. After learning the basics of paddling and steering the raft, the children travelled out onto Lake Windemere on a long journey and played lots of water-based games. Once back ashore, the children showed great team-work putting the equipment away and were rewarded with the chance to jump in the lake off the jetty and have a good splash. 

Mr Sharrock and Mr Wylde’s groups both set out separately on lake on the giant group paddleboards. Mr Wylde’s group learnt the basics of paddling while kneeling at first and set out from Tower Wood on a circular journey. They played lots of games, which of course ended up in every child getting very wet! Mr Sharrock’s group towed their paddleboard to the end of the lake at Fell Foot and paddled their board the whole way back. Things were going so well until everyone had a go standing up! The children played lots of games, learnt how to rescue each other when people fell in and of course had plenty of chances to jump off the board. When these two teams returned to Tower Wood, they joined Mrs Spacey’s group in swimming, splashing and jumping off the jetty. 

Once everyone dried off and warmed up it was time for tea, which was homemade sausage roll, mash and beans. There was also a delicious pudding which was lemon cheesecake. The children had clearly worked up an appetite and really impressed with how well they worked together to clear the table! Our evening activity was a very active one called Head-hunters, where the children roamed the woods in pairs finding the very well-hidden character cards.

A few games of hide and seek indoors, before hot chocolate and a cookie while reading out parent messages will end our first evening. A fantastic first day has been had by all and we are all very much looking forward to the rest of our action-packed week.

Tuesday 4th October

If anyone saw the weather forecast for today, they will have known that today was a very, very wet day indeed. Nonetheless, the children woke up after a surprisingly good night’s sleep with lots of energy and the activities carried on regardless! 

Every group went on an adventure morning today to Gummers How, a nearby hill surrounded with woodland that normally provides amazing views all the way down Lake Windermere. Unfortunately for us, there were not many views to be had from the summit today as we walked through the clouds and driving rain. This did not discourage the children however, with school staff and instructors all praising their positive attitude and determination for the duration of the morning where they walked several miles. Children scrambled over rocky, rough terrain, helping each other along the way while keeping a close eye out for the wide variety of colourful mushrooms and the resident, Luing horned cattle. 

After a short drying off period back at Tower Wood, the three groups went their separate ways and participated in different afternoon activities. Mrs Spacey’s group were kitted out with helmets and all had a go at navigating their way around the low-ropes course; a low-level obstacle course with rope bridges, tunnels, monkey bars and balance beams. After this, they harnessed up and had a go at the huge zip line that spans over 30 metres high in the trees. Mr Wylde’s group also harnessed up and spent the afternoon climbing the towering trees within Tower Wood’s grounds. Children worked together to help control the ropes for the climbers and staff were very impressed with the perseverance of the children, especially given the very wet conditions. Mr Sharrock’s group spent the afternoon completing many team challenges and problem solving puzzles. Communication, patience and team-work were the name of the game and the children really benefitted from the creative tasks. We will be taking many of these games and activities back to school to all try together as a class soon. 

After a feast of pasta bolognaise, salad, garlic bread and apple crumble, we have been watching Despicable Me, playing some games indoors and will be spending a long time at supper reading out the many, many parent messages posted. The children have had another amazing day and the fun continues tomorrow as we will be heading to Tilberthwaite and the incredible Cathedral Caverns.

Wednesday 5th October

We were all set for an adventure day, with all groups planning on visiting Hodge Close Quarry and Cathedral
Caverns to escape the horrendous weather that was predicted. But typically, the weather forecast was wrong so plans changed! The high winds that were expected are now due on Thursday, which meant we all grabbed the chance to head out onto the lake and do some water activities, as well as harnessing up and climbing high in the trees. A special mention of course has to go to our birthday girl for today – Faye. In accordance with tradition, we sang happy birthday to Faye and she kindly shared her birthday cake with everyone in the class.

After a continental breakfast to start our busy day, the children re-organised and prepared to get very wet in the morning, both splashing in the water and battling against the periodic rain. Mrs Spacey’s group headed out on the giant paddleboard for a journey down the lake and lots of team games that soon ended in many of the children (and Mrs Spacey) taking a tumble into the water. Mr Sharrock and Mr Wylde’s groups both had to put their teamwork and communication skills to the test as they built rafter canoes they would later voyage down the lake on. The children worked really hard and earned lots of praise for how efficient and supportive of one another they were while building the rafts. There was of course time for a jump in, a swim and a splash once all the groups returned to Tower Wood. As you will see from the photos, this has quickly become a firm favourite part of Tower Wood with the children.

After lunch and a chance to have a warm shower, the children were equipped with helmets and harnesses ready for different high ropes activities. As Mrs Spacey’s group had done the zip wire earlier in the week, they joined Mr Sharrock’s group on the tree climbs. Every child was encouraged to push themselves and venture outside of their comfort zone and we were so proud of their efforts going higher and higher up into the trees. Mr Wylde’s group did the zip wire course during the afternoon, and later joined Mr Sharrock’s group for a quick go on the low ropes adventure course before the end of the afternoon.

A delicious roast chicken dinner and chocolate tart fuelled our evening activity which was a camp fire deep in the woods. Thankfully, we were under lots of shelter and the worst of the rain held off! A few rounds of hide and seek, hot chocolate and reading out parent messages will conclude our wonderful Wednesday at Tower Wood.

Thursday 6th October

Our last full day at Tower Wood has been an off-site adventure day. All groups have travelled by mini bus to Hodge Close Quarry and Cathedral Caverns near Coniston, spending the day exploring the caves, learning more about the history of the area and one group has even been ghyll scrambling!

A full English breakfast started our busy day, before the children packed and prepared the equipment they would need for the day. It has been a remarkable improvement in the speed at which the children get organised as the week has gone on – again showing what an important experience this is for improving the children’s sense of independence and responsibility. 

Mr Wylde and Mr Sharrock’s groups both visited Hodge Close Quarry first, which is a vast hole in the ground that was quarried for slate, which is now partially filled with water. The children explored the many paths and passages around Hodge Close before walking a few miles to Cathedral Caverns. There, the children had their lunch inside a huge cavern, made hot chocolate using a kellie kettle and then explored the many long tunnels that are cut into the mountain. One of these tunnels cuts all the way through the mountain to the other side and twists and turns, meaning it becomes fully pitch black. The children used candles, just as children their age would have hundreds of years ago when they were working in the mines. The tunnels are only around 6 feet tall so it is a good job everyone was wearing helmets – especially the adults! One of the highlights was testing Mr Wylde’s polo trick in the dark – wait until your eyes adjust to the darkness and snap an original polo mint in front of your eyes and you will see a blue flash caused by a chemical reaction. Sure enough, he was right, it really does work!

Mrs Spacey’s group travelled to the nearby Tilberthwaite, where they walked along the footpaths to Cathedral Caverns. After exploring the tunnels, testing their polo mints and circling back to the mini bus, the group changed into their water outfits to go for a ghyll scramble. The children walked and climbed up the mountain river which was in full flow, jumping in pools and working as a team to help each other over obstacles. The children made excellent progress and scaled a large section of the river, having an amazing time!

Our evening meal of burger and chips was a very popular choice and fuelled our games of manhunt in the woods and the inevitable packing of clothes and belongings ahead of returning home tomorrow. We will be raft building tomorrow in teams which is a fantastic opportunity for the children to all come together as a whole class. There is some healthy competition between the raft designs, the raft races and of course there is always time for a good splash and swim in the lake!

It is safe to say that the children are very tired and have a suitcase full of smelly clothes, but they have made memories this week that will last a lifetime!

Friday 7th October

Our last day at Tower Wood started with a lot of packing and organisation. All of our waterproofs, boots and bags needed returning, beds needed to be stripped, clothes needed to be gathered, rooms needed to be tidied and cases needed packing. Somewhere in there, we found time for our final full English breakfast and an amazing morning activity of raft building.

After splitting up into activity groups for the week, the teams final came together on the beach for a final, head to head challenge. Using 5 plastic barrels, 6 wooden beams and a handful of rope strands, the children had to design and build a raft that could support and transport their whole team on the water. The teams needed to use their new found team-work and communication skills to gather resources, plan out their design and work together to bind the materials into a raft suitable to hold their team. With only a small amount of adult  advice on knots, the three teams ended up with similar designs and dragged the rafts down to the lake-side ahead of the impending challenges. The competitive spirit was growing and the children did not want to lose in their final activity!

Once given the all clear, the children pulled on their paddles and tried to work their way across to the safety boat which was positioned 50m away. Mr Sharrock’s group cruised to victory, closely followed by Mrs Spacey’s team. Mr Wylde’s team however went from bad to worse, as one by one the children fell in and the barrels holding their raft up dislodged. Thank goodness for the safety boat, which quickly came to the rescue and pushed the remainder of the raft and team of children back to shore. Meanwhile, Mrs Spacey’s group and Mr Sharrock’s group paddled their way round to the marina, where they had to collect as many tennis balls that had been thrown in the water as possible to be crowned champions. Sportingly, both teams could only manage 4 balls each which meant a draw in the final challenge of the week.

What followed was later described by some as the highlight of the week – the chance to all come together as a class for fun jumping in, splashing, swimming and pushing Mr Sharrock in the lake! As you can see from the pictures, everyone had an amazing time in what was the most fitting and fun way to end the week.

After getting dry, eating lunch and having a debrief with the instructors, the children made their way to the coach and waved goodbye to their home for the week. It is safe to say that Tower Wood 2022 will not be forgotten any time soon!