Outdoor activity centres are continuously inventing new ways to test our nerve and physical limits. Lancashire Outdoor Education is certainly no exception.
The organisation runs four centres - Borwick Hall, Hothersall Lodge, Tower Wood and Whitehough - and each offers something to get the adrenalin flowing. The Sky Pole at Tower Wood, the Pamper Pole at Borwick Hall and the Leap of Faith at Whitehough are all pole-based courses that test the bravado of even the toughest participants.
The Sky Pole and the Pamper Pole allow visitors to experience the thrill of being a trapeze artist without having to take the same risks. Rigged up to a safety system, participants climb what looks like a telegraph pole on to a platform level with the trapeze. They then jump off to catch the trapeze.
Pupils trying out the Leap of Faith have to jump from a platform and grab on to a hanging ball instead of a trapeze, For those who want a slightly less intense time, there's a new high ropes course at the Whitehough for pupils from Year 6 upwards, plus various tree-climbing and abseiling opportunities at all four centres.
Lancashire Outdoor Education opened its first centre in 1937 and now offers activities for students from primary to A-level. Between them the sites provide abseiling, raft building, kayaking, mountaineering, climbing, gorge scrambling, caving, high and low ropes, orienteering and problem solving.
Each centre has its own speciality. Borwick Hall, set in the grounds of an Elizabethan manor house near Carnforth, is the place to go for team-building activities. The secure playing fields and woodland of Hothersall Lodge in the Ribble Valley specialises in academic field studies and cross-curricular courses for key stages 2 and 3. Tower Wood, on the shores of Lake Windermere, is the watersports and mountain centre ,and Whitehough, beneath Pendle Hill, is mountain bike central.
As well as offering an exciting outdoors experience, the centres can provide curriculum enrichment sessions for environmental studies, geography, history, biology and PE at GCSE and A-level.