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Hindleap Warren

First Day of Year 5 and 6 Residential

We kicked off our stay with a lesson in bed-making. Some of us were better than others..... Full marks to Amy for helping out the rest of her room-mates. Don't let any of them tell you they can't make their own bed though, they all got there in the end.
Team building activities varied between the two groups, with a focus in communication, cooperation and concentration. We crossed mine fields, moved barrels and made our way around mazes blindfolded (with help from our partners).

Everyone enjoyed a hearty lunch with soup, a choice of main courses and fruit or yoghurt.
After lunch both groups had a go at the 'High adventure - leap of faith', scaling a tree or pole and leaping off to catch a trapeze. Everyone made it to the top, with several children really pushing themselves to achieve that goal. Routes down varied from a shuffle to aerial acrobatics and quite a few successful attempts at catching the trapeze.
Then it was off to the Witches Tree, a vast and venerable old tree, which we explored using all our senses, and a set of mirrors.
There are extensive grounds here so lots of energy has been used up in energetic play during free time outside. Dinner is at 5:30, followed by a night walk at 7:30 and hot chocolate at 9pm, by which time we hope to have induced at least a little tiredness for bedtime.

Mrs Dawson

Day 2

It's been a bit chillier on the forest today, perfect for high-adrenaline activities.
After a massive four-course breakfast, we headed out for archery and climbing on the purpose built climbing wall. All the children challenged themselves brilliantly - Sam managed to hit another arrow head on, almost splitting it. (I'm thinking that archery, plus her riding skills, sets her up nicely for a career as an elf - the Arwen kind, not the North Pole kind.)
The obstacle course fulfilled it's promise of being thoroughly muddy, with several children (and Miss Walter) overcoming a fear of dark, confined spaces (or her better judgement) to crawl through a series of 'slightly damp' tunnels. Teamwork was much in evidence again, with lots of support and encouragement from classmates. (And Mrs Dawson, who knows better.)
The zip-wire provided the final challenge of the day, with lots of daring-do from all the children, several of whom (Ben M, Thomas, Marcus, Maron and Sam) went backwards on their second turn.
We have a games evening planned for tonight, having swapped swimming to Wednesday for a better time slot. The children are currently looking forward to another fantastic meal.Mrs Dawson

Day 3

A foggy morning greeted us today at Hindleap Warren, but by the time we we halfway through the first activity the sun had burnt it off and we were soaking up the rays.
We spent this morning as one group, relishing our surroundings in the Ashdown Forest. Bushcraft saw some fantastic shelters built (and a welcome surprise visit from Mr Price) and we then went off to track the wildlife. We were lucky enough to see a herd of deer in flight (probably from us) as well as squirrels and evidence of foxes, rabbits and woodpeckers.
This afternoon more team exercises saw us solving problems, getting the whole team across a rope swing and creating a giant ball-run with guttering. The crate stack left everyone dangling, eventually, with Amy and Josh reaching a spectacular 18 crates.
We are looking forward to swimming tonight, after a doubtless delicious dinner, and then Mr Price is due to join us for the whole day tomorrow. Emma Dawson



Day 4

Fantastic sunshine on the forest heralded our best day yet.

We spent all morning on the Forest Adventure, a series of graded challenges from surveying the shy but dangerous 'Drop Bears', rumoured to be living in a dense rhododendron thicket, to Hindleap's own brand of hide and seek. We trekked through the undergrowth and scrambled through rocky streams. Mrs Dawson soon came a cropper, plunging into a pool much deeper than expected and landing on her derrière. The grand finale took place on the mud arena, with a mudlympic challenge. This involved the children and young at heart (Miss Walter) in racing across a muddy swamp, followed by synchronised 'swimming' with both front and backstrokes and culminating in a firm face-plant (for which Leroy definitely wins the honours). A final leap into the Pool of Life cleaned a few wellies slightly.

Long, hot showers and a good lunch later and we were back outside for a map-reading session. This was followed by a team orienteering competition across the full extent if the 300 acre site. The children went out in groups of 5 or 6, unaccompanied, and all came back within the time allowed. Team 1 were home first, having found all but one marker point and answered all the questions. Well done to Stevie, Beth, Ben R, Amy and Elena.

We are looking forward to our talent show this evening and already a few children are feeling sad to leave tomorrow.

Mrs Dawson


Day 5 - Our last day
Our last day at Hindleap saw the group split for two activities: Earthwalks and the Team Challenge. But only once we had stripped our beds, packed our bags and divided up the 'spoils' from the drying room. This took quite some time!
Earthwalks involved a variety of tasks linked to the forest environment. One group created their own 'scents of the forest' by gathering natural materials and adding a small amount of aroma-enhancer. The other created large scale art using found objects - which turned into a huge portrait of the instructor made entirely of forest materials.
The Team Challenge involved all the groups in residence at Hindleap at the time: three schools and 9 groups in total. Following on from our orienteering activity the previous day, we had to first find and then carry out a series of team problem solving activities. There were points for locating the activity, points for successful completion and additional points for the number of words made from the letters collected at each activity. It was all great fun and one of St. Michael's two teams came a very creditable second, only one point behind the winners.
After lunch the other schools left for longer journeys home and we had the run of the place. Ball games, exploration and a massive game of 40-40 saw us through until the first parents began to arrive.
All in all, it had been a week to remember, as the feedback forms the children completed revealed. Definitely a visit we'd like to repeat.
Mrs Dawson









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