Residential experiences of a lifetime at Dallowgill

Children across Delta’s 52 academies are experiencing life enhancing residential visits to Delta’s Environmental and Outdoor Education centre, in the heart of Nidderdale.

Originally built in 1640, Dallowgill School was a National Society of the Church of England School. Ownership was officially passed to Delta in June 2019. Extensive refurbishment and extension to the site has created an outdoor education centre which is available to be booked by all Delta schools, supporting enrichment across the curriculum, giving students access to nature and learning important life skills. Teachers can plan weekend and overnight visits so students can learn how to cook basic meals, keep areas clean, share an appreciation for nature and create memorable experiences.

Woodland surrounds the centre, with children able to view resident wildlife on their doorstep. To be immersed in nature is very different to usual school surroundings and provides a peaceful environment to explore. Schools can plan nature walks, make the most of woodland activities such as den building, and gather around a campfire under skies full of stars.

Trevor Holmes, Dallowgill’s Centre Manager has built a partnership with York-based writer and storyteller Miles Salter. Miles has become a regular feature and is booked directly by the visiting schools. Children take their seats around the purpose-built campfire to listen and take part in interactive stories for their evening activity, accompanied by the occasional song on guitar. Miles comments:

“I love the residential aspect of Dallowgill. The campfire and outdoor environment really provide the children with a new experience, and one they may not have enjoyed before”.

Miles delivers a relaxed approach to storytelling and ensures the children are fully always engaged.

“It’s really about encouraging the kids to get involved, so there are props and costumes they use. I love it when the teachers see a talent in a child they may not have spotted before. I believe in holistic education and focusing on the whole child.”

Miles has worked with two hundred children at Dallowgill in the first few months of the centre’s life and continues to be a huge hit with schools.

The centre is welcoming groups from over 50 academies throughout 2022 and is the base for several Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with many children excited to visit again. Dallowgill is the jewel in Delta’s curriculum offer; through exploring and interacting with the local environment we aim to instil a passion for the natural world. In turn this will arm our young people with knowledge and understanding that helps them to make changes to the way they interact with the world and utilise its resources. We are excited for Dallowgill’s future and continuing to enrich the lives of our children.