Year 4 explore Hudnall Park

Year 4’s residential trip to Hudnall Park challenged the boy’s ability to tolerate, nurture others’ ideas and to work collaboratively. It all took place in a truly beautiful landscape that allowed them to learn outdoors. The boys admired the surroundings and loved being able to explore the green hills at Hudnall Park. Pasha was even heard to exclaim that he ‘wished he could live here forever!’

We began our adventure on Wednesday afternoon with orienteering and a low ropes course. The latter proved to be rather difficult because it required the boys to be patient with each other and progress at the pace of their partner. Each boy had to keep an eye out for their partner and offer them support when needed as they worked their way around the circuit. Fears of falling and loosing balance diminished as the boys gained confidence.

Orienteering at Hudnall Park was a unique experience. The boys were able to walk in a vast open space, wander in the woods and climb hills (some even rolled down them too!) One team spotted a herd of deer in the woods which was a fantastic sight. Both teams managed to gather all the stamps and complete the challenge in exactly 55 minutes. It was such a happy moment when each flag was spotted and a stamp was collected. Working together everybody celebrated each flag found and decided collectively where to head to next in order to find another one. Some even demonstrated superb compass and map reading skills which helped enormously!

Thursday brought new challenges; river dipping, river measuring and problem solving. The boys put their wellies on and braved the chilly wind as we journeyed towards the River Gade for these activities. On the way one group even had the rare pleasure of watching three hares in a field racing around whilst a red kite flew above.

At the river the boys completed different river investigations. They measured the width and the depth of the river. Then they tried to time the river’s flow speed by timing a cork along a 3 metre distance. They found out that if they failed to catch their cork, it would end up in the River Thames floating past Parliament in about six hours’ time. Having rescued the corks they then caught a selection of water animals in nets and tried to identify them with instructor Nicola’s help. Let’s say there was a lot of leg counting during this activity! Catches included crayfish, shrimp, leeches and one stickleback- not enough for lunch so they were released safely back into the river.

After a hearty lunch (of sandwiches) back at Hudnall the boys were faced with three problems which had to be solved by three teams working together. The key skills required were collaboration, cooperation and communication. The first problem called ‘Vortex’ involved working out and remembering a sequence of steps though a pattern and guiding each team member through the pattern. The second challenge was ‘Crocodile Swamp’ where the boys had to cross a long imaginary swamp using only a few pieces of equipment. For this they needed to get everyone safely across without touching the floor. The third challenge, ‘Dinosaur Eggs’, was possibly the most frustrating and involved moving ten eggs across the course using half drainpipes. If the egg was touched by a child or fell on the floor they had to start again. It was harder than it looked. Only one egg was successfully moved by each of the teams. Despite this the boys learnt a great deal about working as a team and dealing with failure.

On Friday the boys spent an enjoyable morning in the woods. The first activity of the day was to build a den which would help a person to survive should they become lost in the woods. The key features required in each shelter were for it to provide protection from the elements, protection

from wild animals and for it to be safe and secure. The boys had to consider its position on the hillside and find what they thought would be the best siting. Working in teams once again the boys gathered logs and branches and began building. All of the teams tried hard and the finished results were inspected and marked.

The final activity of the trip was a game of ‘Bug Hunt Bingo’. This involved looking around the woods to see what creatures could be found in order to cross them off a bingo grid. Spiders, woodlice and millipedes were captured and identified before being released.

Throughout the trip the boys behaved beautifully and instructor Nicola praised their attitudes and efforts. Great team work and problem solving. Well done boys!