Year 4 and the idyllic setting of Hudnall Park

For the third year in a row, Year 4 travelled through the Hertfordshire countryside to the idyllic setting of Hudnall Park for three days and two nights of outdoor learning and daring challenges. Having loaded one minibus with enough luggage to sink the Titanic, Mrs Rastrick, Ms Bourne and 14 adventurous boys set off in the other minibus and tried, but failed, to ignore the fact that it was definitely raining heavily…

Rain was a constant feature of our residential trip but it didn’t dampen our spirits! Being well-prepared with wellingtons and waterproof coats and trousers meant we could still do all our activities such as our investigation of the River Gade, den-building in the woods (no need for Mrs Rastrick’s watering can test this year!) and orienteering to name but a few. However, it was the zip wire that boys were looking forward to most – or in some cases not – and as we made our way up through the mist of rain covering the hills we finally came upon the place where we were to launch ourselves into space!

When we saw how high the zip wire line was, and how far down the hill it ran, we couldn’t believe it – this was going to be a thrilling ride! Mrs Rastrick was desperate to go first, nearly pushing boys out of her way in her eagerness to demonstrate her fearlessness and aerodynamic grace as she attached the safety harness around her and took off down the hill. Each boy then waited for their own go with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. It was lovely to hear the boys encourage and congratulate each other before and after going on the zip line, and it is in moments like this that the real benefit of a residential trip reveals itself.

Confidence, pride and self-responsibility are qualities that cannot be measured on a scale nor do they develop in children at a linear rate. Instead, they are fostered through experiences, over time. Spending time away from home and the classroom in a setting like Hudnall Park allows children to explore, push and expand their comfort zones. Ask the boys what their greatest achievement of the trip was and most of them would reply ‘the zip line of course!’. However, as parents and teachers, we know that’s only part of the story…