The University of Worcester is very proud of its own campus dedicated to Outdoor Education, Lakeside Campus. Located just a short distance out of the city, Lakeside was opened in 2016 and boasts 50 acres of natural space. It is the only university owned, outdoor education and contemporary sports facility, in the UK. How can outdoor activities benefit individuals mentally and physically? Jon Hunt, Outdoor Sports Duty Supervisor, Advanced First Aid Trainer and Assessor and current Outdoor Education MA student and Connor Allen a student in Primary and Outdoor Education BA (Hons) fill us in:

Lakeside Campus is a beautiful and unique environment where individuals and groups can come to take part in Outdoor Adventurous activities for recreational and educational purposes. Whether that be on (or in) one of our beautiful blue lakes, or exploring our woodland, we offer a range of experiences for a range of visitors. So, why take part?

A view over the lake at Lakeside Campus. The sun is setting and some orange flowers are  in close up in the foreground of the picture
Our lake at the Lakeside Campus

In 2007, Milligan and Bingley found a link between green spaces and the improved mental well-being of individuals. In 2013, Richardson et al also discovered a link between green spaces and the development of individuals mentally, socially and physically. In their study of 8157 respondents in New Zealand “the greenest neighbourhoods had the lowest risks of poor mental health.”

In a society increasingly dependent on technology re-connecting with natural environments can be extremely beneficial. At Lakeside, through green-enriched activities such as shelter building, fire lighting and tree painting, participants can find a connection to nature which they may have lacked in a classroom or home environment.

 

A child is holding a cup during a bushcraft activity at Lakeside Campus

The visitors to Lakeside Campus are varied in their nature and objectives. We have commercial customers, schools, colleges, youth groups, social enterprise, charities, sports clubs and of course students from across the university. Many of our outdoor activities can improve trust in others. Ardoin et al, (2017) found that improved trust is one of the main outcomes that adventure activities are based on. For groups to work productively together they must have a level of confidence in other team members.

There is a saying in Sweden, “Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder”, which translates as “There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes”. This is very much a sentiment that we embrace at Lakeside, where the weather is an integral part of the experience. Completing activities in the wind, rain and snow can result in improved resilience. Things like lighting a fire in bushcraft or navigating the lake can encourage adaptability and hone new skills.

Some of the activities we currently facilitate are listed below but we have big plans for the future, such as increasing the space left to natural development, improved indoor teaching space, further collaboration with local organisations and further accreditation with governing bodies.

 

 

 

Activities we currently offer:

  • Paddlesports (canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding)
  • Raft building
  • Archery
  • Open water swimming
  • Ropes course
  • Zip wire
  • Orienteering
  • Bushcraft & Forest School
  • Team challenge
  • Events
  • Training courses in first aid, lifeguarding, powerboating & paddlesport

Many of these activites can help with team builing, increasing confidence and fitness, allowing individuals to learn new skills and creating a relationship with the natural world therefore reducing stress levels.

For more information about Lakeside Campus, outdoor activites and teambuilding please contact us on (01905) 622223, lakeside@worc.ac.uk or visit our webpage. Lakeside Campus is  on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Our Outdoor Education Leadership and Management BSC (Hons) and Primary and Outdoor Education BA (Hons) courses can offer educational opportunities in these areas.