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Lots of schools endeavour to provide outdoor activities for their pupils but few can boast their own fully equipped adventure learning centre. Bolton School can, in the shape of Patterdale Hall, which is idyllically situated in an 80 acre estate on the southern shore of Lake Ullswater and comes with its own qualified instructors and domestic staff. Pupils can walk out of the AALA licensed residential centre and straight into their first activities of the day, which might include sailing, kayaking, mountaineering, orienteering, gorge walking, abseiling, canoeing, a ropes course, archery, bushcraft or camping.
Bolton pupils start their visits to the centre from Year 4 onwards and gradually build up the range and intensity of the challenging activities that they undertake. All boys from Years 4 through to Year 12 enjoy annual residential trips to Patterdale Hall and girls visit in Years 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9. Each year, the whole of the Girls’ Division Year 9 age group undertakes their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition in and around the Patterdale estate. The fully catered Hall also serves as a picturesque backdrop for many other Bolton School learning activities, including a Creative Writing workshop, a German study course, an Ogden Physics event and business enterprise learning.
Philip Britton, Headmaster of Bolton School Boys’ Division, explains the School’s ethos to outdoor learning: “This has always been an integral part of a Bolton School education, teaching the boys resilience, perseverance and team-working skills whilst instilling in them a lifelong love of the outdoors. For many students, old and new, these adventures provide some of their most enduring school memories.” Girls’ Division Headmistress, Sue Hincks, agrees: “Patterdale provides a wonderful opportunity for girls from an early age to learn how to manage risk and to conquer their fears whilst developing new skills and their leadership and problem-solving capabilities. It also provides an opportunity to make new friends. Pupils are always guaranteed a warm welcome at the Hall and we are lucky to enjoy such a facility.”
The Hall caters for up to 70 guests and is extensively used by other schools, colleges and universities from across the country, both for adventure learning and intensive study weeks as well as Prefect Training and Student Senior Leadership courses. Patterdale is also used for team-building activities by companies, as a conference venue, for family events and even weddings! Accommodation comprises dormitory style bedrooms with some smaller 4 person rooms. Guests also enjoy use of a games room with pool and table football, a classroom, a dining room, a staff room and television and DVDs. The Hall typically provides three home-cooked meals a day and can provide all outdoor equipment and clothing – it even comes with its own drying room. Also available for hire on the same estate are two holiday letting properties.
Patterdale Hall has been operating commercially for 20 years and Bolton School continues to invest heavily in the centre, having completely refurbished the south wing of the accommodation over the winter.