Archive for Sensory trail

What’s new at Barnstondale for 2017

We’re not about to rest on our laurels here at Barnstondale. We’re always seeking to improve what we offer to our visitors – its why we ask for feedback from all our visiting groups and why each year we seek to upgrade, refurbish and add new features to our site.

We’re also a charity, so many new things at the centre are funded by external donations for which we are incredibly grateful! So, here’s a chance to show you some of the improvements at Barnstondale that you’ll see if you’re visiting us in 2017, as well as an opportunity to say thank you to some of our generous funders who made them happen!

new-archery-rangeOne of our most visible changes this year is to our archery range. Safety, security and comfort is improved with the addition of a new shelter for children taking part in the activity, along with a complete resurfacing and new safety netting. Archery is the same exciting challenge its always been, but now its even more enjoyable.




Anyone for (table) tennis?
Our indoor table tennis table was always popular with children, but who wants to be playing inside on a glorious spring or summer day? What if you could play table tennis outside on a specialist permanent outdoor table? Good, right? We agree – so now we have TWO of them!

outdoor-table-tennis-tableThe outdoor table tennis tables were both provided by fantastically generous donations from our supporters Peel Ports, Community Foundation for Merseyside and Wirral West Community Fund. A huge thank you to both Peel Ports and to all the people of Wirral West who voted for us to received funding in their latest round.




Second abseiling tower
The abseiling tower was an instant hit as soon as we opened it at Barnstondale a few years ago. We’ve now improved it even more for 2017, by giving it a complete refurbishment and adding a second full height abseiling tower alongside the climbing wall! This means more opportunities for our visitors to try out abseiling – with 2 towers it means more goes and less queuing for the children who just want one more go….

Wirral Block refurbishment
Wirral Block has always offered a low cost dormitory accommodation option to groups visiting Barnstondale, but for 2017 its now offering a greatly improved experience following an extensive internal and external refurbishment. Contact us if you want to find out more about what staying in Wirral Block can offer your group.

Still to come in 2017
Our Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) will be getting a full repainting in 2017 – we’re just waiting for the weather conditions to be right before we can begin! We’re very grateful to The Proven Family Trust, The Whinlatter Fund, Rank Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation and The Robert Clutterbuck Charitable Trust for funding this work.

The very successful sensory trail is being expanded to make a complete loop from start to finish. More fun and exploration will soon be on offer!

Soon to be updated are the showers in Pine Cabin, to make them much more accessible. This way if groups of mixed abilities visit the centre then children don’t need to be split up and can experience the whole of Barnstondale with their friends, just as it should be. We have a lot of supporters to thank for making this happen: Bryan Lancaster Trust, Rycroft Childrens Fund, Skipton Building Society, The Boshier-Hinton Foundation, The Bruce Wake Charitable Trust, The Barbara Ward Children’s Foundation, the Baily Thomas Charitable Fund and the Co-op Local Community Fund. A huge thank you to all of them for making the Barnstondale experience even better for children with disabilities and their friends!

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Animals make tracks to Barnstondale

P1000982Work has now begun on the second phase of our sensory trail project. Large animal statues and hand-crafted seats have already been purchased and will complete the experiential element of the trail. The project is estimated to cost around £23,000 once complete and is on-schedule to be opened in April 2015. Whilst fortunate that visitor fees cover our overhead costs, we rely heavily on donations and fundraising to pay for new projects and improvement work. Wirral Lions, Santander, Camelia Trust and Wirral Fund for Children with Special Needs are amongst the grant funders that have helped finance this specific project.

Commented George Jones, Barnstondale centre manager: “Staying in-line with the demands and needs of present day visitors is important to us, so we are always thinking of new ways to evolve and develop our facility. In recent years we have made major improvements to the woodland access ways, purchased our third log cabin and introduced rifle shooting to our list of activities, to name just a few changes.

“Now we are working on our first ever sensory trail, with future plans to introduce elements of this throughout our whole site. Whilst work continues on the landscaping, we’ve been busy purchasing some of the finishing touches. Our hope is that the colourful drawings on the totem pole, giraffe and ostriches will act as a stimulus to heighten engagement and interaction. We’ve also bought seats carved like turtles, hands and sheep and are planning on including mirrors, bongos and rain wheels along the trail too.

“Barnstondale is located within a beautiful rural setting and we wanted to take full advantage of this. We’re creating a space that is designed for everyone to enjoy and is a great way for visitors to connect with the immediate and surrounding environment.”

This is our first ever sensory trail and is designed to be accessible for children of all abilities. The first phase was creating a garden area, which features a sheltered decking, stone path, water feature and huge planters filled with perennial foliage plants, chosen specifically for their aromas and textures. Local tradesmen are now installing the sensory trail, which will include textures, surfaces, musical instruments, balance ramps and much more. Once complete, the trail will provide a relaxing and stimulating outdoor space for everyone to enjoy. The project began in April last year and forms part of our objective to provide a facility that is accessible for all.