DFSC

DFSC
Bristol CC Outdoor Education Centre situated in the village of Parkend in The Forest of Dean

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Summer 2017 Update



Since our last post we've welcomed many more groups of young people to the Centre


 We now have a new sign up in the backyard and it is proving popular as a good place to take a photo of the whole group underneath it. The wild flower roof above is at it's best at the moment!



Also looking good is the wild flower meadow roof on the Garden Room across the road.



The garden itself has had some work done including a new BBQ area and 'Altar' fire pit, that are being regularly enjoyed by groups.



The new fire was used at a recent wedding reception held here


 
Behind the wedding party you can just make out a new willow hedge and archway in the photo below








we have added a few new videos to our You Tube Channel like the one above showing a group doing a stream study


We have also added our first video tour of part of the Centre. The one above showing the lounge, visiting staff kitchen and tuck shop. We hope to add further orientation videos over time.
 

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Spring 2017 Update


 We've been very busy over the last few weeks with building work at the Centre. It's all now finished and ready for our residential groups to enjoy.



We have 3 very able caretakers / maintenance workers who can turn their hand to many jobs including building work. We now have two very well appointed showers in an area of the Centre known as the Flat. Pete's 'block-work style' tiling is second to non as users will appreciate in these modern and functional showers rooms. They even have a heated towel rail, a folding seat and a sink to brush your teeth! Mirror also installed since photo.


The other big project completed by our in-house maintenance team is a refurbishment of the visiting staff kitchen off the lounge. It now features a water boiler for making hot chocolate drinks for groups before bedtime along with a dishwasher to put the mugs in afterwards.



Cupboards are well stocked with drinks and biscuits and there are also ample spare cupboards to store personal items in. Notice boards provide easy reference for information about the centre and there are plenty of power sockets to charge up electrical equipment.



In the Winter Blog post we included a cryptic photo of a £100k refurbishment project underway. We can now reveal the completed project. Our ground floor shower room has been completely gutted (new walls, ceiling and floor) and fitted out with toilets & 10 shower and changing cubicles. Photo's do not really do it justice as they can't show it's entirety.


We now have 10 new showers and integral changing cubicles plus two toilets. With two entrance doors and a lockable partition door these can be used by mixed genders and different schools at the same time on appropriate occasions.

Now that the shower room is finished and the cubicles are all up it's difficult to photograph this and appreciate what a dramatic change it makes to our showering facilities.




Meanwhile we have of course been running some excellent outdoor learning courses as usual!
The group above enjoyed following the new Gruffalo Trail at Beechenhurst and getting their augmented reality photos taken with the Gruffalo & friends.


A group of 6th Form students enjoyed a journey of a more adventurous kind down the River Wye from Kerne Bridge to Bibblins, including the famous Symmond Yat rapids, in fairly high water. Just one boat capsized. Unfortunately it was not caught in the video above as we were too busy rescuing them and getting them into dry clothing before getting them back in their boat to finish the trip!

 



 Do you remember "Cracker" from the Winter Update? well Mike's Bengal Eagle Owl is now full grown and also has some companions. We look forward to introducing him to some of our groups with free flying displays in the future. Talking of birds we should also mention that we have bluetits once again nesting in one of our nestboxes with the live camera feed. Presently 8 eggs being sat on.



Tuesday, 21 February 2017

DFSC Winter 2017 Update


As mentioned in the last update we have now had a couple of weddings in the Garden Room and have another two booked in. People are appreciating the benefit of a comfortable building and beautiful outdoor surroundings for this type of celebration. Our work on landscaping and outdoor lighting etc. over the last couple of years (see previous posts) has really enhanced this provision.



Meanwhile inside the Garden Room the warm comfortable environment has recently proved popular for a course of baby massage lessons. We also still host the NTC Parent and Toddler mornings every Monday.


We have also added some further disco lighting including a rotating glitter ball for student discos and evening dances in the Garden Room


The Common Room (Games Room) has recently had the addition of a second new arcade quality air hockey machine. The bowling machine which we've now had for a while but hasn't previously been mentioned is also proving very popular. All are for use free of charge.


Meet "Cracker" a baby Bengal Eagle Owl! His owner, Mike, is one of our caretakers and is also a Falconer. He will be running free Owl Flying Demonstrations in the evenings for our groups after Easter by arrangement.


In the main house we have a lot of building work that is nearing completion. E.g. above a refurb' of our visiting staff kitchenette. We look forward to showing you photos of the finished room which will include Hot water boiler for making Hot Chocolate drinks etc. in the evening + a dishwasher and sink etc.


The photo above is a cryptic view of the present state of a £100K refurbishment project we presently have going on! Our largest capital works for sometime. We look forward to 'unveiling' the finished result in a few weeks time when it is completed.


Meanwhile spring is just around the corner and the spring bulbs are about to bloom. We look forward to giving you a Spring update soon.  


Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Autumn 2016 Update

We had such a busy Summer we unfortunately didn't manage a Summer Update. We weren't just basking in the sun like the slow worm we found one day on the front door step, shown below:



Instead we have been busy with lots of new development projects.


Work on the bridge over the stream in our Centre garden is now complete and much easier to use with a wheelchair

 
The surface under our High Ropes Course used to be mainly gravel. We've put in drainage pipes, levelled it all off and covered it in astro turf as shown in video below:



Again this is much easier to negotiate for our wheelchair using visitors and it keeps ropes and footwear clean


Another big development in the Centre grounds is a new Campfire area with seating. This is already being successfully used but has further development planned including the siting of a new permanent built BBQ; a shed housing a further 2 portable BBQ's and a cargo parachute canopy over the whole fire circle. We also plan to raise the fire place on to an altar style stone base to improve safety and visibility. Watch this space...


Another project that has been started involved putting trellis work below the deck. Ultimately there will be planters on top of the gabions with honeysuckle and ivies growing up the trellis. We also plan to water these with a rainwater harvesting system taken from the deck canopy.

The Garden Room and Garden are looking really good now and encouraged a happy couple to have a wedding reception here back in May. We have also just hosted our second wedding reception in Sept and look forward to showing you some photos of this in the future. So if you fancy having a wedding reception with a difference let us know...! We're not registered as a marriage venue but we make a great place to celebrate afterwards!



Tuesday, 3 May 2016

DFSC Spring 2016 Update


Spring came early to The Dean Field Studies Centre and we had Daffodils in bloom in January. As elsewhere Spring has then lasted a long time!



We made good use of the cold weather to get lots of indoor jobs sorted like painting the Dining Room & the whole of the First Floor accommodation.


We also got some new carpets laid in some of the bedrooms.



The stairs and landings got a full make over with completely new treads and nosings etc.



All the bedrooms on the first floor now have new ceiling tiles to compliment the modern bright flush fitting LED light units.



The Staff Shower on the First Floor was completely refurbished from floor to ceiling.
 
The world class Forest of Dean Bluebells are just coming into their prime now (they should be at their best this weekend if you can make it over to see them) Summer is just around the corner and we're now on to a list of outdoor projects that need doing.

 
First on the list is a new bridge over our stream in the Centre Garden.


Subscribe to our You Tube Channel to see the latest videos we have published. This one is of doing our Zip Wire and a Ropes Course Swing with a wheelchair user.


Thursday, 10 December 2015

DFSC Early Winter Update


Coracle Building & Relay Racing is a new activity we introduced this year, but it has certainly now got too cold for what you will see in the following 2 minute video!:



 
The lawn mowers are now locked away for the Winter and we've got the Christmas decorations up:



We are presently in the process of changing all of the Main Centre lights to LEDs to save energy. We are also installing PIR sensors in many areas so that they switch on and off automatically.



The Garden Room now has some new disco lights for those last evening discos and karaoke/talent shows. Also great for our outside groups booking parties.



At this time of year the garden lights have also been useful when finishing afternoon sessions as it gets dark


Some of them act as feature lighting that can change colour, like the ones illuminating our bamboo




The Roundhouse has also had it's Christmas makeover with fairy lights to brighten it up inside and out




Meanwhile the Common Room now has 2 new table football machines and a new air hockey machine. All 3 are durable arcade quality machines




The Air Hockey is proving particularly popular with students when they have a few spare minutes




We have more purchases planned for the Common Room/Games Room. Watch this space...