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March's Second Short Break: Robin Hood, Birthdays and Biking

Updated: Apr 24

Short break number four of the year, saw us head to Thornbridge Outdoors, which is nestled within the sleepy Peak District village of Great Longstone. Being situated on the southern edge of the Peak District, Thronbridge allows us quick access to the Monsal Trail and Bakewell.

Moreover, Thronbridge is the perfect location for on site activity. In January, we visited Thornbridge to access their high and low ropes (read about that short break here) and for this break, we used their biking and archery activity areas.

Though it does provide us fantastic access to the Peak District, we often have our Saturday session on site at Thronbirdge, given it’s large grounds and open spaces. As mentioned above, this was our second trip to Thornbridge this year, with our third and final trip coming at the end of April.

Time To Set Off

As 4:30pm rolled around on the Friday afternoon, it was time to finish packing up the buses, make sure everyone had visited the loo, and then it was time to head off to Thornbridge.

Little did we know on Friday afternoon, that’d we’d be in store for all four of the seasons, over the course of the weekend.

There were heavy winds with hail and rain showers, mixed in with glorious sunshine and clear skies. It was a tell tale sign that spring has arrived. Though spring is great time for foraging (find out how you can pick wild garlic here) there was no time to be fumbling around in the hedge bottoms when we arrived on Friday night. The clocks had yet to go forward, so it was already starting to get dark, once we had pulled up.

It often takes around an hour to get to all of our short break locations from our Top Valley and Mansfield Woodhouse sites, and as a little as 20 minutes from our Chesterfield site. Though in the day service we ensure that our Instructors take the Adventurers no further than an hour away (find out why here), on a short break we’re a little more flexible, as some of the best centres that we use are a little over an hour away.

Arriving at Thornbridge

Once we had unpacked, made up the beds and got changed into something comfy, it was time for tea. As always, tea consisted of the meal that was prepared by a group in the day service, during their session that day.

The Mansfield Woodhouse Adventurers who are heading on the short break, are usually tasked with going to the local supermarket, buying the necessary items, cooking the meal ready for the guys when they get their on Friday evening and planning the meals for the remainder of the short break.

This helps out Adventurers understand what the right things to buy in the shop are (often this involves steering them away from the chocolate and sweets isle) how those items go together to make a meal and how they pay for their shopping. The list is put together by the instructor and short break team, but the Adventurers have to work together to make sure that they get everything on the list.

After the Adventurers had polished off their dinner, it was time for them to start to settle down and get some rest, ready for their day of activity on Saturday.

Saturday: Arching and Biking

As the Adventurers woke up on Saturday morning, it was all stations go to get ready and head out for the day. It wasn’t quite as rushed as when we head out on a caving, climbing or paddle sports trip, as it the activity is based on site. Nevertheless, to make sure all the Adventurers get a chance to try both archery and biking, getting up and at it, is always important on the Saturday. Sundays are the day when we take it a little steadier.

Given that we have 21 Adventurers join us on a short break, we tend to split the group down into 3, to give each Adventurer more time on each activity. Given that there was only 2 activities and 3 groups, it meant that one of the groups was based inside the centre whilst the other 2 arched or cycled.

Whilst inside the centre, groups were either cleaning up after breakfast, readying the lunch or preparing the centre for dinner. All of the groups have an Instructor and Support Worker with them at all times, so there is staff on hand should they need assistance. More often than not, the Adventurers work together to clean pots, wipe down surfaces, prepare food and cook, without too much input from the staff team.

Archery is a great sport for those with additional support needs and it brings out the inner robin hood amongst the Adventurers and staff team, as well as some healthy competition too. With our adaptative bow and arrows, archery is a session that all of our Adventurers can have a go out. It gives our Adventurers real focus and forces them to concentrate for quite a long time. We’ve detailed what we get up to on an archery session here - if you want to find out more.

Though archery is great, to ensure that it remains safe, only one Adventurer at a time can be arching. This means that there is often some standing around. This isn’t the case for the bikes of course. Taking advantage of the 850 meter track that skirts around the perimeter of Thornbridge’s grounds, the Adventurers cycled (using mountain bikes and trikes) to get their blood pumping.

Now 850 meters may not sound like a long way, but given the bumpy terrain and after a good couple of laps, the Adventurers were feeling pretty worn out!

As the day started to draw to a close and the weather changed its mind for the umpteen time, the Adventurers headed indoors to warm up, prepare for dinner, and eagerly await the evening's fun.

Birthdays, Cake and Discos

On the Saturday evening, we had a very special celebration, as an Adventurer had recently had their birthday. So there was cake and a disco that all the Adventurers got up and joined in with.

After filling themselves with cake and boogying, it was time for the Adventurers to head to bed, to rest after their busy day.

 Two individuals are working in a commercial kitchen; one is wiping dishes while the other is drying a cloth.
Time to clean up

Slow Sundays

Sunday’s on short break are always much slower than a Saturday. Given the activity intense Saturday, most of the Adventurers are fairly sleepy come Sunday morning and in need of a slightly slower paced day.

Once all the Adventurers had made their way downstairs, into the common room at Thornbridge, it was time to starting putting on the big Sunday breakfast.

A full English breakfast is put together by the staff members on the trip and the Adventurers are then on hand, to help with setting the tables and helping staff memebers serve the food.

Once the late breakfast was finished, it’s time to clean up (washing pots, wiping down surfaces and sweeping floors) and start packing the buses, ready to leave Thornbridge just after lunchtime.

Pit Stops

However, the short break wasn’t finished there, as on the Sunday afternoon, on the way back to our centres, each group stopped at a different café to enjoy a sweet treat and warm drink.

After all the cake eating, hot chocolate drinking and chatting, its finally time to head back to the centre.

Arriving back at the respective centres, around 4/4:30pm the Adventurers were pretty tired and ready to return home, for a good nights sleep and to tell their parents about the Adventurous weekend they’d just had.

We always love staying at Thornbridge and we are thankful for their hospitality each time we go.

Summer Short Breaks Are Round the Corner

On our next short break, we will be heading back to Thornbridge, for another weekend of high and low ropes. That will be the final time we’re at Thornbridge this year, as we start heading into the summer months, and we visit Champion house, St Michelas and The Foundry, much more frequently.

Our summer short breaks see us head climbing outdoors, paddling, scrambling and hill walking.

Want to Join The Adventure?

We have a very limited number of spaces left for this years short breaks, you can get in touch with to find out which.

If you want to be the first to know about the release of our short breaks for 2025, please click here.

See you out there!


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