Thursday 20 June 2024
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College plans major expansion of woodland adventure zone

A Nottinghamshire specialist college is asking a council to extend a popular outdoor adventure base it has built on its campus.

Portland College, off the A60 in Harlow Wood, Ashfield, opened the fully-accessible Woodland Adventure Zone in 2020.

The purpose-built facilities are set among the trees of Sherwood Forest and include a seven-metre climbing tower, a zipline, bushcraft activities, indoor archery, a gravity trail and woodland walks.

The hub has access for wheelchair users and people with disabilities and the college says it “provides an exciting experience for everyone”.

Now it has applied to Ashfield District Council to expand the facility and bring even more activities to the on-campus site.

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A planning application lodged this month reveals new activities could include a high ropes course and a woodland bike trail.

On the high ropes course, the college said in papers: “[This is] created utilising existing trees.

“Detailed design by specialists [will] assess suitable trees to create course paths between.”

On the woodland bike trail, the college added: “[It will] sit alongside the existing trail, and formed around the trees using the topography and natural levels to lightly ‘carve’ out a suitable track.”

Other facilities could include a screened and protected outdoor archery range, a sensory garden, artificial bouldering and an assault course.

The current facilities also feature a farm area and the college is asking to add extra animal facilities to the site.

Stable buildings could be repurposed and turned into an animal shelter, which the college says will “provide covered education space for petting and farm-related activities”.

And part of the trail would receive a connection to the farm’s existing donkey sanctuary on the farm.

In papers, the college said: “The college … carried out a study for extending the Woodland Adventure Zone given the popularity and requests of visitors and users of the facility.

“In summary, the additions seek to offer both educational and recreational benefits to the college users and visitors.”

It added: “The proposed outdoor facilities are located within a heavily wooded area, and therefore views of the proposal will be limited.

“The proposals have been designed to be in keeping and complement the existing character of the woodland setting and Woodland Adventure Zone of the site.”

Since opening, the popular facility has won several awards for its “innovative design and uniqueness as one of only a handful of accessible facilities of its kind in the UK”, the college adds.

It’s open to Portland learners and residents, schools and groups, public sessions and parties, and team-building days.

Ashfield District Council’s planning department will discuss the plans at a later date and the scheme could be debated by councillors.

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