Group trips at Skern

A fun and supportive environment for learning are just some of the qualities that make our activity programmes unforgettable

Skern Lodge provides challenging and fun activity programmes for groups, regardless of age, ability or experience. We have a great selection of different activities for you to choose from and each activity is delivered by our caring and experienced team. We take great pride in our ability to consistently offer guests exciting and new experiences which create a real sense of achievement.

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We create bespoke residential experiences

Groups have the option to stay for just one night, a weekend or a full week.  Alternitively if you are a local group or planning a trip to North Devon, we can arrange a day trip experience to suit your group's needs.

All our activities are suitable for beginners and we can ensure that your activity programme can allow for all different fitness levels, ages and abilities.  There will be clear explanations and encouragement to do the activities, but each guest makes the final decision on how much they participate. For us, it is of the utmost importance for our guests to feel comfortable, safe and enjoy their stay with us.

Sports Tours

For sports tours we are in a great location, with several football and rugby clubs within one hour of our site here on the North Devon coast. Our flexible approach and great customer care makes us an ideal venue, we can offer adventurous, challenging team building activities as well as comfortable accommodation and healthy, tasty food.

There are not many venues where both dads and lads, or mums and daughters could feel that their needs are ideally met. We have meeting rooms and social lounges, an onsite bar, and safe and secure areas where children can play inside and out.

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Activities for groups


Either offered as part of a climbing and abseiling session on the Skern Lodge tower or as an arranged day on the North Devon coast. Abseiling is the controlled descent down a vertical or steep surface using a rope.


Nock... Draw... Loose! ​ Hit the target, measure your progress and finish with some fun archery based games and competitions. ​ Archery teaches concentration, coordination and self-discipline.

Assault Course
Assault Course

Make your way through a series of connecting obstacles including the wall, rope bridges, balance beams and a zip wire.

Body Boarding
Body Boarding

Body boarding is great fun and quick to learn too. It's a bit like surfing but on smaller boards, but unlike surfing you don't stand up, instead you lie on the board and catch the next big wave back to shore.


Climbing is an exhilarating sport that can appeal to all levels of ability. On site we have two climbing walls. We have a low level traversing wall to practise climbing skills and a full height climbing tower with two walls to stretch and challenge.

Coastal Traversing
Coastal Traversing

Coastal traversing involves climbing and scrambling around the sea cliffs. Traverse along, over, under, around and through the rocky obstacles. Try and stay dry as you find a way to dodge the rock pools. You may even come across the odd piece of shipwreck.

Hartland Day
Hartland Day

Spend the whole day on the beautiful North Devon coastline. Explore, walk and scramble over the rugged natural features. This is an opportunity to spend time walking and coastal traversing in this amazing location. Subject to tides and conditions.

High Ropes
High Ropes

Our high ropes course stands 12 metres high. The course can be used for a variety of challenges - High beams, multi-vines, scramble net and trapeze to name a few!


Enjoy a trip along the River Torridge, our sheltered estuary. For most sessions we use Sit-on-tops, which allow for two people and as the name suggests you sit on top. But if you would rather like a closed cockpit let us know.


Take the wheel under the guidance of our qualified instructor and experience racing across the seas in our RIB Powerboat.


With one of the ideal safe surf beaches on our doorstep, Westward Ho! provides the ideal location to take to the waves. We offer surf sessions using soft surfboards. These are ideal for beginner and intermediate surfers.

Youth Inclusion Groups

Skern Lodge has an excellent reputation as a well established provider of personal development programmes for young people excluded from mainstream education and training.

Our team of experienced youth tutors communicate well with young people, guiding and influencing participants to increase their self awareness, developing their problem solving skills, along with their personal and interpersonal skills.

Programmes at Skern increase confidence and self-esteem, as well as social and emotional awareness. Activities provide challenge and inspiration and are run in a supportive and non pressured environment where personal choice is encouraged and welcome. Young people are guided through their decision process and helped to achieve goals often beyond their original objectives.

Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Residential Award Multi Activity Week

Monday April 1st - Friday April 5th 2024

Enjoy the camaraderie of this week long multi-activity programme, which will offer activities such as surfing, swimming, climbing, paddle sports and team exercises.

We are an approved delivery centre (AAP) for the residential aspect of the Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE). The team at Skern are ready to help you to understand the role of an Instructor, learn some key theories for Outdoor Activity delivery, Session Planning and Risk Management whilst at the same time having the most challenging and exciting week of your summer – what’s not to love?

We're also running a Surfing activities for the week. We will surf, swim, practise some life saving techniques, and explore the role of the Beach Lifeguards during the week AND spend time trying out some of the other activities on offer at Skern Lodge – High Ropes Course, Climbing, Archery, and more!

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New friendship groups have been formed, social skills honed and the children feel healthier and fitter - a super week.
Primary Teacher
As well as being a welcome break from school they have enjoyed each others company, faced challenges and learnt new skills.
Primary Teacher
The instructors & all staff at Skern Lodge were brilliant - thank you.
Primary School, Berkshire
The care and attention given to us was brilliant. I have not taken school children to a better residential experience.
Primary School, Berkshire
A huge thank you to your amazing team for their passion, knowledge and enthusiasm, for captivating & inspiring our students.
Primary School, Somerset
An experience we are sure the group will cherish throughout their childhood, thank you. You have our utmost respect and admiration.
Primary School, Somerset


Show FAQs

Are you open to the public?

Yes, everyone is welcome! Please be aware that all activities require pre-booking.  Some activities need to be set-up or we may need specialist trainers on the premises, so we need to know in advance who is coming.

How long has Skern been operating?

We first opened in 1976 and moved to our current site in 1982.

How late can I book?

In some circumstances we may be able to arrange the following:

  • Bookings made the day before
  • Bookings online for the Appledore Adventure Club need to be made before 12 noon the day before.
  • Last minute pool hire
  • Last minute RIB charter

With the exception of the above we require at least 24 hours notice for most activities.

How do you book?

The booking process varies depending on the group size, age, activities, etc. but we do try to make it as simple as possible regardless.  Give us a call and we will check availability before explaining the remainder of the process.

Does the cost depend on the choice of activity?

No.  The costs are based on the type of course rather than your activity choices. However, some optional extras are available e.g. visits to local attractions, and these are an additional cost.

How safe is it?

There is risk in all we do in life and outdoor activities are no exception.  We cannot say there is no risk but careful management reduces this to a very acceptable level.  We are regularly inspected by several bodies: Adventure Activities Licensing Authority, British Canoeing, RYA, Health & Safety Executive, many Local Education Authority inspectors, the insurance company, company health and safety departments and several others.  Furthermore we have, and regularly risk assess not only all activities but fire safety, kitchen hygiene, bunk beds, security and staircases to name but a few.  

What qualifications do the instructors have?

All instructors are fully trained in the activities they deliver.  All hold a first aid qualification, are signed off as competent and are regularly monitored to ensure the highest levels of safety and delivery standards are met.  We also follow national governing body guidelines and fully comply with Activity Licensing regulations to ensure the correct staff are delivering the activities for which they are qualified.

Do I have do all the activities?

Certainly not.  Skern is about success and positive outcomes.  The programmes are designed to have a variety of activities so that in a stay of a few days you will find, hopefully, all activities fun, some easy and some more challenging.  No one will be made to do an activity they do not want to but equally we will encourage you to have a go.  Skern is a great place to learn more about yourself and to achieve more than you thought you could.

Do you cater for people with dietary requirements and allergies?

Of course.  The food at Skern is renowned for quality and quantity.  We have vegetarian and vegan options and can cater for any dietary requirements but please let us know in advance.

Will there be other groups in at the same time?

Almost certainly.  We are always very careful with our client mix.  However, there are completely separate accommodation units that are individually secure.

How secure is Skern Lodge for young people?

  • Children will never be off-site unsupervised
  • The buildings are locked at night (but they can be easily exited if need be e.g. fire) and all windows have restricted openings
  • There are both Skern staff and group leaders resident on-site
  • The gates are locked at night and the site is well lit
  • All staff are carefully checked to ensure they are appropriate to work with children
  • All instructors have DBS (CRB) checks
  • When unaccompanied children visit, a Skern member of staff is allocated as 'house parent'

Is transport for activities provided?

Many of the activities are on-site.  For those off-site then either a local coach company is used or more normally, one of our minibuses.  These are Passenger Carrying Vehicles (PCV) run under an operator’s licence and as such checked very regularly.  All drivers have PCV licences and of course working seat belts are provided to each seat.

Do activities continue if the weather is bad?

On the whole activities are carried out regardless of the weather.  Each morning, and just before starting an activity, an assessment is made about the weather.  Sometimes strong winds can make kayaking unsafe or winter cold may make surfing unsuitable.  In these cases great alternatives will be found.  Safety is never compromised.

How many instructors are there per group?

Our ratios vary depending on the activity; most activities have a working ratio of up to 1:10. Allowing younger groups to work in groups of 1:8 with the flexibility of teaching staff being able to join groups and activities as they wish, but we never exceed the ratio advised by the Governing Body of that sport.

Do I need to bring equipment?

All adventure equipment is provided; it is modern, checked regularly and has quality standards where available. Please bring suitable clothing for outdoor activities.

Do I need to bring my own bedding?

No for overnight stays in the Lodge beds are made up for your arrival with duvets and pillows. You will however need to bring your own towel.

Do children need to bring money with them?

Very little.  Almost everything is included and any extras will have been clearly detailed before you book.  We do have a small shop on-site that sells toiletries, sweets, drinks, postcards and t-shirts etc. There are also soft drink vending machines on-site. We are happy to accept payment by card over the phone (01237 475992) and provide a voucher to be exchanged in the shop on your child's arrival.

Looking for the next adventure?

Get in touch with our friendly team.

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Our Location

Our 22 acre site is perched on the edge of the North Devon coast near Appledore. This ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ is one of the finest outdoor playgrounds in the UK, we are surrounded by diverse geographical areas - the perfect environment to explore, learn and have fun!

About the centre