School trips at Skern

Activities at Skern Lodge mean a lot more than fun and adventure

The Skern environment is ideal for developing personal and social skills for children and young people. Team building, problem solving and communication, combined with the range of exciting activities gives guests a fantastic, memorable experience with valuable learning outcomes.  

On residential, the environment of time spent living and working together enhances the learning and skills outcomes for school groups.  Skills not only valuable in the classroom, playground and on the sports field, but also for the workplace in the future.

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Our programmes

All programmes provide a good mix of off-site and on-site activities, resulting in a high quality outdoor education experience. Every course is tailored and designed around your requirements, we work with you prior and during your stay to ensure that your aims are met. Your course director will ensure that your pupils gain the most from their experiences.

Where possible, we try to keep the same staff team with your programme, helping to build an awareness of individual needs and tailoring sessions to help people to be challenged and achieve a high level of success. The instructors providing your residential experiences not only bring joy and laughter but subtly instil within students the underlying aspect of self-development and self worth.

Morning sessions run from

9am – 12.30pm

Afternoon sessions run from

1.30pm – 5pm

Evening sessions run from

7pm – 8pm or 9pm

(depending on age)

Guidance for party leaders

We’d like you and your group to have an enjoyable, successful and memorable experience at Skern Lodge. These notes are for your information and to help clarify responsibilities.

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Guidance for parents

We want to reassure you of our commitment to high standards of care. Having read these notes, if you feel you need further clarification please do contact us.

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Develop skills
with Skern

Activities for schools


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.

Sample programmes



Primary schools

Introducing children to adventurous activities at an early age helps to shape and develop their confidence and builds important personal and team skills. We aim to increase children’s awareness and appreciation for the environment around them. We do this by exposing children to challenges and they quickly learn the need for communication, cooperation and teamwork. Our activities are also a whole lot of fun!

The theme of learning and development encompasses all our programmes and time is taken throughout each day to allow pupils to reflect on their experiences and to help guide them through the learning they have undertaken.


I feel more confident to try things I wouldn't have done before.


I get on better with the other pupils in my class.


My attendance and behaviour at school is now better.

Statistics taken from

Secondary schools

Enhance the team and personal development skills of young people in an environment that is stimulating, challenging and fun. Our courses can help prepare young people for that important next step of their development. Whether it’s a transition to a new school or simply building confidence and developing life skills.

Learning and development is key in all our courses. We use activities as a medium to help young people grow and develop in an environment that is safe and where they feel well supported. Inspiring locations, plus inspirational Skern staff will ensure that learning gained from their residential is reflected upon and taken back into the classroom. Helping to broaden their horizons and increasing their motivation and appetite for learning.


Since the residential I feel more strongly motivated to learn.


I feel that my school work is more important to me and my future.


Because of the residential I get on better with my teachers.

Statistics taken from

Winter Residential Trips

A winter residential can be transformative for your class. A residential earlier in the year offers students a different but hugely beneficial experience with fantastic learning outcomes and the development of valuable life skills. 

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School day visits

Skern can provide your pupils with a day experience to remember at Skern or in the grounds of your own school. You can choose from either a full or part day or whatever fits your budget.

​We'll put together a carefully designed programme to promote the behaviours that are normally evidenced through a residential. We can link your session with a current theme or topic you're working on or maybe you would like to focus on the transition up to a new school or college.‍

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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

Geography field studies

We’ve been providing tailor made fieldwork courses since 2006. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff can deliver courses for Primary and Secondary, GCSE and A-Level.

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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 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 an inspiring trip?

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!

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