A £4.2m upgrade is being planned for outdoor education centres in North Yorkshire which have been used by thousands of children for decades.

 The scheme to redevelop and modernise the centres at Bewerley Park in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, near Pateley Bridge, and East Barnby in the North York Moors National Park near Whitby go before councillors next week.

The range of improvements planned will breathe new life into the ageing centres. North Yorkshire Council’s Executive will be asked to approve the first phase on November 28. Both centres offer residential and day courses with a range of adventure and outdoor activities including caving, canoeing, hill walking, raft building, rock climbing and sailing. 

Darlington and Stockton Times: The Bewerley Park Centre

The redevelopment will provide a new accommodation block at Bewerley Park with 84 beds and improvements to East Barnby accommodation blocks and the dining room.

Detailed designs for the buildings’ improvements will be drawn up, followed by a tender process. Work on phase one is estimated to cost up to £4.2m, with further improvements in phase two due to be considered in 2027/2028.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for education, learning and skills, Cllr Annabel Wilkinson said: "This is an exciting project. For decades both centres have proven very popular, being visited by generations of families. Thousands of children and young people visit each year and leave with positive, happy memories.

Darlington and Stockton Times: East Barnby Outdoor Centre is set to be upgraded

"It’s vital that our centres continue to deliver wonderful experiences in a more modern environment."

The council’s assistant director for education and skills, Amanda Newbold added: "If given the go-ahead, we expect phase one to be completed by 2025. The new buildings and improvements won’t affect our visitors, in fact, we look forward to welcoming more visitors as the works take place.

“Our staff are passionate about what they do and look forward to enhancing everything they offer."

Both outdoor learning centres aim to help visitors develop life and social skills, enhancing personal growth, resilience, teamwork and cooperation. The experience is designed to  bring subjects to life in line with the curriculum and improve environmental awareness.

A wide range of residential and day courses are on offer for primary and secondary schools, through to higher education, youth and adult groups. The centres are also venues for day trips and staff development. For more information go to  www.outdoored.co.uk.