Seven decades after a school visit which changed her life, an 83-year-old woman has made a nostalgic return to a North Yorkshire outdoor education centre.

Many may still think of a school residential break as just another mini-holiday or a chance to escape lessons, however for Margaret Mosley, the 24-day stay gave her the chance to try out new activities, make new friends and sparked a life-long passion for nature, particularly birds.

Mrs Mosley, from Redcar, made a special 120-mile round trip to Bewerley Park Outdoor Education Centre at Pateley Bridge, accompanied by husband Douglas, 88, and daughter, Louise Dale.

Bewerley Park, in the heart of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, offers residential and day courses in adventure and outdoor activities including caving, canoeing, hill walking and rock climbing.

Mrs Mosley was last at the centre in 1954 aged just 14. At the time, she was a pupil at Woodlands Secondary Modern School based in what was then the mining village of Woodlands, near Doncaster.

Flicking through carefully-crafted diary entries made during her stay, Mrs Mosley beamed as she recalled gazing upwards and discovering 'colourful' and charismatic birds igniting and forever nurturing her love for bird watching.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Margaret with the book she kept over 70 years ago

She said: "It was a magical discovery as coming from a mining village, I had only ever seen black sparrows or crows so to see multi-coloured birds was beautiful. It was the first time I had been away from home for so long and in those days, we had no telephones to call our parents. We were all homesick and had to write letters to our parents to keep in touch.

"Every nook and corner of Bewerley Park holds poignant memories for me. Our stay flew by as we embarked on adventure after adventure, be it exploring Brimham Rocks, Stump Cross Caverns, Fountains Abbey or the surrounding woodland.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Margaret’s residential trip took place in 1954

"We had no cameras in those days so couldn’t take any pictures, I had to sketch everything from spiders to rocks and sculptures in my notebook. One of my fondest memories is visiting the oldest sweet shop in Pateley Bridge and buying aniseed balls and dolly mixtures."

A proposed £4.2m investment to redevelop and modernise North Yorkshire Council’s Bewerley Park along with the East Barnby outdoor education centre near Whitby was given the go-ahead in November by members of the authority’s executive. A range of improvements are planned to enhance the appeal of the two centres for generations to come.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Margaret Mosley takes a trip down memory lane and reminisces about her residential school trip to

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for education, learning and skills, Cllr Annabel Wilkinson said: "We were delighted to welcome Margaret. It’s heart-warming to hear that one of her most significant and happiest childhood memories is her residential trip to Bewerley Park. It’s also lovely to hear that the trip ignited her passion for the outdoors, especially bird watching and to this day she remains a keen bird enthusiast."

Mrs Mosley added: "It was so lovely to be back again after almost 70 years as I didn’t think I would ever have the opportunity to return. My first impression was that the site was bigger than I remembered, but it still looked familiar and brought back memories of the feeling of excitement at seeing all the open space and fresh air which was so different from my home at the time near Doncaster.

"I am pleased to hear of the commitment to invest in the site so that it can provide future generations with the opportunities and experiences that I valued so much."